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Today I completed my unfinished projects from the Focus on Book Arts conference.
My proudest accomplishment is the roof on my little mat board house. I worked on this house in Randi Parkhurst’s workshop Doors, Drawers & Windows: Making Interactive Books and Boxes.
Randi recommended this awesome Fiskars border punch to create the shingles – the model is called the Leave it to Weaver Border Punch. Its common use is for creating slots for weaving ribbon in paper.
Randi showed us how to punch a sheet of paper and then simply trim off of the lower edge of the punch area. You end up with a strip of paper that has a toothy shape – this is how the shingles are made. I hand-painted two sheets of watercolor paper in varied shades of blue – one dark and one light. I think the pearly blue paint really made the papers interesting.
Here are a few images of the completed house from different angles:
And here’s a view of the roof from the top. Love it!
The next item on the “finish me” list was the photo album I started in Jacqueline Sullivan’s workshop Calligraphic Paste Papers and Tacket Bound Album. I glued in double-sided, paste paper end pages and they came out great!
Once those were done, I sat and stared at the dangling threads on the spine. I’m not usually a bead person, but I felt compelled to add something more. The beads conquered me.
The second day of Randi’s class was much easier. Apparently doors are less complicated than windows. Unless you make a revolving door. Just don’t ever do that.
I came into class early and was able to finish my swiveling window. Hurray!
We started the day by working on a hinged door.
We made teeny little hinges out of paper and Tyvek, then slid them onto a bamboo skewer (so clever!). The hinge flaps were glued in between 2 layers of mat board.
The sliding door used some of the same techniques as the first, in that we created a Tyvek hinge that was sandwiched between pieces of mat board. The loop slid onto a bamboo skewer, as you can see in the bottom right of the photo below.
We made a cornice that hid the bamboo rail with stops to help control how far the door would move. As this is a Vermont house, there are big gaps around the door. In fact, both of my windows aren’t airtight.
Definitely a Vermont house.
Next, we added 3 interior walls. These helped to stabilize the structure and created little nooks where would could add drawers or little books.
Hey – I raised a house!
At this point, we were free to experiment with adding drawers and shelves. I made a cool drawer, but I put the shelf in too high.
I’m going to put some feet on the drawer so it looks like I did it on purpose. Don’t tell. Oh, and I’ll also add a drawer pull of some kind and a little book to live on the shelf.
You may be thinking to yourself, “Wait a second, where’s the roof?” Well, I did make a roof, but forgot to take pictures. And it’s not finished.
We ran out of time in class to complete the roof, but I have the directions. Once it’s complete, I’ll write a follow-up post so you can see the completed house.
The first day of Randi Parkhurst‘s workshop, Doors, Drawers & Windows: Making Interactive Books and Boxes really made my brain stretch and took me out of my comfort zone multiple times. I never worked on this type of project before and that’s why I took the class – to push my creative self.
We worked toward completing an adorable little house with doors that opened…
…windows that slid…
…doors that slid and windows that swiveled. Seeing all of these mechanisms was intimidating at first.
Thankfully, our very first task was easy. Take brown paper, crumple it up, open it up and then and paint it with watercolors. That I could do.
Once that was done, we started to work on our house parts. Randi uses mat board for her structures. A great tip she gave us – if you get mat board with fabric on it, it’s really just bookcloth. Peel it off and you can use it for another project. GENIUS.
Each window was made of layers of foam core, mat board, and clear plastic to simulate glass. We covered our pieces with the painted papers to give them interest.
We even trimmed out our windows, just like real windows. Which of course, they were.
There’s no way I could describe the steps to you – there was meticulous work done here and thankfully, Randi had cut many of the pieces in advance. If you’re interested in making one of these fabulous houses, definitely take the class. You have to see it done in person.
I’ll admit that I turned into one of those people:
“Wait. What did you say?”
“What are we doing?”
“Where am I gluing this thingie?”
It was sad.
But I soldiered on. The swivel window was a bit easier. It was composed of an outer frame and in inner frame that spun on a dowel. The mechanism was pretty cool.
Unfortunately, I made my hole too big and my window flopped around instead of turning smoothly. I did my best to fill in the hole to tighten up the dowel, which improved things a bit.
I didn’t get to finish my swivel window today, so I’ll have to go in early tomorrow and complete it.
Randi’s quote of the day:
On the second day of Karen’s workshop, we completed three bindings, starting with the Simplified Binding.
This binding is sewn on tapes – we used ramieband. I never used this material before. It reminded me of Tyvek, but it frayed really easily.
We converted our super cute sewing frames into mini presses for the work that followed. This thing is like a bookbinding MacGyver.
We used bookcloth for our spine wrapper and lined it with paper to stiffen it. I got the most vibrant orange bookcloth for my book. Love.
We sanded our boards so that they had a slight bevel. When we covered our boards, the turn-ins were glued on to the side with the bevel. The wrapped boards were attached to the spine wrapper, which was super easy.
The spines were glued up and rounded. I rounded my spine using a bone folder and got inconsistent results. We added a number of spine linings to fill in the spaces between the stitches and tapes. After the linings dried, we sanded them down with 220 grit sandpaper to create an even surface.
Lastly, the text block was added, with the end sheets acting as the board attachment. I loved this binding and can totally see doing it again.
It was a straightforward process and the resulting book is wonderful to hold. To learn more about this binding, Karen recommended that you check out Laura Wait’s article in The Bonefolder, The Simplified Binding Examined.
The next binding was the Scaleboard Binding.
It’s a Colonial American binding style that was basically developed as a response to lack of resources – they made do with what they had and poof came the Scaleboard. Karen told us that the cover boards usually had a horizontal grain, but she didn’t know why.
To me, this binding is a bit like a stab binding, but not really. You use a 1/4” chisel to cut 2 slits through the entire stack of signatures. You then take 2 thin alum tawed strips and lace them through the slits. The ends of the alum tawed strips are then glued to the front of your boards.
The last binding was the Non-Adhesive Paper Case, which is sewn with a butterfly stitch.
No supports are used. End sheets are made with two folios, which are wrapped in a cloth guard to add strength. Slits are cut into the head and tail of the end sheet signatures, which help them lock the text block into the case.
We used elephant hide paper to create our paper case.
[insert lots of folds here]
Then our case was done!
We cut out some paper from the interior of the case spine to facilitate the locking of the text block and the case. I had to do a bit of finagling before I got it right. The case is a pretty impressive structure, but I’m not sure that it’s something I could do on my own. I’m just not a good folder.
Don’t ever ask me to do origami. Really.
And the day’s quotes from Karen:
“Go, go, go!”
“We’re doing so many things in this class that I don’t like.”
I’m so happy that I now have 5 more cutaway models to add to the 6 that I made at the last FOBA. Karen is a great teacher and I highly recommend that you take a class with her if you can. She’s an extremely talented smarty pants.
I just finished my first day of Karen Hanmer‘s workshop, Reverse Engineering Historical and Modern Binding Structures, Part Two. This was a sequel to a workshop I took with her at the last FOBA conference and the focus was on board attachment.
Before I go any further, I have to mention that the person with the largest army of miniature sewing frames wins.
Karen started out the class by passing around around 2 dozen cutaway models of historical and modern bindings. Even though I’d seen them before, who gets tired of looking at a box of candy?
We completed two bindings today – the Ethiopian binding and the Medieval binding. Most of the work had already been done for us – drilled holes, beveled board edges – but we still had plenty to do.
The Ethiopian binding is part of the Coptic family. It doesn’t use sewing supports and is sewn with double needle link stitch.
We used poplar for our covers. The boards have multiple holes, one of which enters at an angle from the edge of the board through the front.
Starting inside the first signature, exit both sewing stations with the thread distributed evenly, or as Karen put it, hanging out “like a very long odd pair of pants”. Boards are attached by sewing them on like an additional signature. We then worked our way through the signatures, adding the second board in the same manner as the first.
Here are some shots of the outside of the completed book:
For more information on this binding, Karen referred us to J. Szirmai’s book, The Archeology of Medieval Bookbinding.
Next came the Medieval binding. Wheee!!! Another kit!
This binding was more complex than the first one we did. It’s sewn on double cords which are then laced into the boards. The insides of the boards are beveled at the shoulder and the book rounds itself by the action of closing the boards.
When sewing, you wrap the threads around the cords in the direction of your sewing. I had to remind myself of this every time I did it. I think I messed up a few of them, but this is my learning book so I’m letting it go.
Next, we flattened the spine edge of our signatures by rubbing them with a bone folder. We glued up the spine and attached a vellum lining in between the double cords. We scraped up the shiny surface of the vellum prior to gluing – that’s some slippery stuff! We worked the PVA in with our fingers and let it dry.
Our boards had pre-drilled holes, but we got to cut the channels for the cords. I got to play with a 1/4″ chisel that I absolutely have to have now.
We applied paste to the cords and worked them through the holes, resting them in the cut channels. To secure the cords even further, we created leather “pegs” that helped tighten up any of the looseness in our holes. The cords and pegs were cut flush to the cover. The last step was attaching the vellum spine lining to the inside of one of the covers.
Here’s the completed cutaway model:
I’m pretty damn happy with today’s work and I’m looking forward to my second day! I’ll leave you with some awesome Karen quotes:
“You can’t use my finger.”
“Everybody look at me, look at me!”
Today’s paste paper workshop with Jacqueline Sullivan was full of lots of sloppy fun. When I arrived at my table, I found an awesome handout that included paste paper recipes, suggestions for paste paper tools, and directions for the tacket bound album that we made later in the day.
Jacqueline started the workshop by giving us some basic tips on making paste papers:
Next, she talked about colorants:
Then came the demos – yay!
Jacqueline talked about using polymer medium gloss as a resist – it’s like a blank paint. You can make marks with the medium and then let it dry.
She recommended that when we started off making our papers, we should stay within one quadrant of the color wheel. I decided to go with reds, oranges, yellows, and golds.
Making paste paper is pretty straightforward. Dampen your paper with a sponge, smear paste on the paper, use tools to make marks. If you’re a slob, clean your work area. Repeat.
Jacqueline told us that to make a good mark you had to stand up and move your body. The lazy person in me objected to this, but I told that me to shut up and do it because that’s why I came here. We even did some stretches before working to loosen up our bodies. Lazy me complained, even though the stretches felt good.
We used water soluble pastels as a way to add marks to our papers. We were advised to stay in an analogous color scheme because the powdered pastels would smear and not be resistant to the paste. More expensive pastels have more pigment in them. After smearing the marks with water, we added the paste on top of them. The result was subtle.
Next, we used oil pastels to make marks. These acted as a resist to the paste and did not smear. Jacqueline told us that using oil pastels was a way to add colors on the opposite end of the color wheel without them getting muddy. She also said that they were great for adding words to your paper. I loved loved loved using the white pastel on my paste papers.
Then it was lunch time and I was sad because all I wanted to do was make more paper. Sad.
After lunch, we used our papers to make a tacket bound album. We used 21 lengths of thread to bind it.
I love how my book turned out. There are infinite possibilities for what you can do with the loose threads. I’ll have to figure that out when I get home.
More tips from Jacqueline:
And the quote of the day:
Don’t measure unless you have to.
LOVE that one.
In a week I’ll be leaving for the biennial Focus on Book Arts conference, held at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. This will be my fourth time attending the conference. This conference gets amazing instructors and this year’s batch is no exception – Jeff Peachey, Carol Barton, Sam Ellenport, and Emily Marks. Not surprisingly, the majority of workshops are already full. The keynote lecture is by Phillip Pirages – Looking Sensational in Leather: A Superficial but Diverting Look at the Beautiful, Curious, and Amazing History of Bookbinding, with Illustrative Examples.
The first owners of early decorative codex bindings were churches and monasteries, followed by the wealthy elite. While bindings have always been utilitarian, providing protection for written content, adorned books from the medieval period onwards have also been considered as pleasing and often precious physical objects, sometimes even viewed as symbols of status.
Phillip will be presenting a consideration of the general evolution of bookbinding styles in the West, featuring examples of historically interesting and esthetically pleasing bindings from the 15th century until today. In addition, there’s a lecture on Wednesday night too – Critique, Collaboration and Commerce for the Book Artist with gallery owners and studio artists Alicia Bailey and Laura Russell. They’ll be talking about the value and methods of criticism and an introduction to the business of being an artist.
Ever wonder if your work as a book artist is ready to exhibit? Is it good enough to sell? And if so, just how do you go about it? Constructive criticism is an important and often extraordinary growth experience for any artist. Once an artist feels confident in their constructs, it may be time to focus on reaching a wider audience and/or selling work.
I’m psyched about this double bill – there’s a lot to learn! On top of that, I’m attending the following workshops: Calligraphic Paste Papers and Tackett Bound Album with Jacqueline Sullivan:
This class will help you learn the proper techniques for making paste papers with a beautiful, smooth velvety finish that is perfect for calligraphic markings and creating a personal album. Students will create paste papers with an emphasis on beautiful calligraphic mark making and use of bright colors. Papers will be made with a methyl cellulose based paste that is easy to use and recreate in your home studio. We will work large in order to have plenty of paper for the album. Then the papers we have designed will be used to create a Tackett Bound Album. Paper assemblage, gluing, and book binding will be covered. There will be a variety of tools on hand for making various patterns and marks in the paste and handouts will be provided. Extra papers made during the workshop will be wonderful for your in-studio projects such as binding books, collages, making boxes, and backgrounds.
I’ve envied those folks who take workshops and walk away with piles of beautiful papers to play with when they get home. I decided to take the plunge and be one of them. Paste papers will be mine! Reverse Engineering Historical and Modern Binding Structures Part Two with Karen Hanmer:
This workshop begins with a brief review of numerous historical and modern binding structures, with a focus on methods of board attachment. Similarities between historical and modern structures will be stressed. Students will create five binding models. These models will remain unfinished so the sewing and board attachment are visible for future reference. Models include Ethiopian, Medieval, Colonial American, Simplified and Non-adhesive Paper Case. This is a fast-paced workshop for students who already have some experience with traditional binding.
I took a workshop with Karen at the last FOBA (Day 1 & Day 2) and really enjoyed it. This workshop is the sequel (as if the part two in the title didn’t make that clear – duh). Doors, Drawers & Windows: Making Interactive Books and Boxes with Randi Parkhurst:
This fun and unique workshop will focus on the mechanics of doors, drawers and windows as an integral part of the interactive book or box structure. Working from excellent models and clear instructions we will explore several techniques for making hinged doors, drawers that slide easily, and windows made from unusual materials. These elements can hide and house words, objects, drawings and more. We will also explore the possibilities when using materials like watercolor paper, linen thread, and other common materials to fashion drawer handles, door pulls, beads, and button closures. Each student will construct and complete several working models that can be used as references for future projects. Students may wish to bring a project or ideas that are in need of a door, drawer, or window.
This workshop really appeals to the more creative side of my bookbinding brain. Randi’s work is insane (in a good way). If you haven’t seen the video of her book Patience, you have to watch it now. It’s insane. If I can get internet access (and I’m not totally exhausted), I’ll be blogging about the conference after each day’s events, just as I did the last time I attended.
I’m so excited that I now have my very own sewing frame! This awesome piece of equipment allows you to sew on cords or tapes. You can also use it for sewing several books at a time.
Just look at my little lovely:
I’ve wanted a sewing frame for a while. Several years ago, I took a sewing over cords workshop at the Focus on Book Arts conference and I loved it. For whatever reason, I couldn’t (didn’t) figure out a way to justify buying one. It seems that I had no trouble justifying it now!
The funny thing is that I bought tape keys back in October of 2007.
For a non-existent sewing frame.
4.5 years later and I can finally use them!
Many thanks go to Barbara Parker for deciding to give her sewing frame a new home. The best part is that she’s from Vermont – I believe that makes my sewing frame a native!
This morning was spent much like last Wednesday – I glued coptic journal covers using two more sheets of the paper I got from Chena River Marblers.
I was bummed to find that the purple marbled paper was grain short, so I could only get one journal out of it. Poo.
Things got more exciting once I went on a field trip.
Me? Jealous? Yes. Very.
The thing is beauteous. In addition to having a larger cutting length (31.25″), it has a rocking foot-operated clamp. My foot never gets to help when I cut board at home.
17 boards later…
I didn’t cut the boards all the way down to finished sizes – I didn’t want to kill the blade and I can finish the rest at home on my inferior 1071.
I think I’ve become a bad Kutrimmer mommy.
There was a fun and gross discovery while cutting the bookboard – a smushed, bloody bug.
I performed several Google searches to determine whether smushed bugs are either archival or acid-free, but had no luck.
If you have any knowledge on the subject, please share!
Peter and Donna Thomas are awesome.
There, I said it.
Then they came to Vermont to lecture at UVM Special Collections and to teach a workshop for the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. It was then that I fell in love with one of their editioned books, but stupidly didn’t buy it.
I thought about that book for a year. It conveyed a message that was so perfect for the time in my life when I saw it. I missed it.
So I did something about it. Now mine.
The book measures 1 5/16″ x 1″ x 1/4″. It’s bound in leather and all of the pages are letterpressed. The copyright date makes me laugh – the book’s sentiment was probably appropriate back then too.
I love it.
There was a post on the Book Arts listserv today that mentioned that Peter and Donna had taped an interview with Park City Television. You can watch it below.
Did I mention how awesome they are?