AuthorElissa

Screw Punch math

I’ve had my Japanese screw punch (a.k.a. push drill, a.k.a. hole punch) for a number of years now and I super love it. It’s one of those things that will initially make you balk at the cost but once you own it, you’ll wonder what you ever did without one.

Japanese screw punch

The punch manufactured by Nonaka Mfg. Co. Ltd. is considered the best brand of this type of tool. According to their website, they invented the punch in 1977 and have been producing it ever since.

If you ever have trouble figuring out what size bit you need for a particular task, check out these handy resources:

Nonaka’s website:

  • 1.2mm = 1/16″ eyelet
  • 3.0mm = 1/8″ eyelet or rivet
  • 4.0mm – 4.5mm = 3/16″ eyelet or rivet

Volcano Arts’ website (scroll down the page to view):

  • 1.0mm = book sewing needle size
  • 5.0mm = screw post size

If you’re shopping for screw punch bits, you may find that most vendors sell the following sizes: 1.0mm, 1.5mm, 2.0mm, 2.5mm, 3.0mm, 3.5mm, 4.0mm, 4.5mm, and 5.0mm. FYI – there are two more sizes: 1.2mm and 1.8mm.

I was lucky enough to find those two sizes while shopping in Japan and I happily snapped them up. If you want to get your own, I found them for sale at Beyond Measure (in the United Kingdom) and Best from Japan (in Japan).

I Want That! Hedi Kyle edition

Hedi had some of the coolest supplies for us to play with at her workshop. I was already familiar with the gravestone rubbing wax having played with it during a workshop with Julie Chen at Haystack. If this collection is good enough for these two big guns, then I wouldn’t sneeze at having some for myself.

Oldstone Rainbow Rubbing Wax Assortment

They look like little hard chunks of bizarro cheese. WANT.

Oldstone Rainbow Rubbing Wax Assortment

Then there were these fantastic neon colored pencils.

Bright Ideas Neon Colored Pencils

Love the color names. Do I know what I’d do with them? No. WANT.

Bright Ideas Neon Colored Pencils

Last, but not least, the tools that made my heart flutter – Japanese stencil brushes. Oh.my.goodness. The gorgeousness of these things. WANT.

Japanese stencil brushes

They have bamboo handles and deer hair bristles. They offer the perfect amount of pressure when doing pochoir work. They’re simply exquisite.

And they’re handmade in Kyoto. Where I was in 2016.

Why didn’t I know about these before my trip to Japan? I totally could have gotten them there! Bwahahahah! 

Japanese stencil brushes

I can still buy them online, but it’s just not the same (plus they’re expensive). If you’re interested in getting some for yourself, here are your options:

Paper Structures with Hedi Kyle – Day 1

I was so thrilled to get into Hedi Kyle‘s Paper Structures workshop at North Country Studio Workshops – and then I almost didn’t get to go. I had a child care issue with Anna that took some serious eleventh hour finagling to resolve. Thankfully, my awesome neighbor Maureen offered to hang with my nut baby and I was off to Bennington!

Here’s the workshop description:

Learn to fold a generous variety of books, folders, and boxes – mostly from one large piece of paper. The structures you create will not remain blank, in other words, bare of content. With techniques such as stenciling, rubbing, and blotter printing, you will apply patterns, text, and images to pages, pockets and spines.

Yummy! The fact is that I’d take any workshop with Hedi. She could teach laundry folding and I’d be all over it.

After the three-ish hour drive to Bennington (no flying necessary!), I was greeted by this awesome name tag at registration. I am such a name tag nerd.

Name tag for North Country Studio Workshops

Bennington College‘s Visual and Performing Arts Center is insane. It’s 120,000 square of gorgeous. All of the NCSW workshops were held here.

Visual and Performing Arts building at Bennington College

FYI – this is when you know it’s real…

Book Arts workshop sign

Hedi gave us packets with directions for all the structures we were going to make.

And then there were the models…holy crap!

Folded models by Hedi Kyle

Must.touch.everything.

Folded models by Hedi Kyle

I love to see how other teachers organize their classrooms and Hedi had all of the book components in labeled boxes.

Supplies and models for Hedi Kyle's Folded Structures workshop at North Country Studio Workshops

The first day we only worked for two hours, but they were a solid two hours. We completed five paper folds and started one more. Here’s Hedi doing a demonstration (I could watch her fold for hours):

Demonstration with Hedi Kyle

We started off by learning a traditional Japanese letter fold (tutorial can be found here):

Traditional Japanese Letterfold

Then we made a Japanese Menko, a.k.a. the Victorian Puzzle Purse (tutorial can be found here):

Traditional Japanese Menko - closed

This was one of the components of the Chinese Sewing Box I made in Erin Sweeney‘s workshop. Oh, and wouldn’t you know – Hedi’s studio assistant at NCSW was Erin!

Traditional Japanese Menko - open

The next one was new to me – the Portland Envelope, a.k.a. the Bar Envelope (tutorial can be found here):

Portland Envelope - closed

The paper we used was funky – it reminded me of Pringles. Kinda crispy. The top flap tucks into this nifty horizontal bar that’s created when you fold the paper. Love.

Portland Envelope - open

Then came the Tato fold. This one made my brain ache. I don’t remember what was going on with my fingers but it was just.not.happening. As a result, you see folds where they shouldn’t be on the final product. I call do-over.

Tato fold

The Bamboo Folder was not a problem, thankfully (tutorial can be found here – stop after step 8). I loved the paper we used.

Bamboo folder

We started one more piece, which originally didn’t have a name – we collectively called it the North Country Star Fold. It was very complicated and as it was late in the day and most people were struggling, we decided to call it quits and resume tomorrow.

I can’t wait to learn more! Off to ice my fingers…

Book Arts enamel pins

The Paper Carnival just released a collection of book art-related enamel pins. The six-pack includes assorted book tools, a nipping press, a Vandercook proof press, a letterpress composing stick, and a small pica pole.

Just look at them – they are so very cool!

Book Artists' Bookbinding and Letterpress Enamel Pins

The Paper Carnival is the brainchild of Julie Chen (Flying Fish Press) and Keri Miki-Lani Schroeder (Coyote Bones Press). The partnership was established in 2017 with the goal of creating book artsy collectibles. These pins are just the beginning. Yay!

You can buy each pin individually for $12.00 or the full set for $70.00 on Etsy. Obviously, I had to have the full set. I think it will look awesome on my not-yet-assembled book arts sash (along with my merit badges).

I’m looking forward to seeing what other designs they come up with – perhaps a sewing frame or Kutrimmer?


Note: Many thanks to Keri for allowing me to use her image for this blog post.

Cut sheets calculator

Update 10/15/18: Sadly, Paper Mojo has closed its web doors. I have removed links in this post that are no longer valid. The link to the calculator is still working as of today.

I just discovered the most awesome resource!

I was checking out the newest papers at Paper Mojo when I noticed this little icon beneath one of the paper swatches:

Paper Mojo Cut Sheet Calculator icon

So I click on it and I’m brought to the following page:

Paper Mojo's Cut Sheet Calculator

It’s a Cut Sheet Calculator!

I’m totally nerding out over this (and it’s probably been there forever). When trying to figure out how much paper to buy for a project, I usually do these calculations by hand but now I don’t have to. No more thinking – just plug in the numbers and whhheeeee!!!

One caveat: The calculator automatically takes into account a 0.5″ trim off all edges of the paper. This is because many handmade papers have deckled edges and if you want your final pieces to be clean-cut, you have to address the inconsistency.

Thanks Paper Mojo!


Many thanks to Paper Mojo for granting permission for me to take screenshots of their website.

2018 Book Artsy Deadlines

As 2017 draws to a close, one’s mind begins to think about the opportunities that 2018 brings. And if you’re anything like me, you get obsessed with all of the new book arts classes and workshops that are offered.

So much to learn, so little time. 🙁

Some workshops are easier to get into than others. When I enrolled in Hedi Kyle’s workshop at North Country Studio Workshops, I had to be on my computer at midnight when the application went up. The workshop sold out within a few hours.

And different institutions have different acceptance policies, so simply registering early isn’t always the answer. Groan.

In an effort to make things easier for you, I hereby present a brief roundup of some of the more renowned programs and their deadlines. Oh yes, there are deadlines.

Book Arts Deadlines 2018 -  logo

The Paper and Book Intensive, an annual 10-day retreat of book arts and papermaking classes, will open its general application period on January 1st. The earlier you apply, the better the chances that you’ll get the classes you want. Keep an eye on this page of their website for the posting of their application.

By the way, if you’re interested in applying for the Nell Meldahl Work-Study Scholarship (half-tuition), time’s running out. You’ve only got until December 31st to get your application in.


Registration for Summer 2018 workshops at the Penland School of Crafts opens on January 8th at 9:00 a.m. Although they have used a lottery system in the past, this year they’ll be accepting applications on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you’d like to work alongside one of Penland’s talented instructors, you can apply to be a studio assistant. You’d be responsible for assisting with the workshop and maintaining the studio and in return, you’d receive housing and meals. The application period opens on January 1st and closes on February 17th.

Here’s the list of workshops/instructors looking for assistants:


Registration for the third annual Mills College Summer Institute for Book and Print Technologies is already underway. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until a workshop is full so if you want in on one of the workshops, you best get moving!

By the way, these workshops are not for beginners – they are taught at a master class level and you’re expected to have prior experience in bookmaking, letterpress, or printmaking.


The Wells College Book Arts Center Summer Institute has also opened their registration for 2018. They offer two week-long classes in bookmaking, letterpress, papermaking, type casting, and more. If you sign up for a class before January 15th, you’ll get $100.00 off tuition. 

For those with financial limitations, Wells offers both need-based scholarships and non-paying internships to college/graduate students in the book arts. Interns can participate as a student in one class and work as a studio assistant in another. 

For more information about scholarships and/or internships, download the application (pdf). Applications are due on March 15th.


Are you taking any interesting classes next year? I’d love to hear about it!

Share the details in the comments below or send me an email.

Northampton Book and Book Arts Fair

This past weekend I attended the third annual Northampton Book and Book Arts Fair at Smith College in Northampton, MA. It was awesome to be able to attend again, having missed it last year. Many thanks go to my hubby for watching Anna!

Northampton Book and Book Arts Fair 2017 poster

This year was a different experience for me in that I was an exhibitor representing the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. I think our booth looked rather spiffy. We had a nice selection of pieces on display that represented the wide range of our members’ work.

Book Arts Guild of Vermont booth at the Northampton Book and Book Arts Fair 2017

I brought my hybrid artist book/board game, You Can’t Take it with You:

Artist book/game hybrid - You Can't Take it with You

The fair mostly consisted of a vendor fair that included a mix of book artists, papermakers, binders, letterpress printers, and antiquarian booksellers. Chena River Marblers didn’t attend this year, which bummed me out. Their papers are so yummy! Their annual open studio is coming up this weekend and sadly I can’t make it. Maybe next year.

The keynote presentation was given by Nicholas A. Basbanes, which was titled Among the Gently Mad. Here’s the description of his lecture:

His talk is a reflection drawn on thirty years of in-the-field research conducted among a variety of book people: collectors, booksellers, librarians, conservators, and readers — people he affectionately refers to as the gently mad.

While browsing at the fair, I bought a copy of his book On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History

On Paper by Nicholas Basbanes

I casually checked it out and saw that there was a chapter titled, Goddess by the Stream. I just knew that it had to be about Echizen! I turned to the chapter and discovered that it was correct. There was an image of Okamoto Otaki Shrine on one of the pages and I freaked out – I WAS THERE.

Hello sir, please take my money for this book!

I really enjoyed talking to folks at the fair and hanging out with my B.A.G. buddies. However, I think that the fair would really benefit from more programming, perhaps adding in demonstrations and/or hand-on activities. It was a bit disappointing to only have the keynote to look forward to, other than the vendor fair.

Of course, it’s easy for me to say that, considering that I’m not on the planning committee. Putting together events like this is hard work! The fair has a lot of potential and I look forward to seeing it grow over time.

A Bookbinder’s Black Friday

A Bookbinders Black Friday - logo

Yeah, so it’s Black Friday.

In Montpelier, where I live, they’ve dubbed it Flannel Friday – much more appropriate to the Vermont lifestyle. You show up to local shops wearing flannel and kablammo! You get a discount on your purchase. There’s also a Cider Monday, which is supposed to be the Cyber Monday alternative. Love.

We hosted Thanksgiving this year with a total of 23 people and 3 dogs – it was nuts. A happy and awesome kind of nuts, but nuts nonetheless.

Even though I am totally exhausted, there’s no time for rest – I have a craft show that opens tomorrow, the fabulous Women’s Festival of Crafts. If you happen to be in the vicinity of Burlington, VT tomorrow or Sunday, come on by my booth and say hi!

That said, there are quite a few bookbinding-related online sales going on today (and some beyond that). Check ’em out:

From now through 11/27 at midnight GMT, Vintage Paper Co. is offering 25% off all products listed on this page of their website. Use code bf at checkout to get the discount.

John Neal Bookseller is going bananas with all the deals.

  • Get free standard shipping (within the U.S.) on orders of $100.00 or more. Use code BF17FS at checkout for the discount from now through 11:59 p.m. on 11/25.
  • Get 10% to 50% off Black Friday Sale items from now through 6:00 p.m. on 12/1 (a full week!) – save on some of their most popular books and supplies.
  • All Londonderry thread is 20% off, including individual spools, sets, and lacing thread.
  • Two great bookbinding books by Don Etherington are on sale. Bookbinding & Conservation: A Sixty-year Odyssey of Art and Craft is priced at $24.95 and Don Etherington: Design Bindings, A Retrospective is priced at $19.95.

Pergamena, producer of stunning fine leathers and parchment, is offering free UPS Ground shipping on all orders over $100.00 Use coupon code FR33SHIPPING at checkout to get the discount.

As part of their holiday sale, Oak Knoll Books is offering 40% off select titles from their website. This sale is going on now through November 27th and no special code is needed – the discount will automatically be applied to the cost of these books.

Arnold Grummer is offering a 10% discount on all paper essentials, such as supplies, fibers, and presses. Use code DIYPAPER (not to be confused with DIAPER) at checkout to get the discount.

Now through midnight EST, Paper Mojo is offering 25% off storewide. Use code use code BF2017X at checkout to get the discount. Time to stock up on handmade and decorative papers!

Paper Source is offering free shipping on all orders over $50.00 – no code is needed.

From now through 11/30, The Paper Mill Store is offering 10% off orders of $250.00 or more with code 250SALE and 15% off orders of $500.00 or more with code 500SALE.

Paper-Papers is offering 60% off the already discounted price of products in their Sale and Clearance categories. Use coupon code floor at checkout to get the discount.

If you’ve got a bookbinding book on your wish list, you’re in luck! Amazon (yep, that Amazon) is offering $5.00 off print book purchases of $20.00 or more. From now until 11/26 at 2:59 a.m. EST, use code GIFTBOOK17 at checkout to get the discount. Note: Offer only applies to products sold and shipped by Amazon.com.

And if Cyber Monday is more your thing:

On 11/27 Mechling Bookbindery is offering 40% off all instructional DVD series and 40% off your choice of leather. Free shipping is available for orders over $250.00.

By the way, don’t forget Giving Tuesday! There are tons of worthy organizations out there that would love your support. Here are some of my favorites:

Happy shopping and/or donating!

Editions – a coworking space for Seattle book artists

Sarah Mottaghinejad of Ink and Awl is establishing a coworking space for Seattle book artists – Editions (great name). It sounds like it’s going to be an amazing place – as a renter, you not only get access to equipment, but also to consumables like glue, thread, and ink.

She already has everything she needs to get it going right now, except for an etching press. And that’s where her Kickstarter comes in – Sarah hopes to raise $6,000.00 by October 30th so that she can purchase a press.

She’s got really cool rewards available for backers, like linoprints, custom letterpressed business cards, and a seat in one (or more) of her classes. And the bookbinder’s patchawesome.

Bookbinders Patch by Ink and Awl

She’s a bit more than halfway to her goal with just two weeks to go. You just know you want in on this.

You can learn more about the project by watching the video below.

You can also follow Sarah on Instagram to learn more about her work and the evolution of Editions.

Oak Knoll Books and their insane-o sale

Oak Knoll Books - October sale ad

Why do things always go on sale when I’m trying to be conservative with my spending? Damn you Oak Knoll Books!

For the entire month of October, Oak Knoll is offering 20% off all books about bookbinding. As of this writing, there are 1,202 books in the sale.

Dang – how are that many books about bookbinding? I thought I already had a big library…it looks like I have some work to do!

So what do I have my eye on? It’s those dang irresistible Suave Mechanicals (Volume 1 & Volume 2) books edited by Julia Miller. It’s hard to find them at a discounted rate and this sale is a great excuse to splurge.

If you’re looking to expand on (or start) your collection of Keith Smith books, then this sale is for you too. All five volumes of his Non-Adhesive Binding series are on sale, in addition to most of his other books. If you’re not yet familiar with his books, then get familiar – they’re really fantastic.

And if you’re looking for something else, feel free to ask me for other recommendations. Did I mention that I’ve got an extensive (a.k.a. overflowing) library?

Note: Many thanks to Oak Knoll Books for granting permission to use their image. And in case you’re wondering, I wrote this post all on my own – I have no affiliation with them either than as a happy customer.

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