Category : Paper

Trip to Kozo Arts

Kozo Arts - exterior

Another stop on my bookbinding-focused trip to San Francisco was Kozo Arts. I have been aware of Kozo Arts for a while now, but never thought I’d actually get to visit their shop.

While creating my vacation itinerary, I planned to make a rather serious paper purchase while at the store. Ah, the best laid plans…I get in the store and while my initial gaze is drawn to the beautiful Chiyogami papers (especially a rocking monkey print), I immediately lose my breath upon seeing the most gorgeous bookcloths I have ever seen. Ever. EVER. I wanted to open up the bolts on the floor and roll around on them.

Notara, the manager of Kozo Arts, gave me the scoop on the bookcloth. She explained that the 100% silk bookcloths had been an acquisition of the previous store owner. He had taken regular buying trips to Japan to find new items for the store and found these beautiful bookcloths in some guy’s basement.

His basement. How does that happen?

She added that Japanese bookcloth as we know it was not traditionally used for bookbinding – it was used for mounting paper scrolls. I wonder who that first person was who used the stuff for bookbinding? Thank you.

Notara has been working at Kozo Arts for 10 years. How she tolerated my total spazziness in the store is beyond me.

So even though the bookcloth was pricey ($38 per yard, less a 10% discount if you’re a bookbinder), I had to get some – they just don’t have these beauties anywhere else. I bought 4 yards of the delicious stuff. I apologize for not being a better photographer – these photos do not do the bookcloths justice.

Japanese bookcloth

Japanese bookcloth

Every day since I returned from my trip, I’ve gone into my studio and gazed longingly at my new friends. These are going to be hard to cut up. Boy, when I run out – that’s also going to suck. Time to plan another trip to San Francisco.

Trip to Arch Art Supply

Arch Art Supply - exterior

The very first stop on my bookbinding-focused trip to San Francisco was Arch Art Supply. The San Francisco Center for the Book (another stop on my trip – details in a future post) recommended Arch as a good source for papers.

We arrived shortly after 9:00 a.m. and were the first ones in the store. The folks there were really nice – they knew how to be helpful without hovering around while you fondle papers…just my type of staff. There’s something cool about being the only person in an art supply store – it’s like it’s all yours…

So I didn’t buy as much paper as I had anticipated, but I’m pretty happy with my haul. These tissues are really lightweight and the colors are so vibrant. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask what country they’re from…does anyone know? It’s important to me to know where my papers are made. I might just have to give those Arch folks a call and see if I can describe the papers…

Tissue papers

I also got these really nifty metallic papers – and I’m not really a metallic girl. I just loved the textures on them.

Metallic papers from Taiwan

I did ask about the origin of these papers – they are machine made in Taiwan, made of wood pulp and recycled paper. The papers above are called (from left to right):

The coolest part of the trip was discovering that they still had Gocco supplies in stock at reasonable prices. 5-packs of B6 screens and 10-packs of bulbs were under $16.00 a piece – much cheaper than the going rate at most retailers. They also had a variety of inks for under $4.00 a tube, along with some other supplies. I bought 4 tubes of pearly inks and 3 packs of ink block (sorry – I bought all they had out). They did not have a lot of supplies left so if you are in the SF and are looking for supplies, go soon! They may not last for long.

My book arts day in San Francisco

My vacation may be winding down, but I’m certainly wound up for today – I’m spending the entire day (that would be today) in San Francisco engaged in the pursuit of book arts. I am so so so happy!

Here’s my itinerary:

  • Arch Supplies: I understand they have a nice selection of paper and possibly still have some Gocco supplies left.
  • American Bookbinders Museum: This wonderful resource has an amazing collection of bookbinding equipment, documents, and periodicals – check out their collection on their website.
  • Kinokuniya: A bookstore that specializes in Japanese texts. I’m looking for some bookbinding books that are written in Japanese. If the bindings photos are appealing, then I’m grabbing them. A member of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont knows Japanese and has volunteered to translate them for me.
  • Kozo Arts: Oh boy, just lemme get my hands on some Japanese paper please.
  • Chinatown: Okay, this one may not be obvious – I have a line of chopstick journals. I need chopsticks to make them. So there you have it. Well, that and I want to see them make fortune cookies at the

I plan on taking lots lots lots of pictures and will write some posts about my trip when I get back later in June.

Many thanks to Franco Folini for granting permission for use of his photo of San Francisco. You can see more of his work on Flickr.

Claire Maziarczyk’s Pastepaper Quilts exhibit

As I mentioned in this post, I recently took a trip to Claire Maziarczyk’s studio in Niskayuna, NY. I also promised to post about her exhibit Pastepaper Quilts at the Robert and Dorothy Ludwig Schenectady Jewish Community Center.

This is what Claire had to say about her work, as written in a handout she provided to gallery visitors:

Many of the images in this show are a compilation of many years of creating one-of-a-kind sheets of paper. Many of the patterns included in this show were produced at the end of the work day, or the end of the run of color during a typical day of production… Some are simple experiments others are an attempted to recreate the feeling of those 16th century bookbinders. All of these papers are combined with a love of quilt patterns, an interest in Feng shui, Polish paper cut outs and the Shaker belief that humans are not perfect.

I can really identify with that last part.

Paste paper quilts by Claire Maziarczyk

Paste paper quilts by Claire Maziarczyk

Paste paper quilts by Claire Maziarczyk

Paste paper quilts by Claire Maziarczyk

This last piece was so interesting. The design was based on principles of Feng Shui and the concept of Bagua. Here are some details from her handout:

This piece is made up of nine, fourteen inch squares representing the Chinese secrets of Feng Shui. Each piece in the nine square grid represents the colors, shapes, and elements of the feng shui system. While the overall shape of the bagua is eight-sided, it is divided in a way that creates nine pieces. The center is a square which represents health. The five elements represented are fire, metal, water, wood, and earth. Each element is associated with a basic shape.

Paste paper quilts by Claire Maziarczyk

Claire’s color and pattern choices reflected these two concepts and offered some fascinating connections between personality and natural elements.

Here’s a breakdown of the qualities associated with each square:

Top, left to right:

  1. Prosperity: Colors – purple, green, gold, and red
  2. Fame: Color – red; Element – fire; Shape – triangle
  3. Love and Relationships: Colors – pink, red, and white

Middle, left to right:

  1. Family: Color – green; Element – wood; Shape – rectangle or columns
  2. Health: Colors – yellow and earth tones; Element – earth; Shape – square
  3. Creativity and Children: Color – white; Element – metal; Shape – round

Bottom, left to right:

  1. Skills and Knowledge: Colors – blue, black, and green
  2. Career/Life Path: Color – black; Element – water; Shape – free-form
  3. Helpful People/Travel: Colors – grey, black, and white

I was particularly drawn to the last square in the middle row – “Creativity and Children”. It seems so appropriate that both of these ideas would be represented by white (purity, innocence) and a round shape (no edges, no beginning or end).

I appreciate that Claire took an effort to detail the influences of her work.

Visit to Claire Maziarczyk’s Studio

As I mentioned in this post, I was planning a trip to Claire Maziarczyk’s studio this past Saturday.

I had the BEST time.

The trip to Niskayuna, NY was about 3 hours and 20 minutes each way. Overall, the ride wasn’t that bad – apparently I had brought just the right mix of CD’s for the trip. It’s just that last hour when you’re almost home that it seems like every minute is about 100 years in length.

Claire is such a sweetheart and you can tell that she really loves her work. I asked her lots of questions – ones that I’m sure she has answered a thousand times over – and she did so with a smile on her face. It really does make a difference when you meet the maker of a handmade object – it totally transforms how you look at it.

I keep trying to figure out the right words to describe my visit, but instead I just keep looking at my pictures. I’ll let the pictures tell the story. Well, except to say that I love looking through other people’s paper drawers.

Here are some pictures of her studio:

Claire Maziarczyk's studio

Claire Maziarczyk's studio

Claire Maziarczyk's studio

Paste papers by Claire Maziarczyk

Claire Maziarczyk's studio

It was hard picking out paper to take home with me – every time I thought that I had everything settled, I’d find yet another “most beautiful paper ever”. I finally selected 15 sheets to join my paper family.

Here are some pictures of the paper I bought (a.k.a. Meet my new babies):

I am also a proud owner of one of Claire’s swatch books. Now I can drool over her papers from the comfort of my own home.

In my next post, I’ll talk about her exhibit Pastepaper Quilts at the Robert and Dorothy Ludwig Schenectady Jewish Community Center.

Claire Maziarczyk Open Studio and Gallery Tour tomorrow

I have been a big fan of Claire Maziarczyk’s paste papers for a number of years. I just want to go swimming in them.

When the New England Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers announced that not only was there an upcoming exhibit featuring Claire’s Pastepaper Quilts, but that she would also be having an open studio, I plotzed.

Yes, I said plotzed.

Here are the details:

Open Studio and Sale
Date: Saturday, April 25, 2009
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Location: Maziarczyk Paperworks, 882 Stark Avenue, Niskayuna, NY

…and then…

A Gallery Tour (with Claire) of Pastepaper Quilts
Date: Saturday, April 25, 2009
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: The Robert and Dorothy Ludwig Schenectady Jewish Community Center, 2565 Balltown Road, Niskayuna, NY (get directions)

If you plan to attend, please R.S.V.P. to Claire:

Maybe I’ll see you there!

Tutorial: A-7 Pocket Folders

Finished A-7 pocket folderAs I promised yesterday, what follows are step-by-step directions on how to create your own A-7 pocket folders, similar in style to those for sale at Paper Source.

The pocket folders are perfect for use in DIY wedding invitations (I’ll show you my own finished invitations once the bride has mailed them out).

My tutorial is ideal for creating an A-7 pocket folder in a paper that better coordinates with your colors or theme. The Paper Source website has a tutorial available for download with ideas on how you can further embellish the folders.

In addition, there’s a significant cost savings in making them yourself. By making the pocket folders myself, I spent about $30.75 on materials (paper & adhesive) to assemble the folders (not including tax). Buying the folders pre-made would have cost me $92.25 (not including tax) – this is a significant savings.

Be forewarned this is not a fast process.

Not including the time it took me to figure out the measurements and process, it took about 4.75 hours to assemble 100 folders (that’s about 3 minutes per folder).

On a positive note, the process is pretty easy – so if you have more time than money, this could work for you. If you have eager bridesmaids, make a party of it!

Some notes before I begin:

  • Yes, my cutting mat really is that ugly.
  • I am not a great photographer.  I’m serious, these photos are not pretty. What can I say – I’m a bookbinder, not a photographer.
  • You’ll notice that the images include paper that changes from black to blue…that’s because I realized I forgot to take some key pics, so I had to make another pocket folder to get them.

So here we go!

    1. Cut a strip of paper measuring 16″ high x 6″ wide.
    2. Place the paper on your cutting mat so it is oriented in a horizontal manner.
    3. Measure 5.5″ in from the left side and make a vertical score line.
    1. Measure 3.5″ in from the right side and make a vertical score line.
    1. Place the paper on your cutting mat so it is oriented in a vertical manner, with the 3.5″ scored section at the top.
    1. Using a quilting ruler, measure 1/2″ in from the left side. Make a score line from the top of the paper to the score line, 3.5″ down.
    1. Using an X-Acto knife, cut from 3.5″ (right below the score line) down to the bottom of the paper.
    1. Rotate the paper so that the 5.5″ scored section is now at the top. Using a quilting ruler, measure 1/2″ in from the left side. Using an X-Acto knife, cut from the top of the paper to the 2nd score line, 12.5″ down.
    1. Using a bone folder, make a vertical score line from the 2nd score line (12.5″ down)  to the bottom of the paper.
    1. Cut the 1/2″ wide strips off of both sides of the paper.
    1. You should be left with a shape that looks like a narrow “T”, with the widest section at the top being 3.5″ high.
    1. Rotate the paper so that the wide part of the paper is at the bottom.
    1. Fold in the two side flaps, flattening them with a bone folder.
    1. Unfold the flaps and flip the paper over. Apply adhesive to the back of the flaps. I like roller adhesive because it’s quick and is dry on application.
    1. Make a diagonal cut on the tab from about 1/2″ below the score line to the score line. This will eliminate some of the bulk when you fold the tabs in to create the pocket.
    1. Flip the paper over. Tuck in the two side flaps press down on the edges of the pocket using a bone folder. I recommend using a teflon bone folder if you have one – it won’t leave shiny marks on your paper.
    1. Fold down the top flap to create the cover of the folder. Use the bone folder to press down on all of the folds, making them sharper and flatter.

That’s it! [she said after 17 steps]

Once you do it several times, it gets much easier. If you’re doing multiples, I recommend working on one step at a time on all of your pieces. It will not only save you time, but it will also help you make less mistakes.

I created a printer-friendly pdf of the directions for the pocket folder. If you do print it out, color printing works best. When I printed it out in black & white, the images became less clear.

I hope you find this tutorial is helpful and I’d love to hear feedback on how it worked for you.

Ohhhhh…and send me pics of things you make using the tutorial and I’ll post them on the blog!

Please tell me what to do

My husband’s brother and sister are both getting married this summer.

Not to each other, ew.

I offered both couples a wedding gift of handmade invitations and both accepted. I spent the last several days in a frantic whirlwind of wedding invitation assembly for couple #1. (Don’t get me started on the printer nightmare I endured…)

Wedding invitations and skeleton leaves

I came to a strange realization during the process of designing the invitations – I perform better when people tell me what to do. I thrive on super-anal specifics. This is true of any custom order – the more specific and detailed a project is, the happier I am. Given free reign, I will over-analyze every single detail until my brain aches.

In general, this is not good for me. Or my brain.

Now don’t get me wrong, I really appreciated the trust that my brother-in-law and his fiancée put in me. They were very flexible with colors and style. However, I know that I just had too much leeway and as a result, I spent countless hours on the design – my perfectionist self wouldn’t allow anything else.

Thankfully, I’m very happy with how they turned out – I think that they really reflect the couple who will be receiving them.

Packages of handmade wedding invitations

I’m thankful that bride #2 is very specific and clear about what she wants. It only took 1.5 hours to completely design her invitation, from walking into Paper Source to purchasing all of the supplies.

Val, I love you for ordering me around. Feel free to do so any time. 🙂

Book Arts Guild of Vermont workshop: Valentines

Last Wednesday I attended the monthly meeting of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. We spent the evening making valentines, which brought me right back to first grade. We were taught how to make woven hearts, using the following patterns from the Origami Resource Center:

It’s so strange – as soon as I try to make something special for my hubby, my inner critic comes out in full force. It’s like nothing I can make will be good enough. I hate all of the materials I have to work with and I hate everything that everyone else brought to share. It’s just all wrong. I experience the same thing when I write in birthday or anniversary cards for Chris – my words are always completely wrong.

So here’s what I came up with:

I wove together some handmade paper and pieces of a map. The circle in the middle is a button made of polymer clay. After this image was taken, I drew in an arrow pointing to the star and added “You are here.”

Geez, I so didn’t like it – absolutely not inspiring by any stretch of the imagination. But I gave it to him anyway (not on Valentine’s Day). He said he liked it.

I think he was just being nice.

I was completely prepared to throw the whole woven heart concept out the window based on this experience. Then my hubby came to me and asked if we could make an anniversary card for his parents. All of a sudden, the woven heart seemed to be the perfect solution.

Woven anniversary card

This I liked. I really did. Now I just need to figure out what to do for the “real” Valentine’s Day card.


What happened to the paper in Paper Source?

As I’ve mentioned several times before, I owe my love of bookbinding to Paper Source. When I was in graduate school for Art Therapy at Lesley University, I passed by Paper Source on my way to and from my classes. I jumped at the opportunity to work there when I saw the “help wanted” sign in the window. This was back when there were only two stores, one in Chicago, IL and one in Cambridge, MA.

That being said, it’s hard not to be a paper snob. I’ll admit it. I’m a big fat paper snob.

When I go into stores that claim to have a “huge paper selection”, I just chuckle under my breath and think, “Yeah, okay.”

Then a week ago, the weirdest thing happened. I drove down to the Cambridge store with my sister-in-law to start design work on her wedding invitations. After the usual 15 minutes of overwhelming “I want everything” feelings, we settled down at a table to get to work. We looked over the paper racks hanging on the walls and I wondered what other options we had.

I quickly realized was that I couldn’t find any sample binders. When I worked there (you’re going to hear this a few times), there were about a dozen binders with 8.5″ x 11″ samples of all of the papers carried by the store. The sample binders were meant to simplify the paper search process – imaging pawing through dozens of flat files until you found what you wanted – fun, but labor-intensive.

Then I looked around the store. It seemed as though there were less flat files in the store than I remembered. When I worked there, there were a lot of flat files…like a mini city of them…it was lovely.

And now they weren’t there.

It seemed as though the wedding invitation supplies had replaced those flat files. It bummed me out. I understand why Paper Source would do such a thing – their wedding invitation business is booming, so why not replace slower-moving stock with stuff that people want?

[start rant]

Well, that would be because I don’t respond well to change and I want the store to be the same as it was when I left and I just want it to have lots of paper there because that’s what I count on them for and now I’m all stressed out because they don’t have a big selection of paper any more and for goodness sake, paper is half of their name!

[end rant]

So what I’m really hoping for is that someone will tell me that I’ve just lost my mind and have hallucinated the whole, ugly ordeal. Or if you’ve actually found the same to be true in a Paper Source near you then please validate my experience, which I warn you, may or may not make me feel better.

At least the wedding invitations are taken care of.


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