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Worktable Wednesday

There hasn’t been much making going on in the studio lately. Unfortunately, I am knee-deep in the inventory of my studio. I got a late start this year due to some personal stuff that involved unexpected travel. Thankfully, we were granted an extension on our taxes.


I’m always amazed at just how much stuff I have squirreled away in my studio. Throughout the year, I usually think that you can never have too much paper – when it comes to counting it however, you tend to change your mind.

Plastic tubs full of handmade journals

I have a pretty good system in place for doing inventory – everything that’s counted get a little post-it flag on it with the date that it was checked. I also have a detailed checklist for making sure that I don’t miss anything.

Thankfully, I’m in the home stretch. I’m looking forward to getting back to creating!

A Bookbinding Gift

Last month, when I visited my sister, I was presented with the inevitable craft project with my nine year-old niece. I love when this happens because my niece has long had an interest in paper and bookbinding.

So we’re working on a pop-up birthday card for a friend of hers and while we’re folding the paper, I notice that my niece is using the handle of a pair of scissors to burnish the fold. I tell her that she needs a bone folder and her response – “Yes I do!”

I love this kid.

So what’s my first order of business upon visiting the PBI store? Bone folder selection. And it was hard.

I finally settled on a bone folder that was etched with an origami crane. I like that the crane symbolizes happiness, good fortune and longevity.

Bone folder etched with origami crane

And I want my niece to be happy and around for a long time!

If you’re interested in getting your own crane bone folder, contact Nancy Morains at Colophon Book Arts – she should be able to hook you up.

Three Case Styles for Three Book­bind­ings with Priscilla Spitler – Day 2

Today we started off by creating headbands for our flatback books. A 7/8″ piece of bookcloth was folded off-center and a piece of 12/3 cord was used for the core. Make sure that the bookcloth is grain long so that the headband curves around the spine more easily.

Use a piece of paper to measure the width of the spine and transfer this measurement to a divider. Use the divider to mark off pieces of headband for cutting. Apply glue to the end of the spine, then add the piece of headband.


Next, you apply a paper lining to the spine to add stability. It should be slightly shorter than the text block and the same width as the spine. When attaching the liner, apply glue to the spine lining, not the spine.


We started on the cases for our flatback bindings. We only got as far as applying the bookcloth on the quarter binding. Using a joint jig of a 7 mm thickness, we glued cover boards (59 pt Eskaboard) and spine pieces (20 pt Bristol board) to the bookcloth. The cloth was 5/8″ wider on all sides for the turn-ins.


The full cloth flatback case was finished to completion. Just as we did with the quarter binding, we glued out the bookcloth, then placed the spine board first. This was followed by placement of the two cover boards using the joint jig. We then glued our turn-ins, starting with the head and tail flaps.


The next step was counter-filling the inside covers – this evens out the pull and helps to keep the boards flat. The fill sits between the turn-ins and shouldn’t creep up the cloth. Priscilla said, “Don’t microfit your infill.” A little bit of board showing was just fine.


The last step to complete the full cloth book was to case in the text block. This freaked me out because at this point, you can easily screw up everything you’ve done up until then. You put waste paper underneath the front paper and glue it out. Remove the waste paper quickly.


Pick up the text block and flip it so that the glued endpaper is face down towards the cover, keeping your squares even. The spine of the book should be a hair’s width away from the edge of the spine board. Place the text block on the inside of the case, but don’t push down.

Open up the book slightly to check on the placement. You should have the ability to make small adjustments, if necessary. Rub down on the endpaper with your thumb – don’t use a bone folder or you risk tearing the paper.

Glue out the other endpaper, then pull up the case board and drop it over the endpaper. Try to line up the corners of both covers, but don’t push down on the cover. As was done with the first cover, check on the position of the endpaper and make any needed adjustments. Rub down the endpaper with your thumb.

Use the rounded back end of your bone folder in the spine grooves to set the joints. We put our books into the press using press boards with metal edges.


Priscilla had special press boards made for her that said, “With Love – Thanks Priscilla”.


Priscilla has a lot of experience in creating editions of work and she’s all about speed and efficiency. Here’s one of her great quotes:

The more time you take, the more time you have to make mistakes.

My work is now at Axel’s Frame Shop and Gallery!

Axel’s Frame Shop and Gallery logoI am thrilled to announce that my work is now on display at Axel’s Frame Shop and Gallery in Waterbury, VT. I’ve mentioned many times how dear Waterbury is to my heart and it means a lot to me to be able to sell my work there.

The owner of Axel’s is no longer named Axel, but Whitney Aldrich. Not only is she a sweetheart, but she’s a real friend to Waterbury. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend that you stop by the gallery. She carries my favorite jeweler, Bella Bueno, among other Vermont artisans.

Axel’s is located at 5 Stowe Street in Waterbury. Be sure to become a fan on Facebook!

Worktable Wednesday

Today I prepped the student kits for my Travel Companion Journal workshop at Studio Place Arts.

Supply kits for travel journal workshop

I create a resource booklet for every workshop I teach. These usually include a list of the materials and tools used in the workshop, information on where to buy supplies, and a list of recommended bookbinding books. I hand-bind each copy with a pamphlet stitch.

I’m looking forward to tonight’s class!

Foliage Vermont Open Studio Weekend

Vermont Open Studio Weekend logo

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, Vermont was hit hard by Tropical Storm Irene. Thankfully, communities are recovering quickly with help from neighbors, friends, and local government.

Vermont is open for business!

Now is a great time to come to Vermont for a weekend getaway. Vermont’s Department of Tourism predicts a spectacular foliage display this year.

For your amusement, I present the Foliage Forecaster. Oohhh…ahhhh…

If you check out the forecast for October 1 – 2, you’ll see that central Vermont will be in mid-peak to peak foliage. That’s good news because…

…the Vermont Crafts Council is trying something new this year – the first (and hopefully annual) Foliage Vermont Open Studio Weekend!

There are 174 artists participating in 147 locations across Vermont.

And that peak foliage in early October? My studio is in the middle of it! This is the perfect time to come visit my studio. I have a great view of Camel’s Hump and you can feel free to enjoy a picnic on my lawn.

On October 1 -2, come for a tour of my studio, demonstrations, and savings up to 50% off seconds and discontinued styles. There will also be selection of bookbinding supplies available for purchase.

I’m studio number #139 in the orange Studio Tour Guide.

There are several ways to get your hands on a map:

Depending on your route, you should double-check for any road closures that are still in effect due to Irene. The State of Vermont created this awesome map that has the most up-to-date information on road closures. It also includes other information, such as the location of local wineries and orchards.

In my next post, I’ll talk about the specific studios open in central Vermont.

I’ve been quiet…

I won’t lie – life has been rough lately.

I’ve been dealing with a significant personal crisis and my level of motivation (and mood) fluctuates wildly from day to day (and hour to hour). I’m a private person, so I won’t go into the details.

I have a long list of blog posts that need to be fleshed out, so they are coming – I just need to find the impulse to write.

I really appreciate everyone’s support of me, my work, and my blog. I hope to be back in the swing of things soon.

Strappy Journal workshop at Studio Place Arts

Last Wednesday I taught my Strappy Journal class at Studio Place Arts in Barre, VT. A wonderful group of seven women attended, three of them named Susan. I’m now wondering about the correlation between one being named Susan and one’s interest in the book arts.

Anyone want to do a study?

Bookbinding workshop - Strappy Journal - Studio Place Arts, Barre,  VT

They were great sports – it was super hot. Sweating gravy hot.

It seemed as though everyone enjoyed themselves and was able to leave the class with a completed book. I’m glad that this class finally ran – it was supposed to run two times before with teen-aged participants, but there weren’t enough registrants.

One of my students mentioned that she took classes so that she was guaranteed creative time. I can totally relate to that. I try to take at least one workshop each year and my thought process is the same: If I register for a class, then I’m guaranteed to be able to play/learn/explore without any distractions or interruptions.

This year I’ll be taking a class at HaystackThe Transparent Book: Working with Layering, Transparencies, and Overlays with Sas Colby. I’m looking forward to pushing myself creatively, something I’m not very good at. I tend to stick with what I know.

In the meantime, I’m happy with watching others experience the creative process.

Bookbinding workshop - Strappy Journal - Studio Place Arts, Barre, VT

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