Category Archives: Craft design

30 in 30: Days 6 through Day 10

This is a continuation of my project started in this post.

Day 6.  Everlasting Fold Book

This book is called “everlasting” because the accordion-folded pages can be removed and replaced with with fresh pages when you are finished with them. It’s a clever idea, but I wish the spine were sturdier. I have a feeling that the pages will last longer than the case!  I used the plain yellow on the outside because I was confused by the instruction as to which paper would be seen.  If I were to make another one of these, I would try to figure out how to create a stronger spine, while retaining the ability to remove the pages.

Day 7. Foldout (map) Book

When I saw this design, I knew immediately I had to use one of my marbled maps for the text. It’s a good structure for any oversize piece that can be folded. If I make another one, I will marble the back side of the map with darker colors so the ads on the reverse aren’t quite so jarring. I might also add a ribbon tie or some other sort of fastening.

Day 8. Double Pamphlet Book

This is a nice sturdy little book that would be great for notes, grocery lists and other memos you still keep by hand and not on your phone. It it sewn with a pamphlet stitch through the two sections. The outside thread is hidden in the V fold made by the cover between the two sections. For the textblock, I used some letterhead paper that I liked, but could never use.  I have several more packs that you may see in future projects!  I like this variation on a very traditional structure. It is solid, compact and useful.

Day 9 & 10. Star Book.

This book gets two days because it was more intricate than I thought it would be. I worked on it for three days, but some of that was drying and pressing time so I decided to call it two. Hey, I’m making up the rules as I go along and there are no grades at the end.

This is an interesting structure that could be used in many different ways by adding text, graphics, cutouts and more.  Unlike many other star structures which are accordion folded, this uses individual pieces which are glued at the points.  That’s why it took more time than I expected. Each of the solid-colored papers was cut into seven different-sized rectangles, folded and glued.  More labor-intensive, but more stable. At some point in this challenge, I will try one of the folded star books for comparison. The darker blue pages are folded on the top edge, except where I messed up, and can be flipped open a page at a time.  I can see a graphic artist using those in all sorts of ways – to hide text or artwork, as pop-ups, for individual poems or as pages in a longer narrative. One could even have text or art on the purple pages that could only be seen through an opening in the blue page.  Unfortunately, as I said before, I’m a structure person.

 

I’m planning on going on until Day 15 is finished and then taking a break. I’m going back to the John C. Campbell Folk School for another course and need to take time before then to batten down the house, finish turning over the garden and generally prep for the cold weather that is coming. Life does interfere with art sometimes.  I hope to be back to 30 in 30 by the end of October and blogging about it soon after.

 

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Art, bookbinding, Craft design

30 Books in 30 Days

A few weeks ago I had lunch with a friend who is a painter and she told me about a challenge she was presenting to our local Art Guild – 30 paintings in 30 days.  The object is to get into the studio every day and do a small, fast painting in just an hour or so.  Painters, like many of us, have a tendency to put off working because of the tremendous amount of creative energy and effort required for a finished work.  This challenge stimulates creativity by putting it into small, manageable bits and allows the artist to try lots of different approaches.

I was intrigued by the project, but my first reaction was I couldn’t possibly do that with books.  An hour was barely enough time to cut and fold paper or sew the endbands. This is especially true of the complex books I’ve been playing with recently – elaborate sewing structures that aren’t even seen, hand-sewn endbands, leather covers with metal inserts or tooling.

The idea clung to the back of my mind and one day I happened to move a pile of bookbinding books.  I’d been disappointed in most of these books as they focused on the flippy-floppy, origami type books or very simple structures that are primarily a vehicle for artist content.  I’m just not a content person.  I’m much more interested in the structure.  It suddenly clicked and I realized that these were just the types of structures that were perfect for the challenge and thus began my odyssey into 30 in 30.  I’m not being completely literal on this. I’ve had to take a few days off for things like repairing the pump in the well and tearing out my garden. I’ve also found that some of these books take more than one day to complete.  I have decided that those books can count as two days, because while a half-finished painting can still inspire, a half-finished book is just a pile of folded paper and odds and ends of card stock.

So here goes:  The first 5 days.

Day 1  The  X  Book,  from Golden 100 Books.

I would call this more origami than book, but it did get me started.  After folding the red book, I wasn’t happy that the edges weren’t even, so I trimmed the fore edge. That looked better, so I trimmed the head and tail forgetting that the fold at the head was what held the book together. Whoops!  On the blue piece, I felt my usual frustration at just having a folded piece of paper, not a book.  Then I realized that I could sew pages into the interior folds. These pages are not in the original instructions.  If I wanted to go even farther, I could glue the backs of the cover paper to make a more stable structure.

 

Day 2 The  X  Book with pockets

This is just a variation on Day 1.  An extra piece is folded to create a pocket and placed inside the cover paper.  One problem for me was that the pocket paper shows both sides and I used a one-sided paper.  If you look closely you can see that the pocket has a design and the back above it is plain  (the other side of the paper). So my marbled paper isn’t suitable for the pockets.

Day 3. Brush Book

This is a cute little idea for people who have content.  I just used pieces of maps that I had marbled.  It is just folded with no sewing or glue, making structure not very solid.  A stronger paper for the spine might have helped.

Day 4. Stick Binding

 

I finally got to sew on this book! Very simple structure, but cute using a twig to hold the sewing thread. I used a paper with heavy inclusions and am pleased with the result. The book does violate one of my cardinal rules that books I make must be able to be shelved without damaging themselves or the books next to them. I dislike dingle-dangles and stick-ons that are not properly inlaid.

Day 5. Pamphlet Book

This is a bit of a cheat as it is a small book that was a special order from Etsy.  I decided that it counted anyway.

 

Note: I am currently working on Day 12, but wanted to get my blog started.  I hope to update the next five books in the next few days and maybe catch up to date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under bookbinding, Craft design

Finished the Boxes!

I finished the boxes from my last post!  These are fun boxes to make, less complicated than the clamshell boxes and much more forgiving. The clamshells are a more durable and professional box and they require very precise cutting. I like making those if I am creating them for a specific item.  Then I know that the fussing and precision has a reason. For either box, most of the fun is in the designing. A few pictures of the construction process, then on to the finished boxes.

All of the boxes are lined with black velvet.  I didn’t get a good side view of the Brass Cup box. You can just see the marbled paper I used, but there’s a good shot of it in my last post.  Just one last decision, to sell them online at Etsy or take them to my local gallery.  Maybe I’ll do both.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Boxes and Towers, Craft design

Lidded Boxes with Fun Stuff

In my last blog, I showed a bunch of odds & ends of things that I was thinking about using for who knows what.  Since then, I’ve been busy with plumbers, snow and real life. A few days ago I started playing with one of the smushed cups and, since I always make things in fours, pulled out at random three other treasures. Yesterday and today I started making lidded boxes for all of them.  I decided on the lidded boxes rather than clamshell just because they are faster and I have a lot of other stuff that needs to be done.

Here is where things are now, papers and bookcloth chosen, sizes determined, Davey board cut, bottom trays made and tops covered.

I didn’t have a paper chosen for the horseman when I took the pictures and I changed the paper for the dancers at the last minute.  I hope to finish all of them on Saturday.  If I do, I’ll post the finished creations here. Think I’ll try to sell them on Etsy first, as winter is very slow at local galleries here in snow country.

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Boxes and Towers, Craft design

Smushed Cups

Sam Castner comes through again!  I recently asked Sam to flatten a small, incised, brass coaster.  I knew it would be easy for him since he has a press that will smash anything by putting a gazillion pounds of pressure on it.  At the same time, I gave him some brass drinking cups that had split their sides.  These had been brought home from India by my mother in the 1970s.  I gave him carte blanche with the cups – just saying to do something with them.  Since he was smushing (is too a word) my coaster, he decided to smush the cups also.  Brilliant. Here is the result:

All of these will be used as ornaments for books or boxes.  If you have a special desire for one, let me know and I can work to order.  When Sam delivered these, he also brought some other goodies.  I’m overwhelmed with the possibilities.

I’ve also been back at cleaning out junk and treasures that I’ve collected or inherited over the years and always keep an eye out for anything I can use on my books or boxes. Last week, I was really on a tear and besides getting rid of piles of stuff, rescued these for reuse.

The last of my finds came from my aunt who lived in French Morocco (now Morocco) in the early 1950s.

These cases or wraps seem to have been made to protect books or hold papers. I’m not sure what the large one was for. It’s much to big for a book.  I’m thinking about using the leather in some way to create covers for my blank books, but I may change my mind.  The vellum prayer was with the leather, but I think that was just happenstance.  It looks to me like modern English work. It is on parchment, but not old.  Maybe something my mother bought when she was studying illumination in England in the late 1950s, but I really don’t know.  Not a clue how to use it, but it’s neat.

Moral is it pays to clear out the junk!

Even if it does add to the “have to make” pile.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Art, bookbinding, Craft design, Other crafts

Unfinished Matters

I haven’t posted in a while, but I have been moving forward on several fronts.  In fact, I seem to have too many half-finished projects so thought I’d give you a glimpse of some of them.  Ever since Labor Day, I’ve been trying to set up a marbling session, but something always seems to interfere.  I think it’s called Life. To marble, I really have to have at least three days clear when I can concentrate just on that – four or five is even better – and it’s just not happening.

So on to what has been happening!  About a month ago,  I  wrote about some books I was starting using some of Sam’s metal.  Those books are not all finished, but progress has been made.

Metal books, memo pads and more.

This is the book and matching box I made for the brass pieces.  The brass had originally meant to be covers for a very small book, but I wanted to show them off more than that so I made this elegant book and box set.  I’m really pleased with how they turned out and can’t wait to put them in the Christmas Exhibit at our local gallery.

I’m not as happy with the Coptic book.  Love the covers, but I have never been a fan of Coptic binding. It is not very stable and doesn’t wear well.  I’m especially concerned that the metal will eventually cut through the binding cord.  If I do any more of these, I’ll have to find a way to put padding between the sewing cord and the metal, perhaps with a grommet.

While finishing the first two books, I started working on two other metal covers, but these are sewn over leather thongs.

I  haven’t finished these as I’m not sure about how I’m going to attach the spines. I don’t want an open spine, so I’ll have to attach the leather spine to the metal covers. Right now, I’m planning on a hollow spine with the thongs laced through the leather spine into the metal covers and using an adhesive to adhere the leather to the covers.  I still have to shape and pare the leather before I attach it.  Not sure how well it will work, but it’s fun trying!

Last was the book I am making from the leftover paper from the metal books.  It’s only 3″ high and isn’t finished yet.  I was going to call it “Mousings”, but  thought that might be a bit cutesy.

Next projects:

No idea what these will turn into, but I love these combinations!

Leave a Comment

Filed under bookbinding, Craft design

Design Decisions = Fun and Frustration

During the last week or so, I’ve been mulling over what to do with all the metal goodies

I have. If you don’t remember, this is the pile.

DSCN0001

I’m concerned about adhering anything, leather, cloth, tapes, etc., to the metal as it will need a strong bonding agent.  The ability of any material to withstand constant contact with metal may be another problem. For example, in a Coptic binding, how quickly will the metal cut through the binding thread? I’ve smoothed and rounded the edges and corners, but will it be enough? Will I have to cover the edges with a softer material?  So far lots of questions, no answers. This is what I have planned out, now to try to find out what will work.

These two have already been finished.  The book cover was made by creating a “sandwich” of two pieces of binders’ board with the copper plate in the middle.  The center of the top board was cut out, exposing the copper. This is one of the easiest and most secure methods of using metal, but it is essentially just decorative, not an integral part of the structure of the book. For the small notepad, I glued the metal directly to the leather spine using a metal adhesive. There were remnants of adhesive webbing on the reverse of this aluminium, so I just used PVA on the marbled paper.  This is a prototype and it will take some testing in use to see if the leather needs reinforcing or if other adhesives are needed.  I decided to do this one as simply as possible to test the strength of the bonding.

Now for what’s in planning stages:

These two lovely brass plates were originally intended to be front and back covers, but while playing, I changed my mind. I tried them with a dark brown leather, but much preferred the look against a black Italian bookcloth.  Sam Castner textured these for me and I really like the edges, so instead of making a sandwich as I did for the copper, I’m going to inset one into a book cover.  To inset, I’ll carve a piece out of the top board just slightly larger than the brass. The boards are then covered with bookcloth, which is pressed into the depression, and the brass is adhered as the final step.  The green decorative paper will be used for endpapers and the lacy tissue makes section dividers.  The other brass piece will be inset into a clamshell box that will be made to fit the finished book.

Although I don’t care for Coptic bindings in general, I thought I would try at least one and the holes were punched on these plates for Coptic sewing.  I’ve added a leather lacing just for decoration.  I’m going to sew this with a heavy waxed thread, but really expect the metal to cut through it.  It’s worth trying on a prototype anyway.  Sewing on cords that are laced into the cover will probably be a better technique.

I’m completely undecided about this last piece.  I love the copper plates and want to use them as the boards for a book, but I have no clue as to how I’ll construct the spine.  At the moment, I’m thinking about a leather covering over wrapped cords. Maybe using rawhide or leather thongs for the cords and lacing them into the copper.  The holes in the copper can be used structurally or just for decoration.  They could be covered with leather or bookcloth or left exposed. Not sure of anything, just know I love this copper and will have to find an appropriate venue for it.

Leave a Comment

Filed under bookbinding, Craft design