Yearly Archives: 2014

Three and a half and counting …

I spent yesterday and today hanging my part of the Holiday Exhibit at the Arts Center of Yates County.  Had a great time working in the Gallery and am very pleased with the display.

I changed the setting on my camera on the second day, causing the difference in lighting.  Bonnie Barney set up the mirror table for me, giving wonderful reflections of the books and boxes.  Very striking!

Exhibit will be open from now to the end of the year.  Be sure to stop by!  Lots of other fascinating art and craft items.  It’s a great place to do your Holiday shopping.

Opening reception with food & wine is this Friday, Nov. 21st from 5 to 7 pm.

ACYC
127 Main Street
Penn Yan, New York

Call for directions  315-536-8226.

See you there.

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Three To Get Ready

“One for the money,
Two for the show,
Three to get ready,
And four to go.

I’ve been in the “get ready” phase for the past few weeks and the finish is almost here!  My local Arts Center is hanging their holiday exhibit next Monday and I am going to be one of the featured artists.  I’m thrilled to be chosen and have been working hard to create lots of new items for the show.  My biggest problem is that as soon as I finish something, I have the design in my head for four more things I want to do.  With hanging only a week away,  there’s very little time for anything else, besides finishing up what I’ve already started.

Here’s a sneak preview.

The red book with the copper insert will have a matching box and I have a third black & white box under construction.  Two more blank books are waiting for covers. I don’t think I’ll have any sheets of marbled paper, but I will have cards, a few framed pieces and some odds and ends.

If you are in the area, please be sure to visit  the Arts Center at 127 Main St., Penn Yan, NY.  “Celebration” will have its Opening reception with food, wine and art on Friday, November 21st from 5 to 7 pm.  If you can’t make the Opening, stop by anytime Nov. 21 – Dec. 31.  We’d love to see you!

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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!

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Something Completely Different

I was in Washington, DC for a few days last week and enjoyed returning to a place I had lived for several years.  So much has changed and so much has stayed the same.  One of the new places I visited was the FDR memorial. Although I was very tired at the time, I was impressed and took a few photos. This particular quote struck me as being important for this country to remember now, as then.

I was also fortunate enough to see  Albert Paley exhibit at the Corcoran on almost the last day. Sam Castner’s model of the gates of the St. Louis Zoo was stunning.  Now I have to see the original.

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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.

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Updates

I’ve just updated my page on Building a Scrapbook and tomorrow, the books should be finished.

 

Textblock is placed inside cover

Textblock is placed inside cover

I’ve also written a bit more in the Problems of the Marbling Kind about paint

Getting the paints balanced perfectly with your size can be very tricky.  One of the most obvious problems is having the paint contract into a tiny ball and drop to the bottom of your tray.  This happens when the paint is too thick or heavy in relation to the size.  The solution is usually to add more water to the paint, a few drops at a time.  Alternatively, a surfactant can be added to the paint.  … for more see above link.

Silver granulation

Silver granulation

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Scrapbook Construction

In the past few years, several people have asked if they could use my blank books as  scrapbooks.  My answer has always been an emphatic, “No!” Inserting extra thickness into any tightly bound book will sooner or later break the spine. With a Coptic or long-stitch binding there is a bit of leeway, but as soon as the boards or covers move beyond being parallel, the hinges are put under stress and will break.

The goal in building this type of book is to accommodate extra thickness between the pages while using a strong binding structure that will support extra weight.  I, personally, don’t like making scrapbooks: they tend to be large and I like small. The pages are difficult to sew and the endpapers can be a pain, I am documenting my progress on the page “Building a Scrapbook” if you are interested in the nitty gritty.  I’m still working on the books and will be updating the page as I progress.

On another matter entirely, I recently stopped by Sam Castner’s workshop and came away with some fabulous ideas and these:DSCN0001

Now I have to get to work designing and making!

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