30 in 30: Days 11 through 15

This is a continuation of the challenge that started in this post.

Day 11. Piano Hinge with Skewers

This was a fun book to make. I’m not sure about leaving the points on the skewers. I like the look, but they are sharp! I wrapped every section with my marbled paper, which means that you have two facing marbled pages on the interior between the sections. It also means that the back of the marbled paper is visible. I used 70 lb. (104gsm) drawing paper for the pages which makes the spine rather chunky. I think even a lighter weight paper might be better.  One problem, which isn’t really visible in the photos, is that the skewers make the spine very wide so the shoulders are way out of proportion.

Day 12. Flag Book

I’ve been intrigued by this structure for a long time, but have never gotten around to making one, partly due to a lack of ideas about content. The text or flags in this book are cut from random pages I had printed when I was playing with adding text to my books. The spine is folded decorative paper and is quite weak. If I ever make another one of these, I would use a stiffer paper or card stock for the spine.  I think thinner flags are more interesting. These are a little too wide.  Like many of these books, the final structure is a bit wedge shaped due to extra material at the spine edge. The shape makes shelving a problem.  The more I play with these different structures, the more I appreciate the advantages of the traditional codex book.

Day 13. Pocket X-Book revisited

This is the same structure that I made on Day 2, just resized to hold business cards. This time I used a double-sided paper for the pockets so there isn’t a disconnect between the pocket and background. Filled with cards, it is much wider at the fore edge and needs some width in the spine to compensate and provide a flat profile.  I really like this format and think I may have another go at it using boards and a spine, but keeping the X-fold for the pockets.

Day 14. Jacob’s Ladder variation

This is a modification of the Jacob’s Ladder toy/book that I made several years ago. It is larger and has only three panels, but it still flips and flops like the original. This structure demands content and I can imagine some quite clever uses of the six panels which seem to interact, but never do. In spite of all their flips and flops, the two Victorian ladies never meet.

Day 15. Variation of my Jotter/Sketch book

This is a slight variation of my jotters and sketch books. This isn’t an experiment with structure, but with material. I have many odds and ends of very heavy paper that I have marbled, but have never found an appropriate structure. It tends to crack if creased, but I was hoping I could use it in a structure that can use a gentle fold. It didn’t crack along the spine, but another problem appeared immediately – the covers wouldn’t lay flat. I tried damp ironing and leaving it in a press for 48 hours, but they still spring.  As a last ditch effort I will try to hydrate the paper thoroughly and then press it again.  I hope it works.

Thoughts on the Challenge so far.

It’s been fun and I’ve learned some new ways of handling paper, but it has also reinforced my desire to get back to “real” books.  Making these 15 books has taken me 23 days just because ‘Life’ and I don’t think it’s realistic to think I can continue that pace as I move into more complex structures. I have no desire to make 15 more simple ones, but I would like to work on what I would call intermediate types – stab stitch, Coptic, long stitch, etc.  but all of these structures require extensive prep work, cutting paper and boards as well as design time.  Books 16 – 30 (if I do that many) may become two days per book or three books a week or some other measurement. We’ll see what happens after my vacation. I should be back at this around the end of October.

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Garlic Festival and Heat

I haven’t blogged for a couple of months and am feeling that it’s about time!  Doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy, but it’s been very hot and dry and my ability to actually sit down and write is at a low ebb.  My grass is so dry that it just crunches when I go for our morning walk. I’ve been watering the garden and the tomatoes are just coming on, so I see canning in my future.  Cucumbers are a disaster, just not enough water for them.  I met a very tiny baby rabbit in my garden this morning – just the size to hold in one hand and easily pass through my fence.

Enough of that.  Last week I joined Sam Castner at the Fox Run Vineyards’ Garlic Festival. It was a very hot day, but we were fortunate enough to be in the last row of booths by the vineyard. Most of the time there was a breeze coming down the hill. Not a cool breeze, but at least air in motion.  Here are some photos of our site.

The side panels are now installed on the gates and you can see pictures of them on Sam’s Facebook page.  He’s hoping to install the entire gates within the next week.  Can’t wait to see it. You can see how dry and dead the grass is here. It’s been a severe drought for this area. We usually have great weather, but this summer has been brutal.

I made a bunch of books and notepads using stainless steel miniatures of Sam’s designs from the huge gates he is making for Fox Run. It was fun to point from the 4″ tree on my book to the 12′ version outside the tent.  Compare the jumping fox below with the one in the header.  Same design, just scaled up.  The wonders of computers and laser cutting.

Please excuse the reflections on the photos, but I had covered everything in Mylar to protect from rain, dust and sticky fingers.

One of my favorites was a large portfolio with a maple tree. I must have looked through 50 papers to find the right one for this background, but it was worth it for the result. This portfolio, along with others,  is for sale on Etsy  and others are at the Arts Center of Yates County.

I also had a lot of my Fox Boxes that I blogged about last winter.

It was a fun time, in spite of the heat and my exhaustion!

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Marbling on Paper: Step by Step

At my Open Studio in April, a friend took numerous photos while I was marbling. I’m posting them without much comment to create step-by-step documentation of the entire process of marbling.

Some of the steps that have been left out are putting alum on the paper, mixing the carrageenan and skimming or cleaning the size. You can find pictures of all of these operations in my previous blogs, especially this one.

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Marbling Workshop: Results

In a previous blog, I talked about the marbling workshop on April 22nd.  It was a great success and I was pleased to have participants so excited about marbling.  In fact, everyone came back for an Open Studio session.  In spite of being able to produce a sheet of marbled paper in a 15 minute “make it and take it”,  marbling really does take a few days to begin to be in control. I love it when people enjoy something enough to be willing to put more time into learning the craft.  I also enjoy the Open Studio idea, where I can work with people  without a formal structure. What follows is a lot of photos and brief comments on the workshop. Photos are thanks to Julia Hardy, who became my assistant for this class.

In the few days before the workshop,  I stumbled through a bit of a nightmare of logistics.  In the space of three days, the class went from six participants to five to four, up to six again and then back to four.  Workshops are not like lectures where you can just add a couple of extra chairs.  Marbling stations have to be set up with tools, paint, trays and carrageenan.  Space is tight in my studio and six participants, plus a demonstration table for me was an interesting problem in spatial design.  I had everything set up for six, when I heard there would only be four.  This was just the day before the class and too late to unmake the paints or size.  Plenty of supplies for the following week of marbling!

In marbling, there are always alternative ways of doing most everything. I started by demonstrating how to put paint on the carrageenan size with a whisk and by using an eyedropper.  Just to confuse everyone, I also showed how to make the get-gel pattern with a stylus and then with rakes.  Each type of pattern was printed for reference. The class went right to work, preparing the paper, throwing paint, creating marbled patterns and printing them.

Before breaking for lunch, we examined all the wonderful paper that was drying, seeing what worked and where there were problems.  I was very pleased with what was accomplished in just a few hours. By the end of the day, great papers were being produced.

By mid-afternoon we needed a break and looked at different types of patterns, overmarbling and marbling on printed paper. I hope the students were inspired to keep thinking about new ways to look at marbling.

Great class, fun time, all supervised by my assistant, Lucy.

Lucy, marbling supervisor

Lucy, marbling supervisor

Saturday and Sunday were Open Studio days and I marbled along with the students.  Since then, I’ve been trying to use up as much of the paint and carrageenan as possible and have been playing as well as cleaning up.  I can’t believe how long that takes!  My studio is slowly transforming itself back into a book workshop and my marbling space is getting back into its usual configuration.  I’ve already heard from people that want me to have another workshop,  maybe in July or August if my supervisor approves.

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Marbling in Red and Orange for Spring?

I haven’t done any marbling in a long time, not since last October and I was getting the itch.  I’m teaching a workshop in marbling later this month (April 22nd) and thought I’d better do some to make sure everything is working. There has also been a history of lots of mess-ups after a dry spell.  Fortunately, that wasn’t the case this time.  In fact, I really got into the groove and pulled a lot of great pieces.

Before starting, I was thinking of spring, spring colors, soft pastels, greens, yellows and in general all those lovely Easter egg colors.  Didn’t work out that way.  In the morning as I started preparing the paint, I first pulled out some yellows, but then I grabbed a red. One of the few colors I’ve had success in mixing is orange, so I made a couple of oranges from the reds and yellows. I added the standards – black, white, brown, copper – to the array of paints and decided I had enough colors to start.  Maybe I’d add the makings of pastels later.  After seeing the first sheet of paper come alive with vibrant reds, yellows and oranges, I couldn’t stop.  I just kept throwing the same six or seven colors over and over again in a wide range of combinations and patterns.

On the second day, I added some greens to the paint choices but I still did a lot with the reds, oranges and yellows. I did one of my minimalist marblings with Nickel Azo Yellow, Zinc White and Van Dyke Brown. The white and brown were only dropped once, but the yellow was dropped numerous times.  That’s the second paper in the first photo.

And, of course, I had to play with a bunch of paper. First are some illustrations from a severely water-damaged book of Arthurian legends.

Then some illustrations from a fashion magazine from 1898.  I find the children’s clothing fascinating.  To imagine a six-year old wearing a dress with a train every day is really difficult for me as are the wasp waists on the adults!

Lastly, I found a pile of sketches my mother had done of tulips but had never really finished.  Had to marble them, of course and so ended up with some spring after all.  Think I’ll keep and frame the yellow one.

One the last three sets of photos, I dropped about half as much paint as usual, used a lot of white, added some clear and made a loose, lacy pattern.  I think that combination worked well.  What do you think?  I may try this technique when I start marbling maps again.

Don’t forget, marbling workshop coming up. You can register by calling the Arts Center of Yates County at 315-536-8226 or contact them through their website, http://artscenteryatescounty.org/

 

Happy Spring and Happy Marbling!

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