Monday, November 23, 2015

LAW 55: Yet another book that could be yours

I finished another of my hand made paper books yesterday! I think that i have found a really good solution for satisfying my desire to work with papier mache, making three dimensional objects, yet staying within the size parameters that are the reality of making art in a small space. Those of you who have followed my career as a sculptor know that i am most intrigued by what i can make paper do. So here it is the Dragon Book.

Front view of Dragon Book
   This little sweetheart of a book measures 6 x 4.75 x 2.5". I made the paper, which consist of 100% post consumer recycled product. I constructed the covers of board covered with brown paper papier mache. The front cover is twice as thick as the back to accommodate the inset niche. The covers are treated with an acrylic painted patina, the pigment range is red-brown, green and gold. The covers are then burnished with a beautiful local beeswax. The niche contains a 1970's vintage reproduction brass pin head. The paper has been pressed and finished to take dry media applications. The binding is black ribbon Coptic Stitch. This little pretty could be yours for only $150.

Pretty isn't she?
I worked as a gift buyer for the University of Wisconsin Bookstore for years. One of the companies i did a lot of business with was the 1928 Jewelry Company. They had a lovely line of brass stick pins, that were not surprisingly, from the 1920s. I sold a lot of them during the mid 70's and collected a fair number of them myself. All of the decorative elements eventually came off the stick pins, which was alright as sticks pins were no longer fashionable by that time, i however could not bear to part with them. I knew that i could re-purpose them. So, 40 some years later i finally found their second purpose and have brought to life again in these handmade books. She's a pretty little dragon don't you think?

Bind view
The Coptic Stitch, also known as the Saddle Stitch provides superior binding.This is the traditional stitch used for binding books, with sufficient stitching stations it provides good stability and structure to the book block, while allowing the book to open completely flat. The paper is folded to the desired size them collated into signatures, pierced and bound. The Dragon Book has 10 signatures of 8 pages each for a total of 80 pages. The book has a lot of heft as i was experimenting with paper depth. This particular batch is very 'fat'.

I chose not to trim the deckle edge on this particular batch of paper.

Enjoy! Please take a look at all the other posts about my handmade books and feel free to contact me with any questions, requests, etc.

More later,

Saturday, November 21, 2015

LAW 54: MoonFairy Book

Who was it that said if life gives you lemons make lemonade? My experience with this book brought this concept home in a really big way, right along with necessity is the mother of invention!
Moon fairy book finished at last!

Book making is not rocket science, it does require that you do pay attention however. This week i seemed to be suffering from a major case of attention deficit. Humpfh! After finishing the embroidery, with which i was quite pleased i started to build the body of the book, i had the covers done, now it was time to put the signatures together and then bind, simple, huh? Not necessarily so, as i ran out of the paper i was using before i was happy with the size of the book block.
detail embroidery

So, it's off to Michaels, luckily with a 40% off coupon, and i buy what i erroneously  assume to be the correct size paper pad. Home again in my studio i immediately discover that the paper i bought is not the same weight and texture as the paper i started with, even though the specs on the papers were the same. Hell, it wasn't even the right size!!! What was i thinking? End of studio time for that day, time for wine, lots.
Bind view with back cover

Next day, back to Michaels, still have a coupon, yea, and buy the right size this time. Time to go back to the studio and finish this book, which is beginning to feel cursed. Oh but wait, there is more to this sad tale. I get the signatures assembled, pierced and get ready to bind the book covers. I mark and punch the first hole, oh my god! on the right, not left side of the front cover. Scream, cry, ask Mungo to shoot me. Sigh, some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed. Go back to bed, with bourbon.
Interior front cover, hand drawn and cut Lilac Fairy, taken from Fairy and Alphabet book

Finish up the book the next day, try a couple of unsatisfactory solutions, go back to Michaels, still have the coupon, and purchase the lovely little decorative star shaped brads that prove to be a good solution. Much happier. The moral, is of course look before you ……

The Moon Fairy, like al my books is for sale. It measures 6 x 9", has ten signatures for a total of 160pp. The paper is Canson, mixed media 98#. Board and fabric cover with hand embroidery, Coptic stitch binding. It has ribbon tie closures, and of course decorative star embellishments. $150.

More later,

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

LAW 53:Small Handmade Books

Sometimes it feels as if the making of the books is far easier than the marketing of said objects. I of course always used the excuse that i was oh so busy working for a living that all of my free time simply had to be devoted to the art of making. Sigh, such is no longer the case, since i only work for myself these days. I still however seem to be incapable of finding the time to do the marketing.

So to that end, here are a few of the smaller books that have come out of the studio this year. Almost all of these are bound with a traditional Coptic Stitch, there are a few French Stitch experiments here as well. I started experimenting with these stitches because i had become increasingly unhappy with the way my books were opening(or not) when i used the Japanese Stab binding techniques.

    HAND PAINTED WATER COLOR: 4.5 x 6", 96 pp, medium weight drawing paper. Cover is hand painted water color paper over board, binding is red sinew French stitch over brown ribbon. $25

HONEYCOMB: 4.5 x 6", 60 pp, heavy weight drawing paper, commercial board and paper cover with black cotton French stitch over yellow ribbon. $25


PLAY BALL: 4 x 5.5", 132 pp Heavy weight drawing paper, with commercial board and paper cover which includes a recycled Baltimore Budweiser beer coaster with red sinew baseball stitching. Black linen Coptic stitch binding. $45.

 Bind view with back cover

LITTLE BLACK BOOK: 3.25 x 5", 96 pp, medium weight black card stock and
commercial board and paper cover with vintage 1970's false color medical photos. Red sinew coptic stitch binding. $25

  CANDY CANE: 5.5 X 4", 84 pp medium weight drawing paper with board and recycled cotton Santa cocoa mix bag cover. Black line Coptic stitch with long stitch variation. $20.

More later,

Monday, November 16, 2015

LAW 52: Indian Summer and dead fish

One of the greatest gifts inherent in life as a self-employed artist is the extreme flexibility of 'the schedule', or well, pretty much lack of aforementioned abomination. We realized after breakfast that it was indeed going to be a drop dead gorgeous fall day, so we promptly decided that spending a couple of hours at Marshy Point Nature Center hiking was a much better idea than doing maintenance on the boat, so off we went.
View from the bridge at Marshy Point

Marshy Point is less than five miles from us and is truly a wonderful place. it has a great center with all sorts of programs for kids of all ages, many miles of well maintained trails that border on the upper reaches of the Chesapeake Bay. It is a real gem, a little bit of wild and wet set in the urban environment of Baltimore. We try to go there at least once a week. Even though we live pretty much as close as we possibly can to nature, well sometimes its important to get even closer.
From the bridge looking out to Gunpowder Falls

Marshy point abuts a portion of the Gunpowder Falls park system, also a wonderful Baltimore treasure.
Vernal Pond in spring

We hiked the Vernal Pond trail today, the first time since it was opened  this spring that we were able to hike around it without getting our feet wet. i guess thats why they call it …..

The downside of living as close as we do to the Chesapeake Bay is we get to see first hand all of the problems generated by 'civilization'. Lets face it, there's just to damn many of us, and we don't think abut what we're doing to our environment. The Middle River and all of its tributaries, including Hopkin's Creek(where we dock) is experiencing a HUGE fish die off. We noticed it Saturday morning. We had a very low tide and as we were walking the bulkheads with friends we saw literally thousands of dead fish. Our normally very abundant and beautiful fish population was all lying dead on the bottom of the river. Why? Well, higher than average temperatures along with fertilizer run-off spawned a toxic algae bloom. Bye bye Rockfish, etc.

Vernal Pond today, notice, no water

Sunday, November 15, 2015

LAW 51: More new handmade books

For some reason this past week or so i  have been extremely prolific; ideas have been sparking and i have started many(probably too many) projects. I taught myself how to create a Coptic headband binding for my books. I think that it does add a little bit more stability to the binding, but all in all it strikes me as more decorative than functional. Not that there is anything wrong with that mind you. So,
here they are two of the pieces that i have recently finished. I will continue to update the pages sections, so you will be able to view categories together. Don't forget handmade books make great holiday gifts!

Crazy quilt back view
Crazy quilt Celtic headband binding detail
Heron front view
Heron bind view detail

More later,