Sunday, February 26, 2012

Week 8: Book of Lists

   In an earlier post (December 29, 2011) I mentioned The Pillow Book, a journal of sorts written by Sei Sh┼Źnagona who was lady-in-waiting for the Japanese Empress Teishi around 1001 AD. In addition to poetry, sketches, and musings, her book had over 60 lists. I'm a list writer.. a box checker off-er, a person who likes to put things in groups...  to look for a pattern... So, I've wanted to print a series of books for making lists. This is just the first of many variations that are on my list.

Cover of the Book of Lists

   The book for Week 8 is Book of Lists. I marbled the Japanese paper using suminagashi (marbling with inks that float on water). Then I letterpress printed the pages on a beautiful Vandercook press at my friend Lisa's studio, Common Life Press.
   The font is CHELTENHAM OLDSTYLE, 18pt and the border is an antique border ornament she had on hand. The binding is the Japanese Kangxi binding with the Hemp Leaf variation added.
Title Page

List of Wishes...

Printing again was a joy, and I have plans to print for the rest of the coming week while I am here in the mountains. I have a LIST of things I want to accomplish. Below are some photos of the Common Life Press studio and the Vandercook press I use. 
The Vandercook Press
The type cases
Out the Studio window towards Burnsville, NC
Dog model and studio partner, Tilly

What lists would you make?


Sunday, February 19, 2012


"Crossroad" ..That's what's written on the bottom of the painted mug. How many times do we come to  a crossroad in our lives? Do we always know when we're at a crossroad, or is it afterward, on looking back that it becomes clear?

For Week 7 of the Book-A-Week Challenge I've made two Japanese Four-Hole Pouch books and a hardcover wrapper. This is the final week of our Bento Box class and I'm wrapping it up by teaching how to make a hardcover wrapper for a set of soft-cover books.. The books are titled Floating and Blooming. They seem like they would to go well with the mug, a rainy day, and a pot of tea.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Andy's Book

Andy's Book with Two Stories
   A few weeks ago I was asked to share a bit of my book-making techniques to a class of NCSU first- year design students. The class was asked to create a children's book based on a defined artistic style, such as Art Deco, Impressionism, Installation Art...and so on. The students' ability to absorb complex process information and their out-of-the-box creativity were awe-inspiring. The books below are some of the books made by one of the students, Andy; but all of the students' books were phenomenal!

   Andy's first book is a series of boxes bound by a drinking straw threaded up one corner of each box. The boxes remain stacked on each other because of the flat "pages," which are sandwiched between each box. They all swing out for reading the platform "pages" or looking inside the boxes. 

Stacked boxes book
Book 2, a new construction using the drinking straw as the binding....

 Looking inside at the second of Andy's sample books.. notice how the pages flip out? Give you any ideas?

                                 Book 3 has pages that you pull up.. see the colored tabs?

This is the front cover of the final book... which is a teaching tool for kids ages 3-5 about installation art and also a story Andy wrote about a little boy and his dog. Look inside....

Inside each page is a pop-up of installation art!

A volvelle of the sun is part of a page that shows the story about the boy and his dog.

Inside the box page of The Weather Project
The volvelle swings around to form the back side of the box 'page' about Olafur Eliasson's The Weather Project at the Tate Modern in London, England.. Cool, huh!?!

Notice the page that also describes the art, its location, and the creator. This was really helpful for me...

It was a great 2+ weeks working with these future architects, designers, and artists.. and seeing how the term "book" can be stretched. I hope I get asked to "teach" again.. I learned so much!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lilac Creek

The challenge book I made for week 6 is titled Lilac Creek. It's a tiny book, about one and a half inches on each side. The story of this book is about the beauty of nature, about the celebration of creating things ...of being involved in a process,  and it's about the joy in small things.

                                            Lilac Creek

     The pages are handmade paper I made by beating kozo (the Japanese mulberry bush) fibers with a wooden mallet. There is a magic in drumming that goes way back; and the rhythmic pounding of the mallet on the table was delightful and enlivening. There were a group of us that day, and as we pounded the piles of kozo stalks, we became a laughing, sassy, happy tribe.  When I had the right consistancy of soupy pulp, I sprinkled in crushed mica I had gathered from the mountain paths and dirt roads at Penland where I sometimes live in the summers.. Then I formed the sheets of delicate paper by dipping in a papermaking screen and draining off the excess water. In the finished paper sheets, mica catches the light and throws it back to me, like a sweet gift, a flirtation, a smile from the earth.

And I added sheets of paper I marbled on another day. Marbling too, is a process that is somewhat magic, usually fun, often challenging, and always interesting. Sometimes it works perfectly.. sometimes the pigments drop to the bottom of the tray, or colors muddy up, or bubbles form like some poltergeist's light... unexpected and unwelcome. But this marbled paper was lovely with its swirling patterns of color and shaded hues of stone-like shapes.  Some of the marbled papers reflected the muddy browns of a North Carolina creek bed, the olive greens of algae and moss, and the purple hues of lilac and paulownia petals floating along a lazy stream...

The book cover, etched vines on copper then enameled, holds the pages by coptic stitching along an exposed spine. And the clasp of macrame linen thread with a handblown glass bead and a pearl, keeps the contents safe from too much exposure...

My book for week 6 is Lilac Creek... reflections of walking alongside a vine-covered meandering creek,  smells of honeysuckle and lilac, heat of a sauna-hot Carolina-blue-sky summer day, sounds of a cool stream trickling close by.... Where is your Lilac Creek?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Week 5: True's World

The book for week 5 is a tunnel book titled True's World. Tunnel books seem to have originated around the middle ages as "Peepshow" books, which were sort of portable puppet stages with layers of scenery within suitcase-like contraptions. They evolved to have accordion folded sides and be card-like. Often they were to commemorate a special event such as the building of the tunnel under the Thames River in London in the 1800's... which lead to the term tunnel book. They are credited with leading to the invention of moving pictures! wow!

True's World is a sort of fantastical portrayal of a day I spent with my friend True.. an artist, story teller, teacher, animal lover, naturalist, clown, mystic, and Pied Piper of sorts... Spending the day with True was something like falling into Alice's rabbit hole...full of wonder and magic.

The cover boards are covered with marbled italian paper and have glass beads sewn on.

The inside panels are watercolor paper cutouts painted with watercolors and the side accordions are colograph prints on heavyweight paper.

There are also some collaged photographs from my day spent assisting True teach a childrens' art and nature appreciation class. It was a day of drum circles, clown costumes, and learning about caring for "our forest friends." Though we were in a rather cluttered and tiny local art center and performance venue, I felt as if we were sitting cross legged in the middle of a very old forest. There's no doubt True's World is filled with magic.