Sunday, August 25, 2013

Week 34: Butter

   The book-of-the-week for week 34 is titled Butter. It was made to go with the pottery butter dish shown below. The butter dish was made from low fired red earthenware clay, then painted with colored underglazes, and finally fired with a clear glaze. It's about 5 inches in diameter and about 4 inches tall.

scenes of an ancient asian landscape are painted on the outside...
Lift the lid and inside is the little book Butter. Shaped like a block of butter, the marbled paper pages covering 2-inch squares of book board are meant to resemble sliced pats of butter.  The text was printed on the letterpress with Ionic typeface in 14-point font.... and its all about the butter!  Chapter 1 of the book is titled, Butter Rhyme...

Butter Rhyme

Butter on biscuits
Butter on toast
Butter on hot rolls
I love the most!

a sonet to butter leads to Chapter 2. Butter Facts 
     Wikipedia states that butter is made by churning fresh or fermented milk (or cream) from cows, sheep, goats, buffalo, or yaks. Preservatives, salt, and flavorings can be added to butters too. Honey butter, herb butters and salted butter are most common... When butter is rendered the butter is clarified... which is almost 100% butter fat. This is called ghee... common in India's cuisine...and probably why India is number one in butter consumption...  But butter is popular all over! There have even been movies made about butter.  In 2011 the movie Butter (no relation to this book Butter) was released starring Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Gardner. I rented it on Netflicks...It's funny! So check it out at

   After the opening sonnet, there are two chapters on Butter Facts and More Butter Facts. Most likely, there should be a couple more chapters on Butter Facts. The history of butter goes way back.. Butter (as ghee) has been a symbol of purity and an offering to the gods of early Hindu cultures for over 3000 years. In Scandinavian countries during the Middle Ages butter was made for commerce. In warmer European climates it was a common food source but had a low reputation. In Ireland it was put in kegs and buried in Irish peat bogs for years. (It's still being dug up!) It was even used as lamp oil. Slowly, butter became accepted by the upper classes, especially since the Catholic Church said it was ok to eat it during lent. By the 18th century the French had developed a world-class cuisine with butter as one of the main staples... along with wine... ahhhh. Really, who can argue that a french croissant isn't one of the greatest foods EVER? It wins every argument just by being so delicious and unexplainably flakey.

Chapter 4. Butter Words
Butter has worked its way into our palate and our culture in many ways. Chapter 4 lists a number of words with butter as the root...  just saying butter is fun. Which is probably why there is an English tongue twister about butter and a lady named Betty Botta...

Chapter 5. Betty Botta's Better Batter
Betty Botta's Better Batter

Betty Botta bought some butter;
"But," said she, "this butter's bitter!

If I put it in my batter
It will make my batter bitter.

But a bit of better butter
Will but make my batter better."

Then she bought a bit of butter
Better than the bitter butter,
Made her bitter batter better.

So ´twas better Betty Botta
bought a bit of better butter.

And the last chapter is a simple butter haiku...

   Who doesn't remember pulling a buttercup stem from a tuft growing in your backyard and holding it under your best friend's chin to determine if she liked butter. It was a little girl's version of a magic trick. ...and much easier then juggling.

Though there are many health reasons to limit butter in your diet... without it life wouldn't be quite so delicious!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Week 33: Pennies in the Well

   The book for week 33 is Pennies in the Well. This little book, 2 ¾ inches by
4 ¼ inches, is a collaboration from a variety of artists, family members, and friends about something we all do... wish.

Punched copper letters and pennies...

The cover is two pieces of 16-gauge copper and pennies. The copper cover pieces have been glued onto the text block with E-6000 seriously sticky glue. Each page of Stonehenge paper was letterpress printed with the words I Wish... 

Japanese paper and letterpress text
   The printing was done on the Pearl letterpress. 24-point BRUSH typeface and 24-point Goudy typeface were used for the printing. As usual, Pearl was sweet as pie and the printing went without a hitch! 

Pearl the Press
  The wishes were filled in (on the back of each page) by all of the collaborators. I love the individual handwriting. No direction or theme was given for the wishes... everyone could wish for anything they desired. Surprisingly, sometimes it took a little while to decide what to wish. Payment was a chocolate mint patty... when you're asking a favor like this, it helps to have a gift or a payment to say thanks. :-)

handwritten wishes...
Many wishes were illustrated in some way. Dreamers are often imagining what it looks like when their wishes come true... artists like to draw it.

illustrated wishes...
When the book was finished, it fanned out in a pretty array... as do the pennies in the bottom of a wishing well. This is the story, Pennies in the Well.

looking in... a cluster of wishes

I wish...     That time travel was possible
                  That I could go to England
                  That life made more sense

I wish...     TRUE OPEN MINDS
                   FROM ALL

I wish...     that everyone could have peace
                  in the world!

              ENDING THAT SHE 
              PROMISED ME

I wish...     I wish my brilliant brother
                  would find a job he loves
                   in Raleigh

I wish...     I wish my sister Kitty
                  could live pain free 
                             . . . . .

I wish...     there were no 
                  unwanted pets
I wish...     those I love (and
                  me) stay healthy

I wish...     to make something
                  beautiful every

I wish...     Sasparilla Moonbeams

I wish...     I were a butterfly and
                  could see the world
                  on the wing and a

I wish...     PATIENCE

I wish...     that my aunt fully recovers
              from breast cancer
              and that my mother-in-law
              fully recovers from her 

I wish...     to retire early
       & healthy.

I wish...     I wish I could
             spend one month
             making pottery!

I wish...      That all of the people
                   and animals in the world
                   were safe.

I wish...     I build more friends,
                  lessen my enemies,
                  reduce my stress,
                  enjoy the blessings,
                  appreciate HIS presence
                  every moment everyday.

I wish...     I wish to be camping
       under the stars tonight.
              ★    ★
         ★      ☽     ★
             ★     ★

I wish...     to find the joy in
                  the little things

I wish...     to hold onto the
                 happiness of memories
                 not the pain of loss...

I wish...     for always love,  for
                 support & strength, to
                 give and receive, and
                 always love. ♡

I wish...     adults would act
                 like children more often
                 and remember what it is
                 to be free

I wish...     I could go back in time so I
                  could have been present at the
                  time monks were making illuminated
                  manuscripts - it would be wonderful
                  to be able to watch them work. OR I
                  wish I could work at the British museum
                  w/ the illuminated manuscripts.

I wish...      "for world peace...
                   and a Winnebago..."
                   (-the movie Sneakers)

                  The End

What would you wish for?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Week 32: Laundry Poem

   Mysterious and surprising...moving and static.. poetic and plebian...all those adjectives apply to this week's book-of-the-week, Laundry Poem. Created as an example book for an upcoming class, this stiff leaf book is a drop side box with a poem written on the inside walls.

Marbled paper, Japanese paper, and bookcloth on the cover

When the top is removed, all four sides fall to the table...

Looking down... what's inside?

and inside is the poem, Laundry Poem, written by Rachel Steinsberger, and the surprise.

Peeking in... anticipation as the walls fall down

all bound up, tied up, connected, made one...

sides laying flat, the laundry stands in the middle...

 This is the what's written inside...

Laundry Poem

lifting the lid of the washer
coin operated
in the basement
sunlight fighting against 
the dirty window
A feeling passed over me

clothing twisted together
a blue sweater arm embracing
a bleeding denim leg. 
the light load
woven with things that 
shouldn’t even be there

nylons, bras, yesterday’s change. 
worn monday past two
maybe three sundays is now
a large mass of oneness

like Pandora's box, anything could be inside!
   Books are like that... anything can be inside... and the different ways information...communication is expressed is all wrapped up in the term book. Within the covers of a book can be any sort of information... any sort of imagery. ....A novel, a textbook, a bible, a book of poetry, a photograph album, a list of assets, debits and receipts... or just blank space...  And the shapes of books aren't always the standard rectangular tome with a spine and flipping pages. Books can be scrolls, can be single leaves stacked and stored within a special box or envelope...some can be flipped and twisted, or folded out into a series of zigzag pages or waving leaves... yet still be a book. The definition of a book is nebulous. This little book doesn't look like a typical book.. so, is it still a book? What constitutes a book? ...a spine:? a cover? ...pages that turn? ...a plot?  a story? ..a theme? all those things? or only some? I think it's all wrapped up together, somehow, one part bleeding onto the other... just a... book.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Week 31: Stepping Stones

   There's a saying that always makes me laugh... "You can't get there from here." Yet, in reality... though a route is convoluted, the place we're trying to get to can be reached... just maybe not as easily as expected...and maybe it's not the place we imagined... (but that's another story.) This week's book-of-the-week is about the Stepping Stones we take in life.

Cover of marbled paper and letterpress printing
   Stone-like marbled papers on squarish mat board make up the pages, which are connected with strips of pastepainted Tyvek®. Bound as an accordion book, the pages fold out in a zigzag or a straight line... either way is ok. The story was printed on the Pearl® letterpress with Brush type.. It's a story that can be added to by the reader... so fill in your own stepping stones. The basic story goes like this...

"STEP     STEP    STEP    STEP    STEP    STEP    STEP    STEP  

Stepping stones through the tall grass..


Whether it's across a tiny stream or into the the great unknown...
Sometimes you just have to go for it!