Back in the saddle

This past week felt almost normal, working long days, stress, and lots of teaching!!

Last weekend I taught an online workshop for Kalamazoo Book Arts Center. It was a course I’ve wanted to try for a long time, a morning of slow stitching a fabric cover for a long stitch book, followed by an afternoon of designing a fancy long stitch binding. It mostly went well, but the afternoon session was a challenge when the limitations of technology made me feel like a less than stellar teacher. We muddled through and I think at the end of the day the students were happy.

A cover in progress

I decided to assuage my conscience and create a handout for those students, and an extra tutorial video. Which got me thinking about that book of binding patterns I’ve been toying with for years now. During lockdown I did simplify and chart out several of my black work embroidery inspired designs. Thanks to social media, I have a team of ten testers trying out this first pattern. If the feedback is favorable I plan to put some real thought into finally pulling that together.

Here’s the design that flummoxed my students and now my testers are trying out!

I rounded out the week teaching a workshop at SUNYJCC as part of their new makers series, in conjunction with the Weeks Gallery and the art and design department. I was an adjunct at JCC for years, so it was a little like a homecoming. I had a really enthusiastic group of students from many different fields, and everyone left with a finished book. I created a little refresher video for them, you can see it on my YouTube channel. If you’d like to give it a try there’s a printable cover we used to get started. Links to both are below. I printed it on a really heavy card stock. (And before all the binders out there jump all over me, we didn’t worry about the grain direction on the covers, the idea was just to get an experience of making a book as simply as possible with the resources we had available.) Many students glued recycled materials like old painted canvas or box board to their books to finish them off, which will hopefully help them be more durable. If you’d like to give it a try you can download the handout, and follow along on the video. I think there’s enough information even if you weren’t at the workshop.

I also picked up a couple of commissions, and committed to sending work to two exhibitions. And now I’m exhausted! I’m out of practice at this level of hustle, so I’m looking forward to an afternoon of puttering, tidying the studio, and sorting materials ready to hit the ground running next week.

I’m also looking forward to handing out sweets to all the little trick or treaters later! Blessed Samhain friends, I hope there is a sweet treat in your day too!

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