Tale of a tooth

So, as I shared in my last post, on my way home from my workshop last week I broke a tooth, so my week started out at the dentists. I ended up needing a surgical extraction as the tooth had broken below the gum in my jaw. So my plans for this week we’re slowed to a snail’s pace while recuperating. I did start work on a project I have been thinking about for a couple of years after seeing Kevin Steele’s books at PBI.  

I started with this accordion book form, those are Kevin’s PBI handouts under the book

Then I bound it to look like this

I want to add a black work binding to the spine, so next up was adapting a black work design from a period painting by Holbein

And then testing the pattern on some scrap paper

So now I am ready to translate all these sketches into the finished book, although I am going to wait to cut into the fancy paper until I am feeling more the thing. 

On Monday I am starting a big restoration project, and teaching a kids workshop. I can’t believe it is almost time to go to the UK. Time flies!!

Busy making books

Summer = festivals. I have been busy making lots of blank journals to take to some festivals next month. And I’ve been posting pictures on my Facebook and Instagram as I finish things up. Here’s a few samples.

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And these woven bindings

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Which sparked some interest in how they were constructed. I haven’t made any of these in years so I had to think about where I first learned how to make them. I finally tracked it down to an Alissa Golden book, making handmade books. She calls it a cross structure binding.
To make it you need two soft covers twice the width of the signatures plus the width of the spine. I used two pieces of cardstock here.

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You need an odd number of tabs cut out from each cover and spine, leaving just the front and back covers intact. Then I cut the slits in the front and back to coincide with the tabs.

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To prepare the signatures mark where the two tabs cross the spine and add an additional station at each end for a kettle stitch

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Then sew over the tabs and add a kettle at each end to secure the signatures

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Then you just weave the tabs through the covers

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And done!
If you want more detailed instructions I’d recommend the book, it has over 100 bindings.
Well back to work. Maybe I will see you at a festival later this summer.

Being a student

Last weekend I took a workshop at WNYBAC with Jill Kambs. I have done plenty of printing and book binding, but never any gelatin plate printing, and I rarely make books with words, so I thought it would be great to try a new way of working.
I really tried hard to work fast and to pick materials I wouldn’t ordinarily choose, although I did cheat and work mostly in black and white. I swapped colors with others at the workshop, picking colours like peach and pink I would never usually pick. I was amazed by the delicacy of the prints, the texture. After about an hour I had a heap of prints, that looked as if they had been made by someone else, but sort of like me.
Once the prints dried, we selected and bound them into little pamphlet stitched books. Since I had worked in such a random way it was a challenge to make any sense of the images I had created. Deciding what went with what was a tricky process, mostly accomplished by eliminating the ones that didn’t fit. I managed to make 2 reasonably sensible compilations but I also had a lot of extra prints that made no sense with each other!
The last step was to do some simple Xerox transfers of text selected by Jill. Again working with someone else’s choices was hard for me. Words that speak to other people’s practice don’t always speak to your own.

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Here’s the final product, I keep taking it out and looking at it. I can’t believe I made it honestly. It is subtle and delicate. Needless to say I’m pleased!

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I’m so glad I took the workshop, and I can’t wait to try more gelatin printing. I hope I can keep the freshness working in my own space.

Snowflake

First time back in the studio really getting down to work. A while ago I started a series of snowflake inspired bindings. Yesterday I finally started another in the series.

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I start out drawing on graph paper. All the snowflakes are being adapted from some illustrations of black work borders.

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Next I copy that design onto a piece of graph paper mounted on some card stock.

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Then I start sewing. As I go I write out the steps. Once I have figured out how to sew the pattern I make a book block. Cutting, folding and punching the signatures always seems to take forever! This design has 21 signatures! I draw a scale pattern of the binding to help punch the right holes in the right signature.

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I bind the top and bottom to hold the tension even as I sew the design. Here I used a french link with a kettle on either side over a translucent ribbon with a little sparkle. Sometimes I use coloured thread for this stage, but I wanted to keep the focus on the snowflake for this one.

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Here’s the sewing finished.

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I have been trying to make bolder choices with my colours and patterns, to make things less “matchy”. The last step is glueing the covers and ribbons down.
About 8 hours later it is all done!
Feels good to add a new pattern to my repertoire. My goal is to draw them all up and publish them for others to use over summer break this year.

Keeping my head above water!

This semester I have a crazy teaching schedule, 5 classes at 3 different schools. It hasn’t left much studio time! I did finally wrap up the Berehinia book, I ended up hand dyeing some paper using tea and rust and making new covers.

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She shipped out this week, along with “maple” and “women’s work” for this exhibit. I am so excited to have work included in this exhibit again! Can’t wait for the opening.

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I am also working on a guest book commission, and a book for a DNA embroidery related exhibit. The binding was pretty easy to work out. But I had a crazy idea to hand stamp a human genome sequence inside. Where do these crazy ideas come from?  Why do they come to me?!

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Thankfully fall break is coming up this week at all 3 colleges, so I might get to play with some new ideas in the next few days.

Summer week 4

Most of this week was spent on production binding for the 4th annual Bookfest at Western NY Book Arts Center. I also experimented with a few more long stitch word bindings.

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Yesterday I spent a great day under my tent at Bookfest. I met some wonderful new people, saw some old friends and past professors from my time at UB, sold a few books and taught a mini workshop. If you are looking for the tutorial, it should be up later tonight.
Today I am exhausted! I did a few paste paper experiments for a workshop tomorrow and added some type to a few more brown paper lunch bag journals (another festival next weekend).

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Now I am laying on the couch in the air conditioning, and I think a nap may well be in my future!

2014 in Review – a tiny bit late

This year has been one of the most active of what now feels like a career as an artist. SO MANY amazing firsts happened this year, and all of them were linked to an amazing group of colleagues and friends, so to ALL OF YOU – thank you so much!

It is hard to know where to begin so I am going to start with collaborations and then go to some personal milestones. I curated or helped put together some exhibitions including the women create biennial with my amazing enabler Jennifer Schlick!

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Then March became April and my hometown was invaded by two waves of British artists in an event we called Colonize, with an exhibition across two galleries, workshops, lectures and lots of community building. None of which would have happened without help from Wendy (SCI) & Bruce (Basement Arts Project) and all the artists involved. Not only did we get to be on the radio – we also became video stars and front page news!

we made the FRONT PAGE of the local newspaper!!

we made the FRONT PAGE of the local newspaper!!

I also put together this exhibit for the Dykeman Young Gallery – and then I was asked to become a part time curator at the 3rd on 3rd Gallery, and created these two shows to round out the year.

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I’m looking forward to playing with new artists in the gallery in the coming year!

I was also able to share my work through workshops, here in my own studio and at a few other places, like WNYBAC, The Morgan Conservatory and CBA in NYC. To everyone who signed up to take a class with me – an enormous THANK YOU for giving me the opportunity to travel and share my work and meet such amazing artists!! I REALLY hope next year provides some similar experiences for me!

Of course I did also manage to squeeze in (not enough) work of my own. It seems this year has been a bit bogged down in large slow projects, but of course I made plenty of books, some beautiful commissions, and got to play in my art journal frequently.

just learned this french stitch - so pretty!

just learned this french stitch – so pretty!

back view of the tiny book

my table display at bookfest

my table at WNYBAC’s bookfest

OH and I was completely sidetracked by sewing on all manner of things and learning how to put needlelace on leaves – I am pretty sure there is more of THAT to come

magnolia leaf with needle lace bars

magnolia leaf with needle lace bars

photo by Jennifer Schlick

photo by Jennifer Schlick

I exhibited a bit, and I also managed to fit a small solo show in, along with many trips to hospitals and doctors as members of my immediate family struggled with health problems.

Thank you for indulging my trip down memory lane, here’s to a very happy super healthy art-filled new year for us all!