embroidered at WNYBAC

Like many artists I am so fortunate in the people and places the muse throws into my path. Regular readers will already know that I love spending time at WNYBAC – the Western New York Book Arts Center, in Buffalo. Its a bit of a hike from my home (1.5-2hrs by car) but I finished the second half of my undergraduate degree in Buffalo at UB as a commuter, so I can find my way there and back in my sleep. Last year I was offered an opportunity to have an exhibition in their gallery and that show opened earlier in the month. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you will already have seen some images from that show, but in case you don’t here’s a few images

As part of the exhibition “package” they ask you to design a workshop to tie in with the show, and today I taught a cheerful group of 13 students, many of whom had never made a book before, a pretty challenging two signature, two needle cross stitch binding. If you’d like to give it a try, or were in the workshop (thank you!) and want a refresher here is a brief tutorial. To begin you will need the following supplies:

  • This two signature cross stitch template printed on a sheet of letter sized (8.5×11) cardstock
  • 8 sheets of 9×12 paper (grained long)
  • some linen thread and needles
  • an awl, a bonefolder and an x-acto knife

Begin by cutting out the pieces from the template.

1 web

Next score the lines along the spine and fold to create the cover ( printed side inside)

Punch all the dots to create the sewing stations in the cover

Fold each sheet of 9×12 paper in half and tear down into 16 pieces that measure 6×9

Divide into two sets of 8 pages, and fold together in half to create two signatures

Using the stripy punching guide from the template, punch the sewing holes in both signatures

Cut a piece of thread 24-30 inches long, and thread with a needle at both ends. Do not tie any knots in the thread

To begin sewing enter the spine at the head of the book. Each needle should go into the first sewing station, through the signature to the inside of each.

Then take each needle out the second sewing station in each signature, back out to the outside of the spine.

I always sew left to right because I am right handed, but as long as you are consistent it doesn’t really matter. With the spine facing you, take the needle in the left hand row and take it down into the third sewing station in the right hand making a diagonal stitch across the spine.

15 web

Using the same needle, sew down into the 4th sewing station and back out to the spine

16 web

Take the right hand needle and sew into the left side, completing the cross stitch, again take the same needle out though the 4th hole to the outside again. This is now the left hand needle, sew across the spine to make the next diagonal, and repeat until you reach the end of the sewing stations, alternating needles so the crosses form on the stitches in the same direction

 

At the end, sew up to the previous sewing station, but only through the signature (NOT the cover) tie off the two ends in the gutter and trim.

You can increase the numbers of signatures in pairs and sew into a larger book, like this one. You could also sew between signatures 2 & 3 in the same manner if you wished.

IMG_20180822_215207170[1]

I chose this binding for the workshop because learning it gave me the idea to experiment with making samplers as bindings, which lead to making bindings using lots of other kinds of embroidery – especially blackwork embroidery.

Its been a pretty perfect day – now I am relaxing at home with tea and chocolate. Taking a few minutes to let all my good fortune wash over me, before I get back at it!

 

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.

image

image

image

And these woven bindings

image

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.

image

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.

image

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

image

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

image

Then you just weave the tabs through the covers

image

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.

A little process tutorial

I thought I would share a step by step of my page meditation process for the owl page. As each page is different, this isn’t really a tutorial, more a look behind the scenes.
Step one for me is to hold an idea or thought in my mind and then wait to see what words float up from the page. This is the meditation. Just being with my own thoughts, waiting for what each page has to offer.

image

The prompt for this week’s journal page was to incorporate an animal. So I added a very simple stylized drawing of an owl, my spirit animal. Solitary, thinks too much.

image

Then I start blacking out the words I am not using. This goes slowly if I am incorporating a picture as I decide on the fly where the divisions go between areas.

image

I decided the owl needed to look a little more spunky so I added some spiky hair/feathers. I gave the owl hybrid human/owl eyes.
So here is the page completely blacked out. Next step for me is to add in white doodles and details. I use sharpies to black out and white gel pens to doodle over the top.

image

Here I have added details to the eyes and feathers. Again, this is not a planned process, I just try to feel what the image needs as I go along.

image

image

image

The last step is usually a quote stamped on. I love the quirkiness of hand stamped text.

image

I am enjoying the challenge of using only really limited materials to work with the journal prompts.
Here are two more catch up pages I finished up since my last post.

image

Thanks for visiting!

Lunch Bag Journal at WNYBAC Bookfest

my table display at bookfest

my table at bookfest

I had a great day at the 3rd annual WNYBAC Bookfest. If you took my workshop in the blazing hot parking lot here is the tutorial for the little lunch bag book we made – if you missed out on the workshop – here’s a tutorial for you anyway!

To make this brown lunch-bag book you need:

  1. a large brown lunch bag (the 6″ size) – I added some stamps to the bottom of the bag (which will become the front cover) – you could do this or print, collage or paint/draw on your cover(s).
  2. 32 sheets of paper for the book block cut to 8″x6″ and folded to 4″x6″ to make 4 signatures of 8 pages each.
  3. some decorative thread and a bookbinding or upholstery needle
  4. an awl
  5. this handout: lunch bag journal printed out on a sheet of legal sized card-stock

So lets begin!

1. First cut out the four pieces on the handout – then insert the piece labelled front cover into the bottom of the lunch bag like this

brown lunch paper bag with piece of cardstock

2. Fold the lunch bag at the top of the card to create the front cover.

lunch bag folded to create a book cover

3. Glue the strip labelled spine punch template to the bag on the inside next to the crease. Use the awl to punch the holes as marked on the printed template. Fold the bag to create the book’s spine.

brown paper bag with spind template attached

4. Insert back cover into bag, up to the edge of the spine template, and fold the end of the bag over to secure in place – if you like you can add decorative stitching on the edges to create a small pocket.

IMAG1327

5. Punch the centers of each of the 4 signatures using the signature punching guide from the handout. I find an old phone book makes a great book cradle and allows you to punch the holes more easily. Then thread about a yard of thread onto your needle and tie a knot in one end. Beginning from the inside of the the first signature – at either the head or tail – it doesn’t matter which, sew through corresponding hole in the signature and then through the spine by either the front or back covers.

begining to sew the signatures into the book structuredetail shot of sewing technique

6. Continue sewing up the row in a running stitch. When you come to the top sew over the end of the spine, pick up the next signature and continue down the next row of holes. Repeat with the 3rd and 4th signatures, wrap back around to the inside of the 4th signature and tie off your thread.

a small journal made from a brown paper bag

7. Lastly I added some decorative stitching on the front and sewed down the pocket in the back.

IMAG1334IMAG1335

You can change up the binding technique and decoration!!