Friday, October 26, 2012

I've been painting papers and making booklets. None are completely finished, but I'm happy with my playtime so far.

Here are some other painted papers, not yet made into books. The first image below shows how rough they marks on bare paper. Watercolor and sometimes gesso are added to get the painted pages. Sometimes I added salt and alcohol which add a textured look. It's similar to paste paper, but is much faster. You do not get the highly textured appearance of paste papers, though some gesso marks retain their actual texture, and the alcohol, salt and painting technique mimic texture fairly well.

For the book pages I used Arches text wove paper, which takes wet media very well, yet is thin enough to fold easily for books. For the covers I used 140 pound watercolor paper, painted in a similar fashion. I used a simple three hole binding stitch for the two small books that I bound this week. (Top photo.)

Friday, October 19, 2012

"Tools and Tricks of the Bookbinding Trade" Workshop

Last weekend I attended a "Tools and Tricks of the Bookbinding Trade" workshop at Bonnie Stahlecker's bookbinding studio in Plainfield Indiana. What a treat to spend time in her wonderful studio with her and 8 like-minded friends (old and new.)

The above photo shows the finished pieces I brought home from the workshop: the hand-bound book, a book sewing cradle, a sleeve for the cradle, a book weight and Fimo clay awls with an awl caddy. In addition, Bonnie had a few loose sheets of handouts for the various terms and a few special techniques we'd be using. She also had her notes printed on the pages to use as the first section of our books. Our own notes made up the second section, and a third blank section was added for future notes. All these were sewn into a neat little booklet and wrapped with a cunning little cover that included a title label sewn on in our choice of stitch patterns. I am guessing that no two books were exactly alike.

We made awls from darning needles and Fimo clay. We each chose three half blocks of fimo dough to knead and shape awls with. One of mine is a pear shaped mass of the clay fitted to my hand for those hard-pushing tasks. The other three I made are suitable for use with the book cradles.

Above is the book I made. Below is the book held open with the book weight I made. It is lead type slugs wrapped in book-cloth.

Below are two book cradles in class. One is Bonnie's that I used as a pattern for mine. Thankfully, she had already cut the book board pieces on her heavy-duty cutter. We added the book-cloth and cut the notches for the legs to fit into.

The cradles were actually the reason my friend Doris urged Bonnie to teach this class. We had wanted to buy them, but Bonnie doesn't sell them. (They are tedious to cut. Though I'd love to have a back-up in case anything happens to mine, I will probably never do another, so I will jealously guard this little treasure!) The book cradles come apart and fit into the neat little sleeves shown below.

Bonnie is the most well-organized instructor I have ever had, so I love taking her workshops. She may teach another workshop there in early December to teach a particular binding style and make one or more journals suitable to give as gifts. I'm not sure if I'll be able to attend that one or not, but all who do will certainly be happy with their results. Here are some photos of Bonnie demoing in class to a rapt 'audience' and some students stitching their books.

In the last photo you can see one of Bonnie's new museum quality pieces. It is a book structure based on a shield and is part of her latest series. Magnificent!

This was a delightful workshop and a great time to connect with friends. If you are into book making and have a chance to take a class from Bonnie Stahlecker, you will not be displeased. Her organization, patience and friendly manner coupled with her KNOWLEDGE of the subject are well worth seeking out.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Destination Wedding: Ocean Springs, MS

My son married his love last Saturday on the beach at Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Isn't Sandy's hair pretty? She had a hairstylist and makeup artist come to the beachhouse to prep her for the wedding. Ooh la la!

We had a long road trip with them and their two year old that included lots of adventure and fun. Because we were traveling with a toddler we divided the road trip each way into two 5-6 hour segments, stopping for the night just past Birmingham, Alabama each way. We made one side trip into New Orleans, and two forays into Biloxi just down the road, but otherwise mainly enjoyed the lovely beach house we had rented for the week.

My calligraphy was limited to the save the date envelopes and the invitation envelopes. I helped assemble the centerpieces and the arch, and I helped with some of the pre-planning, but mostly I tried to keep the sand swept from the floors, washed a lot of dishes and cleaned a dishwasher load full of hot water from the floor when it unexpectedly gave out on us, cooked a couple of meals (one a triumph, one a disaster), babysat and played with my grandson and his cousins.

I brushed up on my chess skills (or lack thereof) as I tried to teach Devin the game. Steve taught him pointers for beating me and pronounced my skills to be not very good, but Devin and I had fun anyway. Chloe and I played a two-person version of Cranium. She has no idea that I wrote an article about the game for the (Louisville, KY) Courier Journal newspaper many years ago, pronouncing it to be the best family board game. We spent a lot of time on the beach - medication I was taking gave me a hyper-sensitivity to the sun, so I didn't get out too much when it was shining brightly. Poppy caught many blue crabs, but he reintroduced them to the sea at the end of each day, deeming them too small to eat. He enjoyed the pursuit. The kids and I combed the beach daily, finding an abundance of hermit crabs.

I saw more seabirds on this trip than I have ever seen. This was a daily sight from our deck.

I captured both a very pink sunrise and a pink sunset. I loved watching both.

Photo credits: Laura Roberts for the image of the bride and groom's kiss and the Best Man seated on the stairway. BlackBird Photography for the ceremony and wedding family pix and the reception flowers. The rest are mine. (The pink sunrise and sunset are not retouched. The sun was a brilliant pink in both.)