Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Morgan Conservatory Workshops

Just a few photos from the workshops that I taught last month, at the Morgan Conservatory in Cleveland, OH. I had a great time at the Morgan, as usual.

First, I conducted a miniature bookbinding workshop with a dozen participants. Everyone made at least three different kinds of miniature books. We started with a pamphlet stitch, binding a little copy of A Visit from Saint Nicholas or A Model Millionaire. Then we all made a really tiny blank book, about 20mm tall. We finished by each binding a copy of Kipling's tale of How the Leopard got his Spots, as a miniature hardcover book. Certainly a very productive workshop for everyone.



The second workshop was making two different Crossed Structure Bindings. We made the first structure with a paper cover (using lovely Sainte-Armand handmade paper). The second structure was made with a leather cover. The students' previous experience ranged from some who had never made a book before, up to folks with years of experience. These are wonderful and versatile bindings so I hope they will all try these bindings again in the future!



Friday, October 06, 2017

Wooden Board Binding 13th-15th century, at PBI 2017

The thrid workshop that I had at PBI this year, was making a wooden board binding based on those made between the 13th to 15th centuries in Europe. The instructor was Renate Mesmer who is Head of Conservation at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. The workshop spanned four full days but as Renate warned us on the first day, four days is not enough time to make this book. And indeed, nobody finished it. At the end of the four days, the participants had books at various stages of completion, but none were done entirely or complete with clasps. We did produce a stunning white library shelf, though, in my opinion.



We bound the sections with a herringbone sewing on double raised cords. And headbands. We did a fancy headband with many cores. Not sure I could duplicate it today.



I have this complex headband finished on just the head of my book. Although I also did a quicker bead-on-the-front headband in matching colours, at the tail of the book.

Working on the boards alone, took quite a long time. It's hard, working with hardwood. This photo shows the book after the boards are laced on and you can see most of the work done on the boards (shaping the spine edge, the indents at head and tail and fore edge, as well as the holes for lacing, pegging, etc) the spine lining, headbands, etc.



We did a full covering with alum tawed calf. The covering and tying up were the last steps that I completed.



Ideally we would have made and attached two fore edge clasps and then finished the interior paste downs. I did start a bit on one of the clasps but the four days just were not long enough! Nonetheless, thank you Renate, for such a challenging class!



I have more photographs from this workshop on my Facebook page if you would like to see them.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Durable Paper Bindings, at PBI 2017

Another workshop that I did at PBI in May was on paper bindings, taught by Henry Hebert. We made two different books, a stiff board case binding and a flexible laced paper case. Although I have done similar bindings in the past, there is always something new to learn. Henry is very knowledgeable about these bindings and had a lot to share about the mechanics and construction as well as the history and variations of them.


The laced paper case was sewn on alum tawd thongs with a linen lining, with a basic bead-on-the-back endband. I used some awesome paper from Hook Pottery Paper for the cover.


The stiff board binding was sewn onto recessed cords. We made stuck-on endbands by oversewing onto linen and we made our own decorative paste papers for the covers. Well, traditionally the German paper bindings had rather drab paste papers on them actually - not very decorative, just serviceable really. So I went with drab.


I have posted several photos related to this class on my facebook page if you want to see more.

Henry has a blog where he has posted a lot about paper bindings in the past, and it is a great resource if you're interested in knowing more about them. Thanks for this great workshop, Henry!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Sacred Books of the East, at PBI 2017

In May, I attended Paper and Book Intensive at Ox-Bow School of Art in Saugatuck, Michigan. It was very nice to be back, after having skipped the previous year! As always, each participant takes three courses at PBI so I will share here a bit about each of mine. The first one is "Sacred Books of the East" with instructor Jim Canary. I had never met Jim before, but his name is one of those that I have been hearing and reading about for a long time. Jim's class turned out to be one of my favorite classes ever. I learned a lot - because so much of the content in the class was new to me - and well, everything Jim said was just fascinating, so thanks, Jim! Jim travels and researches extensively in the Himalayan region so the quality of knowledge that he brings to the subject is extensive and also personal.


We covered a lot in this class. We made two book structures: a palm leaf book with painted wooden covers, using real palm leaves for the pages; and, a sewn Tibetan structure that is historically very old, but practically unknown. We also cooked up pots of indigo, safflower, walnut, and cutch for dying and we were able to do lots of experimentation with paper dying techniques and then incorporate some of those papers into our books. Jim also provided many Tibetan printing blocks that we were able to use. We also prepared fibers for making paper using traditional Nepalese techniques. The fiber was soaked and cooked and cleaned and beaten with mallets then we pulled sheets using the traditional pegged frames that Jim provided.


All of that happened in just four half-day sessions. On top of all that practical work, Jim also shared many stories about his experiences in Tibet, related to books and paper and otherwise. A great way to spend four days!

There are additional photos on my Facebook page.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Recent Activities

It surprises me today, the last day of March, to see that this is my first blog post of the year! A bit embarrassing. Obviously I need to find some new interesting things to write about. At the moment, though, I came here to update the sidebar with a new list of upcoming workshops.

I taught several classes this winter which kept me busy; let's say that is the reason I have been neglecting my blog. So, I will show you some photos of the work my students have been doing.

The season began with a Turkish marbling workshop weekend. These are always fun and very satisfying because in a short time students can achieve some really wonderful results.

I did another weekend workshop on book repair. Each student started with an old book that needed a new cover so the old covers were removed, individual problems were addressed for each book, then a little rebacking, new case construction, new endsheets, etc. A few minor book repair issues were also addressed for other books brought in by the students. Turned out to be a really fun workshop.

I also taught two longer courses: Bookbinding 1 and Bookbinding 2. The first one was four weeks and aimed at people with no previous bookbinding experience. A lot can be learned in four weeks, though, and each student made six different books. Here is some of their work:

The Bookbinding 2 class was five weeks long and it was for students who had already done some binding and wanted to learn some more advanced techniques. Each student made three books: a single-section 3-piece binding with beveled boards and an inset label, an exposed binding sewn on raised cords using a sewing frame, and then we spent most of our time doing a quarter leather, split-board binding with sewn headbands.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Art of the Book Exhibit

So the "Art of the Book" exhibit is happening at the Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County, in Rochester, NY. They accepted a couple of my books for the show. Ongoing til Jan 8th if you're in that area. A copy of the program is available online. Looks like I'm in some very good company in this exhibit.


Friday, September 02, 2016

365 Bindings

Largely for my own personal use, here is a list of all the bindings I posted during my 365 bindings in 455 days project. The librarian in me would also like to create an index by category... but I might not have time for that.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Nonesuch Art of Paper Awards Exhibit

The Nonesuch Art of Paper Awards Exhibit is coming up next month. It opens on August 20, 2016 in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia at Main & Station. One of my very own marbled papers has been selected for inclusion in the exhibition of finilists! So that is exciting. Based on the online catalogue of submissions, the array of submissions is grand and impressive. There is also quite a range of techniques and mediums since the scope is so broad - including all manner of art of paper, of course. Details about the upcoming exhibit can be seen here, showing in Nova Scotia beginning on August 20, and later moving to Montreal on September 23.

I was doing some marbling just over the past few days, actually, and tried a few different surfaces, like old vinyl... tricky, but apparently possible.


Here also is part of a large sheet of paper that I did - which I was very pleased with. This pattern is very difficult to achieve - for me, anyway.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Chinese Thread Book Workshop

Next month I will be conducting a workshop about the Chinese Thread Book, also called Zhen Xian Bao. The workshop will be at The Morgan Conservatory in Cleveland, Ohio and there is still time to register if you want to join me. August 13 and 14.

The Chinese Thread book is part of a rather obscure Chinese folk art tradition that was practiced in some rural areas of China, and may still be found if you look carefully. Women used these books primarily to keep their sewing supplies (threads, needles, patterns, swatches, etc), and any other bits of paper, photographs, etc that needed saving. My work on these is based on the information collected by Ruth Smith, who introduced the world to this dying craft after she did primary research on these folded books while visiting China. Smith identified a number of variations on the thread book structure and with quite a lot of variation in the number of boxes. This is one that I made, shown here in a video to give you an idea of how it works.



I have made a number of these in different sizes and using different structures. In the workshop, we'll be making one similar to the one in the video and we will look at traditional decorations and spend some time adorning our thread books appropriately.



For the workshop we will have a variety of Chinese fabrics and interesting papers to use. I have also seen photos of authentic Zhen Xian Bao that use things like old coins as decoration, so I also have a batch of old Chinese coins for the workshop participants to use if an authentic look is desired. Workshop registration can be done online at The Morgan Conservatory.

Monday, June 27, 2016

New Studio

I briefly mentioned, at some point, that I had moved into a new studio. That was 8 or 9 months ago. I still use the studio in my house for some things, but the bookbinding mostly happens in the new location. I thought it was about time that I shared a couple of pictures. So, taken from two different angles, this is most of it.



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Spring Workshops

It seems that I really took a leave of absence since my last post. After so much blogging during the previous year, it was easy to take a break! I have not been taking any breaks from working, though. I conducted several workshops at the Nova Scotia Centre for Craft and Design during the past couple months, actually. It was lots of fun and the students did some lovely work. Some of the students were returning with varying levels of experience, and some were entirely new to bookbinding and/or marbling.

I conducted five sessions for one group, so it was a very good introduction to bookbinding for the newbies but also included new things for some returning students as well. I believe everyone completed seven or eight books over the five classes.


We made a couple different pamphlet stitches with paper covers (B-L) and a hardcover pamphlet (T-L); multi-needle chain stitch binding (T-R); and a hardcover album (B-R).


We also made hardcover concertinas (T-L) and chopstick notebooks (T-R). In another session, some students made the Japanese account book (B-L), and during a 2-day weekend workshop, I had a different group making books with the Criss Cross Binding, aka the Secret Belgian Binding (B-R).


There was also a weekend spent teaching the wonderful art of Ebru paper marbling.

Workshop season seems to be over now. I have no more workshops planned until August when I will be at the Morgan Conservatory in Cleveland teaching a workshop on the Chinese Thread Book. In addition to making a thread book, we will also be learning a bit about its history and its variations. Check back for information on Fall workshops at the Nova Scotia Centre for Craft and Design.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Marbled book pages, for a change of pace

At one time, I could not intentionally disassemble or destroy a book of any kind; however, I have gradually come to the conclusion that not all books need to be saved for eternity. So, now I do not mind re-purposing some of those books because the materials can certainly be used for other interesting things.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

365 Books is a lot of books

I still have most of the books that I presented here as part of my 365 Books in 455 days project. Now I am trying to consolidate the storage since they were all over the place. Even trying to find them all proved quite a challenge.





Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Book #365

Altered Book

I am breaking the rules again for the last book. Today's book is not a binding exactly, this is an altered book, called Blood, Sweat, & Tears: 365 Bindings. I cut the basic shape of the textblock (well, my Dad and his jigsaw cut it) and then I made three sealed compartments in the textblock where those blood, sweat, and tears are now saved. It was hard to save those things literally; so, I used bookbinding materials to represent them. The blood is a collection of little red leather circles. The sweat is curls of blotter paper. The tears are thin strips of silver stamping foil.

So that's it. The end of my 365 bindings project, which is now called the 365 Bindings in 455 Days project!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Book #364

Secret Ledger of Albizzi

I made another model of a 14th Century stationary binding for today. This is based on the Secret Ledger and Memorial Book that belonged to Pepo Albizzi. I was able to examine a model of this binding and get notes about it from Barb Korbel a few years ago, so I think I managed a decent model based on that information.