Dec 13 2010

Hush, The Gentlemen, the thorough and graphic research of Rupert Giles, and my love of Joss Whedon

Hush, interior of handbound Buffy journal

Giles' depiction of The Gentlemen's modus operandi

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my all time favorite television show. I have seen every episode more times than I’m going to say. There are a handful of episodes that I’ve seen twice as many times as the number of times that I’m not going to say. HUSH is one of those episodes. I love HUSH. I love it as a stand-alone piece, for the part it plays in the fourth season arc, and because of the reasoning Joss Whedon gave for making it.   There is something so intimate about the silence in this episode, too.

Hush, cover pages/overhead transparencies

I made versions of each and every one of Giles' slides, including one for when Giles started the presentation backwards

Hush, Buffy handbound journal

I tried to make the book so that to Buffy fans it was immediately and unmistakeably the box from Hush, while to the non-initiated it looks simply like an embellished journal.

When designing the books in the Buffy series, I knew I had to make a HUSH book. And if I was going to make a Hush book, I was going to use the scene with Giles in the classroom with the overhead projector. (All of a sudden I just pictured a Joss Whedon Clue™ boardgame — it was Giles in the classroom with the overhead projector!) Everybody gets a funny in that scene.  Xander at the mercy of his hormones, The Gentlemen are really after “boobies?”  Anya gets her former vengeance demon moment, as she looks nonchalantly at Giles’ depiction of the bloody removal of a human heart.  Willow gets to just be generally adorable as she pantomimes her brainstorm for logical solutions to the problem at hand, the manufacture of a voice.  Whedon even manages to make a masturbation joke (usually far too base for BtVS, that is, unless it’s Spike talking) seem clever, with Buffy frantically trying to find her stake to clarify her grossly misunderstood gesturing.  And then the beautifully executed moment where Buffy reacts to the proportion with which Giles’ drew her likeness – where we all get to laugh because Saving the World is such a commonplace event for Buffy and the Scoobies, that she still gets that moment. I had so much fun making this book.  And yeah, I watched the whole episode again, even though I just needed to do screen captures from one scene.  I hope it turned out to be a worthy tribute.

Then... The Gentleman, handbound Buffy journal

I love Anya's reaction to these particular slides... eating popcorn and oh so casually nodding as if to say "Yep, that's pretty much how you carve out someone's heart."

Hush, a Buffy journal

The weight of the world is on her shoulders, and as Giles shows the next slide, Buffy looks horrified, and then gestures to her oversized hips

The outside of the book is made to be a pretty literal nod to the metal trimmed wooden box that The Gentlemen use to store all of Sunnydale’s stolen voices. When you open the book, I did something a little different. Every signature has a cover page. Each cover page is made of translucent vellum and is one of Giles’ overhead transparencies from his presentation on his research of The Gentlemen. And I drew them, they aren’t photo copies, so there are some imperfections (really, I don’t draw.) Still, I think they’re pretty awesome. I have to say, every single time I look at these cover pages they make me laugh. This book took a LONG TIME to make. A REALLY LONG TIME. But it was really fun, the whole way through… a labor of (buffy/whedon) love.  I think I want to make another version of this journal and try to send it to Joss Whedon.  After all, Buffy’s birthday is coming up!  So, if anyone out there is reading this, and knows where one should send something intended for Master Whedon with a chance of it maybe actually getting to him, or even quite near to him, please leave me a comment or send me an email.  🙂

Dec 12 2010

The Geekery Collection

It is exciting to finally be writing this blog post. I have been binding and binding and binding this new series of books, all alone in my studio, and one after another putting each completed book silently away on a bookshelf.  I haven’t blogged about them, or listed them on etsy, or shoved them into my friends’ faces (at least not many.)  I have been quietly collecting them.  Until now… I have a fair number of them done (roughly about a quarter of the books I have planned are completed) and I feel like I can now finally release them.  So without any further ado, may I introduce… THE GEEKERY COLLECTION.

The Geekery Collection, by Whitney Sorrow

selections from The Geekery Collection

And they’re just in time (barely, I know) for your holiday buying pleasure. Within the collection are differently themed series, basically tributes to all my favorite t.v. shows, movies, and other geeky pleasures.  (Let’s be honest, just about half of them are a tribute to my favorite favorite, Joss Whedon.)  Included to date are selections from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, the Doctor Who series, the Firefly / Serenity series, and the Comic Book series.  I will be featuring one selection every day or so of the upcoming week; although you can see all released to date in my portfolio and for sale in my etsy shop.  I have tried to make each book with some special, unique detail, to make you smile or smirk. Some of these scream to the world your fanboy/girl status, while others are subtle enough that only those in the know will recognize the reference.  Making these books has been very inspiring for me; ideas for new books hit me all the while I’m obsessively attending to one of the many little delicious details in these books.

Quick, while their eye-stalks are turned!

Ungh... book braaains...

Mr. Pointy closure, Whitney Sorrow

Mr. Pointy - when keeping your book closed is at stake.

The ideas are definitely coming to me exponentially faster than I can bring the books to life, and I have no idea how long I will remain enchanted with these thematic books.  But I can confidently say that you’re likely to see some clever or overt references to LOST, the Evil Dead, Torchwood, Atari games, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, and others before I’m done.

If you want to see something special, if there’s a favorite show, comic, heroine, hero, villain, episode, issue, or prop you’d like to see referenced, please leave me a comment. I’d be happy to steal your ideas.  Just kidding.  Sort of.  Or if you’re really keen, contact me via etsy to commission a custom book.  I can’t promise that I’ll do your suggestion or request, mostly because I’m not a patient person, and if I don’t like the show/character/prop that you’re requesting, it’s doubtful that I’d be eager to spend as much time concentrating on it as it takes to make one of these books.  But, please, give it a try!  (And, before a bunch of you mention it, I’m already well into the T.A.R.D.I.S. series!)

So, here’s my Geekery Collection.  Enjoy!

Oh, and if you’re lovely enough to buy something from my shop as a Christmas gift, be sure to purchase it before 6pm Monday December 20th so I can get it to you in time for the holiday.

Jul 27 2008

May and June books

Here’s what I’ve been working on. A book a day is my goal this summer and so far I’ve only fallen short on 8 days (since May 1st.) There is no reason other than inertia and a bit of laziness that I couldn’t have added a new post with a new book every day. So, my obedience of Newton’s first law… an object will stay at rest or continue at a constant velocity unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force. Though hard at work on my books, the law of inertia has been governing my blog. But, alas, today, some yet unidentified external unbalanced force has rocked me into movement. And, here it is… a new post, blog motion.

This sounds wonderfully more cosmic and romantic than if say, for example, I walked past my laptop and thought to myself, “shit, I have to get off my ass and post those fraking pictures.” So, yeah, I’m sticking with the Newton story.

So, I’m not posting every single book I make this summer, but here’s a sampling:

7.5″x11″ photo-journal, 10 quarto signatures, totaling 40 pages of Premium Strathmore 100lb Bristol. Sewn using two colors of waxed Irish linen thread in a variation on the classic Greek two needle method. The cover paper is made by this cool company called Iota that concentrates on recycled content, vegetable dyes, all that eco-goodness we all need to support. Check ’em out.

5.5″x7.5″ journal with 12 octavo signatures for a total of 96 pages of 25% cotton rag, 32lb ivory paper. Sewn with two colors of waxed Irish linen thread using a variation on the classic Greek two needle method. The variation is basically in the length of each stitch being sewn across three signatures rather than two. This particular sewing pattern required sewing with 8 needles simultaneously. I wanted to pull someone’s hair out. Not mine… I was already in enough pain trying to keep 8 threads and needles straight! The endsheets on this one are particularly nice… a Thai Banana mash — basically a tissue weight paper made of 50/50% kozo and banana fibers in a natural wood fiber hue. This book was a commission for an avid botanist and tree lover. The cover paper is an Italian reproduction of a classic Florentine botanical print.

I made this one for my girl, Kiersten.

This, unexpectedly became one of my favorite books this summer. I freaking love the skeleton! It’s an Italian reprint of a Florentine classic print.

The Tarot…

Just playing with closures on this one. It’s waxed Irish linen thread braided, and a mother of pearl button.

Super cool paper handmade in Italy.

This is Nepalese Lotka paper dyed by placing a stencil and then exposing to sunlight.

The Queen of Sheba! Paper courtesy of my sister in Dublin. I tried to give the spine sewing a little art deco feel. I used a method of packing the spine sewings using a burgundy thread.

This one has a little bit of everything… maybe a little overworked. There’s a closure with waxed Irish linen thread and a wooden button, it’s sewn on tapes with a French herringbone stitch, and then to top it all off, I added an Ethiopian coptic style endband.

More Iota peapods…

Cool, super deco paper that reminds me of some lady’s prized wallpaper. With big birds and lily of the valley.


More caterpillars!

Most of these are still available. I’m doing art fairs this summer, so I’m working diligently to keep my inventory significant. Please email me with sales requests or custom orders. Pretty much all these styles and methods can be combined, shuffled, exchanged, etc..

Let’s see if Newton is as relevant while I’m in motion as when inert.