Apr 15 2008

The Accordion or Back-to-Back Book

This is the accordion book. Or the back-to-back book. Whichever makes more sense to you. The book has three covers and opens in two directions. It’s hard to describe, so I’ve added a bunch of photos, which hopefully will do what I’ve having trouble doing with words. The covers are made from some of my favorite paper. It’s a reproduction of a William Morris wallpaper. I love the Arts and Crafts movement. I also used end papers on this book, which I don’t always do. If you look at the spine view picture (3rd from the top) and the end view (last pic) you can see that each signature or section of the book is wrapped with small bits of paper just on the sewn edge. It’s a classic technique. This book uses green, brown and wooden fiber paper. I think it gives the spine a unique look.

The book has a sage green grosgrain ribbon that wraps around it to keep it closed. The back-to-back book form can be used all sorts of cool ways. It can be used as a journal or a photo album. You could use it as a “before and after” book. Or for two sides of a family, two siblings, a male/female theme. Two people’s version of one vacation. I think it’s a form that really encourages creative uses. Plus, it just looks cool!

As it is now, the ribbon closure simply wraps around the book. If you’d prefer I can put a bone closure on it for a more fixed closure. This book and more experiments in the back-to-back or accordion style will be available at my booth at the Old Town Art Market.

Apr 9 2008

My first "sculptural" book

About a month ago I took a four day seminar with the AMAZING book artist Daniel Essig. He is truly brilliant and teaches at Penland, John C. Campbell and others. (My sweet generous husband signed me up for it.) The book I made is a bit of a frankenstein… it’s more like a sample book. Daniel taught three distinct methods that we incorporated into one book. The seminar was taught at Hollander’s in Ann Arbor, Michiganą„¤ Hollander’s has an awe-inspiring source for papers and bookbinding supplies, and they have a beautiful workspace in the basement where they hold the seminars and share with the American Academy of Bookbinders. (They are great with mail-orders, too. All their paper is available for browsing online… check ’em out.)

Here are some pictures of the book I made during the seminar. All in all it’s over thirty hours of work. The book is an accordion style, which means it has three covers and opens like an accordion… like two books facing opposite directions connected by one common cover in the middle. (This is turning out to be more difficult to describe than I had anticipated… perhaps the pictures will help.) This picture from left to right shows the mahogany wood cover, the leather closure across the first textblock, the middle cover made in the style of laminated papyrus, and the spine sewn with tapes using a “french twist” sewing method. I think it looks like a honeycomb. The end papers are varying nepalese lotka papers, the tapes, believe it or not are made of tyvek, the stuff priority mail envelopes are made of, painted with acrylics and the thread is a butterscotch color of Irish linen waxed 4 ply thread. The text block is made of Mohawk superfine paper.
This is the wooden cover. It’s mahogany painted with layers of milk paint, which I then sanded off and sealed with waxed. The window is made of natural mica and holds a lovely piece of jasper that I’ve been holding onto for years waiting for the right project. Those tiny little nails are brass and normally used for doll house furniture. The window is sealed on the inside of the cover by another piece of mica captured by little snips of tin from an old tin ceiling tile. At the top and bottom of the cover on the spine edge you can see the Ethiopian endband that Daniel made popular. It’s a very ancient sewing method and I think it’s gorgeous. Here’s a close-up of this endband. I will be forever grateful to Daniel for teaching me this method. I’ve already used it in a number of other books.
And a close-up of the mica window, which is a feature that Daniel is famous for.

The second spine has repeated the pattern of various green/grey lotka endpapers and uses two various of a Greek sewing method using contrasting colors of threadą„¤ (Again Irish waxed linen 4 ply.) The closure for the opposite text block is simply a braid of the waxed linen which just loops around an antique button on the mica cover.

I’m really grateful for the opportunity to have learned from one of the best, and I think the my book is pretty damn cool. At least cool enough to justify a gazillion photos and my first blog post!