Archive for the ‘Bookbinding’ category

Architecture Books to Use with My Towers Art Journal

January 24, 2013

For Christmas this year, I bought two books with overviews on architecture and some nice photographs. I am planning to use them with the Towers Art Journal that I made several years ago.


Originally I had planned to study Tower cards from tarot decks with another woman, but she was a busy person who soon moved on to something else, so I completed the journal and here it sits. You can read more about that journal here and here.

I do have a fascination for architectural towers though, particularly old ruins overrun with vines and trees and such, so I thought I could use this journal finally for some sketching and fun creative things pertaining to towers. I like medieval and renaissance architecture so I’ll probably stick to things like that.

DK Eyewitness Companions: Architecture by Jonathan Glancey
ISBN 9781405310291

Dorling Kindersley publications always have such exquisite full-colour photographs and close-ups. This overview goes from ancient times to the present, so lots of varied buildings and settings and countries. Just the thing for a drawing reference.

Oxford History of Art: Early Medieval Architecture by Roger Stalley
ISBN 9780192842237

This reminds me of several of the Thames and Hudson publications in their World of Art series. There is a second book on mid-medieval architecture but I didn’t have the money to buy both. Feudalism, pilgrimage, monasticism, basilicas and such; I prefer this period to any other and there are lots of photographs for reference in both black and white and colour.

Even though I bought these books with Christmas money from my Dad, my husband got angry about me purchasing anything which kind of ruined the books for me, so I am letting them sit for a time until I can go back to the journal with a fresh eye and enthusiasm.

One day soon!



Earrings, Earrings Everywhere

September 16, 2012

I just finished a gift for someone that is a combination of last year’s gift and this year’s. My friend has seen some terrible days due to her spouse’s near death from a heart aneurysm. They continue to struggle on so I thought to send a little pick-me-up.

More matchbook notebooks—just the thing! I have been finding these very handy to make notes, particularly if I hear a song on the radio and want to write the title and artist down for a scrounge at iTunes.

My friends are both cat lovers and they like football. The woman loves leopard prints so I used a specific leopard print scrapbooking paper for one of her little notebooks. I also managed to scan two cards in from my new facsimile playing cards and use them. It’s a one-off measuring about 1 inch and I am not selling them so this should be okay for copyright.

I also made some custom leopard-print beads and used them in two sets of earrings. I managed to use a bit of jasper and garnet and pietersite I think it is. Let’s hope they hit the spot.

I also made several sets of earrings recently using various things and some basic wirework. I even got the wire jig out for one rather exuberant pair, second from the left in the bottom row, and I used some brass and pewter charms and my own handmade beads with gold and copper painted accents.

People can never have too many earrings. I have a couple I am making myself with a duplicate set of wire shapes and some more handmade impasto beads.

Earrings rule the Earth, providing humans with contemplative hours wrangling with specialty pliers.



Matchbook Notebooks

August 11, 2012

I borrowed a book from the library called Making Mini Books: Big Ideas for 30+ Little Projects by Kathleen McCafferty. The first project looks like a matchbook but actually contains paper so you can tuck it in a purse or wallet, and thus have paper handy for notes or lists.

I thought this was a great idea and made a few up based on dimensions taken from my husband’s wallet. I wanted to make it a size that would fit in the billfold and not get crushed. These are made with scrapbook paper covers rather than cardstock, as they will be protected by an outer wallet or pocket. They have various amounts of coloured and white paper, from 9 to 14 pages.

My stapler is not the greatest, so I wanted to try a different method of making these and found a terrific tutorial online which a woman from the UK generously shared on her blog.

These are sewn with embroidery floss and use cardstock or Bristol board for the covers. I used a heavier double-sided scrapbooking paper for the pink one. The aqua one is Bristol board decorated with a swish of acrylic paint. I found 2 to 3 strands of embroidery floss plenty as you go through the holes twice. For punching holes I used a lightweight awl which was difficult to get through, so after punching I went through each half separately to ensure the holes were big enough to sew through. I used a regular bone folder for scoring the paper for folding and a Fiskars cutter to trim the paper to size.

I plan to make a few more of these and have some gorgeous Bazzill cardstock in plain colours that I’m going to embellish with clip art. I wanted to print some flowers and antique art and prints to make these fancier.

This is a small, fun project to help me relax on my holidays.

Update: After writing this post I pasted some clip art on some of the small ones to jazz them up a bit. The coffee-coloured ones are Bazzill cardstock but I can’t finish them because I need to buy a better stapler next week. I will be gluing more antique-y looking clip art on various colours of cardstock for the thicker books.

Coptic Stitch Notebooks and General Bookbinding “Rules”

April 7, 2012

I have been pressing these signatures and now I’m going to punch them and re-press them as a couple did not have enough weight on them the first time. Then they will be ready to sew with a one-needle Coptic stitch, a favourite of mine.

The four books in the foreground are going to have wraparound fabric covers with miniature patchwork and maybe some embroidery. The other four are repurposed postcards or oracle cards. I paste the covers back-to-back so it uses four cards for the covers but it makes them sturdier. The four smaller ones use two layers of Rives BFK paper.

These were made to carry in various purses. I like to make my own handbags and have a few patterns I haven’t sewn yet, plus some lengths of handwoven material to incorporate in handbags. I like to have matching accessory sets, including wallets and notebooks, so this is pure fun for me.

I see across the Internet some very fine bookbinding going on, and much seriousness or intensity of purpose. I have dozens of interests and disciplines, so am fragmented in my creative pursuits, but I simply have fun creating. For some people that do bookbinding as a living and make professional-quality books, I suppose the sort of thing I do might seem frivolous or “crafty” rather than being true art.

So what? There is such snobbery in every artistic discipline, from weaving and quilting to making jewellery or knitting.

I make what I can afford to make and have a purpose for, and I have high standards for finishing. I have made art books and notebooks, with a few more in the works. Making my own sketchbooks and art journals with any kind of paper I want or a mixture of papers is something that I like too. I plough on making and using what I enjoy; such joy is the ultimate expression for a creative person.

Self-made customization is like finding relief from the sun on a hot day.


Poetry, Laminator, Paper Trimmer, and Plates

April 1, 2012

One of my dogs died recently of cancer so I’m making a small memory book for her. After buying the book Adventures in Bookbinding by Jeannine Stein, I saw her project and sample of a little booklet made with hand-woven fabric that is bound around a piece of driftwood. Unlikely to find driftwood in rural Ontario, I did find some suitable branches that had blown down on a walk with my other dog, so I shall repurpose those.

I want to stitch a small cross stitch picture of a yellow Labrador on the cover, so I’m waiting for an out-of-print book I ordered for that. The weaving was one I did months ago; I have two tea towels from it, but had a left over piece that wasn’t long enough, but is perfect for cutting book covers from.

Yesterday I went to the art store and bought several shades of Canson Mi-Teintes paper to bind into the book and pick up some of the colours in the woven cover. I like that paper as you can sketch and draw with coloured pencils on it, you can also use a pen and ink or put photographs in—I like to make my own corners out of coloured paper for photo corners in a book like this. In this image I have placed a piece of white paper over the book cover to approximate where I am putting an applique with the cross stitch. The cover will be lined and then bound much like a quilt and then I will sew it to the twig.

Years ago when I used to work in a library, I would use the laminator at work for laminating bookmarks I made for myself. I have been limping along for seven years using Contac paper to protect bookmarks, but because it isn’t heat-set you don’t get the nice saturation of colours and it doesn’t stay put over layers. Yesterday while shopping for my art paper I decided to take some money from my Dad and buy an inexpensive laminator. I also bought a Fiskars paper trimmer to save my hands while trimming paper for small handmade books, and while we were checking out at Michael’s, a nice customer gave us a 50% off coupon so I got my trimmer for a decent price.

You can see two bookmarks I laminated in from of the laminator, and I just used the one on the left for a daily draw with a bit of poetry on my card blog.

The book I used in that draw is a gem. A gentleman on one of my reading lists recommended it to me, and I ordered a copy through inter-library loan and liked it so much that I bought a copy. Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry by Ted Kooser and Jim Harrison, is a book I can see myself reading through the years in small moments of reflection.

Old willow
taps the river
with his cane.

I had recently purchased some quilt fabric in a deep red Jacobean-type fabric to make a pillow for a chair I want to buy for my bedroom, and to use in finishing a red sampler quilt I am nearly ready to put together. I bought two yards of it from the States, and while at Pier 1 yesterday I saw a small salad plate for $8 that I bought. I have wanted this plate since last summer, and my husband was kind enough to buy it for me.

I will eventually put this on the wall behind the chair with an existing print of a watercolour of a red-wing blackbird and an antique plate with a red-wing blackbird, that my husband bought me because I love these blackbirds. Excuse the crummy photography.

If only I could find a chair that was affordable.

Winter knows
when a man’s pockets
are empty.

New Book on Bookbinding

March 16, 2011

I bought myself a Keith Smith book on bookbinding some time ago. It was volume 2 in his Exposed Spine Sewings series about bookbinding, and I really wanted volume 3 then but dithered away and got volume 2 which is okay but not really what I’m keen on these days after teaching myself the Coptic stitch.

I just nabbed a used copy of volume 3, the one that covers various Coptic stitch bindings including the beautiful and compelling caterpillar stitch. These books are quite expensive so I saved about $24 buying a used copy.

I haven’t sewn the latest books I cut out yet and I think some of them might be good for practicing Coptic stitch variations and just having fun generally with bookbinding. I had originally planned to cover some of these with fabric but I think I might paint or draw on them and have small caterpillars crawling over them.

That’s the plan anyway. I tend to rotate through several disciplines and bookbinding is one that has come to stay for good I think. I like paper and measuring and cutting paper and I like sewing and I like decorating the covers or repurposing card decks for covers.

Cute as a Buttercup

December 11, 2009

This is the third Buttercup Bag I have made for Christmas. This one has a custom Coptic stitch notebook to go with it. I made three of these notebooks with various cards and plan to make nine more to sell after Christmas. Likewise, I will probably sell some Buttercup Bags after I buy a license.

This bag was made for someone who travels a lot and likes to golf and entertain, so it has summery, fun sort of fabrics. I can see her using it on the golf course or while shopping or going to the beach. I like this particular size and find it big enough, quite roomy actually because the pleats allow for some expansion.

I keep some lip balm and breath spray in the pocket of mine, and there’s still room for other stuff in that pocket without straining it.

And this is an update on the abstract French knot rug I am making for my second dollhouse Skye Cottage. I have taken a snap of it in the room it’s going in with the daybed and wooden chair that I am going to paint eventually with decorative motifs. The daybed will be reupholstered and new pillows sewn and painted for the abstract art theme.

I am hoping to get the final wallpaper I need for this house and spend the Christmas holidays wallpapering it finally after ten years.

The floor in this room was gessoed, sponged and stencilled ten years ago, so it’s ready to be finished hopefully in the next few weeks.

Another update showing some of the notebooks I have been making. I can’t show them full frontal until the people who are getting them recieve their gifts. I love the stitching on these, I hand-dye my linen thread and it gives such lovely gradations when sewn.