Nathan asked me to make another book, this time for Reverend Ginger from his temple. She did the calligraphy on the cover and he wanted to thank her with a book. I chose the colors and materials myself this time, and I'm happy with the results. I hope they appeal to Reverend Ginger as well. I had scanned the Il Won Sang image, so I was able to print it directly on the Hanji paper that covers the boards. The insides of the boards are covered with paper that I stained with natural walnut dye. I wrapped each signature with a tan-toned paper, which makes the spine a little less contrasty than if it were white paper.
By the way, if you are interested in Hanji paper, you should check out the work of Aimee Lee, a book artist and paper maker who has done more than anyone to help Americans understand the beauty and utility of Hanji.
Well, the book is finished. I'm pleased with it, even if it has a little flaw or two. I get better every time I do one of these. It's a good feeling. Nathan hasn't seen it yet, but I think he'll be pleased.
The Il Won Sang (one circle Image) on the cover is original calligraphy by one of the kyomunims (reverends) from Nathan's temple.
My friend, Nathan, saw one of my books -- a sketchbook covered with Lokta paper from Nepal with a Coptic binding -- and asked me to make a book for him. (My first commission!) He practices Won Buddhism, which originated in Korea, and he needed a notebook or journal in which to write his notes and thoughts during classes and dharma talks. He was using a spiral-bound school notebook, but wanted something better, both aesthetically and functionally (hard covers would make writing on his lap much easier.) We talked about what he wanted: a larger size (6x9) than the book he had seen, covered with similar paper in an earth-tone color. The collaboration continued over several days of emailing -- I suggested that he consider using Hanji paper from Korea, as it would fit with his intended use of the journal. He asked for slightly lighter weight paper so that he could have more pages. I suggested incorporating an Il Won Sang, the circle that serves the Won Buddhists as a symbol, into the cover. He sent me a couple of images that he had pulled from the internet. One was a regular geometric circle, the other was a circle formed by a calligraphic brush stroke. I suggested that he do his own calligraphy, but he was not comfortable with that and we decided that he would ask one of the reverends (clergy) at his temple to contribute the calligraphy. It took a couple of weeks, but you can see the result above. Quite satisfactory, I think. In the meantime, Nathan came by to choose the color of his Hanji paper for the cover. He also looked through my paper and picked an old wallpaper sample with a rather Asian-looking print of a flowering tree for the paste downs. Yesterday he brought over the Il Won Sang and I have begun assembling the book. It has been fun to collaborate on a book project. Stay tuned for updates.
Here's a SBB that I made on my own. It is considerably bigger than the example from Linda's class (approximately 6x9), so I added one sewing station. I am pleased with this -- it's not perfect, but it's right good. More on the way.
Last Saturday, I attended a class in Silver Spring, MD at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. Linda Rollins lead a small group through the construction of the Secret Belgian Binding. Pyramid Atlantic is a very cool place -- I wish we had something like it here in Durham. Linda is a fantastic teacher and SBB is fun to make. I am already making more, a bit bigger than the example we created in class. Here is a photo of my book and a group shot of the class's production. Thanks, Linda!