The latest project in Kathy Steinsberger's Monday evening class is a case-bound book. I think mine turned out quite well.
Brian Allen offered a letterpress class last weekend and six of us spent a day delving into the mysteries of printing. Brian is a master printer and his studio is equipped with several presses, an extensive library, endless cases of type as well as various strange and wonderful machines. Along with the actual instruction that culminated in student projects, Brian kept us fascinated with ongoing commentary that encompassed print shop vocabulary, the history of printing and type design, the state of printing and book arts today, what to expect if you want to buy a press, as well as learning opportunities in the triangle and beyond.
We each set up and printed a short piece of our choosing. Since we could only print one at a time , Brian encouraged us to get playful and set up and print some wooden type. You see my effort above. I'm pleased with it.
I chose to print the two-line refrain from Yeats' poem, "The Long-legged Fly". I have been coming back to this poem over and over in the last few months and I'm glad to do a little homage by printing these lines. It was pure chance that Brian handed me a case with a Celtic typeface. It might have been a bit of an affectation to choose it for Yeats, but since the Irish poet and the Celtic typeface were paired randomly, I will credit a fortunate happenstance and enjoy the effect. Here's what my effort produced:
I printed five sheets -- that is, I produced an edition of five. Three are on heavy stock, but two are on slightly lighter weight paper. I folded one into a Turkish map fold and made a little book for it. I found an image of a long-legged fly from a nineteenth century garden book and inkjet printed it to the cover and the back of the mapfold. It turned out to be a nice little book.
Here is the finished book. We started a case-bound book this week. The text block is sewn up and the sewn-on endpapers are sewn on, We will finish it next week
Monday was the first of a new round of classes with Kathy Steinsberger. The Italian long stitch is the first of several structures that Kathy will cover. We made limp leather journals, as you can see above. I finished stitching this one at home and am pleased with the outcome. We will finish up Monday by adding a closure for the fore edge flap.
I enjoyed making this structure, so I made another -- a purse-size travel journal for Edith to take to Spain. I built in a few little pockets so she can carry some blank paper for writing notes, as well as having a place for receipts and mementos. (See below.) I'm working on another book that I think will use this binding. This one will be a bit more artsy than a simple blank book. Stay tuned for more information.
I am thrilled to be able to attend the Paper & Book Intensive, a ten-day school focused on book and related arts. This annual event, May 17-28 in Ox Bow, Michigan, has been around for a long time and is associated with many of the greatest names in the book arts world. PBI describe themselves as a "working sabbatical in the book arts, papermaking, and conservation for seasoned practitioners and motivated beginners." I am squarely in the motivated beginner group. As such, I'm honored to be included and am looking forward to working with new teachers and alongside "seasoned practitioners." The format is two workshops in the first half (one morning and one afternoon) and then one workshop, which goes all day, for the second half. In Session One, I will be taking Variations in Case Binding with Chris MaAfee and A Sheetathon! with Steve Miller. Session Two will be The Multi-Accordion: Flexible in More Ways Than One, with Kevin Steele. More information on these classes here.
I'm not waiting until May to continue my learning, however. I have just started another six-week class with Kathy Steinsberger at the Cary Art Center. Kathy covers several book structures in this class. This Saturday (2/28) I am taking a letterpress class with Brian Allen here in Durham. Next weekend, I am traveling to the DC area where I will stay with my brother and take a papermaking class at Pyramid Atlantic on March 8. I will repeat the trip to Pyramid Atlantic in April for a bookbinding class with Linda Rollins on the 18th. Also, Robin Harper, my first teacher, has promised a class on April 11. The topic is TBA, but I'll be there if I can get a seat. I always learn a lot from Robin.
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.