Ramblings on Bookbinding, Photography, Journaling and Art
I recently signed up for Danny Gregory’s Sketchbook Skool. I didn’t feel as though I wanted to go through the basics so I signed up for the Storytelling course. Led by Koosje Koene this class focuses on using your sketchbook to create rich, meaningful art to document your lives stories. There are six artists teaching in this class and I’m looking forward to Mattias Adolfsson whose work I admire. I have a penchant for drawing machines in my journals and Mattias’ often created incredibly complex machines in his work which are complicated and rich in detail.
I’m already through the first week and one of the assignments was to create a manual for something that illustrates how it works so I illustrated how I refill my Lamy Safari fountain pen. Here it is.
A short time ago, I posted some pictures of a jig I was building as a visual aid to help teach students in my book binding classes coptic sewing. I’ve finished the contraption up and I’ve dubbed it the High Speed Sewing Simulator. There’s really no compelling reason to talk about the jig itself so instead, I’ve completed a video tutorial on sewing the Locking Coptic Stitch. The Locking Coptic Stitch is an exposed spine sewing and it’s a variation on the traditional Coptic Stitch. I sew it this way simply because I feel it adds a little more structural integrity to the sewing. Enjoy.
I’ve been teaching the Coptic stitch a lot lately and I’ve been thinking about how to teach it better. When it comes time to teach the stitch during the class everybody gathers around to watch and that’s where the problem is. Everything is too small. with a half-dozed or more people gathered around looking over my shoulder it’s hard to see what’s going on. I’ve tried doing things like sewing with two different colored threads but at the end of the day, nobody can get close enough to see what’s going on during the demo.
I’ve decided to scale up and build a demo rig so everybody can see what’s happening during the demo. I just started working on it today and I hope to have it done soon but here’s what I’ve got so far, I hope to have it done by the end of the week.
Art Unraveled has been going on for the past week or so and it’s been a great event. This past Saturday the Shopping Extravaganza took place and a wide variety of artists and vendors where there selling everything from handmade journals to stencils. Classes start late on Saturday so everyone has plenty of time to shop and I had just enough time to check everything out before teaching my class, “Dug from the Ruins: A Polymer Clay Art Journal”.
Today, I taught my class titled “Worn by Time: A Coptic Bound Art Journal.” In this class, students use Milk Paint to transform ordinary oak boards into a 3″ x 5″ journal. The morning was spent drilling holes for the binding, building up layers of color using Milk Paint and the distressing the surface to reveal those layers and simulate the look of wear and age. For many, the Coptic Sewing is hard to learn so the rest of the day was reserved for sewing demonstrations and hands on help with the binding.
Students finished their books by setting a small image into a bezel and attaching that to the cover and then installing a simple closure that was fabricated from brass. It was a great group of students and their books turned out exceptionally well. I hope to see them again in the future at other events.
A student distresses the covers of their journal in the “Worn By Time” class.
Art Unraveled kicks off in Phoenix tonight with a meet the artist event. If you haven’t attended, Art Unraveled is a week long art event that features classes taught by internationally known artists. There are over 125 workshops that cover a broad range of media like painting, book making, jewelry making, metal work, journaling, fiber/fabric arts, sculpting and assemblage.
I’ll be teaching three classes at Art Unraveled this year, Dug from the Ruins, a journal created from polymer clay; Work by Time, a coptic bound art journal with wood covers and the Inlaid Wood journal wood covers with small circular inlay.
If you’re attending Art Unraveled this year, stop by and say hello.
The Art Unraveled Auction Piece is continuing to take shape. I only have a general idea of what this is going to look like and I’m really just making it up as I go. I began with a the basic structure which I constructed out of ½” plywood scraps I had lying around. I painted the inside of each niche before attaching the front part of the structure. Once that was done, I added some texture to the sides I entertained the ides of texture all around but I’ve left the back unadorned because I think someone might want to mount it on the wall. I created sculptural elements on the front of the piece with epoxy clay and then gave the whole thing a couple of washes to give it some color. Now it’s sitting on my workbench while I ponder where to go next.
It’s graduation time again and a family friend, someone we’ve know since he was a wee tot has managed to survive the elementary school system and go over the wall. He’s a talented drummer and over the past couple of years he’s started to journal sporadically with a goal of doing it regularly. I thought it might be nice to bind a journal for him; maybe he’ll go to it more regularly if it’s more meaningful than an off the shelf sketchbook.
Zebrawood, Chata Kok, Maple Burl, Brass, Leather, 300 gm Fabraino Artistico 4-ply Polyester Thread
I’ve been working on a few projects that fit into the “as time permits” category this week and one of them is the piece in the photograph below. I’ve chosen to show it in its current state and from the back no less as an Art Unraveled teaser. One of the premier activities at Art Unraveled is a live auction; the purpose of the auction is to create a pool of funding that provides scholarships to attend Art Unraveled during the following year. Linda, the evil mastermind behind AU asks instructors to donate pieces to be featured in the auction and frankly most of my stuff is away in shows and galleries so I’ve decided to make a new piece to be auctioned off at AU. This piece is on its way to being a shrine and I’m not willing to say more about it at this point. I will show a completed photo of it sometime in the next two to three weeks once it’s done so stay tuned’ I’m hoping people will like it.
As a reminder, I’ll be teaching three workshops at Art Unraveled this year. This is the first time I’ve taught at this event so I’ve created a video introduction that talks a little bit about my work and the workshops I’ll be teaching.
As I was paint this mural, I knew in the back of my mind that it was going to be tagged at some point. There has been a lot of tagging activity in the Coronado area lately and I was fairly sure that the taggers would see the murals being painted in the Oak Street Alley as stealing their thunder. I got the call on Monday that it happened and frankly, I surprised it took a whole month. They tagged my robots and murals by Carlos Rivas, Yai and a couple of others. I had some free time this morning so I took a trip downtown and repaired the damage. It took a couple of hours but it’s back to the pre-tagged sate. Let’s see how long it lasts.