This morning I fired up the table saw and took out my hostility on some bits and pieces of wood I had laying around. I trimmed them down into blanks that I’ll be using as the covers for some books. There is some Birds Eye maple, Walnut, Shedua, Purple Heart and some Mesquite which is left over from a tree that fell over in my yard a while back. That’s a quarter over there on the right side of the image so you can get an idea of how small some of these books will be.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about altars and reliquarys so at the moment, the chances are pretty high that at least a few of these potential books will be part of a larger sculptural piece. Stay tuned to see what happens.
A few years ago, I made a set of 12 editions and a slipcase as a show piece. Essentially, when I was teaching a class somewhere, it would be put out it with a few other samples of my work as an example of what you could expect from my class.
Most people who see this thing really like it and periodically, I do bind editions for a variety of reasons. The covers for this set were made with a decorative paper but I was more interested in doing something with graphics. The books you see below are the same ones I’ve made for PLAY in the past but this time I used an image of Sedona, Arizona for the cover art. I wanted more than that though, I wanted the same image to span the spine so you could see the entire image across the set. I wanted these to be a piece of art on the shelf so that when they were in the slipcase in the correct order the image itself was the primary focus.
To get this effect, I used Adobe Illustrator and laid out guides so I’d know where the spine was. Then, I used transform to keep shifting the image across the cover so that each edition had the correct section of the image on the spine. This was just a proof of concept to see if I could get the alignment correct. I’m planning on making a set of twenty so the image is much larger on the shelf but I’ll need to shoot a panorama to have an image wide enough to pull it off.
Someone wrote me after my posting a few days ago and comment that my hearts weren’t in very Valentiney colors. Fine. Here you go.
It started innocently enough. A few weeks ago while running through the weekly list of spelling words with my son I doodled a cockroach in the margins of the page. A week later it was a picture of a dinosaur and after that my son expected a drawing. A few weeks later, I got home late and didn’t have a change to draw anything so the spelling list went back to school with nothing but list of words.
The next day, I got a note from the teacher explaining that she couldn’t accept my son’s homework because the drawing was missing and that made it incomplete. I had to break out the watercolors and whip something up so he’d get credit for his assignment. And just when I thought he days of the teacher sending notes home about me was over…
Today’s class was Carla Sonheim’s Blobs & Sidewalk Cracks. If you don’t know Carls, she’s an amazing artist who paints wonderful animals that are vibrant, full of life and have awesome character. Carla “finds” her animals in peeling paint, blobs of oil on the ground, cracks in the sidewalk and in random marks. She loosened us up by starting with some contour drawings and once we were thinking in terms of the line, we went outside and wandered around with some paper looking for cracks and blobs.
We drew out what we found on the paper and then went back to the classroom to flesh them out into pen drawings of animals. I ended up with a seal. Next, Carla gave us some cards that she had painted blobs on and our task was to turn those into creatures as well. The best part of the class came after lunch when she demonstrated how she creates her depth of color through layering her watercolors. We then tried her techniques ourselves and created our own colored blobs to work on, I ended up with some Cookie Monster looking thing, a mutant hedgehog and a green shark.
The night wrapped up with the vendor event, Carla Sonheim, Dan Essig, Traci Bunkers and others were selling their art and other wares. I managed to get downtown before the even and headed to one of my Port Townsend favorites the Hanazono Asian Noodle House. I had a wonderful bowl of Udon but there was strangeness at the noodle house. Toes were everywhere — apparently these creepy toes were the halloween decorations, it was just weird.
As I was looking at the calendar today, I suddenly realized the JournalFest backs right up against Halloween. While I’ve made a few things to trade already, I decided to make a few more cahiers to celebrate Halloween. Since JournalFest takes place in the Pacific Northwest, the logical choice seen to be Ravens & Skulls.
Another small book created from the scrap bin. The dimensions are about 2″ X 5″. The book block consists of 6 signatures of 90 Lb. Fabriano Artistico sewn to a leather spine with 4-ply Irish Linen thread. The covers were made with polymer clay using faux jade and bone.
Here’s another small book created from paper scraps. The dimensions are 2 1/2″ X 4 1/4″, the book block is created from 90 Lb. Fabriano Artistico sewn to the leather cover with 4-ply Irish Linen. The mask on the from is molded from polymer clay. The closure was created by boring a recess into the back of the mask and inserting a neodymium magnet, a second magnet was glued into the leather to keep the book closed.
Field Notes have received a lot of press over the past couple of weeks. First, they were declared to be “all the rage” on the Today Show. A day or two later Reuter’s featured Field Notes on their site. This promoted me to look at the Field Notes site again, and as I was going through some of the older editions from the Colors series, I noticed that most of the colors they’ve featured are derived from things in the temperate north.
Nice enough, but out here in the Southwest, we don’t see the golds of Mackinaw Autumn and it’s generally to hot to grow the marigolds that came with the Spring 2010 Packet of Sunshine edition. I decided to pitch my own color scheme for Spring of 2011 and send it on to the staff at Field Notes. I called it Spring in the Desert and the color scheme is derived from a cactus flower typical of the ones you see in the desert Southwest as we move through spring. I used Adobe Illustrator to mock up the covers and sent the image on to them, if you like this, give them a shout and let them know.
Here’s the image that inspired the color palette.
So what are these things anyway and why have they developed such a cult following? Well, in terms of the form factor their nothing special, 3 1/2″ X 5 1/2″ same size as Moleskine Cahiers. Unlike Moleskine’s their stapled and not stitched and the covers have been offset printed with their logo, and a gentle reminder that Filed Notes are made in the U.S.A. They’re a little thinner than my homemade ones, probably because the paper I’m using is a little heavier. Field Notes uses a 50 Lb. text while I’m using a 60 Lb.
The printing inside the front cover provides a place for you to jot down some personal information so your book can find its way home if it gets lost. The rear cover includes the back story for the books, a list of “Practical Applications”, and the books specifications, the paper, the ink and the printing processes that were used.
The paper used in these notebooks is Boise Offset Smooth 50 Lb. I wrote on the first page with a variety of pens and inks to see how it would hold up. From top to bottom, a Faber Castell Ambition with a fine nib and Noodler’s Habenero, a Lamy Safari with Noodler’s Gruene Cactus, A Lamy Safari with Pilot Iroshizuku Yu-yake, a Lamy Safari with Pilot Iroshizuku Syo-ro. Next a few standard pens, Pilot G2s in yellow, brown and turquoise, a couple of Zebra Sarasa’s in red-black and slate blue, a couple of Uniball Signo 207s in blue and black. All in all, the paper holds up well. The fountain pens had the slightest amount of bleed through with the Ambition being the worst but — it’s a brand new pen so I’ll try it again when it’s not freshly loaded with ink.
So far, I’m satisfied with what Field Notes has to deliver. I’ll have one more saga in this story, I ordered their limited edition State Fair series. Fifty books, each one representing one of the states in a custom box.