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.
Over the past week I’ve been putting together all the ingredients for some small flat backs. The book blocks have been sew and glued up and I sliced up the paste paper I made a couple of weeks ago and used it to cover the cases that I’ll be putting the book blocks in. I’m going to add headbands to the book blocks but because these are meant to be lightweight journals I’m just going to use pre-made headbands that will just be glued in. Once that’s done, I’ll add the endpapers and then I’ll case the book blocks in. The photo below shows most of the finished parts before assembly.
I’ve got several sheets of paste paper and paper I’ve applied color to with acrylics sitting around and I’ve been trying to decide what to do with it. Making some flatbacks seemed like a good idea, the paper will be used on the covers. For those of you who may not know what a flatback is, jut think of a standard hard cover book. While I use wood, metal and polymer clay for most of the books I make but I do actually like this form and I make them all the time.
These will be about 5 1/2″ x 4″ and I’ve been assembling the book blocks over the past couple of days. The photograph below shows one of the signature in the piercing cradle. This get done very quickly because the layout is fairly simple.
Once they’re all pierced, the next step is to sew the signatures into book blocks. These are five signatures consisting of five sheets each. I’m using Wausau 57 Lb. Vellum Bristol and sewing them onto linen tapes — fairly “traditional”. Here you can see the final stages of a book block being sewn together.
It took me about three hours to pump out ten of them. Here are the book blocks awaiting glue up.
I’m working on finishing up the Woodland Gnome cahiers I’ve been making for JournalFest. ONce the sewing is complete, all that remains is trimming them to width and rounding the corners. In the images below, you can see the final two steps of the process. In the first image, you can see a pile of Gnomes being trimmed to width. The second image is a completed Gnome with corners freshly rounded.
In mid-November I wrote about the PLAY Retreat rolling around again and showed a prototype of the small journals I was planning on giving as gifts to the other attendees. In early December I actually hand bound 50 cahiers, I really didn’t think it was important enough to post about so I let it pass. Since then, I’ve exchange email with a couple of the people who normally attend and they asked about the small sketch books I make each year.
I just finished them up tonight and you can see a shot of them below as they wait to be signed and belly banded to the matching cahiers. The cover is French Paper Company’s 140 Lb. Kraft Muscletone. The book block is Wausau’s 57 Lb. Exact Vellum Bristol which is hand-sewn to the cover with 4-ply Irish Linen thread.
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.