I’ll be teaching the Inlaid Journal on August 10th at the Occasional Artist in Glendale, AZ. We’ll be making a 3″ X 5″ red oak book with walnut or cherry inlays, a book block sewn onto a leather spine and a brass closure. I’ll be teaching how to enhance the wood grain with Milk Paint, create the inlay, and sew the book block onto a leather spine. The kit provided by the instructor will include the wood covers, plugs for creating the inlay, the leather and the brass closure. Extra kits can be purchased from the instructor for $8.00. The class is $50.00 and runs from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM. You can reserve a spot by calling the Occasional Artist at (623) 847-2215.
Like many others who keep an art journal, I tend to work in several at a time. One is usually a larger book I’ve bound, think of it as the mothership — it rarely leaves the house. Each year around this time I bind a new one to take me through the year,
I began by tearing down 10 sheets of Fabriano Artistico to for the book block, I didn’t want any waste so I quartered the sheets for a book block that measured 7 1/2″ X 11″. I wanted the cover to look like it had been made from some salvaged wood so I began by edge gluing some poplar to a strip of walnut to get the 7 1/2″ width I was going to need.
Once the glue was dry, I ripped the board down to 7 1/2″ and then cut it down into to 11″ pieces.
Because I wanted this to look like reclaimed wood id decided to use several coats of milk paint. Milk paint can provide a nice hard, smooth finish but you can manipulate it to look distressed by applying it too quickly which can cause it to crack. I started with a base coat of black and followed that up with a two coats of white.
My goal was to get some hairline cracking of the white paint to reveal the black underneath, there wasn’t as much cracking as I had hoped but it was good enough for what I had in mind. I sanded the white coat a little and then applied a mask to create some lettering under the final coat of paint.
Once the paint was dry I sanded it down until I cut through the layers of paint and looked well worn. I followed that up with a couple of coats of clear Danish Oil to protect the finish. Once the covers were done, I attached them to the book block to wrap it up. Here’s a shot of the finished book, 424.
It’s funny how fortuitous happenstance works which is why I suppose it’s called fortuitous happenstance in the first place. A recent collision clogging the freeway forced me to bail onto the surface streets and as it happened my detour required that I drive by the local woodworking shop. Knowing that the wood supply in my studio was getting low I decided to stop and see what they had on hand. I often use wood when binding my journals, even when I make journals out of polymer clay, the back cover is almost always wood. While I like using wood for the very practical reason of workability there’s a wider range of aesthetic reasons that I find it compelling as a raw material.
The only problem I have with wood is finding it in the thicknesses I need for bookbinding, I want it no more that 1/4″ thick. Sure, I can order it online but I’m not crazy about buying it sight unseen — I want to be able to see the color and the grain when I choose my wood. Occasionally I’ve been able to find thin hardwood at this store but it’s often hit or miss and something they don’t stock regularly. This time, there was a whole rack of it and I bought four boards in widths of four and six inches — my choices based solely on the interplay between the color and grain of the wood.
Two of the boards were Peruvian Huayruro, one was Bloodwood and one was Brazilian Yellow Heart. In the picture below you can see what I mean about the interplay of grain and color, while the top two boards in the picture are both Huayruro the color and grain patterns are significantly different. I’m already thinking about the books these boards will turn into.