Saturday, May 11, 2013

Paper and Book Intensive

Sunday morning I'll be getting in my car and driving to Saugatuck, Michigan to attend Paper and Book Intensive. This one has been on the bookmaking bucket list for a very long time, and I feel incredibly lucky that I am going to attend. When you have a heavy teaching schedule in the summer it is hard to find the time to take a workshop or two for yourself, but all the forces came together this year to make it an ideal time to go.

Inside my car is assembled enough art supplies, clothing, inspirational books and collage ephemera, sketchbooks and art journals and bedding (yes, you bring your own... another first for a supply list!) to last for about 10 days.  I confess this is about as close to camping as I care to be, but I will be in company with some of the finest book artists in the country and I suspect the accommodations soon won't matter all that much. My workshops will include leather bindings (first time I will be learning how to pare and work with leather to cover boards), page design, and content/structure.

Back in the day, when I first began to make books, I was gifted with a copy of an incredible artist's book called Flight Into Egypt by Timothy Ely. It was big and beautiful and mysterious and inspirational, even though written in an unknown language to diagram a book that didn't quite exist. All these years laters, I will be taking a workshop with Tim Ely as we explore creating new language, markings, collage and drawings for a book to be constructed during these sessions.

Somewhere inside the car is my iPad and, if technical connections allow,  I hope to post a few times while I am away. Hope you will make a beautiful book or two yourself this week!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Society for Contemporary Craft, Part 2

Our second adventure at the Society for Contemporary Craft in June is this delightful 3D structure, a box making project with architectural features, posing as a building. Made of heavy binders' board and covered in a variety of decorative papers and bookcloth, the House Box can serve as home to a special handcrafted book or house an entire little library, as shown above.

About 200 miniature books fill this bookcase, all of them constructed during my travels this past year. I discovered that I could pack enough supplies to make 200 books in a very small plastic case that fits in my carryon or purse, and it passes all the current TSA requirements for tools (very small scissors) and supplies (less than 3 oz. of adhesive). It takes about 5-7 minutes to make one of these babies, so here are many hours of fun I can bring along in a small space.

As I make these books during our trips, I sign each one in the back with the date and location. They literally come from all over the world now, and I won't be stopping this any time soon. Once you get started, it is hard to stop. As you can see, I have made quite a few ......

See my previous post for information and links on how to register for classes. Hope to see you in Pittsburgh, where we'll get you started on your own delightful library!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Society for Contemporary Craft Summer Workshops

After last year's sabbatical, I am very excited to return to the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh to teach this summer. My summer workshops there date all the way back to 2004, when I still lived in Pittsburgh, and they have continued every year since (except for last year's hiatus), even after moving to the Chicago area in 2005. This will be our ninth summer program, and I am looking forward to seeing students who have been here since the beginning, as well as new additions in more recent years.

Shown above are the projects for our first offering, Five Books in Three Days, on June 19-21, 2013. We will make a writing pad portfolio, two decorative spine bindings, a sewing-over-tapes book stitched on a frame, and a wood cover triangle book with hand painted pages and covers. These include hard and soft cover offerings, decorative and concealed stitching, and a variety of sizes, shapes and materials to experience over the three days.

In order to cover this much ground in a fairly short time, most of the boards and papers will be supplied pre-cut so we can focus on learning the bindings. You'll also receive a collection of five detailed instruction manuals to supplement your classroom experience and allow you to recreate the projects at a later time. Class size is typically limited to 12 students.

A second workshop, two days in length, will be offered June 22-23, and I will post more about this project separately.

You can register for either or both workshops by visiting the Society's website (www.contemporary and selecting the studio catalog listings, or by calling the Education Director, Sherrard Bostwick at 412.261.7003 ext. 25. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

And We're Back!

After a lengthy (!) absence, I am back and ready to blog again. Thank you for your patience and your continued interest while I was away.

So many things have happened in the past few years ... lots of traveling (above in Sydney, Australia in February), a wedding (my daughter's), many book arts adventures, but the most awesome has been regaining good health and getting into the best physical shape I have ever been. Healthy eating and regular exercise have taken 60 pounds off my body and lots of annoying medical conditions off my chart, including type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. All gone now.  Having cancer a few years back was my wake up call to make some changes and, if you haven't taken that call yet, I highly recommend it. I feel 20 years younger and have great energy during the day. But enough about me.

We're preparing to put in a new floor in the studio within the next month, a not so simple renovation as there is soooooo much stuff to move around. I spent most of the past winter reducing my supply and tools inventory, and will be having a giant artist's garage sale in early summer. As a result, there won't be any Book Arts Coterie classes here this summer, but we will return next year. I am hoping to do some classes here in the fall, and will post information as soon as the details are complete.

In the meantime, I will be teaching at the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh in June, 2013, and encourage you to sign up for these classes if you need a fix. The Society is an inspiring, friendly environment to take a class, and we'll be covering a lot of project ground in the two sessions. As I update this blog in the next few weeks, I'll post photos of the books and box we'll be making during the five day span. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cincinnati Classes

So when did you last have Skyline Chili or Graeter's ice cream? Next weekend, I'll be teaching three book making classes in Cincinnati, my last classes for calendar 2010. I call this grouping the Bookmaker's Gifts; all are structures that will make beautiful gifts for the people on your holiday list this year. There is a hardcover paper pad folio, the two-sewn-as-one book structure, also with hard covers, and a lovely little leather book sewn in longstitch with a decorative spine weaving. The little leather book is one of the most popular projects I've taught anywhere; it never fails to please the maker or the recipient!

Classes are taking place at Stamp Your Art Out, one of the largest and longest surviving rubber stamp stores in the U.S. I first wandered into SYAO back in the early 1990's, shortly after the store opened, and was immediately sucked down the rubber stamping rabbit hole. I volunteered with the first Stampaway USA convention by designing the logo and helping to lay out the vendor booths, crawling around on the floor with my carpenters ruler and a big roll of masking tape. Connie Williams is the proprietor of both the store and the event; she has managed to thrive in a time when most other stores and events have folded.

All of the materials for these projects are precut so we can get right to work, and require only a minimum of book making tools. There are just a few spots left in the classes; if you are interested, visit the website here or call the store to register. I'll be going out for a 4-way and a mocha chip that weekend; hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Marble-ous Weekend

The Newberry Library in Chicago is a fabulous resource for study in many areas of the book arts, including decorative papers. Their first floor gallery is currently showing the work of local artist Norma Rubovits, with about 60 examples of marbled paper and 17 books she has bound, taken from their larger collection of 4,000 (be still, my heart!) marbled sheets. You can preview the exhibit here; it will be on display until the end of the year, and I highly recommend it as a field trip.

Norma, who is now 92, donated much of her work to the Newberry when she downsized her home and no longer had a laundry room to serve as a marbling studio. She is particularly noted for her marbling vignettes, tiny manipulated images in the vein of Turkish Ebru marbling, and they are exquisite. How small are they? Let's just say there is a bowl of magnifying glasses available at the door with which to look at the images in detail. So much to see in so little space!

In conjunction with the exhibit, the Newberry scheduled a lecture and a demonstration by well known marbling artist Steven Pittelkow on Saturday afternoon a few weekends ago. My friend Leslie and I attended the event as a kind of preview of things to come. As we waited in the meeting room for the lecture to begin, in walked Norma Rubovits to attend the lecture. What a treat! She is sharp as a tack and a really lovely lady. Another role model for how to do your 90's in style!

Pittelkow is also pretty amazing; he works at an incredible rate of speed, using acrylic paints applied mostly with eye droppers and corn broom whisks. Keep in mind that he was marbling in a lovely library type lecture room; if you have made any marbled papers, you know how slimy a newly marbled sheet can be, and that of course comes after the flinging of the paint onto the surface ahead of printing the paper. Somehow he managed to just keep on producing one beautiful sheet after another (those are snippets of one of his papers, above) despite the challenge of his location. Amazing!

We returned to my studio inspired to make tools, and so went to Lowe's and bought a corn broom to dismember, and to JoAnn's for hundreds of long straight pins to fashion ourselves a Norma comb with a book board handle just like we saw at the exhibit. Although it is quite a task to take apart a broom, the whisks came out terrific; we wrapped the handles with thick waxed polyester thread in different colors. Today I finally began the task of gluing straight pins onto the book board, one eighth inch apart. This one is going to take some time to complete!

All this in preparation for taking Galen Berry's marbling class at Hollander's the following weekend. More about that in the next post!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Cautionary Tale

Since we've already left the tour for last week's sad news about Mike Meador, I'll just go ahead and use this opportunity to tell you another story about why you can never take anything for granted.

Shortly after returning from our British Isles vacation this year, I spent a week going around to all the various annual health check-ups I do at least once a year —general check-up, dental, ob/gyn, annual mammogram, vision. All the usual routine boring stuff . . . except for that spot on the mammogram. If you've been paying attention in October, you might already know that 80% of these spots turn out to be nothing. This year, I found myself in the 20% that are cancer. The big C. The club I never wanted to join. Stunned is the only way I can describe it.
No family history, no hormone therapy, I was sure I was exempt.

After surgery to remove the lump came some good news: it was very small, and it had not spread to the lymph nodes. I'm healing from the surgery and, every day this week, I am having follow-up internal radiation therapy twice a day at the hospital. I come home between treatments each day and do lite versions of my usual daily activities. By Friday, the device that delivers the radiation will be removed after my last treatment and I will be done with the hard stuff. The return rate on this type of breast cancer is very small.

My surgery was done on September 30, one day before the start of breast cancer awareness month. I know, it's a lot of pink ribbons and heavy merchandising all month, but if you take nothing else away from the campaign, ladies, please get those annual mammograms. My spot wasn't there last year. If I had waited two years between mammograms, I don't think my outcome would have been nearly as positive as it has been.

So that's my story. At the end of this week, when the last treatment is done and the device comes out, I'm tossing my apron in the car, picking up my friend Leslie in Valparaiso, and heading out to make marbled papers with Galen Berry at Hollanders, something I've wanted to do for years. More details to come!