Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Book Arts Coterie

So, what are you doing next summer? If you've been thinking about taking classes or exploring book arts in greater depth, I hope you'll consider my week long workshops at my studio in 2010.

Information for the 2010 sessions is now available; I'll start accepting applications from blog readers who want to attend on January 15. If you are interested, please send me an email ( and I'll reply with basic workshop information and a registration form by email attachment. You can snail mail the registration form at any time after you receive it, but it will be held until January 15 when all mail will be opened in the order received.

There will be two sessions, both in July, and attendance will be limited to 6-7 students per session. You'll have ample space to work in, plenty of personal attention, and loads of fun and memorable experiences! This is the third year for Book Arts Coterie, with many students returning year after year. We typically make between 12 to 18 books during the week, and create a stash of papers and fabrics for future book projects as well.

I'll be happy to answer any individual questions you might have; just send them along in your email request. Hope to see you here in the summer of 2010!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My Studio

Lynne Perrella throws the best parties, many of them within the pages of her books. The latest addition to the growing Perella section in my resource library is Art Making & Studio Spaces, fresh off the press and finding its way to booksellers everywhere. This work is a celebration of the workplaces of 31 different artists, including the author's space and OMG, my studio is in there, too!

The book features luscious, full page color photos of spaces where artists work, accompanied by commentary on how and why it works for that particular artist. You can't help but pick up a lot of great ideas for arranging your own space, no matter what size it might be. One thing is certain; no matter what medium you explore in art, it is going to take stuff to make it. And everyone in this book has lots of stuff. You'll see something that you'll love. At the moment, I am coveting R. O. Blechman's ladder in his library (page 118), and find myself sketching ideas for a faux version for my own bookshelves.

I was thrilled to be invited to participate in this project. Lynne puts together a wonderful package with everything she does, so I knew it would be a first rate publication. I'm also quite passionate about my work space. When we moved here four years ago, we chose this house because it had the best studio space potential. This is studio number 5 for me over the past 15 years, so I've had lots of time to work out the arrangements in a variety of environments. It took about four months just to unpack and put away all the boxes, but the truth is, something here continues to change every few months .... furniture arrangements, additions and subtractions, supply storage, task lighting, seating. My studio is a living, breathing entity all on its own. And, I have to tell you how much fun it is for me when someone visits here for the first time; well worth the effort just to see the response.

All publications have limits, and there simply isn't room in the book to show all the nooks and crannies that are mentioned in the commentary. One of my summer workshop students, Andrew Borloz, did an excellent photo piece on my studio for his blog during the 2008 sessions; you can visit it here if you'd like to see more. If you'd like to see my studio in person, consider coming for one of the 2010 workshops. Information about dates and curriculum will be posted here by the end of the month.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Book Gift Idea

You remember the stick & band binding, don't you? You take a stack of text pages, put a cover sheet on the front, wrap a second cover sheet around the spine onto the front from the back, punch 2 holes in the spine, secure a rubber band around one end of a stick and insert through one hole, then pull the band through the other hole and secure it around the other end of the stick. You're done so fast, it takes much less time to make the book than to read the description.

I recently made this batch of stick & band journals for a local charity, and was reminded once again of how simple ideas can often be very exciting. This book structure is one that I learned in my first hour of study with Shereen LaPlantz, and I've taught it as part of my beginning bookbinding class, Five Easy Pieces, for more than 10 years. When I'm asked to do programs with large, non-bookbinding groups, this is one of my go-to favorites as I know everyone will be successful in making the project. There's just something magical about using a stack of paper, a stick, and a rubber band to make a book.

The simplicity of this binding also makes it a good candidate for those occasions when you need to create a number of gifts quickly and inexpensively. Whether you go to the effort of printing the inside pages first or use plain sheets for a blank journal, most people really appreciate a hand-crafted book, and you can be pretty sure it won't be regifted.

These particular books have deckled interior pages (I used Rives paper) torn down from the parent sheets using one and a half sheets to make 24 pages. The hand torn deckle makes a wonderful soft edge, but you can also cut the pages straight on the paper cutter. Since I used heavier paper, each page is a single leaf, but I have also made this project in thinner weight text and folded the sheets at the fore-edge for a stronger page. You can use your funkiest gnarly papers for the covers, and then there is the thrill of the stick hunt. These came from my backyard, but you can also use chopsticks, pencils, bamboo shoots, hair pins .... you get the picture. Best of all, absolutely no glue, none at all.

If you decide to whip out a number of these beauties at one time, here are a couple of tools that will make the task go faster: a two-hole punch from the office supply store (Office Depot makes the best one), and a crochet hook. The punch will help you center the spine holes and will most likely be able to punch through the entire book at one time. The crochet hook will help you pull the loose end of the rubber band through the second hole if your connections are tight. European Papers, listed on the supply resources at right, has good quality black rubber bands.

These books retail at Chicago galleries/gift shops for about $25; they can be easily made with quality materials for well under $5. Perhaps they will become your go-to gift favorite this year as well!