A Book a Day? What's Up With That?

Hi, and welcome to this year-long project. So what's this all about and how did it happen, you might ask. In mid 2007, artist Noah Scalin decided to make a skull out of anything he could find, every day for a year. It stretched him in ways he never imagined, as an artist, a writer and a person. His experience turned into a blog that went viral, and then a book.

Others have picked up on the idea: 365 Hearts, 365 Masks, 365 Bears drawn on a cellphone, 365 paper napkin mustaches.
I wanted to play, too, and I chose books. I love books, I know a bit about making books (thanks to my talented book-maker sister, Marilyn Worrix), and they're broad enough in definition to give me a lot of creative leeway.

The whole point is not really the books. The idea is to stretch myself in many ways as an artist and a person, to set up a discipline, stick with it and see what that teaches me.

I hope you'll join with me and follow along on the journey chronicled here, and let me know what you think.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 31 - Cross Structure Binding

This is a brand-new binding for me and I like it a lot. This is not really the best example of it for a couple of reasons. Since it's the first time I've done this binding, it's not as neat as I'd like. But I did learn some things from it and the next one will be better. Also, the paper I used doesn't really show the structure to advantage.

Although the photos make this look like it's linen, it's actually a heavy linen-textured paper. The actual stitching is similar to a longstitch binding, like I use on my leather journals, in that the signatures are stitched right to the cover - or actually over the cover tabs. The tabs then wrap around and are glued down onto the covers. The next time, I will try slitting the covers and weaving the tabs through to the inside.

I'll do this book again soon. I want to cement this new binding in my brain--and get it right the next time.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 30-Camel-Colored Leather Journal

Another leather journal, my favorite books to make. This is a fat little book covered with a buttery soft camel-colored leather. The closure is a pair of brown leather strips that tie in the front. I'm not completely happy with the closure yet. I think it needs a button or buckle or something rather than just a tie. I'll have to think on it a bit more.

Book measures 3 1/2" w x 4" high x 1 1/4" thick, a nice purse or pocket size. The inside end papers are a textured banana paper. The pages are cream heavy text paper. Once again, it is bound with a longstitch binding and sewn with waxed linen thread.

Day 29-A Walk on the Vegas Strip (Warning-Mature Content)

WARNING: Mature content
It you've ever walked down the Las Vegas Strip, you know what the pages of this book are. Anywhere on the Strip, pretty much any time of day, these things are thrust into your hand, as many as a dozen times in one block. They are business-card size ads for "escort services" with pictures of pretty, semi-nude women, with phone numbers and, sometimes, their prices.

The city of Las Vegas has tried to get rid of the dozens of guys (and woman) who hand these things out. They made it illegal, and they got taken to court for it. The escort services won when the courts decided it was a First Amendment free speech issue. So apparently they are there to stay.

Last year my guy and I got to wondering how many we could collect in a stroll of an hour or two on the Strip if we just took every one handed to us instead of just walking on by, like we usually do. The total came to nearly a hundred pieces!

Today, they resurfaced from wherever they've been hiding and Allen said, "Hey, you could make a book with these." (See, I've even got him thinking in "book think.") And he was right. I could--and did--make a book with them. And here it is. I simply stacked about 30 of them up, drilled holes along the spine side of the stack, and made wire rings to hold them together. The rings are made of nickel wire and are intentionally rough and rustic looking. I wanted it to look like a wire fence, like barbed wire, like part of a cage, since I do think these women have locked themselves into a cage they may never escape from.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 28 - Owning It! - A Fold book

Here's another simple fold book--no glue, no stitching. Just a folded sheet of paper. I like these because they are clever. They are so simple that the challenge is more about the content than the book structure.

For this book, I chose a favorite quotation by Oprah Winfrey. I searched out images to match the various lines of the quote, designed the page in a desktop publishing program and printed it out on cream-colored lightweight card stock. The structure is only really three folds and one cut. It's easier to show you in photos than to explain it in words.

Credit for this structure and several others I'll be using goes to Alisa Golden, author of "Making Handmade Books: 100 bindings, Structures and Forms." This is becoming my new bible.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 27-A Checkerboard Book

Today's book started with me asking myself what I could use from the dollar store to make a book. Wandering the aisles of our local Dollar Tree, I studied everything with "book potential" in mind.

This is the first result. I bought this little travel checkerboard set for a buck. The board was a piece of printed and folded cardboard. The checkers were plastic. Perfect. I cut two pieces of the board for the front and back and odd pieces of the rest for reinforcement. The front hinge is where one of the folds falls. I reinforced and decorated it with some Japanese decorative masking tape in red with white polka dots. I also bound the raw edge on the spine side with this tape. Cut regular text paper pages, drilled holes in the spine edge and stitched with black embroidery thread in a Japanese stab binding.

To complete the story, I glued some of the plastic checkers to the cover.

 This book is very similar in the making to my Day 1 book, the Rosarita case. The covers of both are made from thin cardboard, then stitched with a Japanese stab binding.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day 26-A Book Ball Garland

This one's just fun! Five little book balls--3-dimensional round books like globes hung from a ribbon to make a garland.

I used a 2" circle punch to cut the pages out of a vintage book on engineering. The pages of that book are covered with mathematical equations, charts, diagrams, etc. giving them an interesting textural look. Each book ball is made of 16 circles cut from these pages. Each circle is folded in half, then half of one is glued to half of the next, half of that to half of the next, etc., to form a globe. A thread is glued inside the globe for hanging. Then the five book balls are hung from a ribbon to make the garland.

I learned some things about how to get these balls to open correctly and how to hang evenly. I think this structure has possibilities for more playing later in the the year.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day 25-Another Fat Little Hair-on Journal

Back to one of my favorites, a little leather journal made with hair-on cowhide. This one is a nice fat one, with 72 thick, creamy pages (144 counting  both sides) of Arches text-wove art paper, which is wonderful for pencil, pen and ink, charcoal and other not-too-wet medium.

The end pages are tan banana paper. The leather cover wraps around the front and is closed with a soft leather thong with a big bone bead on the end. It is bound with a longstitch binding with black waxed Irish linen thread.

This little fat book measures 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" x 1 1/8" thick. A nice book in the hand. And the longstitch binding means it lays flat when open, easier for writing in.

Day 24-A Little Pamphlet Book with Sanded Covers

I made this simple little pamphlet stitch book today because I wanted to play with the really cool paper I found at Jo-Ann's. It's two-sided, red on one side, black on the other. And the black side can be torn, sanded, scratched, etc. to reveal the red.

The word "Ideas" on the cover is simply scratched onto the paper with the point of an Xacto knife. I scraped some of the black off in places with the knife, too, and sanded it with medium grit sand paper. I like the torn edge best, where it shows the core red. The book has 20 text-weight pages and is stitched with red thread in a single signature with a pamphlet stitch and a black/white/red porcelain bead on the spine.

Day 23-Ziegfeld Girl Matchbook

Easy one tonight, but this is a fun design. This little notebook opens and closes like a matchbook, and the "binding" is simply a couple of staples. The illustration is a vintage nude photograph of a Ziegfeld Follies showgirl from the 1920s. It's printed onto beige card stock, cut and folded to form the matchbook shape. Approx. 20 pages of white paper are stapled into the bottom folded-up edge.

Fun little book to drop into a purse or pocket for notes, phone #s, and other reminders.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 22-Welcome to Las Vegas

This book is tiny--only 1 1/2" in diameter. I wanted to try something else very small and I've been playing around with the idea of poker chips for awhile.

The covers of this little book are two souvenir poker chips I bought at the Gambler's General Store in Las Vegas some time ago. Using them as a template, I cut out 40 circles of paper in four different colors for the pages. I sandwiched the pages between the two chips, clamped them all together with a couple of bulldog clips, and drilled a whole through all the layers just inside the edge on one side.

I cut a length of thick, 12 gauge copper wire. I hammered one end of the wire with a riveting hammer to get it to flare enough that it would not pass through the hole in the top chip. Then I threaded the unflared end through the whole book, trimmed the back end of the wire quite short, set the thing upside down on an anvil, and flared the other end of the wire. I now had a rivet closing the book. The rivet is loose enough that the chips and pages can turn around it, flaring open so you can get at the pages.

I think this little book would be a great card marker for a poker player. And it has the advantage of being a real book, so during a break you can make notes in it about the plays or anything else.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 21-Happy Valentine's Day

OK, this book has nothing profound to say. I simply had this little chocolate box--thanks to my sweetie--and I'd been wanting to try a shaped accordion. The two seemed a good match.

I did nothing to the box. I could have covered it, but I've been feeling lazy. I made a 24 page heart-shaped accordion book, cut out a red heart from decorative paper for the first page and glued the whole accordion structure into the bottom of the box. Cutting the shape was simple--like cutting out paper dolls when you were a kid--but easier since the shape was simple.

I'll do other, more challenging shapes as we go along.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 20 - The Key to Everything

Here's a neat little snake book--a folded book structure made out of a single sheet of paper. In this case, I used a sheet of 8 1/2"x11" white card stock.

This book, "The Key to Everything," shows a dozen illustrations of the word "key" including pictures of lock keys, computer keys, piano keys, Alicia Keys, the Black Keys group, the Florida Keys, a Phi Beta Kappa key, the anthrax toxin protein key, an alchemy key, Francis Scott Key, a keystone and Stevie Wonder's album "Songs In the Key of Life." The images were printed on one side of the paper, plus another key and a keyhole on the opposite for the front and back covers of the book. The paper is folded and cut so that it bends back on itself to form 12 pages. The finished book is approx. 2 3/4" square.

The second photo shows the book flat, with fold lines and cuts. This is a nifty little structure that could be made much larger with a larger piece of paper. I might explore that a bit down the road.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 19 - Wood and Wire Stab Binding

This is a stab binding book with covers made of 1/4" solid birch. The wood has been cut, sanded, and stained and then had the holes drilled for the binding. I've had the wooden covers for this book cut for some time, but never did anything with them.

The hinge on the front is made from black bookcloth. I've usually done this type of binding with thread or other cord. This time I decided to use 16 gauge copper wire. It was more difficult than I imagined. The wire tends to kink. I spiraled the ends and used a hammer to flatten and texture the wire. The book measures 6"x8"x3/4"thick. The pages are white text paper.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Day 18-Jokers Wild

This is a book I've been thinking about making for ages. I've been collecting different designs of playing cards for years, thinking to make books out of them. I saw the stack in my studio today and figured it was time.

This extra-large pack of cards measures 4 3/4" x 6 3/4". There are approx. 78 pages of deep cream-colored text weight paper. (156 counting both sides). The spiral binding is hand-coiled out of 14 gauge nickel wire, then threaded through the hand-punched holes.

Since my big paper-cutter is not properly set up, this gave me a chance to practice cutting a book block with and X-acto knife. The cut turned out not bad. Punching the holes was harder. Next time, I'll find a better way to line them up and punch them than with a hand punch that won't do more than 4-5 pages at a time.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 17-Another Hair-on Hide Journal

Today's book is a repeat. And you're likely to get quite a few more of these little hair-on hide journals before the year is done. Well, I didn't say I would make something totally original and creative every day, did I? I just said I would make a book a day. And I love making this kind of book. I can make them all day long. I like the feel of the hair leather, the richness of the paper. I even like stitching them.

So, without further ado, here is a lovely little blond hair-on cowhide covered journal. The grain of the hair on the leather makes a pretty and soft swirl pattern on the cover. The pages are made of a rich creamy, almost buttery colored art paper, hand-torn for character. The journal is stitched with pale yellow linen thread using the longstitch, sewn directly through the leather spine. The book opens flat for easy journalling.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 16-Duffer's Guide

This book is an "almost cheat." I've made this book before, many times, and some of the elements of this one were already made. But since I actually put it together today, I'm calling it qualified.

This is actually my sister's design. Davey board bookboard is covered with a mustard yellow heavy decorative paper in a traditional, though very thin, book form. Inside, a single sheet of paper with computer generated text is printed with funny quotations about golf. The page is then accordion folded and glued into the book covers.

Some of the quotations are: "Golf is played by 20 million mature American men whose wives think they are out having fun." ~Jim Bishop

"Golf is just a lot of walking broken by disappointment and bad arithmetic." ~Earl Wilson

"In retirement I go for a short swim at least once or twice every day. It's either that or buy a new golf ball." ~Gene Perret

Nice little book and very salable. I'll make a lot more of these.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 15-"Achoo!" - A Loose-Leaf Allergy Book

Since I've been not at my best all day from being stuffed up, I decided to use that for today's book. I'd just grabbed the box of allergy tablets and reached for a Kleenex when it all came together at once.

Although today's book is a pretty quick-and-dirty rendition of the idea, I do like this idea and want to try it again soon. I took the allergy box and cut an oval from the front, like the oval on the top of the tissue box. I gathered a dozen quotations about colds and allergies and printed them out, then cut them into small sheets about 2 1/2" square. I folded them in half, some with a mountain fold over the text, some with a valley fold there. Then I interleaved them like Kleenex in a box. The problem was to get them to stay put inside the allergy box, which was a lot bigger than the "pages." Looking around my desk area for a way to hold them in place, I spotted a little origami box, slightly bigger than a matchbox, that a friend had sent me a cabochon in. The pages fit in it perfectly. I taped it down inside the box under the oval slit, pulled the first one, the "title page" up through the slit, and there you have it.

A couple of the quotations inside:

"I used to wake up at 4 a.m. and start sneezing, sometimes for five hours. I tried to find out what sort of allergy I had but finally came to the conclusion that it must be an allergy to consciousness." ~James Thurber

"Asthma doesn't seem to bother me anymore, unless I'm around cigars or dogs. The thing that would bother me most would be a dog smoking a cigar." ~Steve Allen

"Fall: it's the leaves, it's the mold, it's the pollen. Spring: it's the grass and the trees. Dust is bad in winter." ~Marjorie Crabtree


Day 14-Bette Midler Accordion Book

I'm playing catch-up. While I was in Quartzsite, I had no internet access and when I got home last night I was exhausted. So over the next couple of  days, I'll be doubling up to stay on track.

Today's book is a small accordion book with one of my favorite quotations ever... truly wise words to live by. It's by Bette Midler and encapsulates her own uniqueness and creative spirit: "Stay true to the thing that makes you unique, 'cuz you're really a yawn if it goes."

The book measures 2 3/4" square. The board covers are covered with decorative paper. The text was computer generated. It was printed on beige text paper, then cut into strips, glued into one long strip and folded in an accordion fold. The text was then glued to the boards with a pair of ribbons caught beneath for tying the book shut.

Accordion books are always fun to make, not too hard and, I think, fun to read.

See you tomorrow.