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, May 16, 2011

Book 109 - Coptic Stitch Journal with Textured Amate Paper Cover

Ooh, I do like this one. I've been in love with "amate," Mexican bark paper, since I first saw it some 20 years ago. Amate has been made by the Otomi Indians of northern Mexico for over 700 years. It is made from the bark of one of several trees, depending on the desired final color. The bark is soaked, then beaten by hand to line up the fibers and create the right thickness. I adore the natural swirls and color variations in this stuff.

In the last few years, the amate makers have added a new wrinkle to their manufacture, layering the softened and pounded bark into patterns that are sculptural and three-dimensional. There are some standard patterns but no two are ever exactly alike. I bought several pieces of this the other day, but I daresay I'll head back to the artisans' market to get some more before I head for home. It's just too yummy to pass up.

I used one of these sculptural pieces for the cover of this journal. It's a bit hard to see the texture int he photos, but the cover is quite three-dimensional. Since there are holes in the pattern, I needed to back it with something. I chose a tomato-red recycled paper, which I also used for the front and back liners and as a narrow wrapping for the spine folds of the signatures. This gives a nice decorative look to the spine and gives the book a cohesiveness. The visible stitching is done with dark brown waxed linen thread.

There are 7signatures of 6 sheets each of hand-torn white text paper, for a total of 84 leaves in the book (168 pages both sides). This is just a gorgeous journal. For its size -- approx 7 1/2" square -- it would make a nice guest book.


  1. Oh, wow, gorgeous, and so nice to learn about that paper. I might get a day or two behind in visiting you. I am off to Yosemite for four days. But will check in when I return. and will sketch while I am gone.