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.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book 153 - Red Triangle Accordion Fold Handmade Book

We have another really small handmade book today. That's probably because the only paper I had that was in a long enough single strip to make this fold was our cash register receipt paper. Not very wide.

I got this structure from Shereen LaPlantz' "Cover to Cover," the first book on bookmaking I ever owned. It's really quite simple. You just fold your long long strip of paper in a triangle, then a straight fold, then another triangle in the other direction, then another straight fold, etc. It's very similar to folding up a flag, if you've ever done that. The covers are mat board covered in a decorative Japanese paper. Ribbons are glued between the covers and the end papers, then the folded accordion is glued onto the insides of the two covers. Tie it up and you're done.

One point LaPlantz makes--and I can verify it from personal experience--is that when you are making these kinds of folded books it is crucial to be very exact with your folds. Points must be perfect, lines all straight. A really small error in the folding will compound rapidly and throw the whole thing off by the time you're done. Ask me how I know!

I've been poring over bookmaking books the last few days and I'm getting very anxious to start making some more complicated structures, some that will take more than a day. What I will likely do is have a few going at a time so that I can finish one every day for posting. I think that's kosher for the challenge.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book 152 - A Medieval Limp Binding Leather Journal

After all the time I've been making these leather long stitch journals, I finally learned a name for them today. They are called medieval limp bindings and they go back to about the 14th century. Who knew?

This is a pretty little book. The leather is a lovely soft pale blue/green and I've stitched it with bright green waxed hemp cord. The paper is just lovely--Neenah "Sundance," a velvet-finish ivory paper with good weight. The pages are hand torn for a nice deckled edge. The book closes with a hand-looped cord in the same green hemp that wraps around a vintage bakelite button.

When I'm ready to start selling off this collection next year, this book will definitely sell. Nice...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Book 151-"Banned Books" - A Book cube-Handmade book

Here's a silly little thing. I came across this fold in a book today and decided to try it. I got a template off the internet, but it was a bit off (or I just measured and cut it wrong). It has gaps in the cube.

I do find it rather amazing--not to say annoying--that I can measure things not once, not twice but several times and still have them not fit when I cut them. How can I keep getting it so wrong?

Anyway, back to the cube. The six sides say "I read banned books. Don't you?" The text/image was created on the computer and glued onto the cube before scoring, bending and gluing. The cube itself is made from a heavy green card stock.

Quite a simple thing, but mine own...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Book 150 - Because I Collect - A Tape-Bound Handmade Journal

Second post today. I needed something fairly simple today that didn't require a lot of thought. And I didn't have an idea. Then I saw a box of plastic zip-top sandwich bags and realized they could be pages in a book.

As I played with the idea, I decided I didn't wanted all plastic bag pages, just a few. I cut some white card stock to size for pages and made a tape-bound book, interspersing a plastic bag after every two or three pages. I decided on a tape binding because I didn't want to sew through the flimsy plastic. I knew the bags wouldnt' hold up. I've used the tape binding once before in this challenge. It is dead easy--no stitching, no glue--and I actually like the finished look. And I like that it allows the book to open completely flat.

Basically you just lay two pages side by side and tape them together at the join. Turn the right page over the left, lay down another page and tape it to the last one. Turn it over, butt another page up to it and tape them together... and so on until it's as thick as you want it to be. The covers were added the same way.

For this tape bound book, I used red duct tape (you might realize by now it's one of my favorite materials). After the block was completely taped together, I covered the spine with a wider piece of tape to finish it off.

I think it's kind of fun, and I like the idea that you can use it to collect stuff, not just notes and ideas, but actual physical stuff. I can see myself filling the plastic bags with feathers, leaves, tickets and other bits of ephemera.

Because yeah, I really do collect stuff.

Book 149 - "Don Julio" Tequila Book - Longstitch Binding Handmade Book

A little late once again, since this is yesterday's book. I actually made most of this longstitch binding handmade journal yesterday. But it was a very long day and I was exhausted last night. You see, yesterday was one of the two biggest days of the year here in little Chloride, Arizona, our annual "Old Miners' Day" with a quintessential small town parade, raffle, bake sale, gunfights and vendors. Allen got me up at 6 am (I am SO not a morning person) to take care of last minute stocking and preparing the store, then I was at the cash register most of the day with people lined up. By 6 pm, we were both exhausted. It was a "throw-a-pizza-in-the-oven" night.

By the time I could start on my book, I was literally falling asleep between stitches. Finally, I realized that if I forced myself to finish the book last night, I was going to screw it up somehow. So I crashed. Finished it this morning.

It's made from a Don Julio tequila box my friend Juan gave me while I was in San Miguel, a pretty and quite sturdy box. I cut it up, scored an extra fold line for the spine and trimmed it to size. I lined the inside of the cover with textured black cardstock for a nice clean finish. I painted the spine part with silver, made from PearlEx powder mixed with a little acrylic medium. The pages are three colors of text paper--blue, gray and white, in six signatures.

The stitching is the longstitch binding but slightly different than any I've done before. Instead of punching holes in the spine for stitching stations, I cut four cross slits to sew through. And I wrapped the stitching around the cover at top and bottom. It's a different look and one I'd like to play around with some more.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Book 148 - A Folded Diamond Book - Vintage Book Decor

OK, so I didn't "make" this book. But I did make this book "into" something else. For the purposes of this challenge, that counts.

I love the look of these folded up books, turning old books into contemporary art and home decor. I've wanted to try one for a really long time. Tootling around the internet last night, I found a tutorial for a simple folded book and decided to try it. In this one, you simply cut off the book's covers and spine, leaving the gluing and stitching intact for strength. Then, beginning at the first page, you make a diagonal fold, pulling the upper right corner of the right hand page down into the spine.  Then make another diagonal fold from the bottom left corner up into the spine. Then do the next page. Until The End.

What did I learn doing this? I learned that you should use a newer book or one with better paper. This older book is printed on acidic paper that has yellowed. More importantly, it is brittle. Many times, as I made the sharp point fold at the top, the paper would crack and tear. Newer or stronger paper would solve that. I also learned you need to pay a lot of attention to the exactness of the folds. I think you can see in the photos where my folds improved.  The first ones were a little ragged.

There are many, many fold designs for these folded books, all of which yield different shapes. And I want to try some more. Today, I saw a tutorial being sold on etsy that supposedly has directions for 24 different folds. I think I'll order it. So expect to see more folded up books before the year is out.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Book 147 - Water Lily Book - a Hand Made Folded Book

This hand-made book is a pretty one, I think. I saw a picture of this book today in a book arts newsletter, but it had no directions, or even a hint how to make it. All it had was the name, "Water Lily Book." So off I went a-googling and found a great tutorial at the My Handbound Books blog. It's not a difficult book. Mostly it's just folding with a bit of gluing.

I made four water-lily-fold "signatures" from 6" squares of decorative paper. Inside each of the four main panels, I glued photos of water lilies. The covers are davey board covered with mulberry paper. I added a ribbon to hold it closed. When you untie the ribbon and open the book, it opens up like a water lily.In these two-dimensional photos, it looks a lot like a quilt block, but it does have a lot of dimension and looks quite nice.

The front cover has a quotation from Sri Guru Granth Sahib: “Wealth, the beauty of youth and flowers are guests for only a few days. Like the leaves of the water-lily, they wither and fade and finally die.”

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book 146 - Seeing Past Myself - Eyeglass Accordion Book - Hand-Made

If you haven't read the previous post, the Special Treat post, go do that now. Just scroll down to the next post down the page. I'll be here when you get back up....

Well! Feeling a little weird today about this challenge. Seeing my sister's amazing sculpture/book took a little of the wind out of my sails, I think. How can I ever do THAT?

Still, I'm committed, so here's an eyeglass book. Once again, I got this idea in the store. I often find myself wandering around the store between customers looking for book ideas. Today, I realized we had quite a collection of eyeglasses, mostly sunglasses, that people have left behind. Since most of our customers are tourists just passing through, there is no way to give them back and little chance they will come back for them. They are probably more than half way to the Grand Canyon before they even realize they don't have them.

Good for me, because now I've got a book out of one of those lost pairs of sunglasses.

I printed out a few lines from a poem, "Seeing Past Myself," by Don Iannone, and folded the printed strips into a pair of small accordion fold "signatures" exactly the size and shape of the lenses. I glued the first page of each one to a lens. For eyes, I printed a pair of lovely owl eyes and glued them to the fronts of the closed accordions.

Since I wanted them to stay closed until opened, I needed a way to hold the folds up in place. So I took some wire, bent and curled it into the shape of the glasses bridge, then wired it on with finer, 26 gauge wire.  The little curls at each end stick out enough that the folded accordions can tuck under them to stay put but still be easily pulled out to open. Looks a little like a wire mustache, doesn't it?

I think I still need to  make some sort of base for these to set on when they are not being worn.

The lines of the poem read:
Sometimes I have trouble seeing past myself,
Blindsided by who I think I am...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Special Post - A Treat for Book Arts Lovers

OK, here's the zinger I promised you but let me clear--IT ISN'T MINE. I did not make this book.

You might remember (or note above) that I mentioned in the intro that I learned book-making from my sister, Marilyn Worrix. Marilyn lives in Oregon and is one of the organizers of an important bi-annual book arts conference (which, in fact, started today). For every conference, there is a gallery show of artists' books done by the faculty and staff. Marilyn always tries to make something special for that show.

And boy did she out-do herself this time! This is as much a piece of sculpture as it is a book. And I about fell out of my chair when she emailed my a picture of it.

Here it is. Click on the image to get a larger version:

The basic structural parts are different types of wood. The two pedestals are painted with milk paint. I think all the other wood parts are stained. The two plaques on the front are copper (left) and brass (right), which have been etched in ferric chloride with the letter "G" (left) and the word "Gutenberg" (right). The central book is a leather-covered codex stitched on cords. It measures approx. 4"x5". The four "portholes" above, cut from thick pieces of mica, have a thin mica window, behind which are pieces of metal type. The top book is made of paper that has been torn, died, inked, and otherwise distressed.

After this, I may not make another book for the rest of my life. My attempts here seem embarrassing by comparison. (No, I'll keep going, just maybe try to aim a little higher.)

Hope you enjoy seeing this. Can you tell I'm a proud sister???

P.S.: I'll post my book for today a little later, as soon as I can get it to do what I want it to do!

Book 145 - Recycled Journal - An Ass Kickin' Day!

Finally! Blogger will let me upload pix again.

Here's another in series of recycled packaging blank journals from our store. This one is at least a fun design. We sell a lot of hot sauce and other HOT stuff form this company. They do a whole line of "kick ass" hot stuff. One of our best sellers is their hot spiced popcorns.  This package is for the chili-lime popcorn, and I think the colors and the graphics are really fun.

For this hand bound blank book, I cut the box to size, lined it with a nice, stiff cream-colored cardstock, made alternating signatures from pink and green text paper and bound them with a longstitch binding.

Neat little book, but nothing fancy. NOTHING like what I'm going to show you!!! Hold on to your hats. I will post it tonight!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book 144 - Bluberry Muffin Book, coptic Stitch Hand-Made Journal

This cute mini-journal is another "store" book. We sell these little packaged muffins, two to a pack. And today, while putting some on the shelf, I noticed that the graphics on the box were pretty neat (I tend to notice those things a lot more now!)

I cut the blueberry and banana nut images from the side of the cardboard box and edged them with decorative blue masking tape, then lined the inside with bright golden yellow paper. I cut the pages from the same paper, five signatures of 6 sheets each for a total of 30 pages (60 both sides). Then I stitched them with a single-needle coptic stitch.

I can see that I am going to have to break down and learn the double needle coptic stitch, because I really don't like the way this looks at the ends of the signatures. And I always have trouble getting the book to lie perfectly flat when closed. I don't know if I'm stitching too tight--too much tension--or the holes in the covers are too small, or what? You'd certainly think I'd have this stitch down pat by now!

Since I like these graphics so much, don't be surprised if I make one or two more from this box in the next few days.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Book 143 - A Circle Book From a Coffee Can Lid

The kitchen came to my rescue for tonight's hand-made book.When I spotted the lid from a coffee can on the counter, it sparked this idea. I've got one of those nifty can openers that cuts the lid below the rim, leaving a lip on the lid and no really sharp edge. So I  had the idea to make a stitched book block with half-circle-shaped signatures that would nestle right inside the lipped lid.

First I edged the lid with a strip of  bright red duct tape. to give it a more finished look. I made five signatures from circle-cut recycled paper and stitched them into a block like I'd make for a case-bound codex. Then the first and last pages were glued down into the lid.

On the other side of the lid, I glued a piece of heavy card stock with a wonderful quotation hand written in a spiral. The quotation reads:

"When our eyes see our hands doing the work of our hearts, the circle of creation is completed inside us, the doors of our souls fly open, and love steps forth to heal everything in sight.” --Michael Bridge

I really, REALLY want to find a program that will let me set type in curved lines. Anyone know what I should be using?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Book 142 - Bookmark Fan Book, Handmade Book with Little Indian Girl

Really taking it easy here tonight with this little bookmark fan book. This was another idea that came up by wandering through our store. We sell a lot of these little laminated bookmarks with historical photos--mostly Native American. I've always loved this one. The little Indian girl has so much personality!

For the text pages, I chose a peach-colored paper that blends nicely with the sepia of the photograph. I cut it to the same size as the bookmark. For the back, I cut a piece of mat board to size and glued a piece of cardstock on the back. The stock is a two-layer scrap-booking paper that you can tear/fold/sand to reveal some of the under color. I sanded this piece for interest and to make it look "distressed" and add to the historical flavor.

After neatly stacking the front and back covers over the block of text pages, I clamped the whole thing together and drilled the top whole with a 1/4" bit. Then I connected everything with a 1/4"  nylon binding post from Home Depot.

This little book fans out beautifully At 2" x 6", it would make a great notebook to keep in a pocket for quick notes and to-do lists.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Book 141 - Hair=on Hide Blank Journal - BRindle Cowhide

Backsliding again. It just felt like there was not a creative bone in my body tonight. I'm tired and not up to thinking up great stuff. So I'm falling back onto my old faithful hairy leather journal. Something I can do pretty much without thinking, few surprises. At this point they almost always come out fine.

This hand-made journal is cut from a nice brindle cowhide. The book measures about 5" x 9" x 1" at the spine. It's another longstitch binding blank journal with honey-colored pages and stitched with mahogany linen thread. The end papers are a pretty green decorative paper. The spine is decorated with two square beads of black bone. The book closes with a leather thong. Nothing wondrous or earth-shaking or terribly original, but a nice utilitarian leather journal.

(I'll try harder tomorrow.)