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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book 208 - "Rose" - A Round Palm-Leaf Binding of Rose Windows

Since I liked  the palm-leaf book I did the other day, I thought I'd try another one... but different. So I made it round. I came across some gorgeous photos of stained glass rose windows from churches all over the world and picked a variety of them to use.

First I had to size all the photos so they were exactly the same size and perfectly round. Then I printed them out on good satin finish photo paper. I glued each photo onto a backing of black pearlescent card stock for extra stability then cut them out. I recently bought a circle cutter, which helped keep them nice and round. I made two covers just a tad larger, also with a rose window photo, then added a black disc label with the word "Rose" spelled out in smaller circles.

The binding is merely a length of sturdy black linen thread sewn through a hole dead center in each disc, with an irridescent bead knotted onto each end. You can pull the window pages well open to see the detail in each window. When closed, the excess thread is tied around the book and wrapped around the beads.

I have to admit, this came out much nicer than I thought it would.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Book 207 - "Muhahaa!" - A book of Laughter - Accordion Book

Tonight I felt like laughing, so I made a little book about laughing. I've had the vintage image of the laughing man for some time and really wanted to use it. It was perfect for this little accordion fold book that features a quotation from Kurt Vonnegut:

"Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do."

I printed out the quotation on a hand-torn 24" long sheet of Arches Rive art paper (wonderful paper), then folded it and glued it into covered boards. The hardest thing was trying to figure out how to get my printer to print a sheet 24" x 3 1/8". But now I know and next time it will be easier!  Cool thing... I learn something new on just about every book I make.

One of the reasons I wanted to laugh today was because of something Allen said to me. He's a morning person. I most definitely am not. He goes to bed early. I usually stay up late and make my daily book after he is asleep. Then I leave it on the table for him to look at in the morning.  Today he was talking about how there is always a surprise and a discovery for him in the morning. Then he added, "I'm like a farmer with one hen, who lays a single egg every night and leaves it in the nest for me to find."

Or, I added, like someone with the cat who leaves a dead mouse on the floor as a "gift."

Anyway... fun little accordion book.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Book 206 - A Red Vinyl JOurnal with Leopard Accents - Long Stitch Binding

Here's a longstitch bound journal. I had a leftover smallish piece of the red vinyl placemat I used a week or so ago and it kept smiling at me in the studio. Then the other day, Allen came home and told me he'd bought me a "surprise." It turned out to be a roll of leopard-pattern duct tape. Does my guy know me or what?

The shiny red vinyl and the leopard tape just seemed a heavenly match. So I put tape on the spine and up onto the covers, folded up some peach colored text paper for the pages, made seven signatures and started stitching. I used some fairly heavy hemp cord for the stitching. It's OK, but I would have loved it if I'd had something gold and metallic.

Instead of punching holes in the spine like a usually do, I tried doing the slot trick. Since this vinyl cuts really easily, it was pretty simple to cut four slits in the spine. Then I just stitched my long stitch binding like a usually do, but this time through the slits instead of separate holds. The hardest thing is getting the cord to lie flat and stay where you put it on the spine.

I do like this color...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Book 205 - Rumi Poem Palm Leaf Book - Shadow and Light Source Both

This palm leaf book featuring a poem by Rumi is my first book made with some of the gorgeous hand-made paper Audrey Hollinger sent me from The Papertrail in New Dundee, Ont, Canada. Isn't it pretty?

I've been thinking about this book for awhile and as soon as I saw the paper, I knew that's what I would use. I've been wanting to do anothr palm leaf book and I wanted to do more Rumi poetry. Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi was a 13th century Persian poet and Sufi mystic. His poetry is magical to me and this in one of my favorites. It reads:

How does a part of the world leave the world?
How does wetness leave water?

Don't try to put out fire by throwing more fire!
Don't wash a wound with blood.

No matter how fast you run, your shadow keeps up.
Sometimes it's in front!

Only full overhead sun diminishes your shadow.
But that shadow has been serving you.

What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is your candle.
Your boundaries are your quest.

I could explain this, but it will break the glass cover on your heart,
and there's no fixing that.

You must have shadow and light source both.
Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.

When from that tree feathesr and wings sprout on you,
be quieter than a dove.

Don't even open your mouth
even for a coo.

I printed the poem out in sections on the computer, tore the sections into individual pages. I also tore the hand-made paper into pages, then glued the poetry sections onto them. The paper for the pages looks gray in  he pix, but it has a perlescence to it that makes it almost silver. So pretty.

For the covers, I used some purple hand-made paper, lined it with the silver gray paper, and put a piece of lightweight board in between, to give it some rigidity. I punched holes in the center of each cover and each page and threaded through a cotton cord with some glass beads tied to the ends. The cords hold the pages together and wrap around to hold the book closed. To open it, you untie the cord and pull the pages apart enough to turn them and read each page.

This is a really ancient book structure, first used for Buddhist sutras. I like the structure and want to do more palm leaf books. This one feels not quite finished somehow. I do know it needs a few hours under heavy weights, but there's something else missing too, some finishing detail. I may have to spend a day or two with it to figure out what it is. When I do, I'll likely re-photograph it and post the new pix here.

SPECIAL POST - A Shout Out to Audrey Hollinger & The Paper Trail in New Dundee, ONT, Canada

My regular readers may recall that Audrey Hollinger mentioned a few weeks ago that she owned a hand-made paper and book binding supplies store in Canada and she kindly offered to send me a few "odds and ends" from the store to help in this project.

The box arrived today and all I can say is ... well! We have a different concept of "a few odds and ends." This was a treasure box! Audrey sent me more than 50 sheets of hand-made paper, made by her and her husband Kevin Martin. Beautiful stuff in wonderful colors and with some really fun inclusions. There were also more than a dozen sheets of hand-marbled paper they had done plus some headbands, linen tape, linen thread and book posts! I think today was Christmas!

It was so kind and generous of Audrey to share this bounty with me. You will all be seeing lots of it in the coming days (like tomorrow) as I use it in my books.

Please do check out Audrey's website at www.papertrail.ca and click on the PDF catalogue.. If you live in Canada, it's easy to order supplies from her. For the US, shipping can be high, so check on the prices first. she has everything you could want for paper making and a growing list of book binding supplies, too.

Thank you so much, Audrey and Kevin. I love what you sent and am going to have great fun playing with it!

Book 204 - Kit Kat - Recycled candy Packaging Book/Journal-Coptic Binding

A Kit Kat recycled coptic stitch journal -  Yep, we are back to the recycled packaging routine. Allen shopped at the wholesale store today so he came home with several boxes of candy bars to be opened and put on the shelf. Including... Kit Kat!

I just cut two pieces off the sides of the box to show the logo. I lined them with some pearlescent gold cardstock for added rigidity. The pages are plain white text paper folded into eight signatures. I stitched them with a single-needle coptic binding with brown waxed linen thread.

Cute little journal.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Book 203 - a Red Flower Book - Folded Book w/ Ralph Waldo Emerson Quote

This is a simple one, a flower book with exploding pages. This whole book is made from a single sheet of 12" x 12" scrapbooking paper, flower printed on the front and white on the back. I cut it into four 6" squares and folded each square into a flower fold. Then I stacked the four folded pieces and glued them together. I also used a small flower punch to punch shapes into some of the pages in random places.

It opens up into this clever exploding flower. On the cover, I printed a line from the Talmud; "Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, 'grow, grow.'"

Inside, I have hand written a quotation from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "All our progress is an unfolding, like the vegetable bud. You have first an instinct, then an opinion, then a knowledge, as the plant has root, bud, and fruit. Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason."

You can stand this on a shelf, leave it closed, or open it up and tie the ribbon so it hangs like an ornament.

Book 202 - Green Leaf Journal with Leather Spine - Longstitch Binding

I made this pretty green leaf paper book with a leather spine and long stitch binding yesterday, but it just did not want to lay closed flat. So I put it under weights overnight. Hmmm, no luck. Still not flat after several hours under heavy weights. So then I dampened the leather spine piece with water and put it back under the weight for several more hours.

Ahhh,... success! Finally flat and very neat. Except... now the leather spine has a few wrinkles in it. Actually, they don't look nearly as bad in life as they do in the photos here. This is really a very pretty book. The leather wrapped around the spine is very soft and the ripples don't seem to be a problem.

The paper I used for the eight signatures is wonderful, a 28 lb Strathmore paper called "Lines" because it has very fine and very faint, subtle lines through it, almost like a water mark. The 118 pages are hand torn. The cover boards were covered with the pretty green leaf paper and lined with leaf green pearlescent card stock. Then the soft leather spine was glued on and the sigs stitched to the leather.

Think I'll make more of these...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Book 201 - A Card Accordion Book to Honor Ella Fitzgerald

This card/accordion book is pretty much a direct copy of a book posted this week by Susan Gaylord Kapuscinzki on her bookmaking blog. Every week she does a "book arts Tuesday" post featuring a different book. This week she made this structure as an herbal with nature prints. I wanted to do something different with it.

Some of you probably realize by now that I love to use quotations in my books. In fact, I love quotations so much, I actually have a website full of them. You can see it at www.inspirational-quotes-cafe.com. For this book, I chose a quotation I love from Ella Fitzgerald, something she said when she was presented with an award. I think it captures what "Mama Jazz" was all about in one sentence:

"I guess what everyone wants more than anything else is to be loved. And to know that you loved me for my singing is too much for me. Forgive me if I don't have the words. Maybe I can sing it and you'll understand."

The structure of this little book is quite simple. I think you can understand it all just from the photos. I used card stock and printed some lines from the sheet music for "God Bless the Child" on the accordion folds.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Book 200 - Candy Apple Red Vinyl Journal - Limp Medieval Binding/Longstitch Binding

Jeez - 200 books! Feels like sort of a milestone. Just 165 to go!

OK, here's today's, a basic journal with an upcycled cover sewn with the longstitch binding--also called a limp Medieval binding when it's put together like this one. I've had this bright, shiny, candy apple red vinyl placemat tucked away for who knows how long. It seemed like a likely character the minute I laid eyes on it today, ready to be recycled. All I had to do was trim it to size to fit some regular text paper folded in half. The book has eight signatures of eight sheets each, folded to  make 128 pages (256 counting both sides). the sigs are stitched with thick white waxed linen thread and I crossed the stitches on the spine to make the pattern.

The vinyl is really shiny (hard to see in the photos, I think) and a very bright red. If I sewed it with green thread and gave it a green end paper and tie wrap. it'd be a Christmas book. I thought about trying to gussy up the cover in some way, but I actually like it very clean like this.

I'm mostly into natural stuff--twigs and bark, hand-made paper and bark paper and real leather, stuff like that. I'm not really much of a vinyl type. But I actually like this very much. It's clean and bright and just plain fun.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Book 199-A Green Checked Plastic Back-to-School Journal/Notebook-Long Stitch Binding

Today we've got another long stitch binding, but not leather this time. Here in NW Arizona, the kids went back to school this week, so I was inspired to make a neat little back-to-school journal/notebook. I used a plastic page-sized envelope I bought in Mexico in May. I just cut it to size for the cover, then bound the edges and lined the outer spine with lime green duct tape. (My regulars here know about me and duct tape!)

For the pages, I used school notebook paper that is gridded on one side and lined on the other, but for added interest (if not quite utility) I let the lines run vertically. there are four signatures of ten sheets each for a total of 80 pages (160 both sides).

I bound the book using a longstitch binding with white Waxed linen thread. For a closure, I used more of the lime green tape, folded it over to make a narrow strip and threaded it through the book at the spine and the two fore edges, then tied it in a bow.

The bright color makes this a pretty little thing, nice for a young girl heading back to class.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Book 198-A Chinese Red Perfect Bound Notebook

This neat little notebook with a perfect binding features more of the Chinese paper I bought a few years ago in Portland, OR. I seem to be on an Asian kick right now. Ah, red and gold... pretty!

Perfect binding makes a very  neat package. The pages of this book are a heavy cream paper with a felt finish. The side edges are cut; the bottom edges are hand torn. With a perfect binding, you stack the cut pages up with a very clean, neat cut at the spine edge. When you're sure the spine edge is really tightly stacked and all the pages are even, you clamp the pages together and paint that edge with a special glue called padding compound. To get a good bond, you fan the pages just slightly in each direction while gluing. When it's dry, the pages are attached together.

I used book board for the front and back cover. They're covered with a gorgeous bronze-colored paper with a swirled satin texture. Then I glued the red-and-gold Chinese paper on the front. (If anyone can tell me what the Chinese characters  mean, I'd love to know.) For a tad bit more interest, I added a piece of  red-and-gold joss paper just inside the cover. Finally, I covered the spine with a piece of red duct tape, well burnished down onto the glued edge of the perfect binding.

This is a neat book, solid in the hand, nicely squared up and easy to hold. As a journalist and editor, I've done a fair number of interviews in my life, without a tape recorder. This notebook would work for standing up note-taking because it's narrow enough to hold in one hand easily and stiff enough to write on while holding it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day 197 - A Chinese Notebook with Japanese Ledger Binding

Today I've got Chinese and Japanese a bit mixed up. This long, narrow notebook is a Japanese ledger binding done with variegated ribbon. But the paper is Chinese. I bought this in Portland, Oregon's China town a few years ago and it's been sititng around waiting to become something pretty ever since. I saw it today while clearing out a box and had to finally use it.

I glued the two pieces of Chinese paper to gold-colored pearlescent card stock for extra body. I cut tan text paper to size, punched wholes in the entire stack and bound it at the top. I threaded the ribbon through some multi-colored glass beads before tying it off.

This type of binding was commonly used in Japan to keep ledgers. It's designed to hang on a hook on the wall. I can see hanging this somewhere you want to have handy access to a jotter--a place to jot down to-do lists, birthdays to remember, scribble ideas. It would add a nice touch of color to a wall.

It reminds me a bit of something I saw a lot when I lived in Holland years ago. Birthdays are really important to the Dutch. They buy a birthday calendar that is long and narrow like this and hangs on a hook. It has one page for each month with just a line for each day where you can write the name of anyone having a birthday on that date. Very often, they hang them in the bathroom, right inside the door. Well, after all, it's someplace you are going to be every day and if it's right in your face, you'll likely look at it and not forget Tante Henrika's birthday.

Book 196-Rook Cards Notebook-Double-Needle Coptic Binding

Today I've got a little pocket notebook that is just so-so. The idea is OK. I made the covers by gluing two playing cards from a Rook game together for the front and two more for the back. That gave the covers a bit more heft and stability.

The signatures are folded from regular white text paper. The problem is that I punched the holes in the covers with a regular office-type hole punch and they are too big. I wondered if maybe larger holes would help it lie flat better, but it just made the covers want to slide around too much. Even the stitching looks a bit sloppy on this. I'm still struggling a bit with the 2-needle coptic binding.

Oh well, I did say some of these books would just be a learning experience. This was certainly that. I might try the idea again later. The size would be handy for a pocket or purse.