Thursday, July 24, 2014

Book House (a Little Free Library)

Up the hill, I think it was Edgecroft Road in Kensington, we spotted another little library, not officially connected to the Little Free Libraries and registered, but in the spirit all the same. This one, a "Book House," in a '70s style. About five books fit inside. And its night light is a sweet miniature lantern that you can plug in yourself.

More about the Little Free Libraries on their website.
See a map of them all over the world. Find the one(s) near you!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lines of Communication: An Accordion in a Slipcase

I woke up with the image of painted black lines. The day allowed me to follow the vision. And add to it. What was it?

Pipes? Routes? Electrical wires? It wanted to be a kind of accordion so it would keep moving even after being cut up, because of course I was going to cut it up.

Lines. Connections. Lines of Communication. Two separately wrapped hard covers. Seven single sheets, folded in half, fold at the fore edges, glued to themselves at the spine. Separate 16-panel accordion woven through slits in each of the single pages, glued down on the fronts of the pages only.

Horizontal layout, opens upward.

Still can see the title.

Completely open.

Detail that shows the accordion woven into the pages.
Note the splot from the big sheet.

The back. You can see the unpainted backs of
the accordion.

The back, showing how the structure works.

The front, looking more typically bookish.

Top view. Always have to have a top view.


And a covered slipcase: two pieces of leftover painted paper
laminated to a scrap of Stonehenge printmaking paper, let dry,
marked, scored, and folded up 
(Folded Slipcase, page 222 in Making Handmade Books).

Title added with a brush and black acrylic ink.
More lines to come.
And instructions to be posted soon!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Yes, You Can Use Acrylic Inks on Museum Board

I had a cover dilemma. I wanted my covers to match the colors of the painted paper inside the book, but I knew I didn't have corresponding acrylic paint to match. I also knew I didn't want to distress the boards, so perhaps acrylic paint wasn't necessary anyway. Straight acrylic inks will normally warp the boards: they are just too wet. Mixing the ink with gesso would work. I used that mixture for the stencils for my 2004 book Night Monster. But I had not tried it for the covers. It turns out to create a nice faux marble or impressionistic effect. Here's an example.

Gesso on container lid for a palette, 4-ply museum board,

Draw with dropper tip.

Take brush with a little gesso and brush away from the lines.

Add more color, if you like.

Continue brushing away from the lines with the gesso.

More ink. Then brushing.

You could stop here.

Add an accent color, if desired.
This is Indian Yellow.

After teaching how to distress boards using acrylic paints for so many years I had apparently stopped thinking about the process. Long ago, I had banished the acrylic inks from the covers. I have a feeling there is more to explore.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Another World with a Little Free Library

I thought I knew my neighborhood, but it turns out there are streets with well-worn me-grooves in them and streets that don't know my feet at all. And I don't know them, even though they are two blocks away. For whatever reason, they are not in my path to anywhere, haven't been incorporated into a routine walk, and so they sit quietly (or maybe they party), and I have no idea what's going on. I justify this by saying I can't possibly walk by every house on every street every year, but now I wonder. The roads are in frantic upheaval this summer as the water company and the cities and the power company dig for gold on the pretense of providing much-needed maintenance. Jackhammers, hydraulic things, backhoes and pump trucks make raucous noises during business hours. But the good outcome of all of these sidewalk and street closures (aside from putting in the long-delayed curb cuts and fixing the water lines) is that it has forced me to take alternate routes. And because of one alternate route, I found a Little Free Library that is new to me, only four blocks from my house, but may have been there all along. I like it because it and its yard evokes another world. Now it will remind me that there are other worlds all around me, even though I've known this one for more than twenty years.

More posts on Little Free Libraries here and here and here.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Book Cloth, Gold Ink, and a Toothbrush

The FW pearlescent colors are opaque and can be used to quickly decorate or embellish book cloth. Use the dropper tip to add color to the bristles. Holding the brush facedown above (about a handspan) the book cloth, draw your thumb through the bristles to make the splatters. The ink generally will wash off your hands with soap and warm water, but if you want to be perfectly sure your hands will be clean, consider wearing gloves.

The Mazuma Gold, shown here, is a bright gold that shows up well on most colors of book cloth.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

When Nature Inspires Books

Gomphrena. I just met a plant named gomphrena. I've walked by this plant every day for weeks? months? But it took another pair of eyes to call my attention to it. 

My neighbor tends the neighborhood botanical garden (hers) and while she's lucky with plants and seems to have a golden thumb, she works very hard so the garden will thrive. My friend admired this plant, and later, I was able to ask the neighbor about it. The branches grow like some kind of scientific diagram or crystalline entity, and very angular, with tiny purple flowers. I told the neighbor I wanted to paint it. She let me clip off a few little branches. Some sources list it as "bachelor buttons" but it isn't. I think she said it is in the amaranth family.

Sometimes I just want to capture nature so the piece feels true to life. No subtext. Not trying to express anything else. I dipped a twig into sap green + white acrylic ink and painted the branches. A small round brush for the leaves. A small roundish/moppy brush (that I think was originally from a child's watercolor set) was dipped in purple for the flowers, occasionally using another brush with just water first and letting the purple spread. Painted a full sheet of Velin Arches this time, with the intention of making several objects.

Portfolio with ribbon tie. Since I painted the plant life-sized I wanted to be able to see most of it. The scale of this portfolio seemed about right. (Instructions on page 224-225 in Making Handmade Books.)

Small Coptic herbarium. I added the glassine pages so I could include the actual pressed flowers as well.

(glassine page with pressed gomphrena on the left)

Tiny Coptic. I decided that the scale of this book was so tiny that it would need a smaller pattern, so I added more plants before I cut the paper into smaller pages. 

This structure and size are nearly the same as the one in this post, but with one subtle difference. Instead of taking the needle between the previous signature, I counted two gaps up before I took the needle through and made the link. I also measured out longer pieces of thread before sewing. 

Here is a comparison of the Coptic patterns that can be made. Link on the left (linking through the gap immediately above the signature), and the chain on the right (linking through the gap two up from the signature.)

One natural inspiration. Three projects.

Now it's time to write a couple poems and add a title or ornament to the green cover.