Thursday, July 28, 2016

Book Art: What We Reuse

If you are a longtime reader, you might have seen the post two years ago where I wrote about purchasing a pack of ten sheets of recycled handmade paper at the San Francisco Center for the Book Roadworks event. (If not, you can go to the link, above.) The paper was made by Jillian Bruschera of The Mobile Mill, and when I bought it I had no specific plans for it. I left it out for several months, hoping it would spark a project, and when it didn't, I finally put it away.

Until a few weeks ago. As I prepare more small books for the SF Zine Fest, I've been looking around the studio for materials to use. The paper came back into focus. I found a linoleum block that was partially cut as a demo for a class and decided to form a loose, mark-filled image around it to print on the paper. I also had some paper made with silver gum wrappers in it made by Beth Herrick from long, long ago, and decided to expand my proposed edition from 20 (each of the 10 original sheets cut in half) to possibly 30.

My theme would be sharing ideas. How we might have the same ones but not know each other, how after hearing another's idea we might transform it. That turned into a poem about friendships and how they are lost and found and changed, how an old friend, lost, is reused, in a sense, as a new friend. Friends, recycled. It was going to have laserprinted text, but it really called for metal type, which can also be reused.

The structure decided it wanted to be a Shorts book (page 35 in Making Handmade Books: 100+ Bindings, Structures & Forms), which yielded a pocket. To sew it to the cover, I folded the cover with a pleat in the center, as you would for a Two-Sewn-As-One (page 100). So it is a hybrid of the two bindings.

What would go in the pocket? I had some old card catalogue cards for the base or substrate. And I had a banker's box full of bags of collected ephemera (mentioned in this 2011 post). Now, to put these to use. I only managed to use up one bag. Mostly parking permits, tickets, and stamps.

The edition of  What We Reuse yielded 27 copies.

Available at nevermindtheart on Etsy, and at my SF Zine Fest table, September 4, County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. Hope to see you there!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Storytelling Day by Day

Sit in the garden long enough and you will see bugs emerge that you didn't know were living there. Visit the same spot in a neighborhood and eventually a story will unfold. One morning, a walk showed me this. I liked the image just as it was. It was mysterious. So many potential subjects and purposes can be found in white painted canvases. And the variety of pots were spaced so evenly, too.

A day or two later, I saw change.

Then more. A painting of a cave. Scenery, perhaps?

A few days later, as I approached the driveway I heard many girls' voices. At least half a dozen were milling about joyfully

Then last weekend, a flyer taped to the sidewalk solved the mystery.


And a little memento in the driveway.

Writing a story takes curiosity, a question to start. The story unfolds slowly, and eventually the answer is revealed. Sometimes the answer isn't given, but the reader is still guided through an experience. Better yet if the reader is shown new views at each turning. The unfolding is movement. Something changes. In this case, the scene made me curious enough to keep coming back to look. The scene kept changing, and I kept learning. Here, I've just documented what I saw as a journal, "a daily record of observances." Add a little imagination, a little empathy, and fiction begins.

See also: "The Stakes of the Story"

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I'll Be at the SFZinefest Sept. 4!

All these small books I've been making lately? I've had a hopeful, hidden agenda: my daughter and I applied to share a table at SFZineFest. We've gotten word that we are both IN, and we are very excited. What we've noticed about the Fest is the warm and inclusive community, not to mention the creative books and zines. You don't have to like everything, but everything is represented and priced reasonably, from photocopied and stapled, rough-edged booklets to small press offset and letterpress printed publications and the wide ocean in between. Topics cover the cats and cute to the edgy to the quite-beyond-mainstream. Did I say inclusive? Yeah, I did. That's just part of what makes it great.

I will also have a selection of *82 Review back issues for sale. If you let me know ahead of time, I'll bring a certain one for you.

So, if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area over Labor Day weekend, please do stop by the Zinefest on Sunday, September 4, starting at 11am. It's in Golden Gate Park, and it is free. And we'll be there.

For more info, SF ZineFest website is here.

Some of these are already available at nevermindtheart on Etsy.
More to come! 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Erasure Poem in Concis Magazine

Up now, for your enjoyment, at Concīs magazine is an erasure poem I created from a page from an 1852 book, A Visit to Iceland and the Scandinavian North. I montaged it with two photos I took several years ago: one from Coyote Hills Regional Park and one from my backyard. The book was written by a German woman explorer, and I mentioned it in this post. My poem is called "sit later" and you can find it here. Very happy to be part of that fine magazine.

Go see the poem!

Then come back and see the two photos I altered and used for the piece. Then go there again and read some excellent and inspiring work by other writers. There and back again.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

What I Found Out Making I Found Out

Folded books are easy enough. They generally don't need any glue or sewing, just paper and scissors, and a bone folder or the back of a spoon to make tight creases. They are often the first books we teach to kids and to beginning adults. To use them in finished work, however, we find that they are finicky. The folds don't always align, everything must be precise. Something that has always bugged me is the little crease that remains when you cut on the fold. My latest bookwork, I Found Out, uses the snake book format originally created by Scott McCarney* (from a binder's fold mentioned in a previous post) with three cuts, and I didn't want those little folds to show. The book folds up to 2" square, made from 8 1/2" x 11" index cardstock cut down to 8" square. Sixteen squares make up the pages. I designed it so that the major folds, the ones that needed to be parallel to the spine were folded with the grain. The three little foldovers fold against the grain. I decided not to fold the perpendicular folds, just cut them.

I first folded the major folds with the grain.

I aligned one sheet with the grid on my cutting mat. Measuring two inches down, I cut horizontally at the two-inch mark and stopped at the last fold.

I measured two inches down again, then started at the first fold and cut across to the edge.
Measured two inches down from there for a third time, and cut across from the edge to the last fold again, just like the first cut. 

I accordion folded the book up along the folds, but when I got to the foldovers, I aligned the segments and pressed into place. It worked pretty well.

How a snake book usually looks. The foldovers splay open like tents and pockets.

I didn't need that look or those pockets. For stability, I put three dots of glue at each of the foldovers and pressed together. You could dot all four corners.

Glued, it looks like this. It has a different rhythm.

The white boards are 4-ply museum boards, the brown ones are Davey or book boards. Grain is vertical, to match the grain of the book. I glued the book to hard covers I had individually wrapped in book cloth: one at each end, like bread of a sandwich.

 And repeated 33 more times.

 The book I Found Out is available at my Etsy store, nevermindtheart.

*Keith Smith writes in 200 Books, "He [McCarney] first referred to it as boustrophedon, 'as the ox plows.' This seemed a little obscure, so he now calls it the snake format" (p. 173, Book 101, 1984-85).

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Book Art: I Found Out

Hot off the press! Just finished a new miniature book in a miniature paper box (under 3" in any direction), I Found Out. Letterpress printed from metal and wood type, the box is printed with overheard conversations and painted treasure gold inside. The book is a snake book with mix and match hard covers and a penny embedded in the front. Inside the book are some tiny photos I took of overlooked things I found out on my walks plus a short poem about shyness and overlooked people. The book is also on my website and available now on Etsy. In a future post I'll tell you what I found out as I was making it.