Resuming our scheduled programme, I have been making a lot of books lately.
I've finally found a way to watch tv again without feeling like I should be doing something more productive. (Actually, most of the time I don't watch live tv because most of it is shite; I'm catching up on taped shows and movies.)
Remember my wonderful workshop with Adele Outteridge? Well, these are the result of my getting a bit obsessed with the sheer beauty of coptic binding. The fact that you need no special tools is also a big plus. So I have set up a 'clean paper' working space in the loungeroom and can now get busy with my hands whilst watching stuff, or helping Bumblebee with his homework, or chatting to Best Beloved as he cooks dinner (such a Prince Among Men).
They're all blank books, and when I get my marketing sussed and my prices worked out, I hope to sell them. (Of course, if you really want any of these NOW, drop me a line.)
Anyhoo, here's a sample of the books:
this is what coptic binding looks like, up close. Lovely plaited bands of waxed linen thread.
This is one of the earliest books I made, and it is stuffed with lots of scraps of paper I had hanging around in my plan drawers amongst my really crappy early art school drawings. I used some leftover proofs from a print edition done late last year (monotype and letterpress), and whilst pulling out all the paper found a few more old prints which I will use for future covers.
Here you can see the inside pages; not only different papers, but different sized papers, which I think would make a really fun sketchbook, as bits of one drawing/writing/print would overlap onto others.
Another old print proof for the cover: monotype and solvent transfer. Used odd paper again, and played around with the thread and button tie -- this one has a button on the front, and an eyelet on the back cover, with the thread interweaving between the two:
I was listening to the Charlie's Angels soundtrack today with Bumblebee and remembered how much I liked the song 'Mr Tangerine Speedo', and for some reason thought about this sketchbook while I was listening. I've used all-new materials with this: fresh acid-free drawing paper and a gorgeous orange Indian khadi paper for the cover, with a grey-blue button for the tie.
'Mr Tangerine Speedo' features a celtic weave spine, which gives the book a bit more stability.
A different format -- long and landscape. Using fresh materials again, and white waxed linen thread.
This book uses 'rusted' paper for the cover, another thing I learnt from Adele. I used ferric oxide to literally rust the paper, and the effect is gorgeous, albeit not very acid-free! Not a book to last a lifetime, but nice for a couple of decades.
Another view of my rusty book.
And lastly (for this post, anyway: my dinner is almost ready):
(woops, sideways, Miss Jane) This is a little number I made quite early on, from drawing paper and black card. sometimes I think the buttons are a bit too much (can you tell I collect buttons?), and other times I think they're pretty funky. The best thing about them is that
you can wind the thread around the buttons anyway you like, with equal enjoyment each time.
So there you are. A new obsession. I'm just designing a swing-tag to hang off the books (which will be marketed under my moniker, Ampersand Duck). It is going to emphasise the fact that these books are hand-made, no machines, no guillotines. I think there's enough slick-looking sketchbooks in the world. I plan on keeping it real. Each book unique, all have their own personalities. A bit like cabbage-patch dolls (!) I'll pop more up when I get the chance.