A Better Tomorrow has a quiet yet eerie vibe with the use of high contrast black and white fabrics against grainy and blurry imagery. This fantastic collage series is from artist Justin Plakas, whose a multi-media artist living and working in Las Vegas. New Mexico.
December 11, 2013 by Erin Fletcher
December 8, 2013 by Erin Fletcher
The flag book structure has become a reoccurring model in Karen Hanmer’s work. She has quite an eye for transforming flat imagery into interesting movable objects. Bluestem was created in 2006 in a small edition of 25, the work is inspired by Willa Cather’s My Antonia and includes a quote printed on the rear panel.
The grass imagery is inkjet printed on polyester film and bound on either side of the panels creating a double-sided variation on the flag book structure. As you open and close this book a nice rustle is created by the movement of the pages. It’s quite simple and beautiful.
Inspired by the work of Hedi Kyle, you have, on several pieces used the flag book structure. How does this structure best represent your concept?
Women and Cars by Susan King was among the first artists’ books I saw, and it has remained an inspiration. King’s use of the flag book structure gave me a model for everything I wanted to accomplish when making a non-codex book. It pairs multiple narratives with photographs, can be held in the hand and read like a traditional codex, opens fully enough to look commanding and compelling on exhibit, and gives viewers enough to enjoy that they will not focus on the book being printed digitally if that is an issue for them.
The Bonefolder chose flag books as the theme for our 2008 online Bind-O-Rama exhibit. Although my previously editioned flag books were quite elaborate with multiple texts and imagery on inside and outside of the spine and boards, Bluestem appeals to my minimalist side. There’s almost nothing there: just a few words of text from Willa Cather’s My Antonia on the rear board and lines representing grass printed on clear polyester film and paper, yet the piece also effectively represents the boundlessness of the prairie.
Created in 2003, Destination Moon, is another simple flag book structure that involves a complex layering of material related to the moon. Archival images pertaining to the Apollo Manned Space Program are on the reverse of John F. Kennedy’s “Man on the Moon” speech in addition to the song lyrics for Roy Alfred and Marvin Fisher’s Destination Moon, about a romantic journey to the moon.
But when the book is fully opened, all the viewer sees is an image of the space shuttle on its way toward the moon.
Besides the flag book, Karen has played around in a variety of movable and folded structures. In her work Celestial Navigation, the triangular pages can be held in the hand and read like a traditional book or unfolded to reveal star charts. The structure is quite playful and can be folded into fantastic sculpted shapes.
In Pride Prejudice Passion: Tunnel of Love, Karen appropriately uses the tunnel book structure. This works combines text from the classic romance novel by Jane Austen with images cut from covers of the modern romance novel. As the term suggests, the content can be viewed through the length of the structure, similar to peering down a tunnel.
December 3, 2013 by Erin Fletcher
Bookbinding kits are now available at the Herringbone Bindery Etsy shop. These particular kits supply the materials and instructions to bind your own blank flatback journal. Each kit includes paste paper made right here in the bindery with five different patterns available.
1. 6 signatures for text block
2. 2 colored endpaper folios
3. 2 covers and 1 spine piece
4. 1 piece of bookcloth
5. 2 sheets of decorative paper
6. headband material
7. 1 piece of mull
8. 1 needle and thread
9. 1 piece of linen sewing tapes
10. 1 punching jig
11. 1 set of instructions
The instructions were written, designed and illustrated by me. They are easy to follow for any skill level and each page includes helpful drawings to illustrate those more tricky steps.
See the first 3 pages below:
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December 3, 2013 by Erin Fletcher
Earlier this year my family experienced the passing of Richard Gradowski, known by me and my cousins as Dzia which is Polish for Grandpa. My Dzia loved so many things in life and his passions created lasting relationships that touched so many lives. First was his love for Polka music both as an avid listener and talented musician on the harmonica and accordion. I remember hearing the cheerful rhythm of Polka music softly playing from the antique wooden radio in the kitchen upon each visit.
Secondly, my Dzia loved ducks, particularly mallards and loons. Seated at his work bench, my Dzia would carefully carve out the shape of each duck from a block of wood and hand paint each detail with superb skill and patience. These sculptures were scattered throughout the house and even gifted to my mother and aunts.
Lastly, my Dzia engaged in any material regarding WWII. His interest in war, no doubt came from his experience in the 1950s during the Korean War; where he was stationed at a United States Air Force base in DC as part of the motor vehicle squadron. As my family lay his body to rest, a military salute commenced. My mother was given seven casings from the volleys fired. One casing was meant for my Nana, while the remaining six would be given to her children. To honor the memory of my Dzia, I created a clamshell box to safely house each casing.
These are, by far, the tiniest clamshell boxes I’ve ever constructed. Using a thin binder’s board the pieces were carefully measured and cut down using the spring gauge on the board shear.
The boxes were constructed just like a standard sized clamshell box, except the interior tray has four walls instead of three. The trays are covered in navy Cialux bookcloth.
I wanted the casing to be surrounded by a soft material with plenty of padding. After laminating a few pieces of binder’s board to Volara foam, I tightly wrapped the padding with bright white Ultrasuede. The interior tray was lined with Ultrasuede as well and the pads lined both long walls. A piece of satin ribbon attached to the backside of the thicker pad allows for easy removal of the casing.
The case is covered in a matching navy Harmatan goatskin. The exterior tray is lined with blue Hahnemühle Ingres and stamped in gold foil with my Dzia’s name and the year of his birth and death.
Each box was handed out during my family’s Thanksgiving celebration. Sadly, my husband and I could not attend this year for the feast and festivities, but my cousins Meg and Gina sent me some wonderful pictures of the casing sitting snugly in its clamshell box.
December 1, 2013 by Erin Fletcher
The Midwest Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers recently revealed the exhibitors for a traveling exhibition called Plainly Spoken, which celebrates Books Will Speak Plain, a comprehensive survey of historical bindings by Julia Miller. Amongst the highly skilled and wide variety of bindings is a cutaway model by Karen Hanmer.
Karen bound her copy of Books Will Speak Plain as a traditional fine binding, sewn on flattened cords with laced-in boards. Partially covered in a beautiful light blue goatskin, otherwise hidden elements of the structure stay visible in this cutaway model. Tooling is done in blind and 23kt. gold foil to emphasize the location of sewing supports and lacing-on in addition to turn-ins, fills, sanding of the boards and formation of corners. The use of tooling as both an aesthetic treatment and as visual aid is just brilliant!
Although the book may appear to be incomplete, it includes all the necessary details that make a book a fine binding. The headbands are hand sewn using silk thread and the head edge is sponged with acrylic inks and sprinkled with gold leaf. The inside continues with the cutaway theme showing off the leather hinge, marbled paper endpapers, fills and corners.
How did you approach this cutaway binding? Did you study Mark Esser’s models at the University of Iowa?
I’ve made a lot of partially-finished models. They’re useful for teaching and help me remember process. But cutaways are something different since they appear unfinished and fully complete at the same time. Peter Verheyen has loaned me his springback cutaways several times, and I used them for reference when making my first cutaways. I’d admired Mark Esser’s two cutaway fine bindings in the University of Iowa’s online collection for a long time and was able to spend time with them on two trips to Iowa City this spring.
I was able to use my design binding on Books Will Speak Plain twice this fall: for both an online exhibit of cutaways, and in a traveling set book exhibition. For the latter I added tooling to reference the binding process: the sewing supports and lacing, the turn-ins and fills, and the board-shaping.
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The online exhibit that Karen mentioned above, is an annual themed exhibit held by the Book Arts Web called Bind-O-Rama. For 2013, the theme was historical cutaway models. The online exhibit can be viewed here.
Although I don’t know Karen very well (yet), she’s been incredibly sweet and supportive of my work. I first met Karen at her bindery in Glenview, Illinois. My friend, Anna, and I were in town for an exhibition at the Chicago Public Library; where both Karen and I had bindings on display. Since then I’ve kept in touch with Karen, leaning on her from time to time when I needed help.
I’ve had two opportunities to watch her work, which is quite fun. Once when she came to North Bennet Street School to teach us the flag book structure and most recently during the Standards of Excellence 2013 conference in Washington, DC. I hope to have more opportunities like this in the future.
After the jump is a wonderfully thoughtful interview with Karen, where she shares her experiences with bookbinding, teaching and marketing. Come back each Sunday during the month of December for more in-depth posts on Karen’s work in the field of bookbinding and artist books.
Category binder of the month, bookbinding, interview | Tags: , american academy of bookbinding, bookbinding, books will speak plain, canadian bookbinders and book artists guild, cutaway model, don etherington, fine binding, guild of book workers, hand bookbinders of california, interview, julia miller, karen hanmer, leather binding, midwest chapter, monique lallier, plainly spoken exhibit, priscilla spitler, scott kellar, the bonefolder | 7 Comments
November 30, 2013 by Erin Fletcher
1. My husband is an animator for the Planetarium at the Museum of Science in Boston. At a recent event called Cosmic Loops, the planetarium became the stage for musician Ian Case. As a treat from the regular space imagery, the animators got to play around with ethereal visuals to compliment the live music.
2. Korean artist Do Ho Suh just created his most impressive large-scale installation to date entitled Home Within Home Within Home Within Home Within Home. The installation centers around the artist’s previous residences on a 1:1 scale. Each home is built within the next out of blue silk evoking a blueprint. His childhood home, a traditional Korean structure is suspended inside his first residency in the United States, a modern apartment in Rhode Island.
3. Behold the amazing woven optical illusions and other works of Samantha Bittman!
4. Auto-aerobics is a wonderfully convincing 3d-illustrated series from artist Chris Labrooy. By experimenting with stretching, space and interaction, Chris is creating some fascinating and perplexing imagery.
5. Just lovely, lovely fiber art from the talented Emily Eibel. Don’t glaze over the illustrations, they are equally spectacular!
6. After 5,000 hours of work over 3 years, Polish concert pianist Slawomir Zubrzycki has created his own version of the viola organista. The initial inspiration came from Leonardo Da Vinci’s 15th century notebooks containing page after page of various inventions. The instrument is quite striking in appearance and plays magnificently. You can check out the debut performance here.
7. Julee Yoo is quite a talented illustrator combining iconography from Victorian, Korean and Japanese culture with bright bold color palettes.
8. Mark Twain’s little-known book Advice to Little Girls was written in 1865 with wonderful illustrations by Vladimir Radunsky. In this short story he encourages little girls to think independently as opposed to following rules and social cues.
9. Have fun with the quirky work of illustrator/ceramicist extra-ordinaire Amy Louise Worrall.
10. Richard Balzer has been collecting vintage moveable imagery for the past 40 years. And during the past 5 years, he’s been curating a virtual gallery of his collection; turning 19th century vovelles into 21st century GIFs.
Category swell things | Tags: , advice to little girls, amy louise worrall, chris labrooy, do ho suh, emily eibel, julee yoo, leonardo da vinci, mark twain, museum of science, richard balzer, samantha bittman, slawomir zubrzycki, viola organista | No Comments
November 29, 2013 by Erin Fletcher
Enjoy this sweet video of animated origami animals constructed from tissue paper. The creators behind this ad campaign for the Japanese paper manufacturer Nepia were able to seamlessly transform from one creature to the next.
November 19, 2013 by Erin Fletcher
The Secret Belgian binding is just one of many structures on my long list models to make. With the aid of a tutorial posted on the BookArtsWeb tutorial and references page, I was on my way to checking this structure off my list. Unfortunately the link seems to be broken now. However, within this post you’ll find my instructions, which are very comprehensive and any skill level can complete this simple structure in a matter of hours. So let’s get started*:
*This tutorial is for a modified version I’m calling the Top Secret Belgian. This version of the structure is sewn differently and extra steps are taken to hide the interior thread.
- binder’s board for 2 covers and 1 spine piece
- decorative paper
- paper to line covers and spine piece (aka paste downs)
- colored thread
- text block (3-5 signatures, about 3-4 folios each)
- bone folder
- glue brush
- scalpel (preferably with curved blade)
- dividers (optional)
For this tutorial I bound a copy of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. My inspiration for the covers came at the moment in the story when the main character begins to tear away the maddening yellow wallpaper in a desperate attempt to relieve her agony and pain. Whatever you choose as your text block, whether it be a short story, poetry or blank pages, prepare those now and fold to their final size.
From the text block, measure the height of the signature and add about 5-7mm. Measure the width of the folded signature and add about 3-4mm. This will determine the dimension of the covers with added squares.
The height of the spine piece will be the same as the covers. The width is determined by the thickness of your text block. Pinch the text block about 20mm from the spine, measure the flared out signatures. Add 2mm to this measure to find the width of the spine piece.
text block height: 201mm
text block width: 121mm
text block thickness: 10mm
cover height: 208mm
cover width: 125mm
spine piece height: 208mm
spine piece width: 12mm
Cut down the decorative paper to include excess for turn-ins (about 20mm, less for the spine piece). Cut down the paper for the paste downs, allowing a 3mm margin on all sides. Glue up the decorative paper and cover both boards and spine piece.
Trim out the inside of the covers, so the turn-ins are even and straight. This can be done quickly with a set of dividers. Simple measure out the desired distance, lightly score a line along all four sides. Trim off excess along scored guideline with an x-acto or scalpel. Tear away the excess by pulling toward the edge of the cover.
Glue down the paste down onto the spine piece and set aside under weight to dry.
Prepare a jig for punching holes into the covers. The holes should be evenly spaced along the height of the covers allowing for a fair amount of sewing stations. Using an awl punch the holes 16mm from the spine edge. The needle on the awl should have a continuous gauge and not be graduated. This way all of the holes are the same size.
November 12, 2013 by Erin Fletcher
Beginning in December, interviews will be back starting with the wonderfully talented Karen Hanmer. Come back on the first of December for the interview. Throughout the month, I’ll be featuring Karen’s work and asking her a brief question about each piece.
I received a lot of intriguing suggestions for future interviews from past interviewees. So stay tuned each month for more thoughtful and in-depth interviews with bookbinders, book artists and more.
November 6, 2013 by Erin Fletcher
For the past few months, I’ve had a Nag Hammadi model sitting on my bench, provoking me. I finally found the time to sit down, examine and recreate the model (which belonged to my lovely friend Anna). This particular binding is based off one of the mid-fourth century bindings, which were unearthed from an urn near the town of Nag Hammadi in 1945; the structure was quite simple to construct.
For my Etsy shop I’ve created a simpler version by leaving out the cartonnage and papyrus, while incorporating bright buffalo and goat skin. These blank journals are filled with kraft paper and are quite suitable for the traveler and homebody alike. The image below displays all the pieces that come together to make the binding.
The journals are bound in soft and supple leather. In addition to the wrap-around tie, there are ties at the head and tail to keep your pages safe and secure. Journals are available in a five different color choices, from sea foam green with red accents to…
mauve with maroon accents. See them all at the Herringbone Bindery shop!