New Batch of Books: Serendipity

May 30, 2011

See the post for full details.

Above: the most recent batch of books. More about the books in the post below.

It seems months ago that I started these books. I tore the paper and made the text blocks and then they sat,ignored on a table, while other things interrupted the process. But on Friday I finished a bunch of projects—and took an 18-mile bike ride in the morning before the rain started again, so I wasn't grumpy! With all the energy I had left over I decided it was time to clean up the studio and clear off the tables. The best way to do that was to finish these books (and a bunch of other personal projects), so that's exactly what I did.

It wasn't smooth going, however. Each book was made with a different type of paper (well the two center books are the same paper) so the sizes for everything from boards to fabric to decorative paper is different. It took me awhile to cut everything down. Typically I make a lot of books of the same size at the same time to streamline the process.

But there was some serendipity and I like to enjoy and embrace that when it happens. The book on the left is actually quite stunning in person with an icy blue, shiny fabric that perfectly coordinates with the decorative paper. That paper is something I painted months and months ago. It never went with anything. I got it out and it went with the blue text paper of this book (the book is 9-7/8 x 10-1/2 inches and made with the new ice blue Stonehenge).

I didn't think I had any fabric that would go with that decorative paper and was just about to settle for a dull green when I remembered I'd purchased a small roll or two of odd fabrics also a couple months ago. I went back to where I keep bookcloth and sure enough it was hiding there, about 20 inches of this lovely icy-ness.  The book is a little larger than I like to use, but it is very thin (only 3 signatures because I got interrupted while tearing the paper and didn't take my own advice about not stopping in the middle of a tearing project—one sheet had a wrong first tear, and that means I'm just drawing on that as loose squares!

The center two books are both made with "impulse buy" paper. I was at Wet Paint after they'd received a paper shipment and Verra was cataloging and storing the paper. The Bockingford watercolor paper was sitting right on top. I hadn't tried this paper for years. I'm not a fan of cold press papers in general, but the colors are lovely, so I decided to get some. I am not recommending this paper. It was there, it was pretty, I was vulnerable. I got a sheet each of 4 colors and made a signature out of each color. The large book with the tan fabric (which has a lovely visible weave not really visible in the photo) is 8 x 9-1/2 inches and has one signature each of a cream, a pinky-peach, a light blue, and a mint green. To get that size out of the sheets I had long strips left over, which when folded with the grain yielded the small landscape book in the front: 8 x 4-9/16 inches. It is only half as thick as the sister book, because there weren't that many strips, but another bit of serendipity. I had a piece of decorative paper I'd put away thinking I'd never find anything to use it with and it matched these papers perfectly, along with a strip of blue fabric! Yippee. (The Tan fabric was also a left over piece!)

The book on the right is made with the Stonehenge Kraft (brown/tan color) paper I alerted you to awhile back. I purchased mine at Wet Paint. This book is 10 x 8 inches and has 6 signatures. I'm concerned about the Kraft paper because it cracked considerably when it was folded WITH the grain. I let a large portion of the paper rest for a couple days, hoping it would acclimatize in my studio, but it still cracked with the grain when I continued. I went ahead and made the textblock. I know I'll enjoy working on the paper, I'm just not sure at this point if I can bind more books with this paper. I'll let you know what I find out.

Now that these items are out of the way I have more cleared space. I can start making cases for another project. (I have six or seven I have to do.)

When that's done I've got a couple stacks (yes stacks!) of books that I need to read. Funny how they pile up. But I'm looking forward to sitting down, and painting in these books. Right now I'm just enjoying the clear space, the checks on my to-do list, and the delight that everything pulled together for these books in such a fun way.

I hope, if you were fortunate to have time off this weekend, that you had your own bookbinding adventure. Today, in the U. S. it would be a good day to go out to the Memorial Services held in your area and sketch the soldiers, and former soldiers: to remember all the people who made our lives possible. It's a good time to be grateful. Start in your journal and see where it goes into your life.

    • BJ
    • May 30, 2011

    Roz, your books are so beautiful. I know you have classes on those in MN but I am in CA and cannot travel there. Any change you would ever do an online or email class on how to create those lovely books? I’ve tried making my own but nothing like your beauties!

    • Miss T
    • May 30, 2011

    They’re all beautiful, of course, but I particularly love the one on the left.

    • karen
    • May 30, 2011

    Can’t wait to see what you do on the Stonehenge Kraft and Blue!

  1. Reply

    Love the journals and appreciate your insights on the various kinds of paper.

    • Diane
    • May 31, 2011

    Major bummer about the cracking of the kraft-colored paper. These are beautiful books–I am eager to see the one with the various colored signatures. And, wow, the cover paper on the one on the left is amazing.

  2. Reply

    Diane I’m waiting to hear something back about this. I’m hoping it’s a batch thing.

    And if this is DW (there was no email attached) I don’t know what you’ll say when you see the four colors in one book. You might think it very tacky indeed. I can’t quite get used to it.


  3. Reply

    Thanks Bren, I’m a total paper slut! I can’t help myself.

  4. Reply

    Karen, Originally the Blue was going to be torn in the smaller format that Kraft paper was torn into and I would be in that book next. Now that it’s this big wild thing with not that many pages, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it. Maybe a couple days at the zoo would be fun. My summer fling at the zoo. I know one thing, it’s hard to sit here and “pretend” to work, when those books are in the other room.

  5. Reply

    Thank you Miss T. Three other people told me that today in person! When I finish it I will have to bring it to the Collective because it is prettier in real life—more teal-y and shiny. I’m going to have to make more decorative paper using that stenciling technique.

  6. Reply

    BJ, sadly, right now it’s unlikely that I’d do a bookbinding class on line. (I would never do it email.) Keep your fingers crossed for a book, it’s on my life-list.

    The problem with online (since I just taught one at Strathmore and it went really well, so I have a sense of it) is that I like personal interaction with the students. And, as anyone who has ever spent 5 minutes (wait, 30 seconds) with me will tell you, in person I am always going on about other things that are actually important as well (even though they are digressions) and in shooting the videos I had to self-edit my speaking so much that it was almost excruciating!!!

    Also, the on-line class took a lot of time afterward the video production, in responding to students and such. I can’t afford the time away from work on an on-going basis. (Strathmore paid for the lessons and my initial handouts but they left participation on the part of the instructors up to the individual instructor.) Between writing blog posts there and answering student questions I added a lot of time there which was informative for me (as far as seeing what people had difficulty understanding or needed more info on) but the biggest bit of information I got was that I don’t see how a financial model could accommodate that time and be affordable to students (or to me to produce—I understand setting commercial things like a class up on Ning is expensive; Strathmore set that all up and I don’t know what it cost). And when I teach in person I get to see immediately how people are doing with the info.

    I won’t say never (Bond already addressed that!), but I would say it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be teaching online bookbinding at least in the near future.

    So keep hoping for the book, which of course will have to have a DVD!!!!

    • Colleen Pope
    • May 3, 2014

    Roz, I so love your blog and liberal information. Thank you. I am binding some of my own books and wonder about the decorative paper for the covers (casebound). What is the best weight of paper to use? If I were to have my own design printed at a printer(for multiple books to sell) what paper and weight would be appropriate and durable?
    Thank you in advance!

  7. Reply

    Colleen it really depends on a lot of things. Some thin papers are very strong, e.g., the papers people use for marbling. And then they cover their books with those papers. I like thicker papers because I like my books to hold up to a lot of heavy wear. I like to use 90 or 140 lb. watercolor paper for painting decorative papers and for paste paper I used a heavy weight drawing paper the name of which slips my mind because I haven’t been able to make paste paper for several years because of house construction! But it’s got to be at least 100 gr.

    Next it depends on how you cover your boards, how careful you are when you pull paper over.

    So lots of factors to decide on before you buy paper to decorate.

    I don’t have a print shop run my designs on paper, I hand paint all my bookpapers.

    If you’re going to have a print run of your design go to your printer and get unprinted paper stock of the various types you’re considering for samples and bind each sample around a 6 x 6 inch square of scrap binder’s board to test how it interacts with the glue you’re using and how easy the paper is to work with.

    When you decide on one or two types of unprinted paper that you want to use ask the printer for samples of those two papers which have been printed on, they’ll have scraps. And then bind those to test the paper with printer’s ink on it.

    Some printing methods won’t be a problem but others will be a disaster with ink and wet painty hands when in use.

    Your printer should be able to help you get the right ink for the right job.

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