I’ve been in a suspiciously good mood lately and itching to make something quite different for a change. This beauty of a book is the result of it all. I often wish I could marry my love for bookbinding and mixed media better, but as a bookbinder I’m usually too obsessed with durability and functionality to make it happen. But since vellum as a material is very durable, I decided in this case I could be a bit frivolous with the rest of the book.
The spine is cut from a 19th century document with both printed text and handwriting. (These legal documents aren’t rare at all, so please don’t be terrified by my chopping up of history.) I’ve used some reindeer vellum (or more accurately parchment, as vellum is a word traditionally reserved for parchment made out of calf/goat skin) in the past, but I’ve never been quite satisfied with how greasy it can remain after all my attempts at degreasing it. The reindeer vellum isn’t made for bookbinding purposes, so properly degreasing it as it’s made is most likely not a priority for the manufacturer. So by repurposing these old great quality vellum documents I get to make something beautiful out of something now practically useless, and as this vellum has lasted for 150 years in great condition, it’s bound to last a good while longer if treated well.
The covers are made out of lovely greenish-brown waxed lokta paper I brought home from London. I can’t decide if it looks more like leather or stone, but in any case it has a lovely soft, almost velvety feel to it.
More about another bookish mixed media project on Monday already! I’m working on an editioned artists’ book in a very untraditional format.
PS. Don’t forget today’s the last day to apply for the one-on-one bookbinding feedback opportunity I’m offering to two lucky bookbinders on Instagram – check out this post for details! I have already received a dozen applications, but I’ve yet to check out anyone’s work with feedback in mind. Having early favourites would only make my decision harder come tomorrow!
White on white never fails! Like I mentioned on Monday, this year is turning out to be the year when I dig into my personal supply stash and work with the most precious materials. For this wedding photo album I used some vintage lace and antique hand-woven linen from my personal stash.
The linen fabric was passed down to me by my mother along with some other family heirloom fabrics, and I’ve been using it very sparingly. It has a gorgeous silky sheen I’ve never seen on any other fabric. I only have a long and narrow strip cut from the selvedge – maybe the leftovers from the making of some fabulous bed sheet – so I’ve been on the lookout for something similar from the day I first put my hands on this fabric. So far no luck, but it has to be out there! Until I find some more, this fabric continues to make extremely limited appearances in my work.
The cotton broderie anglaise is also one of the prettiest I’ve seen – so beautifully made and in perfect condition. It gives the front cover that final touch of something special. One the inside, that job is up to little specks of gold on the white endpapers. All pretty minimalistic, but still so very elegant.
January has treated us with some beautiful days, and finally it’s possible to take photos as late as twenty to two in the afternoon! I wish I could bottle up the wintertime daylight for bleaker moments year round; it feels so precious and rare it should be able to fix any bad mood. Right now I’ll have to settle with celebrating the small victories, like finally getting proper photos taken of this gold-spined album I made in the darkest days of 2017.
As promised, 2017 will also be a year for more tutorials: Next Thursday I’m sharing with you a beginner-level bookbinding tutorial perfect for some super special Valentine’s Day gifts! See you in a week!
Thanks so much for your wonderful response to last week’s blog post of tips and resources for beginner bookbinders! I truly appreciate all the messages and likes you send my way! As I also got to answer quite a few bookbinding related questions, I came to think of making another Instagram Office Hours session happen sometime soon. Maybe even with one-on-one feedback/coaching with a few lucky bookbinders on Instagram! What do you think? Want me to look at your book photos and tell you everything you’ve been doing wrong? Just kidding, I’m actually pretty nice, and I’m good at giving actionable feedback.
This year I have every intention to spend more time away from art and bookbinding. To most people that sound like a terrible idea, but not to me. I’ve mentioned before I’m writing my second poetry book, and writing requires more room for breathing than I had last year. I was invited to perform at a local poetry club last Tuesday, so I had a pretty good reason to go into editing mode and finally put together something that resembles a near-finished text. It felt great, the performance went really well, and I had a fun night afterwards. So, now I hope to pick up from where I left on Tuesday and assemble more decent text now that I’m on a roll.
Between the hours of rearranging text both in files and as a cut up mess on the living room floor I made some new bullet journals for the shop. There are still some bullet journals with kraft paper pages left from the earlier lots but the situation with the white dotted grid journals was getting desperate. To ease the situation there are now six large bullet journals and two slimmer ones now available.
These slimmer bullet journals are just the thing for people liking the tall and slim Traveler’s notebooks but wanting something more unique. The measurements aren’t identical, though – the slim books measure 13×20,5×1,2cm / 5.1″x8.1″x0.5″, giving you a bit more width than the Traveler’s notebooks. The larger bullet journals measure 14,4×20,5×1,2cm / 5.7″x8.1″x0.5″ and both have 72 pages of off-white 90gsm drawing paper with grey 5mm dotted grid. You can find the larger bullet journals here, and the slim ones here. As always, only one in each colour was made, so speed is your friend if you’re after something particular!
Funnily enough I seldom get papercuts while binding books, but poetry gets me every time… And my next project is a mixed media related one, and one that will most likely give me bleeding fingers, too.