For the longest time I didn’t keep a journal. I used to write one religiously, but somehow it began to feel like a burden, and the pages so heavy with emotion I decided it best to let it all go. But this March, after some five years of not keeping any type of personal account of the goings on in my life, I found myself drawn back to it. I made myself a small journal that fits even in my smallest purse – quite plain and simple, but with a splash of colourful oversized floral patterns on the endpapers.
The pages are 100% recycled paper: rough just the way I like it, and with imperfections that help me get over the imperfections of my handwriting that goes from tiny squiggly ants to messy reeds depending on my mood. The dark teal and sea-foam book cloth are a recent purchase, but I doubt I’ll use either on the books I sell as it seems the starch coat finish of the cloth is pretty prone to both staining and overall wear. I’ve used this journal for a bit under two weeks now and its finish is in pretty rough condition already. I don’t mind it in this case, but the quality isn’t up to par with what I like to offer in my shop, even though there are always people who enjoy the distressed look…
Next up on my bookbinding to-do list are some small Coptic bound journals with leather spines, and some new bullet journals, too. On the mixed media front it appears there’s an odd body of work emerging – a bit moody and haunting. I’m curious to see what comes next…
Last weekend I needed to create something entirely different, something made just for fun. So, I set out to make a kaleidocycle artists’ book! As a person intrigued by math, and geometry especially, I found this project a real treat. And here it is: my very first kaleidocycle, made for my own amusement to celebrate the end of a long writing project and the seeming endlessness of a kaleidocycle.
And just for insanity’s sake I decided to create the lettering using 6mm tall reverse stencil letters I cut out individually. (Mind you, I’ve done much smaller crazy letter cutting projects before, with less haphazard results.) While working at the letters I half-purposefully created myself a distraction free zone by placing the letters on my tablet, keeping me from writing anything stupid online until I was all done with the letters and the urge to comment had subsided…
I’m still taking it easy with bookbinding: lots of fun projects, loads of new ideas, and a new journal for myself in the making. For those in need of a fun paper project: artist Paula Beardell Krieg shared a template for a kaleidocycle on her fantastic blog not too long ago, so if you’re itching to make one yourself, her blog is a great place to start! She frequently features brilliant projects, often with templates/instructions, so, off you go to explore!
Vastness suddenly in all its glory. It’s an artists’ book I made for the Pushpin & Poetry publication series in a limited edition of 10 copies. It’s a monocular-like cylindrical object with text inside and out. It can be read by rotating the cylinder or by peering through it. You ask: how is this supposed to be a book? Artists’ books can take many shapes and formats, but if you’re stubborn and demand a book has to have pages in order to be a book, just think of the transparent sheets with words on them as the pages of this book.
As I mentioned in Monday’s blog post this artists’ book is also my entry for the #AreYouBookEnough Instagram bookbinding challenge. The challenge has a changing monthly theme, and this month the theme is ‘peace’. After hearing the theme I instantly knew I wasn’t going to go with the more concrete, opposite-of-war kind of peace, but with the feeling of peace. I don’t remember a time without depression. I’m not exaggerating, I literally don’t remember a time without depression. It’s something that has been a part of my life from a time before I had even heard the word for it, ebbing and flowing as years pass. That being said, I do know peace. Lately there seems to be more and more of it. Life is mostly good. And suddenly: sudden vastness suddenly less vast / water less restless.
I didn’t expect to experience the kind of joy creating Vastness suddenly gave me. I haven’t really known that feeling since making some crazy strangely shaped boxes over 12 years ago while still in school studying bookbinding. There’s just something so special about making a thing with no instructions whatsoever. A part of me truly enjoys all the problem solving and math that goes into engineering an idea into reality. Had I wrapped the cardstock core for the cylinders once more round the mold I used, the finished piece wouldn’t have come out of the container. It would’ve gone in, but getting it out intact would’ve required more dexterity and patience than I can expect from most people. I also could’ve used just clear plastic for the see-through part, but it would’ve been too bright, crisp, and clear. Adding in disks of mica made the experience of peering through the cylinder like looking into water – more deep, more organic, and ever so slightly muddy. All these little details add up, and from out of nowhere appears the perfect balance between artistic creativity and practical product design.
If you want to see some behind the scenes photos of the creative process of this piece, take a look at my previous blog post.