Can’t get enough.

Tonight I put together covers for 4 more books.

Newly covered book covers ready for the next step in the process.
Newly covered book covers ready for the next step in the process.

Two are fabric covered with the same sheer and thin polyester, so I was concerned about transparency and glue soaking through. General messiness. There was experimenting with the bonding material! Fortunately, it seems to have worked. The vibrant colors and brushstroke look of the fabric is offset by hot coral and mustard yellow endpapers that make for a mismatched set. I haven’t thought too much about the signature treatment or stitching [too concerned about the covers working!]. So that will be some fun design and color play.

Next, I bought a funky road map and made the focus of the front cover the state of Colorado. It has those lovely retro colors and cool graphic design. Just fun! The endpapers are an inset of the Denver metro area circa 1995 and the map legend listing all the great cities in the western US. Makes me want to take a road trip!

Lastly, I created some rather wild patterned paper with stencils I made. Black paper for the base with overlays of aqua, red orange and sand. The patterning looks something like sea anemone. That shape and the colors are repeated on the endpapers that are made from sand colored wrapping paper with a black geometric pattern. So far, it’s pretty trippy!

It’s been lots of fun to design each element of the books. Since I am learning construction techniques and trying to perfect my stitching, the format has stayed consistent. The uniqueness is in the choice of papers, threads and signature treatments.

Pretty soon I am going to start exploring book formats…this is so exciting!

Blending.

Well, I’ve been playing with lots of different media while learning to make books — blending paper with metalsmithing ideas, painting, printing and stitching.

While the cover of this book is fairly simple, the endpapers are one-of-a-kind, vibrant, organic patterns.
While the cover of this book is fairly simple, the endpapers are one-of-a-kind, vibrant, organic patterns.

Color, pattern and texture are fascinating to me. This endpaper is crazy with all of it! It appears that I really like the fern pattern that I have been using on the monoprinted papers – ’cause here it is again! The inside of this book was not as interesting as I wanted it to be, so I livened it up with some funky paint. Bottom line, I like the inside better than the outside.

Copper sheet is pierced and heavily patinated to create the front cover inset.
Copper sheet is pierced and heavily patinated to create the front cover inset.

Here is the inset and a glimpse at the cover of the book. It’s an elegant handmade paper with the pierced ginkgo leaf copper insert. Pretty straightforward…then you open the book to that crazy patterned paper. Guaranteed to spur on some interesting sketches or writing.

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The colorful vine pattern paper is a nice graphic complement to the copper inset pierced with ginkgo leaves.
The colorful vine pattern paper is a nice graphic complement to the copper inset pierced with ginkgo leaves.

This book has a similar inset, but is much tamer on the inside. The heat patina coloring on the copper is very pretty with the colors printed on the paper.

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The bandana patterned paper creates a fun book cover.
The bandana patterned paper creates a fun book cover.

This book is covered in a bandana-like printed pattern. It’s optically crazy and just a little too much. I pulled the diamond pattern from the overall print and used it as center designs on the signature spines.

Alternating diamond patterns of the cover paper were used to create signature wraps on the interior pages.
Alternating diamond patterns of the cover paper were used to create signature wraps on the interior pages.

Feeling Better.

Learning coptic stitch has been challenging. But I think I am starting to understand it and am definitely feeling better about it. Repetition is a great teacher!

Here are the second and third books.

The graphic black and white cover is a fun contrast to the colored stitching and signature wraps on the spine.
The graphic black and white cover is a fun contrast to the colored stitching and signature wraps on the spine.

The black and white paper on the cover has that cool cellular look like a microscopic view of a leaf. The interior signature spines are covered in a graphic floral print paper. I monoprinted the papers on the inside covers. While I am not particularly in love with the print, it works here.

The monoprint paper pattern works nicely with the signature spine wrap and the contrasting thread.
The monoprint paper pattern works nicely with the signature spine wrap and the contrasting thread.

Monoprinting papers and fabric has been a fun side trip lately. The cover of this piece is cotton that is heavily printed and colored. I really like the peach paper. It has a crazy, scaly texture that’s pretty unique. The color is out of my usual color range, so the whole project became an exploration of color.

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of this work is about getting out of my comfort zone — trying new techniques, materials and colors. Having no preconceived ideas about creating is a personal boundary that I am finally exploring.

 

The spine is a nice combination of colors.
The spine is a nice combination of colors.
The signature spines are wrapped with this funky, peachy, textured paper. When the pages come together, they create a circle of color on the spread.
The signature spines are wrapped with this funky, peachy, textured paper. When the pages come together, they create a circle of color on the spread.

 

Book One. Done.

For years now, I have been wanting to make books. Not really sure what the holdup has been, but I finally have gotten round to trying this.

The marbled paper cover is bold and elegant. The yellow rivets add some finishing and punch. Black thread ties is all together — literally!
The marbled paper cover is bold and elegant. The yellow rivets add some finishing and punch. Black thread ties is all together — literally!

Coptic stitch has a certain beauty that you can see on the book spine. Nothing is hidden. And the stitch can be used to great effect as a design element. But as I learned in a class I took recently, it’s a little complicated. The class unnerved me because my results were less than. And I have been concerned about spending hours and dollars to put together the elements only to muck them up in the stitching — like in the class!

The signatures within the book are partially wrapped with colored papers that accent the marbled cover. The black linen thread creates a nice contrast!

I have been wanting to learn this though, so I set aside some time to make the elements. And even more time to replay an online tutorial [about 30 times!] to work through the process. The results aren’t perfect, but they’re not bad either. I’ll be relying heavily on that tutorial for quite awhile before I can do this with ease. Practice. Practice.

When the book is open, the wraps on the signatures are graphic punctuation for the sections.
When the book is open, the wraps on the signatures are graphic punctuation for the sections.

Riveting Techniques.

In the early fall, I was fortunate to attend a weekend workshop with one of the metalsmithing greats – Deb Karash. I have long admired her masterful designs and impeccable execution. She has created an exceptional body of work. Though I understood the broad strokes of her construction technique, it was great fun to see how she really puts things together.

After coming back, I thought about how I might bring some of this construction into my own work. I have really just begun to play with the layers. These first explorations are much simpler than I expect future pieces will be. They are also explorations with some materials that I have been considering – and using tentatively – over the past couple of years.

Riveted Pendants

Of course, part of the work is garden oriented! I can’t seems to escape the floral influence.

And breaking free of the flowers just a little – a raven.

Heat patina adds depth to the patterned copper background. Small brass rivets contrast with the large silver rivet. The rivets are both decorative and functional.
Heat patina adds depth to the patterned copper background. Small brass rivets contrast with the large silver rivet. The rivets are both decorative and functional.

By Definition: Fun.

Six books using printed dictionary pages for cover stock. The one-of-a-kind patterning make a unique set.
Six books using printed dictionary pages for cover stock. The one-of-a-kind patterning makes a unique set.

This group of 6 books is something new for me.

I have been experimenting some with a monoprinting style of applying paint to paper. It’s not strictly monoprinting, but is a one-off printing process where no prints will ever be duplicated. This has been pretty fun. And it’s helped me loosen up a little. Generally, I keep my work – graphic design, jewelry and illustration – tight and controlled. The monoprint doesn’t allow that and is forcing a bit of serendipity into my thought process.

The covers of the books started out as dictionary pages [sorry, Webster]. I like words and word play and thought the pages would be ideal backdrops for color and texture. Little of the typography can be seen through the heavily painted surface of the covers which allows for some intrigue. The inside covers are lightly washed with intense color which allows the whole page to be read.

A variety of papers and threads were used to create unique and colorful bindings.
A variety of papers and threads were used to create unique and colorful bindings.

The printed cover pages were paired with additional binding strips at the spine. Contrasting color threads are used to further pop the graphic covers.

Detail of the printed paper.
Detail of the printed papers.

These books were my education in using pamphlet stitch. It’s a very basic bookbinding method. Six books was a sufficient number to learn the technique. I love the flexibility that different materials allow. This could be an endless series of simply bound books.

And it was fun!

October inspiration.

I have a terrific friend — Suzanne Santos — who makes thoughtful, stunning jewelry. She’s thoughtful and stunning, so it makes sense. And she always has a fresh perspective on things. Her work is edgy and elegant at the same time. It has a very cool vibe.

I’ve been wearing these earrings for weeks now and can’t say how happy they make me. They are fun to wear. They are mini sculptures that are always changing their shape. They have lots of movement and the natural steel color is beautiful.

All in all, these earrings [and my friend!] are inspiring me into a better creative place. I am challenged to create something that is equally classic and beautiful.

Thanks for the inspiraton, my friend!

These lovely earrings are swirls of steel. They're kenetic and flowing and simply magical.
These lovely earrings are swirls of steel. They’re kenetic and flowing and simply magical.

The creative bug.

As a kid, I liked to make things and create. Everything was a
source of inspiration. Scissors and glue. Crayons. That new tablet
of construction paper, pure joy. Paint spinners and spirographs.
Even painting with plain water on the side of our old furnace,
where the image was ephemeral as it dried in steamy vapors.
But that impermanence allowed for lots of creative freedom.
Knowing that something is temporary leaves plenty of room
for more creation. Interesting new shapes. A blossom of color.
Intriguing texture. It lets me chase and create ever more.

Whew!

Today I finished a project that’s been hanging there awhile — a metal book. I haven’t made a book like this in quite some time and was stalling. It was time to get it finished!

 

This closure is sweet and simple - hammered flowers with a rawhide tie.
This closure is sweet and simple – hammered flowers with a rawhide tie.

The book is large – 9×12 inches – with a straightforward design. A scalloped hinge and a hammered flower closure are the only elements of interest on an otherwise plain book. The pages are contained with brass post screws that allow for the addition of pages. Heat patina and sloppy solder is used on the hinge and flower elements to add interesting pattern and color on the copper [I love, love, love heat patina!].

It’s simple looking and simply constructed.

Hinge detail
Solder spatter and heat patina add color and texture to the scalloped hinge.