Category Archives: book binding/book arts

The Sketchbook Project

A couple weekends ago I heard about The Sketchbook Project.

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

I wasn’t so sure at first whether or not I wanted to sign up because it’s the end of the year and the project is due just after the holidays and this time of year just starts to get more and more chaotic in my life as the end of the year gets closer.

But then I saw they would be touring and one of the stops is in Seattle, June 10th through the 12th, 2011, and that really peaked my interest. So I signed up and chose my theme, which was difficult to choose from. I managed to decide on “Capture The Flag”.

I’m still awaiting my Moleskine Cahier sketchbook and details in the mail, which gives me time to brainstorm some  ideas. So, do you have any ideas or suggestions for me? Has anyone else signed up for The Sketchbook Project too? If so, please do share. I’ll do my best to share here how things are going with the project once I get started.

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Urban Craft Uprising Summer 2010

Remember this post? Well it’s that time of year again. Seattle’s Urban Craft Uprising Event.

Very similar to the famous Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco, Brooklyn, L.A. and Chicago. It should not be missed.

I love local art and design and supporting local artists. This is the place to see what’s hot in the handmade world right now. And when I say handmade, you will not believe your eyes at some of the creations at this event.

Kari Chapin will be available to sign her book, The Handmade Marketplace, each day from 12pm – 4pm. I’m definitely getting that.

I have a long list of vendors to at least stop and look at. Here they are:

If you’d like to see the full list of vendors before you go click here.

So get your gift giving lists together, and remember it’s never too early to plan for the winter holidays.

After all that shopping I’m sure you’ll be hungry. Just around the corner, near the Experience Music Project, Seattle is hosting a Mobile Chowdown on Saturday, July 10th beginning at 11:00am. Some of the best street eats from Seattle & Portland will be there.

Oh! And in case you think the heat will keep you away, think again. The exhibition hall is air conditioned and there’s a vendor selling ice cream! Mmmm!

Also, don’t forget to watch the World Cup Sunday, 11:30am PDT on ABC. With the way Germany had been playing, I was really thinking they were going to be in the finals. Let’s hope they can take 3rd. I know I should be cheering on Spain in the final match, that’s what my sister would want anyway, but The Netherlands have been on fire!

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Wayz That Goose In Seattle

Hello everyone! Just a little break from these busy few weeks to fill you in on something I did this last weekend with my company in town.

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It was a full on steamroller smackdown at the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle. Well, it wasn’t an actual steamroller using steam…it was noisy diesel.

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But it was still a smackdown and still loads of fun.

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Even for the kids!

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And also for the young at heart (Don’t you just love her outfit on the left? The skirt had a blue poofy slip underneath. So cute!). Seriously, it made me so happy to be around the smell of ink and the clickity clank of letterpress printers again.

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It’s been a while since I’ve had time to play with Clark, my letterpress printer.

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But the whole experience at Wayzgoose put a huge smile on my face to be thinking about letterpress printing again.

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They even had old time blue grass music playing in the background to set the mood (I love the type used to make his music book cover, don’t you?).

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For those of you that don’t know, this is how the steamroller works, just in case you’ve got an ol’ steamroller layin’ around. First ya gotta ink up your plate. Lay that down on a smooth surface, which acts like your chase bed.

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Carefully align and lay your paper on top. Lay a protective plywood board on top of the paper…

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Then here rolls the steamroller, which acts like the platen.

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And voila!

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Hang to dry and there’s your poster size print! We really had a good time.

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There were vendors there showing their work (This poster cracked me up!), selling prints, cards, books, even type…both wood & metal. There was even someone selling a Chandler & Price floor standing platen press! It was too soon for me to invest in one and it needed a fair amount of work, but hopefully someone scored the great deal being offered for that.

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We also got to use a Vandercook press to make our own print to take home.

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I just realized that I totally forgot to take a close up photo of the finished product, but here is a cropped and zoomed in one. Sorry for the lack of quality. I’ll try to remember to take a photo of it for next time.

I’ll also try my best to post whenever humanly possible these next couple weeks while I have company in the country. This week I should be able to get some work done that I can share with you later.

Until then…Ciao!

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Urban Uprising Findings

I know, I know, I’ve been away for a while. But I’m back now, at least until tomorrow. I’m jetting off tomorrow to Lopez Island, one of the beautiful San Juan Islands here in the Pacific Northwest, for a few days. If you’re coming this way for the Vancouver B.C. 2010 Olympics, this would be a lovely, relaxing, nice and quiet spot to wrap up the trip. Shortly after that I’ll have some company in town for a few weeks, so I may be in and out, but I’ll try my best to keep up with blogging. Hopefully I’ll actually have time to work and share some of that with you too.

Today I’d like to go way back. Back to the beginning of the month on the weekend of the Urban Craft Uprising. Can I just say, why have I not been to this before?! It was amazing! I took my camera, but I think I was in such a state that I forgot to take any photos! Ugh! But I’ll share with you some of the amazing booths there.

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I was first drawn to Mugwump. Suzanne Keolker is the amazingly talented designer from Portland and she is so clever and creative.

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I can’t share the item I purchased, because it’s a gift for someone who reads this blog. But I will say that what I bought I received so many compliments on! First it was, “I love your ___, where did you get it?”

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Almost as soon as I could point them into the direction of the Mugwump booth they were making a B line in that direction.SublimeStitchingHow-ToNext up, Sublime Stitching. Their trademark really says it all, “This ain’t your gramma’s embroidery!” You may have heard or read about them before because in addition to their totally awesome and updated embroidery patterns, they also have a book.

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I purchased a pattern as a gift for someone, but I couldn’t resist buying this one here for myself.  I think I’m going to buy some of those flour sack dish towels and embroider them. I’m sure I’ll find other items to embroider too. Here are some good suggestions to embroider on.

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If you’re planning a wedding, how about embroidering one of the above patterns on a tote bag for your out-of-town guests?

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There were a couple letterpress artists there. I met Carol Clifford of Orange House Press and we talked letterpress and calligraphy for a while. She reminded me that the Letterpress Wayzgoose & Steamroller Smackdown is coming up on Saturday, August 29th from 1:00pm to 6:00pm. I think I may take my out-of-town guests to it. Maybe you should go too! It’s free.

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Another gift I bought for someone was from a Seattle artist, Uzura. All the products are made from hemp and organic cotton and screen printed with nature inspired designs.pupcakemix_giant

Do you have a best friend with four legs? Yes, I do mean a dog. I had to stop at local baker, Petit Four Legs because my crazy Kosmo had an upcoming birthday (He’s 7-years-old now!!!) and they make doggie cupcake mixes, or rather pupcake mixes! Ba-dump-bump!! They also make petit fours, hence the name. As dogs can’t have chocolate, this is no doubt the next best thing. Made by a professional pastry chef with some of the profits donated to Homeward Pet, a local no-kill shelter for animals, you can feel happy to purchase their treats for any occassion.

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There were a butt load of jewelry artists, there always are at these types of things. But my favorite one by far was Dotted Line Jewels. I must say, Annie Huntley makes the most gorgeous pieces with the most beautiful gems and she is so kind and so friendly too. Yes, I couldn’t resist buying one more thing for myself, a pair of earrings.

I really could go on and on, but I’ll just briefly suggest you check out Rachel Austin Paintings & other lovelies from Portland, OR for some very original artwork that I fell in love with. For a good laugh look up the local artwork from Ugly Baby shower art. We all could use a good chuckle to begin our day, unless you shower at night, but a good laugh before we go to bed is always nice too.

Everyone have a great week. It’s off to Lopez for me!

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Urban Craft Uprising

If you know me, you know that I love independent artists. There’s a huge movement happening around the globe to support small businesses, especially those selling handmade goods.

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I wish I lived closer to Brooklyn so I could always attend this event. This weekend is The Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco and if I could go anywhere this weekend it would be there.

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I want to go to there (Liz Lemon quote)! However, Seattle has been on this handmade movement for a while now.

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Ladies & Gentlemen? I give you the Urban Craft Uprising. The UCU began in 2004 and used to be a winter holiday craft show supporting independent artists, but this year, for the first time, they’ve started a summer event, which will be on August 1st & 2nd. It’s the largest Indie Craft Show in the Pacific Northwest and we need it, because San Francisco is still too far to go for something like this.

Here’s a look at some of the awesome vendors that will be there.

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I can’t wait to see the work of A Farmers Daughter up close. She’s got some beautiful pieces that brides would just swoon over.

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Just have a look at this bird cage half veil. It’s very reasonably priced. It’s one of those things that make me wish I were a bride every day of the year.

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She does boutonnieres too, so definitely worth a look and don’t forget to bring your guy too. There’s plenty for your man to see.

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Does your man cycle? Do you? Take a look at Vital Industries. How could you not like this hand screenprint t-shirt? I think my friend K would dig it.

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Isn’t this a great hat from Flipside Hats? It looks so Italian to me. What a great alternative to the weekend baseball cap for your guy. Very stylish! And it’s reversible! Awesome (said in a high pitched Will Ferrell voice)!

There’s even soft toys for your kids, nieces or nephews.

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How could you resist these adorable mini marshmallows from Scrumptious Delights?!

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Or what about this little guy from local Seattle artist Softlife? They’ve got some fun looking creatures.

t_robot_cAnd dude! Do you think I could convince local Seattle artist, LuCoo, to make an adult size t-shirt like this? Kids have the cutest clothes!

Artists coming all the way from NYC to local artists from Seattle, Redmond, Bellingham, Vancouver, CA., etc. and many other artists in between. From jewelry, paintings, clothing for children, men, women…even clothing for the real shape of a woman, hand-spun & hand-dyed yarns, 100% natural skin care products, glass, pottery, soft toys for kids, soap, handmade books…

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This necklace from here.

il_fullxfull.66249631This gorgeous pillow from here.

Everything handmade and when I say Indie Crafts, you’ve got to know that it’s going to be unique and one of a kind. There’s gonna be a lot to see and I know it’s going to be loads of fun. You know where I’ll be on August 1st & 2nd and I can hardly wait! Trust me, you do NOT want to miss this.

So mark your calendars. August 1st & 2nd at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. Oh! And check out the UCU blog here.

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A ‘Yes’ Person Makin’ Books

Are you a ‘Yes’ person?  I can be at times, which is why you didn’t see me much last week. This past Friday I took a short, but very much, little break in my day and read this. For me, the money doesn’t even matter when it comes to saying yes to things. I may need it or I may not, but I still end up saying ‘yes’ most of the time to something that I just don’t have the time for. I believe it’s mostly because I don’t want to disappoint someone when I say ‘no’.

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When it all collides I end up dropping anything I have planned for myself and/or my personal life. All for what?! I end up worrying more than concentrating and more than enjoying the opportunity to create something new. I get a bit stressed and find myself skipping meals. And it’s not uncommon being alerted to the fact that even though I’m no longer a teenager does not mean I won’t get zits from certain stresses!

So it’s time for a little change, a sit down for some goal setting and to assure myself that saying no, especially to pro-bono service, is okay. How about you? What do you do when you find yourself saying ‘yes’ to too many things, whether service or work related? Do you have any tips or suggestions that have been helpful?

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The past year or two I’ve studied more and more about book binding. Above is a photograph of part of my Mother’s Day gift I made for my mother. I love the pattern on this paper. I’m seeing patterns like this everywhere! I’m seriously considering designing a new invitation with a similar pattern. I believe it was first seen as an exterior design pattern on cathedrals, churches and abbeys. If I recall correctly from my architectural design class at university, it’s called quatrefoil. Even though I didn’t study graphic design at BYU, at least I can say I’m using something artistic I was taught there in my current job.

My favorite way of book binding so far has got to be coptic binding, which is the style of this book. I always thought it was a Japanese technique, but when I took the class I was surprised to learn  it was actually developed by the Egyptians. Amazing that a technique used as early as the 2nd century is still being used today! Talk about an undying art! I’m so happy to have learned this technique and hope to learn more.

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At the end of each extended calligraphy class I’ve taken the students would have a project they worked on for the class term and we would all put a book together with shrunk down images of our art. But my interest into book arts didn’t hit me until I took my first book binding course at my local Paper Source. After one class I was hooked. I can’t recall the instructors name for the life of me, but I’ve taken additional classes from her and I love her teaching style. Her style is to work with you, not just tell you what to do step by step. She actually makes a book along with you and waits until you’re ready to continue. Seems pretty basic, but you’d be surprised how rare it is that some instructors follow this way of teaching.

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Here is a picture of the inside front cover of the book. The calligraphy on the right was written with my folded pen nib. I think the calligraphy sucks. I’m hoping in the future I’ll see progress from the sorry site of this.98004003Later this month I’m taking a Basic Bookbinding course. I’m sure that will be fun, just like all the others I’ve taken from Paper Source. I’ll be sure to update you on the results.

Later this week I’ll be away on a very important trip. To all those at the National Stationery Show right now, I’m so envious, but very excited to hear and see all how it went. They say the first couple days are the busiest.

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Letters Of Joy (Part IV)

Books, cards and even more books. Michael Jacobs not only knows how to make ’em, he makes them into pieces of art. They’re almost like puzzles or origami.

My third and final class at LOJ was titled ‘Triangle Book’ taught by the extremely talented artist, Michael Jacobs.

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This is how the conference brochure described the class:

“You’ll be asking “How many ways can it open?” when you make this unusual book project. Triangle book is versatile, sculptural, and fun to operate, with a huge variety of ways to insert pages. View lots of samples for inspiration.”

I had been looking forward to this class all day. I’ve taken a few different book binding classes and absolutely love learning the art. I’ve found that many calligraphy artists also dip into book arts and even letterpress printing and vice versa.

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Once Michael began to talk about making the book, the class became fast paced. He’s very particular about measurement and spent a lot of time in the beginning talking about that and other tips. I haven’t tried this yet, but as an experiment take two different 12″ rulers. They can be from the same company or different. Lay one out on the table with inches going 0″ to 12″, left to right. Now take another ruler, going from 12″ to 0″ left to right and line the two rulers side by side with the o” from one ruler lined up with the 12″ mark of the other. Notice how different they are. Apparently most rulers can be all over the place. Again, I haven’t tried this, but it sounds interesting. Michael mentions his favorite ruler, pictured above, here. Despite it costing around $20, for him it was well worth it. I, myself, am not this particular, but it’s interesting, nonetheless.

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There were various other things discussed in length before we got to the book. Some important, like the grain of paper (even though we were making a triangle book, so didn’t make much difference) and you can read some more tips he shared with us on his web site here. It’s all interesting and he’s got a load of information to share.

The class was intended to be able to make two different triangle books, maybe three. Once we got to making the book on our own, it felt like a race to try and get as much done before 5 o’clock came. A few people zipped right through it, but the majority of us were at a more normal pace. I was able to make one book and had almost all the pieces cut out for the second, more complex book and had to finish that at home. I’m not sure, but I don’t think anyone made three.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of taking pictures of his samples. I even had my camera with me! Duh!!! I don’t think I put the second more complex triangle book together correctly. I mean, it works and it opens and all that, but visually, in my mind, I pictured it a different way and I don’t care for how this one opens. This is why there aren’t many photos in this post. Sadly, there were no printed instructions for his more lengthy and complex triangle books either.

However, I’m not finished trying. I have an idea in my mind for an invitation, in fact. Whether it be for a birthday, wedding, shower, announcement, anniversary, or just a fun random party, I think this could be an unforgettable invitation to an unforgettable event. Once I have it all worked out I’ll have the photographer take pictures and share it with you here.

One teaching style unique to Jacob’s, and I really liked this, is how he refers to his students. Most of the time you hear teachers refer to their students by name or calling the class to attention with ‘Class, pay close attention to…’ or ‘Everyone come up to the front and…’. Michael refers to all his students by calling them artists. ‘Artists, pay close attention to…’ or ‘Artists, come up to the front and…’. It got me thinking about that very word, artist. When does it feel right to title yourself as an artist? Is everyone an artist? Do you have to have a degree of some sorts? Do you have to be a selling artist to feel entitled to the title? Should you have studied ‘x’ amount of hours? Should you have active membership in some sort of association? I’ve thought about this before regarding the title ‘calligrapher’, but the same applies here. What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your comments.

Michael Jacob’s has many, many other artistic talents and if you would like to see more of Jacob’s work check out his web site and gallery.

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Jacob’s also has a couple books published.

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They’re both available for purchase here or here.

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