Friday, May 22, 2009

One Man's Trash...

One man's trash is another man's treasure - or so they say... This idea of up-cycling old books into new journals came to me about 2 years ago. (though I doubt I am the only person who thought of this) Pictured in this post are some that I have readied for the open house tomorrow.
To make these, I first need an old book with a great cover. I carefully take the cover off, keeping the insides for collage or recycle mix in my paper making. I often find a patterned paper and make new end plate pages for the book. I'll use one that goes with both the cover and the color thread I'm using.

Next, I measure my cover and do some quick math to figure out what size paper I'll need for my folio. Now, I suppose I could cut the paper quickly with a paper cutter. But that just never looks at great as a sheet torn, or one cut with a paper or fettling knife. So, yes, I measure and cut/tear by hand each piece of paper for the inside. Most of the books I have made have 6 - 8 signatures of 6 folios each.

The one or two needle Coptic stitch is perfect for these books! I love the look of the stitch, and the fact that these books will lay flat when open is a big plus.

I think these make great one of a kind journals. And it's a great way to give a new life to an old beloved book.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Bindings

Spending hundreds of dollars to travel somewhere to attend a bookbinding workshop is kind of out of the question for me these days. Instead, I finally decided to purchase Keith Smith's Non-Adhesive Binding: Books Without Paste or Glue Volume 1. This purchase has been a long time coming, and frankly, I don't recall what life was like before...

I'm picking out the bindings I like best, and just jumping right in! So far, I've worked on the longstitch / linkstitch and the slotted cover longstitch.

I didn't really like the look of the slots for the longstitch, so I just used my hand drill punch to pierce the holes in the cover. I really like the look of this much better than the slots. So far, I've only done the one.

The longstitch / linkstitch is just a fabulous binding. As you can see, I've been playing around a bit with it. The book with the large circles on the front was my first.

These books (and some others I've been working on) are on their way to an open house for this weekend. A good friend will be showing them, as I will be in the paper studio making wedding invitations.
Hopefully people will love them as much as I do.

Inside each journal will be a bookmark with my information, the book specs, and this little thought I wrote down this morning while having my coffee:

every journal has a life of its own.
more than a record
more than a trip taken

a thought
a feeling
a moment in time.

it is a life.

a process.

a beautiful extension
the human experience.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Origami in bloom

On Saturday Paper Circle is hosting a birthday party for its founder, Sara Gilfert. I've been working hard all week to create some lovely centerpieces for the tables. Of course they had to be paper... (That goes without saying) Paper Circle currently has a fabulous show featuring origami from Ohio Origami, a consortium of folders from central and southeast Ohio. (click here to see images of the show) Because the party will be held in the gallery, I felt origami was a natural choice for the tables.

Pictured here are the bud vases I created for the smaller tables. Each vase was purchased from the second hand store and covered in unryu tissue. This is one of my favorite papers to work with. It is so beautiful in the light. Then I folded 80 lilies (traditional fold) from 3" pieces of origami paper.

I love how these turned out. So simple. So lovely.

For the two larger tables, I wanted to do something a little different. I used some patterns from Tomoko Fuse's book Origami Rings and Wreaths. Again I used 3" squares of origami paper. They made some really pretty rings that were about 5" in diameter. I then attached a paper clip to floral wire to hold the rings. To finish, I just placed them in pots with foam and moss. I think these turned out to be quite whimsical!

I love the idea of origami bouquets for the tables. They would make great parting gifts for the guests -- a reminder of a lovely spring afternoon. Best of all, these flowers won't fade.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Kozo on a Sunny Day

On Saturday, I assisted Sara in teaching a class in Japanese paper making at Paper Circle (the paper studio where I work). Sara has such a vast knowledge of paper making - and had even studied in Japan with master paper makers. The class was truly lucky to have such a teacher! (Thank you again Sara)
Pictured above are sheets that Sara and I made in preparation for the class.

Pictured on the left are branches from the Japanese mulberry tree, and dried strips of the kozo fiber. The fiber is the inner part of the bark. These branches are steamed so that the bark can be peeled off. Then the outer, or "black" bark is peeled and picked off to reveal the inner bark.

The kozo fiber was soaked for a few days, and then cooked in soda ash (sodium carbonate), lye, or water strained from wood ash. We used Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda, as it is basically just sodium carbonate. We cooked it for about an hour. Cooking time depends on how long it had been soaking. We had one batch of kozo fibers that soaked for about 6 weeks and we were able to make sheets without cooking! How these sheets will stand up to time, I don't know. It was a good experiment, none the less...
Below is our pot of cooking kozo:

After a good rinsing, we picked some of the remaining black bark, or chiri from the fiber. We did not pick it all out, since we were not going for totally clean sheets. I think a little chiri in sheets of kozo can be quite beautiful.

Then came the fun part: the beating! We beat the kozo fibers with both small wooden bats that Sara had made, and wooden mallets. This is a great activity for relieving stress and taking any aggression out! As you can see, it also can get a little messy...

After all this, and a break for lunch, (the beating made us all very hungry) we finally got to form some sheets. We added our beat fiber to a vat with water and formation aid. A sugeta (su = screen / geta = frame) was used to form the sheets. One Sara brought back from Japan. Two others she made from bamboo place mat and a sushi roll. (I like her innovation!) Unlike western paper making, the sheets are not pulled in one motion. You make many dips into the vat of pulp, swishing the water and fiber in the sugeta to a kind of rhythmic dance... Then the sheets are rolled off the su, one on top of the other.

After a light pressing, we brushed the sheets on to large pieces of ply-wood and set them out in the sun to dry. It had been raining all week here, and was supposed to rain on Saturday. But someone, somewhere was smiling on us with a little sunshine -- and a number of nice gusts of wind!

Watching masters at this craft, they make it look so easy. We had a challenging time getting in touch with the rhythm of the pulp in the vat and keeping our sheets from sticking in some areas to the su. And then there was the wind that day... She kept wanting to blow the sheets down the alley! But all in all, I think it was a great experience and a very fun day for everyone. So to any of my paper friends who were there with me Saturday, I hope we can talk Sara into another workshop sometime soon!