Tuesday, December 29, 2009

An Experiment

So this is an idea I've had in my head for some time now. That is, using fancy paper for the front cover, and wrapping the leather all the way around the back. So here's the first try at it. I'm not at all sure how the end it and so the leather slants when it covers the pages, but I think that's ok. I got the idea for the closure from some great journals at the favourite local shop, The Paper Umbrella. If you're ever in Regina (God forbid), stroll down 13th Ave - stop at 13th Ave Coffee Shop for a rice bowl first - and enjoy the shops. I never ever leave that store without adding a bit to my paper collection.

Isn't this paper great? I got it from another Etsy seller (seriously, adding marbling papers to my growing list of hobbies is just going one step too far. You should see the looks I get when I tell people I make books for fun. As a break from oil painting. While watching Supernatural obsessively... not that that has anything to do with anything, I just like watching Jensen Ackles. He's cute for a blond.). Her name is Rhonda of My Marbled Papers, and she also makes books, and is how ended up joining the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team (BEST).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Custom Books

I love making custom books! I like making custom anything, really. It's very cool to take someone else's idea and bring it to life.

This book features a linocute on the front of some gears. I don't usually put gears on things, even though I love stemapunk, because they just seem a bit silly on something that doesn't require anything machanical to fuction. However this turned out so so well that I'm really rethinking that whole idea. Seriously, it looks pretty freaking awesome, and I can always do it in different colours, or layer a few prints on top of each other, or anything else really, to get lots of different looks. I really like how it printed on the antiqued watercolour paper. The rough surface didn't make for a smooth impression, but I like it better that way. Works better with the overall look of an 'aged' book, which was why I choose to do a lino in the first place, they just always seem a bit older period. Well, they are, it's been a long time since printed things by hand was current. But it's just so much nicer. And while I'm at it, I want a letterpress for Christmas. Then I could make some awesome books!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My newest book might just be my favourite one yet! The idea for this one came about because I joined the etsy bookbinding street team (BEST) around Hallowe'en and they were having a themed contest. I have a great idea for a monster book next year, but didn't really want to wait. So I adapted it to be more on the prettier side with some nice sheet music. I like open bindings when I cover the signatures with patterned paper. I've never done the raven's foot binding before, and it turned out really neat. A few hours at work well spent! I hate the mall.

How to Antique Paper

I'm not going to lie - I make really nice antique paper. And it's quite simple, you just need a little bit of patience to do it in layers.

1. Use heavy paper. If you want to antique something that's been printed, do it first and use waterproof ink.

2. Crumple the paper. The colours will soak into the crinkled parts for those nice long veins in the paper.

3. Cover with coffee, tea, some combo of both for your base colour. Add ink or watercolour to this mix if you want it to have a certain colour to it. In this one I added a bit of scarlet ink to coffee because it's going to match reddish leather. Cover the entire paper.

4. Add coffee grinds in certain areas, they'll stain it darker. Add salt on top of that, it'll soak up the colour and leave lightened areas. You can also use tea leaves, watercolour, ink spots, etc. You can press paper with non-waterproof ink onto it to tranfer some of the colour. It's going to take a while to dry, so leave it alone!

5. When it's dry remove all the grinds/salt etc. The salt will very likely leave little shiny things on the paper, so if you have a stiff brush use it to remove them. I usually put another thin layer of coffee/tea on at this point to get rid of the rest of the salt, and make it a little darker.

6. Repeat steps 4/5 until it looks the way you want. Try adding very strong coffee where the crinkles in the paper are so that they become really pronounced, and dripping dark coffee or ink on it from above for a different pattern to the staining. Using more than one medium to unevenly stain the paper - as in not just a quick coffee bath - makes the paper much more interesting.

7. If you need to smooth the paper out after it's done flip it over and iron it. You can use steam and a fairly high setting, just don't hold it on any one place too long. If you have a big enough board and table you can mist it with just a little bit of water and press it flat. Use lots of books for weight and then have patience until it's totally dry!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hello Out There!

Hi everybody passing by, this is going to be the place I post photos of my new books, discuss techniques, ask for feedbacka nd general feel very important about what it is I do.

I have a couple of neat custom orders coming up shortly, and my wonderful husband cut up a whole bunch of board for me, so I have plenty to do.

My Christmas present to myself will be a couple days spent in my studio (if I ever clean it up) so there will be some paintings coming up at long last as well!

In the meantime, here's a photo of my newest endevour, experimenting a little with the shape of the leather spine and whatnot. I got the paper from another etsy seller. It's gorgeous cherry blossom print Japanese paper. I think it's very pretty, though I can't seem to decide if it's a little too much going on. Mind you, I always think that. Thoughts?