Art Book Fair

I just got back from the Art Book Fair at the National Gallery of Victoria.

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While I enjoyed the show (and the lemon filled donuts 🙂 ), I was disappointed there weren’t more art books there, and I mean books as art, not books about art. Since starting down this road of discovering book binding, I’ve gone from seeing book binding as just a craft, to discovering that bookbinding can also be a form of art. I don’t really consider the binding I do as art (although I’d love to get to that point), but I have seen online, and at the San Francisco Centre of the Book, some amazing examples of where books are the medium of expression.

The NGV Art Book Fair I went to today was mainly about books whose subject was art or artists. There were also local publishers and printers who are producing books for artists, and I was happy to see there were so many. In fact it was great to see so much enthusiasm for books and physical printing on paper (as opposed to the web) in general.

I’d just like to have seen more art books.

 

More books for sale

I finished another batch of books, which are now available on my etsy store.

The wood I split way back when, has finished drying and I made some books from it. This is still cypress, but it’s a lighter coloured version (more sap wood perhaps?). It doesn’t feel as dense either. It’s still nice to work with though.

I also played around a little with the surface texture of the books. I mainly used a fairly flat gouge for the previous covers, perhaps using a smaller gouge for some highlight or detail work. But with this batch, I did a couple completely with the narrow gouge and it leaves a great textured finish. The texture of the books is always important to me. They don’t just have to look good, but they have to feel good in the hand. If I close my eyes and just use my hands, I want to still enjoy what I’m holding, and I think I achieve that with this batch of books.

So without further ado, here’s some pictures.

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French Link Stitch

For my birthday, my sister gave to me some books on bookbinding:

Making Handmade Books: 100+ Bindings, Structures & Forms

Little Book of Book Making: Timeless Techniques and Fresh Ideas for Beautiful Handmade Books

The later title includes instructions on making several different types of books including sewing up a text block using “French Link Stitch”. (Actually I just checked and both books have instructions for this technique, but I think the “Little Book” is easier to follow, although “Making Handmade Books” has more suggestions for how to add covers.)

I’d seen this technique in photos online and wanted to try it, so I followed the directions and now I have four nice text blocks sewn using the French link stitch. It’s a lovely stitching pattern all by itself.

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I’m quite happy with the results. Thanks sis.

Hardcover

I did a one day short course on “Simple Bookbinding” yesterday through the CAE.

I made what is possibly the ugliest book I’ve ever made, but it’s mine and I’m proud of it.

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I don’t think I’ll post any detail shots. The tension on stitching the text block was bad so it’s all a bit loose, and the cover didn’t go on well so the inside covers crumpled when I closed it the first time.

Having said that, it was a lot easier than I expected to make a hard bound book like this. I’m sure with a little practice, I’ll get the hang of it.

We finished a bit early, so the instructor took us through some variations on Japanese stab binding.

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Maker

And while I’m thinking about making and makers, I just read Makers: The New Industrial Revolution.

I really enjoyed this book. The first part of the book is a call to arms for people who make stuff, and the new technologies enabling makers.

I’m not sure to what extent the book applies to what I do with book making, as it doesn’t scale very well. A desktop CNC milling machine isn’t going to help me make books any faster, although I think a laser cutter might come in useful. But being able to sell books straight from my little shed to an international audience via my Etsy shop, well that it kinda neat.

The rest of the book is an interesting mediation on how new production and sales methods could revolutionise the manufacturing industry.

Absence

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted, and since  I last made any books.

I only have one day a week I can use to get much done, and if anything else comes up and eats my day off, like school holidays, then there’s a whole week gone.

With a bit of luck, I’ll get back to it soon.

In the mean time, here’s a great article I found on pricing books.
http://whynoteight.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/pricing-your-handbound-books/
I may have to revise my prices again.

A Days Work

I made all these the other day.

all

The two wooden books are for sale on my Etsy store. They are the last of my most recent batch of wooden books. I’ve got more blanks for front and back covers but I haven’t started making them up into books yet. I guess it’s time I started.

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The other little books are just a bit of fun, and a nice way to use up small bit’s of left over paper. I haven’t listed any of these on my store. I don’t know if it’s  worth it. But I might have a market stall one of these days and sell these.

I Make Because .. part II

I tried writing about why I like making books, but I don’t think I captured it too well. There’s no single reason I do this, so I probably can’t answer the question in one post, or even two, but here’s a bit more…

I make stuff with my hands because it’s not a computer.

In my day job, I sit on my ass for 8 hours a day, staring at a computer screen. I love technology, and will happily geek out to things, but after doing computer stuff all day, I suffer from two problems:

  1. I get bored of looking at computers
  2. I get terribly unfit

I just spent an hour in the shed preping paper for two new mini books, and making a new awl for punching holes to sew through.

My first awl isn’t doing too well. The nail I made it from is apparently low carbon steel and won’t temper, so the point is soft and keeps bending. I just made this new one by gluing a large needle into a handle of apple wood from the apple tree in our back yard.

awls

Cutting, drilling, carving, gluing. Not one of these things is high tech, and I love it, and they all keep me moving. No ass sitting.

Of course I’m now sitting on my ass in front of the computer writing this. Irony perhaps?

The sun is shining so it’s time for me to hit the publish button and get back outside.

price hike

I’ve had a few people tell me my prices are too low. I guess my first few books didn’t feel like fully fledged works. They were still experimental. But my technique has quickly evolved, and those last few books I made to sell certainly took me longer to make because I took a lot more care with the finish. So I’ve increased my prices.

I’ve also added shipping to the USA and UK.