'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Thursday 9 October 2008

Books, books and more books

This week has been officially designated a getting over last week week - so nothing too exciting apart from a trip to Hobbycraft for some essential supplies - followed by coffee and a Danish in the garden centre cafe next door.

So I have made a few books. But before we get on to mine - these are - er - different ... I found the link via this blog - which I recommend if you are interested in book arts.

Returning to my more amateur efforts - this is a straight lift from 'Book Arts - Beautiful Bindings for Handmade Books' by Mary Kaye Seckler, even down to the colours and use of a script stamp. I had never made a star book before and I am pleased with the way it turned out - apart from putting the pockets in the wrong way up. And the ink refused to dry on the red card, leading to a few smears and blotches.

The others are rather simpler - and at first glance may not look like books at all.

In Esther K Smith’s ‘How to Make Books’ she describes making a book from a cake mix packet. Cake mix is not something I buy very often - but I did buy some puddings at the weekend for our visitors, not being up to making something from scratch. So the boxes were recycled into books.

This is a book, not just a box - you can see the tails of the stitching at the top. It is 'experimental' - i.e. an example of how not to do it. I cut the box in the wrong place - so the binding is at the top. The pages are brown paper - which I knew before I started wasn't really strong enough. And although the holes in the spine are straight, the accordion which makes up the pages goes gently downhill, from the front to the back. Life would have been easier, too, if I had decided I want to use webbing spray on the pages before I stuck 5 pieces of paper together to make a 10 foot long accordion.

The red one has conventional signatures and went together a little more accurately. I like these books - the idea amuses me and as the cover is generously sized, compared to the pages, there is plenty of room to stick stuff in.

As the red book is an odd size there were a lot of left overs after I had cut the pages. So I had to make some more books to use up the left-overs - don't want them sitting around at the back of the fridge till they go off, do we?

The scraps were long and thin, which always suggests Japanese stab bindings to me. This one has a cover made from a car ad in the Weekend Guardian. That was the simple one - apart from resewing it using thicker thread and auditioning several beads for the tassel.

For this one, I found a long scrap of purple card of the right width - and that suggested a dos-a-dos, which I had also never made before. The book was simple but then the beads on the thread ends got a bit more elaborate. I love those cheapo letter beads. Then I had to find my punches.

Still into recycling, I decided to use an old manila file for the covers of the last one, but it looked a bit boring, so I painted it. I got a bit carried away, as you can see. The coloured blobs are nail varnish - which I buy when it's on sale. I find the more interesting colours end up in the sale bin. I usually use it as a resist with water soluble paper. You didn't think I put it on my nails, did you?

What do I do with all these books, you may ask. Well - not a lot! I am journalling / experimenting with altered book techniques in this one.

This one has embellisher samples.

And this one has become an album for some postcards of Japan sent to me by a penfriend when I was at school - which makes them vintage ephemera, I think, if not antiques.

But there are still several hanging around saying 'Give us a job' -so if anyone has any suggestions? I do need a photo album for photos of Babybel - but none of the existing books are the right size. Oh dear - that means I will have to make another one ...

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