Sunday, 24 June 2007

The Best-Laid Plans....

Sometimes you can sample once and the project works fine the first time.

There are times when you make a bunch of samples, and arrive at a solution.

And then there are the times when it just doesn't work, no matter how many samples you construct: making a felted cover for What I Felt falls into that category.

Attaching the letters by needle-felting worked pretty well, although I ended up having to redo one, and even gluing the felt to the tatami backing paper was moderately successful. Unfortunately, mating the paper-backed felt to the book boards was another matter. Not "bad" per se, since we all learn more from our mistakes than our successes, but not something I want to show pictures of either.

But I think I know how to make it work (harder felt is the trick to master), and will get it done in July.

Oh well, I'm allowed three entries for my $25, so The Zebra Book, Virginia Woolf Knits, and t(h)ree will go.

I took additional (and better, I think) photos of t(h)ree (below) to meet the CBBAG requirements, updated my CV, and filled out their form, so it's time to courier that package off to Toronto. Next up, delivery of my two items for the Calgary Stampede on Wednesday.

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Working Small

One of the most important things to do when constructing an artist's book, I've found, is to make one (or more) models and dummies.

I made a dummy of this structure, a sewn double accordion, with eight panels almost two years ago, when I first started binding, and it took me almost another year to find a concept to use it with. By that time, I had decided I wanted one that had six panels instead of eight.

When you use eight panels, you fold the piece of paper in half, then in half again, and then in half again. No muss, no fuss. Folding a paper into six isn't quite as easy -- after the first fold in half, you need to measure each sheet (or better yet, make a template) for the next two folds.

After doing that with the two, 2.5 inches by 11 inches pieces of paper, (one-quarter of the size of my "finished product"), I nested them and sewed the first, third, and fifth folds together with cotton thread, and popped out the opposing pieces. Add some salvaged cardboard for "covers" stuck on with a glue stick, and voilĂ ! One sewn double accordion book, just under 4 inches wide and 2.5 inches high.

The Model

Monday, 11 June 2007

A Felting Adventure

One of the most time-intensive parts of any project, at least for me, is the amount of sampling and testing I do as part of the creative process, and my current book construction project What I Felt is no exception.

I've wanted to do this book for more than a year, since my mother died, but didn't quite know how when I started, and it's been fun tinkering about. The main stumbling block for me was trying to figure out how to create a light, flexible piece of felt to use as book cloth.

My previous experiments with wet felting were, to be kind, a disaster, because I wasn't using fine enough wool. That issue was solved when I bought a half-pound of mixed Corriedale rovings from a store I will no longer do any business with.

So I turned off any distractions and proceeded to organize myself Saturday morning. After putting down a plastic mesh layer, I carefully layered three colours (bright blue, silver-grey, and teal) and needle-felted them together (just the right side has been needle-felted in the picture below).

Colour Layer 3

With everything in place, I then wet-felted the entire sheet with boiling water and dishwashing soap, gently patting it to keep the integrity of the colour layering and shape. A good rinse with cold water and a peeling-off of the plastic mesh later, and the sheet was laid out to dry.

"Good" side drying

From start to finish, it took me less than an hour, which was much faster than I would have thought. I will needle-felt some additional roving onto the sheet to print out the title after the felt sheet dries thoroughly.

Once that is done, I will mix up a batch of wheat paste glue and attach a sheet of tatami paper to the back to make it easier to attach to the board covers, and weight it down until dry.

Books for Sale

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