Books-a-Go-Go

After my mica book workshop with Daniel Essig, I’ve been inspired to play a little with some new books. I had some handmade Thai mango paper from Dick Blick.  I made several covers with this paper awhile ago, and finally had the courage to do something with them.  I used the coptic stitch to bind these books:

Coptic bound book with handmade Thai mango paper

Coptic bound book with handmade Thai mango paper

Inside cover

Inside cover

The paper on the  inside cover of this first book came from wrapping paper from a gift purchased at West Side Judaica Gallery in Manhattan.

Coptic bound book #2 with handmade Thai mango paper

Coptic bound book #2 with handmade Thai mango paper

Inside cover of book #2

Inside cover of book #2

I really like the organic look of the second book.  The inside cover is a copy of a photo of a  fossilized shell. It was printed on an inkjet printer on card stock.

Also, some months ago, I had taken an online workshop with Sue Bleiweiss, and never quite finished all the projects. I was intrigued by the piano hinge binding that was her last lesson, and wanted to try it.  So I did, a little belatedly.  Here is a photo of a book with piano hinge binding, using bamboo skewers to hold it together.  The cover is the same handmade Thai mango paper and the pages are sheets of a colorful  paper from a scrapbooking paper pad I found at Michael’s.

Piano Hinge Book

Piano Hinge Book

Opened page of piano hinge book

Opened page of piano hinge book

I think this would make a nice mini photo album.  However, I found that the hinge itself didn’t seem very stable, and the book had to be handled carefully. I wrapped some fine cotton around the ends of the skewers at both the head and tail of the binding, then applied  some PVA glue over the cotton to hold it in place, but because there were no true sewing stitches to hold the binding together, it turned out to be a bit delicate.

Then I wanted to incorporate some weaving into an ultra-leather blank journal.  I picked out some images I thought represented my secret muses:  Calliope, muse of eloquence and epic poetry. She is always seen carrying a writing tablet.  Then there’s the the cute and fun loving Betty Boop. My faithful companion of 25 years has always professed a secret love for her!  And lastly, Peter Max‘s interpretation of the ever mysterious Mona Lisa. An eclectic trio, no?

Cover, Book of Muses

Cover, Book of Muses

Inside cover, Book of Muses

Inside cover, Book of Muses

Using fine cotton (10/2 pearl cotton), I warped three small windows on the book’s cover. Then with narrow strips cut from a copy of each image I wove a weft through the cotton warp. The binding was a long stitch that I modified with a “cinch” around the center of  each section:

Modified long stitch binding

Modified long stitch binding

Enough of the playing! Now I have some weaving projects to attend to as I am preparing my handwoven items for fall shows and fairs.  This is the bamboo scarf with warp floats that is awaiting her turn on the loom.

Bamboo scarf to be finished soon!

Bamboo scarf to be finished soon!

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Happiness is a Warm Dremel

My new best friend is my Dremel stylus.  At the Art and Soul Retreat in Hampton, VA, I learned how to use it and that it’s more than “just a drill”. I took two book arts workshops with Daniel Essig who uses the Dremel to drill holes in mica which we used to create our books. I was skeptical at first about getting my own Dremel, but my potter friend Gail assured me that I will find more uses for it than I can imagine.  And I’m sure that’s true. So  at the end of my trip, when I picked up my checked luggage in Memphis, I was quite relieved that my Dremel was still there and my bag was tagged with this lovely red sticker from TSA.

TSA sticker labeled CLEARED!

TSA sticker labeled CLEARED!

One can only imagine what TSA officials were thinking when they saw this going through security:

A Warm Dremel

A Warm Dremel

Now, about the workshops.  The two day workshop was “Book of Mica” where we learned of the properties of mica, both in its natural state and as a composite.  Mica is a naturally ocurring mineral also known as bookstone.  In our class, each student  created  a book with at least 5 pages of mica and a front and back cover.  Many of us inserted a collage or pictures between two pieces of mica to give the imagery a “haunted” or ghost like effect.  Here is Daniel’s mica book which he showed as an example:

Mica book by Daniel Essig

Mica book by Daniel Essig

Inside pages of mica book by Daniel Essig

Inside pages of mica book by Daniel Essig

Daniel was a very generous and patient teacher with all of us.  Anyone interested in book arts and wanting to explore the properties of mica would greatly benefit from a workshop with him. He is also a talented woodworker and sculptor.

Books and Hand Carved Tools by Daniel Essig

Books and Hand Carved Tools by Daniel Essig

In my own mica book, I cut out a window in one of the pages, then drilled holes at the top and bottom of the window to anchor down my warp of black perle cotton.  I then used the warp to weave a weft of  paper strips cut from a picture which I covered with a small piece of natural mica.

Paper woven image in my mica book

Paper woven image in my mica book

Paper woven page in my mica book - opposite side

Paper woven page in my mica book - opposite side

Daniel also showed us the steps for sewing a decorative centipede stitch, which he calls  a caterpillar stitch.

Book with Caterpillar stitch by Daniel Essig

Book with Caterpillar stitch by Daniel Essig

The evening workshop addressed the herringbone stitch bound on a book with paper signatures and mica covers.  We had the opportunity again to insert images between two thin sheets of mica for both  front and back covers.

My book with mica covers and herringbone binding on tyvek tapes

My book with mica covers and herringbone binding on tyvek tapes

The mica book that we constructed during the two day workshop had a different binding. We used four needles to create a coptic stitch.

Covers and binding of my mica book

Covers and binding of my mica book

Being a handweaver, I found that I really enjoy the stitching and binding process of  creating a handmade book.  I purchased some books by Keith Smith to inspire me to be more adventurous with my bookbinding stitches. And it will give me a reason to use my beauty of a Dremel stylus.