What's new here?
Finished editing and formatting the book, then turned it over to my husband for
his expert editing. Second page he found an error. Ack! There are 6,000 words.
How many more mistakes will he find? I love it!
12-2-02 Too many, most of them errors from previous editing. It's amazing how
many mistakes occur when you change one or two words in a sentence, or make a
change that is intended to shift the direction of a thought. Whatever. These
have been corrected and the project set aside to be finished sometime between
now and July of 2003 when it's due.
12-8-02 Been a bit under the weather and haven't tackled anything new. Did a few
mini books to pass the time, but nothing deserving comment. Early yesterday
morning the idea came to reduce the size of the mini book enough to make
earrings. (The bad part about getting harebrained ideas at 3 AM is that no one
else is up to talk you out of them. Yesterday morning I should have waited till
my husband was up before tackling this one. My fingers seem much fatter than
they used to be.) These earrings have
three signatures of three hmp sheets each (hemp/cotton rag), a pastedown from
agrimony, covers from kudzu and a spine protector from lemongrass. The
difficulty with scaling down books comes from the inside paper rather than any
other factor. It's easy enough to use thread instead of bookbinding cord, and
there are any number of things that can be used for the bookboards. Even the
cover papers aren't that much of a problem, but the signature papers are.
Fortunately, the hemp/cotton rag papers I had are very thin. I'd like to try a
set using the parchment thin Johnsongrass paper, as well.
12-17-02 I've been off playing with paper rather than books for the past week or
so, but today it was time to get back to books. A couple of days ago I decided
to do a split, interlocking front cover
book. I had an ulterior motive. I needed to know how to construct the
overlapping right edge cover for another book that I'm planning, and I thought
this would be a good way to work through that part. This split cover book was to
be quarterbound with left and right hinges made from paper backed cloth. The
two-piece front cover for the book
was cut from one piece of davey board, the cloth attached to the davey board,
then the handmade paper front and back covers were added over that to cover the
raw edge of the cloth. In this case, I used bleached velvetleaf bast paper (as
it turned out, not a good choice). The layout of cloth, hmp and davey board
formed the entire quarterbound case.
Additional strips of paper, approximately the weight of manila folders, were
glued to the inside of the right and left hinges to provide extra weight and
strength. The additional strip in the left hinge had an 1/8" gap on either side;
the strip on the right hinge ran the full width of the gap. The corners of the
cover were trimmed, then all edges were folded over and glued down. The
signature block was six signatures (four pages each) sewn onto tape with a super
added. This was mounted to the case by the super, then the tapes were glued
down. Normally, the pastedowns are added to the signatures, then the tapes are
attached to the pastedowns, but I couldn't do that with this book. The
pastedowns were a problem all their own because of
the irregular ends that had to mate up
with the covers. These ends made measurements a nightmare. I cut templates
for the edges, but that still left me a bit uncertain of the length of the
pastedown from that irregular edge to the fold. Ugh. On the back pastedown, I
had the additional problem of accounting for the extra length to go around the
right hand side and back across the right side of the front cover.
Fortunately, both guesses came out right.
(Before the pastedowns were glued to the covers, the suede latches were glued to
the front then stitched down. Groves were cut in the inside of the covers so
that the stitching would not show as bumps under the pastedowns.) When I'm doing
an experimental book, one that I'm not certain will work the way I expect, I
seldom use the best materials. Usually, this works out fine. I make my mistakes
with stuff that doesn't matter. But occasionally, when the book turns out
perfectly and is one that I wouldn't do again if you paid me, I wish to high
heaven I had used better materials. This book falls somewhere in between. The
book is not perfect. I should have allowed an 1/8" more on the right hinge. It's
just a little too tight for my taste, causing the book to "pop open" in the
front. But part of the book's imperfections are the result of the imperfect
materials. The velvetleaf bast paper is too thin and allows the darker cloth
binding to show through. Not sure I'll do this one again. It proved to be a
series of problems that required guesses with no guarantee of an exact solution.
Don't like that. Whatever.
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12-21-02 Oh, happy day. I've found the book that contains my measurements and
super secret formulas. It was missing last month when I switched from
papermaking to bookbinding, leaving me to guess at and refigure various things.
Now all is well. **Did a quarterbound book today using some of
the rust colored cloth I found at Wal-Mart
last month. I coupled it with another contrasting green/black print cloth bought
last year. Using two book cloths on a book leaves the raw edge of one showing,
so I pasted a ribbon over that.
Worked well. There are nine four-page
signatures of commercial 70 weight linen; pastedowns are rust colored Canson
paper. The book measures 4.75" tall by 4.5" wide. It wasn't until after it
was assembled that I realized how much
the spine cloth looks like suede. The contrasting print worked well with it.
Finding cloth with a print that is suitable for book covers is difficult around
here. I've been known to do a happy dance down the aisles of Wally World when I
12-22-02 I am a compulsive keeper, especially
of hmp snippets. This paper is made from plant materials, and a good deal of
work went into gathering, cooking and pulling the sheets. When I look at even a
tiny 1" square scrap piece, I can't stand the idea of throwing it in the trash.
As a result, there are baskets of the stuff stashed here, there and yonder. The
project for today was to find a use for some of this and justify my compulsion
to keep it. One of the results was a "pinto
pony" or "calico" book, at least that's what the cover reminded me of.
Because of the nature of the papers, a good deal of care was necessary when
gluing up the scraps. Some papers were never intended to be folded, so those
could not be used close to an edge. Some papers were super thin, while others
were thick. It was possible to use both, just not side by side. I'm not fond of
gluing with Elmer's, but this turned out to be the only viable option for
attaching the scraps to each other. Special care was needed on the edges to make
sure they were covered and would be secure against the paper scrap beneath. This
is a picture of the backside of the
glued up scraps, the side that went against the davey board. After creating
large enough sheets for the front and the back, I glued on davey board using
wheat paste and put this in the book press. Took it out a few minutes later to
check and discovered that the hmp paper was warping in places from lack of even
pressure. To take care of this when I put the cover back in the press, I place a
sheet of pressboard.against the hmp side. This was just enough hard padding to
make the paper conform evenly to the board. The result was a surprisingly flat,
smooth cover. Most of the glued up papers
were in the range of brown/rust/cream color, so I used the rust colored
cloth for the spine. Like the book yesterday, this one is 4.75"x4.5". For some
reason, I find that a very pleasing size.
12-25-02 I usually don't mind making an occasional mistake. Often those will
lead to new ideas, but I truly do hate making a dumb mistake, particularly when
there is no readily apparent way of correcting it. That was the case today. The
calico book cover impressed me so much that I opted to make several to trade or
give away. The first one was completely finished and had been in the press for
two hours when suddenly it dawned on me that I'd failed to put the ribbon on to
cover the raw edge of the spine cloth. Arrggghhhh! The ribbon must go under the
pastedown to be secure, and the pastedown was...well, pasted down...securely.
Discovering mistakes when a project is totally finished irritates the heck out
of me. I spent the next hour kicking myself, then I took a nap. When I woke up,
my first thought was...what the heck. The book is no good as it is. Let's see
what we can do. Using a fresh X-acto blade, I made gentle cuts under the edge of
the pastedown until just enough of the paper could be raised to make room for
the ribbon's end. With the point of a punch, I added a touch of glue to the
slit, then edged the ribbon down into the slot. I glued the ribbon to the front
of the cover, leaving the other end loose and put the book in the press until
all that was secure. Then I took it out and slit under the pastedown on the
other end to insert the ribbon there. That end was more difficult because I had
less room for play. The ribbon had to be cut to exactly the proper length, which
left little on which to shove, and the little I had to work with was threatening
to fray. After three or four tries, it did slip down into the glue slot. After
that was dry, I repeated the process on the other side.
Worked perfectly. Just goes to
show what an hour of grumbling and a
good nap can accomplish.
12-27-02 Did a couple of quarterbound books --
one calico and the other with a hmp cover
made from gill-over-the-ground
and underbeaten cotton rag. The white threads in the hmp are a lovely contrast
to the deep green of the plant material. Gill-over-the-ground is one of the few
plants I've found that seems to hold the green without fading. There is no
guarantee that the green color is permanent, but the paper that covers this book
was made in the summer of 2001, so it does hold over a year. However, the paper
isn't something I would want to expose to direct sunlight for any length of
time. **I've used commercial linen paper in the signature blocks of the
quarterbound books I've been doing, and because those signatures are only 4.5"
tall, I have a stack left-over 2"x8.5" strips on the desk, possibly a nice size
for mini books. Cut and folded the paper to make signatures that are 2" tall by
1.75" wide. There are three sheets in each signature, with six signatures for
the book. I'm not sure where my mind was today, but it definitely wasn't present
and accounted for. After I had all the signatures folded, I thought...why sew
these?...I'll just glue a super on the back and let it go at that. And that's
just what I did. The "duh" moment came later as I was looking at the dried block
in the clamps. Hey, Gin, wake up. There is nothing holding the two inside sheets
in each signature. Even the tiny earrings I did had sewn signatures, and I don't
know what possessed me not to sew these. However, some good did come out of the
error. I learned that, not only can tiny signatures be sewn after they're
blocked up and glued to the super, but sewing is much easier that way. Care had
to be taken to place the holes in the center page of each signature, but once
that was located, the holes were easily punched and sewn. I don't use tapes to
secure the stitching on the tiny books (can't find anything suitable to use for
the tape), but the stitches went through the super and that secured them nicely.
I'll do this size book again and in the same manner, but next time I'll use a
slightly heavier pressboard for the covers.
This one used the back from a legal
pad, but it's slightly out of proportion, not quite thick enough for the
dimensions of the book. The cover is
bleached Siberian iris with a pinch of straw; the spine cover is bulrush;
pastedowns are Canson paper.
12-31-02 Did a few more of the small
quarterbound books (approx 4.5"x4.75") over the past few days. The one on
the left is covered with a weirdly wonderful paper made from elephant ear
(courtesy of Linda Wallpe) and gampi. On the right is a cloth cover I marbled
with acrylics a couple of years ago. The center book is covered with a hmp that
I had crumpled, then spread out and traced the valley lines with indelible ink
making a map of sorts. I'm ready to move on to something else, but I haven't the
foggiest idea what that will be yet. Just seemed like a good idea to wait for
the new year before making the change.
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