Friday, December 7, 2012

Finished. Whew.

I like my new job. I really do. But the hours are long, and the commute is horrible. Old job: round trip commute of 2 miles or less. New job: round trip commute of 76.8 miles. On the freeway. Three, sometimes four days a week. That is two hours per day commuting on a GOOD day, nearly 4 hours commute on a terrible day. This makes studio work a struggle sometimes, but I am determined to move into a more rigid schedule of studio time because there are ideas in my head that really need to get out. Ok, end of pathetic little whine.

Today I turned down work and even declined doing a good deed so that I could spend a day in the studio, and here is the result. My latest book finally finished! These shots are just quick snaps because I was too excited to drag out the light cube and do a formal portrait.

The pages are made from some theatrical scrim that I washed all the sizing out of- so it is very gauzy and floppy. Because of this, I wrapped each of the three signatures in a lace paper I had purchased last year. I tea-stained the white lace paper to make it closer in color to the scrim. I also hemmed the lace paper and put a picot bead edging on it to give the book a bit more weight.  I wish I could tell you what the cover paper is, but I am not sure. I know it is handmade, and I think it is from Nepal. It is lovely, but a bit fragile, so I coated it with acrylic wax and laminated a piece of thin kimono lining silk to the inside to strengthen it. That paper absorbed the acrylic wax nicely and it worked well as a glue to laminate the silk. The spine has an extra piece on the outside connected only by the binding stitches. It is some handmade paper with a high cotton content that I also tea-stained. And I sewed a little guinea hen feather to add to the flyaway feel.

I have to thank Mary Ann Moss for the binding stitch. I have been mulling over her latest class offering, and when I was reading the class blurb, the binding stitch she will be teaching caught my attention. Hadn't I seen it somewhere? Hadn't I shoved a bookmark in a page at some point? Yes I had, and that stitch was going to be perfect for this book. Of course I changed it up a bit. If you want to learn this stitch, I can't think of a better way than to treat yourself to Mary Ann's class. Then come back here and you'll be able to figure out what I did.(click on photo for larger view)

Sewing signatures made of scrim is quite fiddly, and I do not recommend it for beginners, although once you understand the sewing pattern, this binding stitch is very satisfying. I did make a little practice book using the stitch before I started the larger amended version, but I also can't recommend doing what I did. Because as you can see, mine was not so much little as it was tiny.
Details: signatures are sumi rice paper, cover is cave paper that has been coated with acrylic wax varnish. Binding thread is Gutermann silk sewing thread.


  1. Hello, I saw a photo of your work in the 1000 Artists Books book so I put your name into a google search and found your blog. Lovely work you do, very inspiring. I have made a few paper simple binding books and might be ready to move on to new efforts in book making. I'm in the PNW also, in Oregon. I guess I shall become a follower!

  2. Thanks, Jan. I looked at your blog and started to chuckle. Your beadwork reminds me of my own beadwork, and while I do not raise llamas, my cousin does! The thing I like best about book binding is that so many of my other skills can be utilized in a book. You will notice that I do a lot of stitching in my books and nearly every one has a bead or two clinging to it.

    1. Beads, books, fibers, papers, it's all good. I'm a little embarrassed that you looked at my blog since it has been so long since I updated it. But thanks for looking. I'll be watching for your next blog post.

  3. Hello Jan

    I hav'nt visited your blog in ages but its great to see the artists books you have been making.!!

    I am pleased to say also that I got my acrylic wax varnish in the post this morning so am looking forward to fiddling about with it tomorrow following your great post sharing your experience which is so valuable to art-material/ experimenter nuts like myself.

    .by the wayPLEASE will you enable the

    "Follow By Email" gadget in the LAYOUT area of your Dashboard.
    Then it's much easier for me and other followers to keep informed when you create a new post on your blog.

    If you do get this set up ( its very easy) then please do email me and let me know

    .............please also mention name of your blog

    as I find myself having to ask a lot of people to enable this gadget.......... I wish Google would contact all their bloggers to point it out to them .....................anyway here's hoping

    best wishes

    Aine Scannell