Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday Fair Finds. What a good day it was!

Yesterday morning when I heard the alarm clock ringing for the fair I was soooo sleepy so I decided better I don't go anywhere. Trying to go back to sleep I started to have all these images with great vintage bags and other people were buying them, and then the question: what if this week is THE week? Because very rarely, there are some amazing Saturdays when I find incredibly many things to buy, like the fair would know exactly what I need. So I decided to get up after all and go, and guess what, yesterday was one of those days!

A gorgeous suitcase full of stamps from where it traveled, 
from the customs and hotels in Europe

Two hand bags in pretty bad state but with healthy leather
and beautiful wear patina

It is precisely this type that I'm happy to find, because if I buy beautiful old things that are in good state I can't bring myself to use them as materials for my books, so I keep them for my "collection" which has already way too many bags.

I also found a very old frame and a few other metal hardware for my books. Then we went to "celebrate" the score with some grilled sardines which are very traditional from Portugal and sooo delicious!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The craft of bookbinding

I’m still at a point in my bookbinding work where I’m tackling new ideas and techniques. I delve into research of tools and materials that I can use, re-use, adapt or improvise. When I find myself getting too far away from the traditional I take a break, so I can jump back to the basics the next day. That’s how I’ve always functioned, I can’t do something for too long, so from time to time I must allow myself the time to miss it. 

            Hanns Landawer, bookbinder, 1532           Nicasius Florer, bookbinder, 1614

The other day I happened to find these great images that filled me with respect for the old times. They are reproductions from a project of Nürnberger City Library that edited and digitized the craftsmen illustrations from 15th-19th century house books of the Nürnberger Zwölfbrüderstiftungen. The website of the project has a huge database with over one thousand images of all master craftsmen at that time (some of which obsolete but very interesting, Bell ringer, Bird-catcher, Runner, etc). It’s so nice to see these portraits made in great detail, sometimes naively represented at work or with their occupation tools, accompanied by descriptions that reveals lovely details. The website is in German but a list in English of all occupations (and of tools, materials, products and even diseases!) can be found here if you want to check how your profession looks like.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The mystery that hides the nature

Yesterday one of my books was featured on Etsy's front page thanks to the gorgeous treasury above, made by the talented Evelyn from Sumikoshop. In fact, the entire collection was inspired by my book because of a very fun game that we're playing in our AG team (Artisan Gallery Team). The idea of the game is to make treasuries dedicated to each other so that everyone gets equally featured, this driving more traffic to our shops and increasing our sales. I did sell a book after yesterday's feature, so it looks to me like it's working!

Thank you Evelyn! If you get the chance do check her shop to see the wonderful jewelry she is making!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Amazing bookbinding!

There are a lot book binders on Etsy. Many of them make nice journals, but very few make really special ones. Among my favorite book binders is Anca from Baghy who happens to be my sister :) We live in different countries and see each other very rarely. Twice, or maybe three times a year if we're lucky. We learned bookbinding together a few years ago and from there we developed quite different styles. I'm so happy to follow her work and see what an amazing job she is doing. So when I read the other day a post on her blog about a custom order she received, I had to share it with you too. I just love the way this book turned out!

It all starts with a request to make a book out of some documents that attest the legendary gunfight in Arizona, known as the "Gunfight at the OK Corral". 

"The book had to have the look and feel of a book from the old wild west. I thought that is really cool as the actual handwritten testimonies of the men involved in that gunfight are to be found on the internet, scanned at good resolution. The documents were recently found in a jail storage room.

The documents were yellowish with stains from old adhesive tape so I had to put them on a similar background so that when I'd cut the prints to size, there wouldn't be any white borders left or anything strange. 

I decided to print them in color, as if I were to print them in gray-scale and then tan them they wouldn't look as good.

There were 8 testimonies and a cover sheet so I wanted to separate them somehow so I created some extra pages in between them, also on old paper background, using an old typewriter font to write which testimony that was.

Because of the size of the documents, I had to print A3 sheets that would contain two different pages on each side that I then folded in half. The hardest and most time consuming task was to figure out which page continues with which one, cause due to the binding would be like... page 37 continues with page 54 and so on.

Then, out in the town to find the best printer service - I made sample pages at about four different locations - one was too contrast, another made unequal borders that made the binding center offset compared to the other side of the sheet, another made the pages much too shiny, and finally I found one that printed them with a nice color and feel. I opted for thicker pages as if I were to print all the documents on normal paper, the book, which is quite large, almost letter size, would have the feel of a flimsy magazine.
After I trimmed the pages, found a distressed leather piece and sewed the pages in, the real fun begun - I folded the pages just a bit, then ironed them, to have these subtle creases that give it a nice look.

I added a belt with a vintage buckle and distressed the leather even more, tanning it with sepia pigments.
The last part was painting the journal - my favorite part :)"

This was a part of her blog post, but you can read all of it and see more  photos here. Needless to say that the customer was thrilled with her book. It was ordered as a present for the 60th birthday of her aunt who actually lives in that area.

I think this is a perfect example of a book art project. The outcome is so impressive that I told her she should make another one and sell it in her shop. I admit I'm a big fun of westerns but I also think it's a lovely theme and there are many people out there that would buy one. What do you think?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sewing on cord

There are a few aspects in bookbinding that I love most. For example, sewing the book block is one of my favorite parts. It can be done in many different ways but it looks really beautiful no matter the technique. Unfortunately most of the time the sewing is hidden by the spine and remains unknown to those who are using the books. I feel it's time for me to try something new, something different in bookbinding, and I feel it has to be related to the technique itself, which I love so much and would like to expose.
This weekend I made a first attempt to sew on cords. I don't have a proper sewing frame and I worked on one improvised but now that I know how it works, I'll try to build a better one later this week.