Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Celtic Binding

The past fortnight has been really busy and tiring for me. As well as my weekly class at Studio West End (SWE) I went to a full day workshop on folded books. I am learning a lot and looking forward to having more time to play with this new knowledge and integrate it into my work.

Last week at SWE I learnt how to do celtic binding. My family's ancestral roots are in the south of Ireland at Maynooth and so the idea of doing celtic binding is very appealing to me. There is a traditional form which Keith Smith teaches, and my teacher Adele Outterridge has modified and extended this. So far I have made two books with celtic bindings, but it is so pretty I am sure I will make many more.

As soon as I tried to set up to take some photos of the books for the blog, Claude had to help!

But eventually I managed to move him far enough away to focus on the bindings....

Above: This is my first attempt, using Adele's modification. I think the
paper on the covers is Japanese - I bought it ages ago.

Above: this one is just made with printer paper and some coloured art paper I had lieing around, although the thread is the proper waxed linen (this helps the sewing to sit nicely). This is two of the celtic cross-overs (Keith Smith style) joined by 3 coptic stitches in the centre. This is a variant of a variant developed by Adele!

You might remember that a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned I was going to try etching. Well, that is progressing slowly but surely...I've made it as far as the first etch of the plate and this week I will ink it up and see how it looks. In the mean time I thought you might like a look at the plate...

I have to confess I find the fine detail on the plate quite intoxicating.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Straw board covers

Originally uploaded by potsrme1962
This photo shows the problems associated with using cheap materials. The covers are for a landscape sketch book for a relative's birthday and because I ran out of archival binder's board I substituted straw board.

Added Sat 14th March
I realize this post is a bit out of the ordinary for me, so I thought I should add an explanation. I posted a question about correcting this warping on the book arts listserv and some photos were requested. People who haven't joined Flickr seem to have problems accessing it sometimes, so I decided to post the photos here.

The folks on the listserv have an amazing wealth of knowledge and experience and are so happy to jump in and share...it is one of the things I love about the internet...the way it has created this fantastic global community spirit.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Playing With Drypoint

A couple of years ago I did a 6 week online printmaking course and learnt an at-home method of creating a drypoint print. I absolutely love intaglio prints and with the acquisition of a cheap second-hand pasta machine, this course claimed they were a possibility. At the time I tested it out and it seemed to work reasonably well, so I decided to trial the method again.

Using a perspex plate and an etching needle I made an image based on this photo (the one on the right). Below is the outcome on kozo paper and you can see two different inkings on watercolour paper here.

Last week I took the plate along to the class I mentioned I am attending at Studio West End. One of the teachers Wim de Vos is a printmaker and he showed me the correct way to ink up the plate and then we printed it on Arches Velin (proper printmaking paper) with the etching press. You can certainly see the difference (below) but I still quite like the result the pasta press gives - it is softer, with less detail for sure, but that can be nice in the right work.

Following on from this little venture in to printmaking, this week I am going to try something I've wanted to explore for years....etching. Stay posted!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Coptic binding

Here are the two coptic bindings I've completed this week. I learned the technique from Adele Outteridge, an artist who I mentioned here. The covers are Japanese fabrics I bought ages ago on Ebay, enticed by their beauty to believe that despite my hopeless skills as a seamstress, I could make something from them. The larger book is filled with a mixture of Canson 300gsm watercolour paper and Rives BFK, a printmaking paper, and sewn with waxed Irish linen thread. The smaller book on top has pastel papers and brown linen thread.

I have to say I am completely entranced by this binding. It's so satisfying to make something so beautiful and practical, and I love the fact that you can sit and tear paper for the sections/ signatures and sew the binding even when you're not feeling 100%. I know what my friends will be getting for their birthdays...