Monday 30 June 2008

New work.

It would appear that I am working on four books. Typical, just as the weather and Wimbledon are working in harmony, I find myself stuck at the bench.

The four books comprise of one speculative binding, two commissions and a competition book.

The speculative is Magic Books From Mexico. A King Penguin publication, the rarest of all their titles (so I am told) A Lovely book with fantastic illustrations.

With the original binding being damaged, I could take the opportunity to put a fresh binding on it.
After pulling the book, new end papers, end bands, re-sewing etc, I was able to turn my attention to the leather.

The leather (fair goat from the top company Hewit and Sons, though other tanners are available) was cut to size, the turn-ins pared with the Schärffix 2000 ( Please note other paring machines are available) The turn-in step is then removed with the paring knife and the first lot of dye applied.

Once the first application is dry the second dye stuff is applied. I enjoy working this way, being able to treat the leather as a canvas lets me have far more control over colour, texture and the like.
Onlays of about 0.2mm are glued to the surface and then Back Pared.

Oh what fun.... The object of back paring is to remove leather from the back of the skin, just in the areas where the on-lays are. This is not so difficult, however, with the various applications of dye the skin can become a little hard and more prone to not moving as easily in the paring machine. This can lead on to holes and lots of swearing.
The secret is to take of as little as possible (dust) with each pass through the paring machine until the desired thickness of leather is achieved.
The leather is then glued out and worked over the boards etc.

Once covered the book is pressed until dry, only in-filling, leather joints and further design work to go.

Friday 27 June 2008

I have been asked to produce a book on the stuff I do.

I have been asked to produce a book on the stuff I do. I am thinking of doing that, technique, material manipulation and the like. I will only be producing a few as I think that my family may be a bit cheesed off if I started giving them out as Christmas gifts.
Place your orders now !

Sketch books

The front door of the AWG
Last night I attended my first meeting as a member, Guildsman, Brother what ever of The Art Workers Guild (AWG) The meeting was the chance for people to bring along their sketch books, chat about the contents and how this relates to their work. I have been to similar events with one of the other organisations I belong to, that ended in a few people bringing their egos and telling everyone how good they were (sad)

The wonderful thing about last night was in the diversity of the chats and the work on show. Stone masons, type setters, print artists, bow makers (for violin, Cello etc), lute maker, glass artist, writer to name but a few. Light hearted banter and intelligent questions from the audience were parried with aplomb, questions answered with care and attention. A charming and instructive evening. Free wine and ace sandwiches also made the evening a convivial one.

An early meeting of the Art Workers Guild.

Sunday 15 June 2008

A mini Studio 5 in Copenhagen

The first work shop. Much fun and a little laid back. The point of the work shop was to introduce as many people as possible to the making of the book. Each work shop was free with all the materials and tools brought over from Studio 5 in my luggage.

Out side the local bookbinders. Typical, even when I have free time, I spend it looking for bookbinders....

....leather shops, selling a vast variety of leather and.....


A top book shop with a very curious ceiling.

Above all was the overall feeling of being happy to be there. After all of the crap and disrespect I went through prior to Copenhagen, the welcome, honesty and respect for professionalism I was accorded will always be remembered.

Tuesday 10 June 2008

Back from Copenhagen

After an all to short time in the wonderful city of Copenhagen, I am back in the studio with news.

First, it is with some disappointment that I am unable to do the lunch time Kyffin talk in Wales. As much as I wanted to do this talk, I found the travel requirements (limitations) of the 'Organiser' just beyond the pail and somewhat insulting.

This is the first engagement that I have had to pull out of.

I remember one lecture, a few years ago, that proved most difficult. Half way through my train journey to the venue we were informed that the station that I was due to change at had been destroyed by a bomb (I R A) I had a choice, the easy option being to turn back at the first chance or continue onwards. I continued, managed to get a message to the venue saying that I was delayed. I arrived some one and a half hours late with not one member of the audience having left. I did the talk, answered the questions and chatted with all, with no thought of how I was to get back home and to work the following morning. They had been so patient it was the very least I could do.

I will not bore you with all of the details of the return journey, needless to say I was at the bench as the first customer knocked at the door in the morning.

This all is brought into very sharp contrast with my time in Copenhagen.

From the very beginning the organisation was first rate. Being offered choice of times for travel (aeroplane) duration of stay, length of workshops, numbers etc etc.

After the task of getting to Copenhagen, I was met by my host, Birgit Dalum and given a short tour of Copenhagen. Once I had been shown to my room (a huge affair with en suite everything and own entrance !) I was given the chance to relax for the rest of the day.
The following morning found me in the exhibition/workshop venue, Gallery North (North Gallery, Norregade 7C, basement 1165 Copenhagen K) The owners of the gallery, charming and wonderful, left us to do what we wished with the space. After 3 or so hours we had finished the installation, cabinets and workshop space.

Books on purpose built stands, smaller works on plinths, larger books against the walls. All of this makes such a change from the usual book binding and book art exhibitions I have been involved with recently. The space around the works allows people to look and engage with the work without being cramped and feeling as if one is at a jumble sale.

Less robust works in a cabinet.

The workshop corner. The aim of the workshop was to introduce people to making the book with the minimum of equipment. I do so dislike workshops were the participants are encouraged to mickey mouse books, with little or no challenges and little worth.

Some of the students work was also put on display, a great idea and very encouraging for the individual ( remember that the workshops only lasted for one hour)

With the workshops being over two days, the private view and the first open day there was a little time to see the sights that Copenhagen is famed for.

The Mermaid. Tourists chancing the tide, slime covered rocks to have their picture taken with this iconic figure. You may be able to realise that I took this image from behind. This necessitated me clambering over terrain of the slimiest kind, before you ask, my Clarke's Desert Boots held firm not only to the rocks but also my dignity.

poster clad walls.

The last few hours before the plane left some time for shopping. Being in the book world the shops I end up in are predictable. Leather and book shops. More of that later.