Waiting For The Troubadors

In anticipation of binding the upcoming troubadours book in the medieval raised-cord style, I cobbled together a sewing frame:

The Bed

The Bed

Bed and Uprights

Bed and Uprights

Almost Done

Almost Done

Strung

Strung

I know, I know. If you’ve ever seen a real sewing frame before, this look like one built from a description in a book with no illustrations. But with the absence of miniature keys, I think this will do – or at least be better than doing it freehand, which I’ve attempted a few times. It’s made of walnut, of which I seem to have a lot, and you haven’t known frustration till you’ve cut 1/4″ think walnut with an x-acto knife. But I think it will hold together, and now I can tackle headbands!

Revving Up

Three of the most technically challenging books of my career coming up, and what am I doing?

Scrap Walnut

Scrap Walnut

Scrap Walnut Box

Scrap Walnut Box

Ready To Sand

Ready To Sand

Sanded and Stained

Sanded and Stained

Ready To Distress

Ready To Distress

It’s going to be a new vampire hunter’s kit, in a style we used to call Barbarian Splendor. Lots of old brass fittings and leather strapping. I see it as a re-purposed medieval box from an old eastern European castle, turned to a new use. The box will get its staining and fitting-out tomorrow, and then I’ll plan the mechanics of the interior: lift-out trays, fold-down shelves, etc.

And what three books are these? Prue Batten and I have been planning a book about troubadors for several months now, but she got so far into her new novel (Gisborne: Book of Kings) that she had to keep going. The book’s in beta reading now, and about to go to her real editor very soon. Then, I’ll pin her down. I want to try binding this in a period (13th century) binding. In miniature!

And the second is a book I’ve had in mind for a while, after I came upon this: Lewis Carroll’s  The Froggy Problem. It’s delightful to read, even if, like me, you’ve forgotten all you ever knew about symbolic logic (not much). I want to put it into a book, but I want the form of the book to somehow reflect the solution of the puzzle. Which means I may have to stretch my brain a bit and see if I can figure out how to design an interesting book without revealing too much of my ignorance.

And the third book is maybe the most exciting of all. An painter named Johniene Papandreas (she and I go WAY back) is going to collaborate with me on a miniature collection of her work. This will be the first time I’ve worked with another designer on a book, and I’m very excited. We both have backgrounds in theater, so this should be a cinch. Tour her gallery and look at her work – you’ll be amazed.

So, just as soon as I get this darn vampire hunter’s kit finished . . . .

At The Planet Factory

Hard at work, buildin’ them solar systems:

One Silver, One Gold

One Silver, One Gold

And Their Glass Cases

And Their Glass Cases

Candles and Reflectors

Candles and Reflectors

Mechanicals

Mechanicals

Resting Overnight

Resting Overnight

All the verticals are off, making them look quite tipsy, but it’s easier and safer to wait till they dry overnight to trim everything up and remove all the glue globs.Then, onward to the cases!

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I think the next book will be a symbolic logic puzzle from Lewis Carrol: The Froggy Problem. Don’t think that I know anything about logic, symbolic or otherwise. I guess I’ll have to learn some of it to see if the concept I have for the book will make sense.

The Dlogen Touch

It all started out so innocently. I made three little globes (earth, moon, and constellations),

Globes

Globes

and I would make a lovely little triangular box for them. Here’s my initial plan:

Truncated Triangle

Truncated Triangle

And here’s how the three containers came out:

First Containers

First Containers

I realize that labeling this photo “first” is a bit like that Sid Caesar joke when a doughboy runs onto the stage yelling “The first World War is over!”.  They wouldn’t be the last.

I have no other pictures of this because I got so swept up in the creation of this thing that I forgot to take any more photos till it was too late. When I’m making something like this, I have a general idea in my head of what the piece will finally look like, and experience has taught me to start on the inside and work my way out. Otherwise, if I made the outer box first, the inner pieces might be too big. So the piece, so far, looks OK. But being swept up in the creative frenzy, so to speak, as the night wore on and I skipped dinner and my husband and dog went to bed, solving problems as they came up, I finally stepped back to take a look at it. I was sticky with glue up to the elbows, I’d gone through a lot of board and paper, and the only parts of the thing that were fit to be seen were the three globes. It was overworked and underplanned, so I scrapped it and went to bed.

The next day, I was full of hope. That was my first draft, I told myself. I’ll start again with all these mistakes under my belt, and really hit it out of the park this time.

Second Try

Second Try

Dlog

Dlog

As you see. Someone once wrote that sometimes everything you touch turns to gold, and other times everything turns to dlog. At my second midnight in a row, I found myself again desperately ripping apart and re-gluing increasingly ratty-looking pieces, and this morning I reclaimed all the salvageable metal and tossed the rest.

I’ve remarked before what a luxury it is to be able to abandon my failures. As a costumer, I rarely had the time or money to re-make a bad costume. So this morning I look at my clean worktable smiling at me, saying,”Come on, you can do it! Just one more try!”.

 

Finally! Valerie Young

Valerie Young, a found-object artist of great wit and imagination, finally has a website where we can see all her work!

http://www.lewiscarroll.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/AliceCar3.jpeg

Read more about her here.

Holmes Books, Cleaned Up

It’s up on the website now here:

Pamphlets

Pamphlets

Books

Books

Shagreen

Shagreen

Shagreen From the Top

Shagreen From the Top

More Pamphlets

More Pamphlets

More Books

More Books

I’m so delighted with how this came out. I always thought this about fabrics: that some of them were more well-behaved than others. I’m not so sure now. There are so many things I try to get stingray to do (like go around corners) that it just won’t do. But filling in a shape? Genius. Wool will do what silk won’t, but give them their proper job to do, and nothing will do it better. I learned a lot about stingray doing this that will help me understand its potential better.

Shagreen-O-Rama!

Wow, am I happy with this one:

Beginning the Box

Beginning the Box

Building up the Center

Building up the Center

Trying On the Stingray

Trying On the Stingray

Box With Trim

Box With Trim

Top Shagreen

Top Shagreen

Top and Sides Shagreen

Top and Sides Shagreen

The stingray was so well-behaved. I cut it a bit larger than the openings, and it swelled out to fill the space beautifully. I tamed recalcitrant dots with a bone folder, and they all fell right into line. I could even tuck the edges under a bit where they met the wood. I found out how to cut a clean edge- saw.

Later I’ll clean it up, varnish it, and put the books in. I can hardly wait!

A New Mystery

I’m making another Sherlock Holmes collection – all the imaginary novels, papers, books and pamphlets by Holmes, Watson, Moriarty, and the rest of the Holmseian circle. Here’s the plan so far:

Books and Plan

Books and Plan

I decided its time to use the beautiful spine of this piece of stingray leather. It will go across the top and down both sides (I think). If there’s not enough, I’ll fill in with wood. Speaking of wood:

Wood Samples

Wood Samples

Walnut, mahogany, or cherry?

What I Made Today

Another little orrery-in-a-book:

Book Block and Central Page Insert

Book Block and Central Page Insert

Binding the Base

Binding the Base

Back (Bottom) of Book

Back (Bottom) of Book

Block to Case

Block to Case

I thought I was so clever, putting little bars to elevate the curve of the opened pages. This would turn out to be a mistake.

 

Planets Corraled by Scissors

Planets Corralled by Scissors

Beginning the Solar System

Beginning the Solar System

Solar System Base in Book

Solar System Base in Book

Almost Finished

Almost Finished

It still is a couple of bubbles off true in several directions. I’ll straighten it up when the glue dries.

 

Leather Helmets!

And here it is: Leather Helmets – the early days of football And some more pictures:

Dust Jacket

Dust Jacket

Death of the Flying Wedge

Death of the Flying Wedge

An Early Big Game

An Early Big Game

John Heisman

John Heisman