Micro-miniature Books

I actually started my miniature book career as a collector of micro-miniatures books. I was populating the shelves of my (unfinished) dollhouse and the gap between what I wanted and what I could afford led to the wild idea that I could make them myself. Still, I ended up with some lovely micros by Robert Massman, Booksby Press, Barbara Raheb, Miriam Irwin, and Barbara Brear.

My Darlings

My Darlings

When I began, I made books just above 1″, and the books got larger as I got more ambitious and wanted to cram as much detail into them as I could. I still make micro-miniature versions of the ones that are simple enough to undergo the shrinking process, and I’ve just added a few more to the line-up:

Lost Cities

Lost Cities

Dry Bones

Dry Bones

The Man That Broke The Bank At Monte Carlo

The Man That Broke The Bank At Monte Carlo

I also made a micro version of Sailing To Byzantium, which I forgot to photograph before I mailed it out to a long-time pal and collector, but I’m making several copies this afternoon in anticipation of the Good Sam Show next week. I’m thinking of others I might shrink.

I also made some display tables for the show, and some empty glass display vitrines that I might sell empty:

Tables

Tables

And a tiny tellurion in a lizard-skin case:

Cased Tellurion

Cased Tellurion

Cased Tellurion

Cased Tellurion

And a mightily complicated naturalist’s trunk:

Naturalist's Trunk

Naturalist’s Trunk

Samples, Specimens, and Secretaire

Samples, Specimens, and Secretaire

Plant Specimens and Boxes

Plant Specimens and Boxes

and a couple of globes inspired by the story of Baba Yaga, who lived in house that sat on a giant chicken foot:

Globes

Globes

Globes

Globes

They’re offset so they can stand against a wall of against each other. The leather on the stands is chicken, of course.

I’m also taking some globes with me to sell individually so people can use them for their own purposes. When I come home, it will be time to think about the Sari book and the end-of-year book – this will be the 10th year of the Bo Press, so it will have to be something spectacular!

Full-Size Nugget!

Prue Batten and I collaborated on a children’s book back in 2013: Nugget: The Black Wombat:

Nugget

Nugget

Nugget

Nugget

. . .and now Prue and illustrator Dave Slaney have published a full-sized version! On Kindle for now, and later in print. Dave’s illustrations are tremendous – the first one I saw filled me with such delight I started to giggle before I read the first word. I’d never read a book on Kindle where the illustrations were easier to see, and this should be a natural to read with your kids.

Go read all about it on Prue’s blog, then go buy it!

 

Gearing Up

. . .for the Good Sam Miniature Show. I got out all my stock and laid it out on my work table, and it looked pitifully insufficient. Usually I feel bad having stock on hand, but now I feel free to go crazy and make all sorts of things! One thing that inspired me is a piece I made for the Pico della Mirandola roombox:

Pico's Book Trunk

Pico’s Book Trunk

My client wanted some alchemy books for Pico in a suitable bookcase, but I remembered that in those days people more usually kept books in trunks rather than on shelves, so I decided to make a leather trunk.

Covering The Trunk

Covering The Trunk

I made the box itself from basswood lined with a black-and-gold paper. The basswood was absolutely hateful about curling – I had to keep it under weights for two days after I glued the paper to it.

The Lid

The Lid

I wish now I’d made a little hiding place in the lid. Ah, well. Next time . . . The contrasting leather rectangles are shiny black stingray shagreen trimmed in painted wood strips.

Attaching The Lid

Attaching The Lid

Surprisingly good behavior by the lid. This is often a tough step.

Hinges

Hinges

More Hinges

More Hinges

Almost Finished

Almost Finished

I’m still amazed that the leather stretched as well as it did.

And Done!

And Done!

It may look a bit garish here, but varnishing the whole thing turned out very well. It marries all the different textures somehow. I want to make more leather-covered things now!

Selling Is Hard

I’ve been madly building pieces to take to the Good Sam Show, and I forgot that maybe somebody might like to buy them, well, now. So I’m going through the long slog of taking pictures, shining up the pictures, sizing the pictures (different sizes for different sites), writing descriptions, and building web pages for each one for my website, then using this information to put them up on Etsy and eBay. The website pages are the most difficult, but then again, I get the most profit if I sell an item from the website. In any case, here’s what I’ve been working on all yesterday and today. I’ll attach links as I manufacture them:

Dinosaur Fortune Teller

Dinosaur Fortune Teller

 

Dragonskin Explorer's Trunk

Dragonskin Explorer’s Trunk

 

Cartographer's Cabinet

Cartographer’s Cabinet

 

Library Globe

Library Globe

 

Library Globe

Library Globe

 

Map File

Map File

All these, and I’ve got two orreries to go!

Out of Control

So I really got  into it:

No Top

No Top

I was fine up to this point.

The Doors

The Doors

. . .then it got fancy:

Parts

Parts

I re-made the drafting tools box in mahogany to match the rest. I don’t know what I was thinking to make it in basswood.

Parts In Place

Parts In Place

The maps hide the backs of the doors, which weren’t too attractive.

The Drawing Board

The Drawing Board

It was pure dumb luck that this fit.

All The Parts

All The Parts

 

Distressing

Distressing

It got a bit dark, but I had to take down the hardware and marry the two textures, wood and metal. The whole box might get feet eventually, but after that somebody had better take it away from me, or it will sprout handles and finials and sconces and heaven knows what else.

A Big One For The Show

The Good Sam Showcase of Miniatures is coming up next month, so I’m ramping up production. It helps that here in Southern California the temperature is blazing hot and no one is about to go outdoors after 8:00 AM. Since I’m trapped indoors, I’ve started another Victorian Cartographer’s Trunk.

I’ve made a few of these before and had a lot of fun.

Cartographer's Trunk

Cartographer’s Trunk

Cartographer's Trunk

Cartographer’s Trunk

and I want this one t be the best yet. I’ve begun the contents – the sextant and its case, a box of drafting tools,a box of maps (celestial, oceanic, and terrestrial) and some books on mapmaking and exploration:

The Sextant Case

The Sextant Case

Sextant Parts

Sextant Parts

The Map Case

The Map Case

Drafting Tools

Drafting Tools

I’m so proud of the parallel and proportional rules. And they work!

More tomorrow, when I might tackle the trunk itself.

 

Dinosaur Fortune Teller

Where on earth did this idea come from?

Dinosaur Fortune Teller

Dinosaur Fortune Teller

. . .but here’s how it started:

 

Half A Dinosaur

Half A Dinosaur

The Case

The Case

In The Box

In The Box

Woodworking

Woodworking

I wanted to add the cut-off feet to the case somehow, but it just got too weird.

Ready For The Carnival

Ready For The Carnival

 

Pico della Mirandola’s Books

A wonderful collector emailed me recently with a request for a few details to decorate her roombox dedicated to Pico della Mirandola, the wild and brilliant neo-Platonist philosopher,

Pico della Mirandola

Pico della Mirandola

whose adventures I strongly suggest you read here. Turns out he really was poisoned; it’s amazing that he lived as long as he did.

Pico and Tita

Pico and Tita

She’s given him a lover naned Tita, and I’ve made a lovely little boxed copy of Pico’s (imaginary) collection of sonnets dedicated to her:

Sonnetti per Tita

Sonnetti per Tita

Sonnetti per Tita

Sonnetti per Tita

Sonnetti per Tita

Sonnetti per Tita

and several other sumptuously bound Renaissance classics and maps:

Pico's Books

Pico’s Books

I’ve also made a book stand with a book of sea monsters taken from old manuscripts: “Monstra Mari”:

Monstra Mari

Monstra Mari

I have several pieces to go, but here’s a bit more of Pico and Tita’s lovely miniature home (They seem to have acquired a pretty little golden-haired child):

Pico and Tita

Pico and Tita

Pico and Tita

Pico and Tita

Pico and Tita

Pico and Tita

 

 

The Irish Triads

The new book is out! It’s called “The Irish Triads”, and it’s a collection of a verse form/riddle/aphorism/pub game common to Ireland and Wales. Kuno Meyer, who collected and translated as many as he could find in the 19th century, describes them: “Triads occur sporadically in the literature of most other nations, and have occasionally been collected. But I am not aware that this kind of composition has ever attained the same popularity elsewhere as in Wales and Ireland, where the manufacture of triads seems at times almost to have become a sport.”

The Irish Triads

The Irish Triads

Some of them are witty, some legal, some emotional, some vengeful. A few of my favorites:

  Three false sisters: ‘perhaps’, ‘maybe’, ‘I dare say”.

  Three silences that are better than speech: silence during instruction, silence during music, silence during preaching.

  Three signs of a fop: the track of his comb in his hair, the track of his teeth in his food, the track of his stick behind him.

(I think Florence King mentions somewhere that a man with comb tracks in his hair is the scum of the earth.)

I wanted to bind it like this: on the verso side (on the left) a page with the Irish phrase, then over it (still on the verso) a translucent page with the English translation, then on the recto (on the right) the three answers. But due to mathematical difficulties with which I will not burden you, that wouldn’t work. I ended up with an extra page in every signature. So I made the best  of it and cut the extraneous page down to a tab, and punched three holes in it, to continue the idea of triads. I echoed this with three raised dots on the cover, and a triskelion on the translucent paper slip band. This is known as the “I totally meant to do that!” school of craft.

Anyway, more pictures:

 

The Irish Triads

The Irish Triads

The Binding

The Binding

Title Page

Title Page

Interior Pages

Interior Pages

It’s up on the website now. I had great fun doing such a minimalist designing -I didn’t want anything of the stage Irishman about this.


It’s early days yet, but I might be working on a book about saris next.

The Miniature Book Conclave

I got back from the MBS Conclave a while ago, and I’m just now realizing what a great thing it was. Barbara Williamson is  our hero: she put so much imagination and style into all her hard work that future conclaves will have to do very well to top it. I arrived a day late, and was still swept up in the general good feelings and community. I think I passed some sort of tipping point: I knew almost everybody, at least by reputation, and everybody seemed to know me.  A bit like going to the Oscars and having all the movie stars chatting me up.

I made a keepsake for the goody bags all by myself this year.

Songs About Texas

Songs About Texas

. . .and got a special keepsake from Jim Brogan, who presented this version of his keepsakes to The Microbibliophile’s contributors.

Texas, The Lone Star State

Texas, The Lone Star State

Which is more than generous, since the only thing I contribute to the Microbib is telling everyone I see to subscribe to it. Here!

Next year, in Oakland, CA. So convenient for me!