Watermelon Planet

I took a few minutes out of shipping ‘Trouvere’, cranking out copies of “The Boston Light’, and waiting for the ‘Fixation’ prototype to get to Johniene (and taking care of my poor busted-up husband, with a new hip and going stir-crazier the better he feels) to take up a suggestion by my friend Melissa to make a dissected globe:

Dissected Globe

Dissected Globe

Given that the wooden beads I use for globes are usually 5/8″ or 3/4″, I started with a sliced globe:

Sliced Globe With Molten Interior

Sliced Globe With Molten Interior

The Whole Globe

The Whole Globe

What fun!

_____________________________________________________________

Prue Batten’s new novel is just published! If you’ve read the first two books in the Gisborne series, run and get this one – the best yet.

Fixation

We’re familiar with the charm of the miniature – it forces us to re-see things we thought we knew and take new delight in them. Johniene Papandreas’ vast, dramatic paintings focus on  small and emotionally revealing parts of classical paintings in a similar way – to see the force and emotional meaning of small things made huge. We decided that making a miniature version of her work was a natural progression of both our work and ideas.

Many of her paintings are elongated, so fitting them in a regular book-shape was a problem we struggled with for a while. After the crash and burn of my Froggy Problem project, I salvaged one great idea out of the wreckage: fold-out pages. Johniene made a mock-up of what the book might look like, with running commentary and source information, that showcased her paintings beautifully. We emailed back and forth about typefaces and color balance, and we’re not through yet, by any means.

I just finished the first prototype last night, and this morning I bound it with some scrap paper to see how it looked.

Probably Not The Actual Binding

Probably Not The Actual Binding

Title Page

Title Page

First Fold Out

First Fold Out

Another Fold Out

Another Fold Out

The Paintings' Real Size

The Paintings' Real Size

I’m so honored that such an acclaimed artist is letting me use her work in this way. I want this to be the most perfect blending of two vastly different art/craft forms ever!

TROUVÈRE Is Here!

TROUVÈRE, Prue Batten’s beautiful and exciting short story set in the High Middle Ages of France, is finally up on the website!

Binding

Binding

More Binding

More Binding

First Page

First Page

Title Page

Title Page

And here’s the description from the website:

Trouvère   by Prue Batten

68 pages, four illustrations
2 3/4″ x 1 7/8″

A short story by well-known historical novelist Prue Batten set in the High Middle Ages of Northern France. Trouvères were the northern equvilent of the Occitan troubadours, a school of aristocratic poets and singers who celebrated the idea of courtly love that was sweeping through Burgundy, Aquitaine, and Provence at the end of the eleventh century.

In Batten’s romantic and suspenseful tale, trouvère Flori de Mazamet is caught between the beauty embodied in his art and the common brutality beneath the courtly ideal. He attempts to aid a lady whose illicit love forces him to make a choice between  love and pity.

I’ve attempted to bind this little book is a sympathetic style, with the pages bound over cords and into wooden boards in the medieval manner. Cream leather is stretched over the spine leaving some of the cherrywood boards exposed., and the book is held closed with a band of matching leather.

‘Trouvere’ is Almost Ready!

This is the final version of Prue’s ‘Trouvere’.  I’ll bind a few and put it up on the website for sale in a few days, and tell you more about the story. Some craziness at home has slowed down work for a while, but now all is serene-o.

Spine and Label

Spine and Label

Spine and Closure

Spine and Closure

More interior pictures tomorrow or so. . . and news about the lighthouse books!

In The Medieval Neighborhood

Here’s what I made up until I realized it was after midnight and I hadn’t eaten dinner:

One And Two

One And Two

The first and second prototypes of “Trouvere” . I looked at lots of tutorials for gothic binding and cherry-picked the parts I liked, with mixed results. I tried using the cute little sewing frame I made, but it was just easier to sew it with the cords already in the boards.

With Boards On

With Boards On

Full disclosure: the cords are angled because I didn’t measure the hole positions.

Glued

Glued

The wood is 1/32″ thick, so I couldn’t countersink the cords. This would come back to haunt me.

Bad Headband - Better Headband

Bad Headband - Better Headband

Infill

Infill

Attempt at Flattening

Attempt at Flattening

Leather!

Leather!

Tops Tucked In

Tops Tucked In

Done

Done

I experimented with this binding style a few months ago, and it came out much better than this. Sigh. The book itself is lovely, by the way. And the story will stop your heart!

 

Just a Little More Astronomy

I guess I had a few orreries left in me (plus a medieval miniature):

A Gold Orrery

A Gold Orrery

A Gold Orrery

A Gold Orrery

Yes, I did drill eight holes in a toothpick.

An Antique Orrery

An Antique Orrery

An Antique Orrery

An Antique Orrery

A Shelf of Alchemical Books

A Shelf of Alchemical Books

A Shelf of Alchemical Books

A Shelf of Alchemical Books

Tomorrow, back to book making!

Juggling Practice

I spent yesterday working on the final prototype for the MBS Conclave keepsake. Now I just have to go to the printer to get the cardstock covers done. (My printer is a lightweight and will only do wimpy cardstock. Somebody buy $600 worth of stuff so I can get an Epson 3000!)

Today was Trouvere, Prue’s new short story. What a satisfying day of work! I designed the pages, picked a typeface, and set the type. I’m also trying some marginalia suited to the subject:

Page 1

Page 1

I’m also gathering information about the Gothic binding style I’ll be doing. I just read a blog post by Randy Asplund in which he described picking apples to make vinegar to soak an ingot of lead (which he evidently mined himself) to make white lead pigment. Abi gezunt, Randy, and god bless you, but my life is too short. It just has to look like a 12th century book.

Tomorrow, The Art of Johniene Papandreas. (Those of you who are in, or are going to be in, Provincetown, see her gallery: Gallery Voyeur

Leftovers!

Jean Shepherd is famous for saying that, in his youth, his family ate only leftovers. The original meal was never traced. I’m convinced that half of my ideas come from looking at what’s in the fridge and saying. “What can I make with half a jar of mustard, a lemon, a can of tuna, and jello?

Much to my surprise, I found in my leftover parts drawers the ingredients for this:

Beginnings

Beginnings

So fat, it’s an unfinished wooden napkin ring from Michael’s,  the base of a glass dome, and a bunch of beads and rings.

Planets and Rings

Planets and Rings

Under Glass

Under Glass

Complete

Complete

And voila! A Grand Orrery! If I had the idea first, I would have had to order the parts (you always have to go the the hardware store three times for any project: first to buy the parts, second to replace the parts that didn’t fit, and third to replace the parts you broke.) Since I had a bunch of random stuff, I could make anything I wanted. Most of them weren’t leftover parts, as such, just parts that I saw on some jewelery supply website and thought, “Cool.” Even the graphics on the side and beneath the planets were cobbled from ones I’d made earlier.

All this took, I swear, an hour and a half. I still look back over my shoulder at my work table and think “Squeeeee!” I’m not so much bragging on myself as saying ,”It’s easier to get ideas from raw materials than it is to get raw materials to realize ideas.”

Almost Lost It

Everything I touched turned to dlog. Every idea I had sputtered to a stop. Until today:

Mountains and Rivers

Mountains and Rivers

In the 1830s, everyone was mad for these illustrations of the relative length (or height) of rivers (or mountains). Infographics, we’d call them now. The rivers have been straighten out a bit to fit on the page, and to better compare their lengths. Blogs re-discovered them a few years ago, and you saw them all over the place, at least on the slightly nerdy blogs that I read. It had been a while since I did a map book. I took the twelve longest rivers, and made this:

Prototype

Prototype

Prototype, Outside

Prototype, Outside

It was difficult to make all the folds the same length, and the prototypes (this is #5, btw) looked really ratty until I discovered a way. Here’s the first successful one:

Twelve Rivers

Twelve Rivers

Without the Belly Band

Without the Belly Band

I tried a slipcase, but it looked too pretentious.

Nice Neat Folds

Nice Neat Folds

Title

Title

Folded Map

Folded Map

Unfolded

Unfolded

I’ve attempted this binding before, always with dire results, but I had to keep pecking at it till it opened. It’s kind of an accordion technique, I guess, but damned if I was going to look it up. I’d rather re-invent the wheel.

Sorry, Johniene! (And happy birthday, too!) I had to get this out of my system before I could start our collaboration. I’m fine now, thanks.

A Budget of News

There’s nothing but drama at Bo Press World Headquarters these days! The Froggy Problem turned out to be vaporware, and may re-appear in a simpler and less Rube Goldbergian form. Even after eight prototypes, it wasn’t any closer to working than after the first one. Es ist genug.

On the other hand, Jim Brogan and I have what might be the final form of the MBS Conclave keepsake we’re teaming up to make:

The Foggy Sleeve

The Foggy Sleeve

The Cover

The Cover

A Random Page

A Random Page

What's This?

What's This?

A Pop-up Lighthouse!

A Pop-up Lighthouse!

And Prue Batten tells me she’s started the Trouvere story, and that it might be the lead-in to a novel! And I haven’t forgotten the art catalog!

More news as it develops . . .I’m over my allowance of exclamation points for this post.