Not Completely Useless

I haven’t been completely on vacation, just almost. I did make a bunch of decorative blank books, for strewing about your ancient library or your workshop or laboratory, if you’re a miniature alchemist or wizard:

Decorator Books

Decorator Books

I made three large ones:

Big Ones

Big Ones

. . .and five small ones:

Small Ones

Small Ones

smred

 

smdkbrown

smblack

smbrown

which I much prefer. Miniaturists are like journalists, who are the opposite of writers in that they write worse when they have time. Our work is better the smaller it is.

The Doldrums

Don’t get me wrong – Southern California is a great place to live. I’m about fifty miles due east of L.A., just far enough to think I can go into the city for dinner or shows, but just far enough out to say, “Nah”, and not feel guilty.

The down side to this is that I’m equidistant from L.A. and the desert, and this time of year our temperatures skew eastward. We’ve been at 104 for a few days now, and it won’t get much better till the second week of October. I’ll just repeat that for emphasis: the second week in October. So I don’t often go out and play, but stay in and try to find things to do that don’t involve Outdoors.

I make things – things that I’m not sure I’ll ever sell, things I’ve always wanted to try, things that I know will end in tears before bedtime. Everybody is on vacation, so I don’t get the thrill of seeing a piece going to a new home; it’s just for me. It’s the silly season here at Bo Press World Headquarters.

So far I’ve made this:

Gold Pocket Globe

Gold Pocket Globe

. . .and this:

Mahogany and Shagreen Pocket Globe

Mahogany and Shagreen Pocket Globe

. . .and this:

Lost Books Shelf

Lost Books Shelf

I actually made this for Jim Brogan to take to The MBS Conclave, but sadly it didn’t sell.

And this:

The Lower Nile Special Edition

The Lower Nile Special Edition

The Lower Nile Special Edition

The Lower Nile Special Edition

with which I’m very pleased. I used to do a lot of this kind of thing – fancy presentations of my maps and books. I’d forgotten how much fun it is. Make more!

PS – Prue Batten’s new book Tobias is in pre-order at Amazon!!! Go get it!

 

I Love IGMA!

The International Guild of Miniature Artisans is having its annual show this weekend, and boy, do I wish I were there!I went to the Guild show several years ago and had the time of my life. If the trip weren’t such a schlep, I’d go every year, but I dislike travel so much it would take an earthquake to get me out of the house (just kidding, California!).

A few days ago, I posted my first piece (one of the new cartographer’s trunks) on the IGMA Facebook page, and got all sorts of wonderful comments.

Cartographer's Trunk

Cartographer’s Trunk

And the latest Vampire Hunter’s Trunk got even more:

Vampire Hunter's Trunk

Vampire Hunter’s Trunk

So I’ve started a new Tropical Explorer’s Trunk:

Explorer's Trunk Beginning

Explorer’s Trunk Beginning

The top half will flip over to reveal:

 

Explorer's Trunk Opened

Explorer’s Trunk Opened

Interior

Interior

Leather For Binding

Leather For Binding

This will be my first leather trunk, inspired by a pair of old leather gloves I bought on eBay. The leather was so thin and pliable I couldn’t resist.

First Layer

First Layer

So Far

So Far

I don’t seem to have gotten a good shot of the outer leather, but there are straps and corners of tanned chicken skin that look like dragon hide. I’ll make the books to go in the upper compartment and the desk stuff to go in the lower one tomorrow, but today I’m going to celebrate being retired and go to the mall!

 

 

Getting Above My Raising

Inspired by who-knows-what, I tried a little box making experiment:

The New Box - front

The New Box – front

I originally thought of making this out of stingray shagreen, but cutting out the first few pieces cured me of that.

The New Box - back

The New Box – back

The pieces fit together and move better than I thought they would, but confidence was low in any case.

The New Box - opening

The New Box – opening

As for the fit and finish, it looks less like the container for an expensive perfume than like a small piece of gristle spat out by Peter Carl Fabergé.

The New Box - complete

The New Box – complete

I love the shape, even though I have no idea what will go inside it. I think I’ll try another tomorrow. Sometimes it’s nice to make things just for fun.

More Furniture

So there I was,

The Finished Trunk

The Finished Trunk

I did a little distressing to the outside,

The Back

The Back

The Open Back

The Open Back

Drum roll, please . . .

The Reveal!

The Reveal!

In Profile

In Profile

From the top: two globes (terrestrial and lunar), a bunch of rolled maps, a roll of “Daphne” Superior Graph Paper, a set of drafting tools, more maps, some books, and a collapsing drafting table.

All The Parts

All The Parts

The Drafting Tools

The Drafting Tools

Oh, I almost forgot! A desk surface that pulls out of the base. Pretty cool, I think, specially for a piece I was going to abandon three days ago.

 

Less Paper, More Wood

After all the excitement of publishing The Library of Lost Books, I’ve been playing around with some furniture:

An Explorer's Trunk

An Explorer’s Trunk

An Explorer's Trunk

An Explorer’s Trunk

I got a bit carried away with this one.

A Traveler's Library

A Traveler’s Library

Traveler's Library, Interior

Traveler’s Library, Interior

. . .and this. Plus a couple Medieval and/or Gothic book stands with alchemical books:

Alchemy Books

Alchemy Books

More Alchemy Books

More Alchemy Books

I got so charged up that I got myself in trouble. I was going to make one of these:

Slanted Desk

Slanted Desk

But I forgot that the top has to be split half-way between the edges, or you get this:

Best Laid Plans

Best Laid Plans

Too Offset

Too Offset

which I countered with this:

Butressed!

Butressed!

It all went well until I realized that the thing, when upfolded, was enormous. And I’d set myself up to fill all those shelves with stuff.

Tomorrow,

Looking Good From The Outside

Looking Good From The Outside

Tomorrow, I’ll solve it. Stay tuned!

Around the Studio

I’m keeping busy with several projects:

Miniature Books

Miniature Books

This is part of a larger clean-up I promised myself I’d tackle as soon as the weather got too hot to play outside. I’ve gotten into the bad habit of putting my books “almost away” – that is, I’ll put them on top of the other books in their shelf, or on a nearby shelf, or on the tables near the bookshelves, or on some other table in the house, or on the floor beside my bed. The upshot is that I have to search all my random books to find the one I want.

I finally got the shelves straightened out (where did all these history books come from? Can I really allot Terry Pratchett two shelves all to himself? How can I still have costume books hanging around? Where can I unload all these loved-it-then-loath-it-now books?) and one of the spaces held all my miniature book stuff: MBS newsletters, yearbooks, competition catalogs, conclave keepsakes, Microbibliophile back issues, and all the miniature books that have somehow accumulated. I bought a few miniature books before I started making them, but after I got going, I had more fun making them myself than collecting those of other people.

So now they’re all in their own little bookcase, and the pamphlets all have their own space on the real bookshelves.

Chained Bookshelf

Chained Bookshelf

Incomplete chained alchemy bookshelf. The rod that holds the chain ends goes on top of the thing, and the whole thing gets distressed and varnished. I’m pretty happy with the columns, if I do say so. The smaller books go on the upper shelf, and the big one goes on the under. Behind that is:

Tropical Explorer Trunk

Tropical Explorer Trunk

Trunk Open

A new explorer’s trunk!  Up on the website tomorrow or the next day.

Lost Books Found!

It’s finished! Take a look:

Front Cover

Front Cover

Full Binding

Full Binding

The book is 2 3/4″ x 1 7/8″, and the binding is Monarch Superfine with an extended spine of Indian pinto lokta paper.

Actual Size

Actual Size

Title Page

Title Page

Sample Page

Sample Page

What with all the trouble I had with the re-typing the text, I suspect the book’s riddled with typos.

Fold-Out

Fold-Out

I couldn’t make a book without some sort of secret surprise inside – one page has a fold-out.

So there it is! I’m pleased with how the book turned out, but more especially the binding. It’s neat, in the binding sense of sober. The illustrations have some wit to them (I hope), but the subject itself is serious. Even so, it’s hard not to smile at some of the misadventures of these poor books. It’s not just the burning of libraries and the attempted obliteration of ideas, but manuscripts left on trains, disputed wills, prudery, and plain rotten luck.

A Book Happened!

I made a couple of models of the Waldseemüller globe for a collector a few months ago, and finished another one the other day:

Globe and Map

Globe and Map

and I realized that the bottom part, without the globe, would make a good miniature map book:

The Waldseemuller Map

The Waldseemuller Map

The Waldseemuller Map

The Waldseemuller Map

The Waldseemuller Map

The Waldseemuller Map

The Whole Package

The Whole Package

It’s up on the website now – go see!  The Waldseemuller Map

Current Events

I’ve spent the day fooling around with a couple of Waldseemüller globes:

Waldseemuller Globe and Map

Waldseemuller Globe and Map

Waldseemuller Globe and Map

Waldseemuller Globe and Map

. . .and a little experiment in Barbaric Splendor:

Barbaric Splendor

Barbaric Splendor

Barbaric Splendor

Barbaric Splendor

I may not be done with this last one – it seems a little unsteady on its base. I’ve also been working on the next book – ‘The Library of Lost Books’. Here’s the dust jacket and a couple of sample pages:

Dust Jacket

Dust Jacket

Sample Pages

Sample Pages

More soon!