Category Archives: New Publications

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!

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.

Had I But Known . . .

A couple of years ago I had the notion to make an Art Book. I took as my subject that ominous phrase beloved of old-fashioned romance novelists, “Had I but known.” I collected as many as I could find, and I made a single copy of this:

Had I But Known

Had I But Known

Had I But Known

Had I But Known

Contents

Contents

HIBK, as it’s familiarly known, was a fun little project, and some of the best box-making I’ve ever done. Unfortunately, it fell victim to my own inexperience when I included it with some other pieces I entrusted to a book arts store in Salt Lake City. The bookstore seems to have fallen off the face of the earth, and it serves me right for trying to sell anything on commission.

But no good idea goes to waste! I decide to resurrect HIBK as a miniature book:

Had I But Known

Had I But Known

Had I But Known

Had I But Known

Endpapers

Endpapers

A Page

A Page

It’s bound in a Japanese chiyogami paper printed with a stormy sea and crashing waves.You just know that nearby is a young woman in a 19th century nightgown running away from an enormous house with a single light in a window.  I’ll put it up on the website tomorrow.

 

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.

 

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.

Growth of a Commission

OK, from the top:

The Base

The Base

I decided on basswood, since I was a little uncertain if I wanted to devote the time and energy wrestling with walnut or cherry, and I have a lot of decorative stripwood left over from the semi-abandoned dollhouse. What a treat! I can cut it with an exacto-knife!

The Top

The Top

I got a little ahead of myself and forgot to take any pictures. It looks complicated, what with all that step-back fancy trim, but it’s just a box and about a million 45 degree angle cuts. I made the uprights out of cherry, because I had some nice 1/4″ x 1/4″ stock. They wouldn’t play nice though, so I reinforced the bottoms with what will look like organic decoration, I hope.

Superstructure

Superstructure

The press board slides up and down on the uprights – cool, huh? I’m avoiding thinking about how the brass screw is going through the middle of the crossbar, and where can I find antique brass screws and wingnuts, anyway? Maybe I’ll paint first.

First Paint

First Paint

It’s a trade-off, paint vs stain. It can look plastic, or cheap anyway,but I don’t have to worry about glue stains. I used a thinned-down acrylic craft paint for the first coat.

Last Paint

Last Paint

I found a brass screw and wingnut! My father taught me: never throw away a piece of hardware. And I figured out how to accommodate the thickness of the screw.

The Finished Book Press

The Finished Book Press

The screw and wingnut worked out great. I added some brass trim and a couple of coats of varnish, and voila!

Glamor Shot

Glamor Shot

Glamor Shot, Cont.

Glamor Shot, Cont.

Just For Size

Just For Size

My little guy is about six feet tall, so I guess it could go in a dollhouse. Those are three copies of ‘Lost Cities’ in the press. The whole thing was surprisingly easy, so I guess that’s telling me to be more adventurous. Or to have higher standards.

I’ll be making more of these. Still can’t believe I’d never tried one because I thought they’d be too difficult.

 

The Orchard of Chance

The Deluxe Edition

The Deluxe Edition

I’m delighted to say that it was all worth it. Prue Batten’s ‘The Orchard of Chance’ is finally published as a plain (100 copies) and a deluxe (ten copies) edition.

The Plain Version

The Plain Version

I had bought this paper earlier this year, not knowing what I’d use it for. It’s perfect for ‘The Orchard of Chance’.

Three Slipcases

Three Slipcases

I was so dissatisfied at the workmanship on the deluxe editions that I kept starting over, until I realized that I was trying way too hard. My embroidery skills got better on every copy, and the less I did the better they looked. I’ve finally got ten that I think look good.

A Deluxe Copy

A Deluxe Copy

They’re all fundamentally the same, but bound in slightly different fabrics and stitches.

The Interior Binding

The Interior Binding

When I read the manuscript, I was struck, as I always am in Prue’s writing, at how beautiful her descriptions are, especially of clothing, color, scent, and texture. I wanted so much to design the costumes for this story that I decided to use the costume drawings as illustrations.

The Swanmaid's Robe

The Swanmaid’s Robe

Maeve Swanmaid’s description puzzled me until I remembered that in Australia, swans are black!

Adelina the Embroiderer

Adelina the Embroiderer

The story is set in Prue’s fantasy world of Eirie, and if you’ve read those books (and if not, go immediately  to Prue Batten on Amazon) you’ll remember Adelina and the Stumpwork Robe, and they both play a part in this, along with several other (and Other) beings.

The Beginning

The Beginning

They’re up on the website now: the plain version and the deluxe version.

Magic Trees

I’m starting on the illustrations for ‘The Orchard of Chance’. I tried to find some magical program or Photoshop action that would turn pictures into embroidery, and ended up with a computer-full of trashware. After cleaning that up, I invented my own.

Ymp Trees

Ymp Trees

(Ymp trees are the Eirie version of pleached fruit trees.)

 

Three Rats Have Landed!

If I do say so myself, I’m very pleased. At least, that it’s finished. Naw, I really like it.

Front

Front

Spine

Spine

Title Page

Title Page

Source and Result

Source and Result

Rescued By Mermaids

Rescued By Mermaids

For the rest, go look: Three Rats At Sea

Nightengale’s Catalogue

Nightengale's Catalogue

Nightengale's Catalogue

Here’s the first book of 2015! I’ve been thinking about “Nightengale’s Catalogue” for a while, ever since I started putting their labels on my vampire hunter kits and anything else that seemed a bit spooky. I thought the idea of Jos, Nightengale & Sons, Supernatural and Metaphysical Supplies sounded a bit more in keeping with the mood of the merchandise. So I’ve made a pastische of 19th century printer’s ornaments, with Nightengale’s as the star of the show.

Gilbert and Sullivan wrote a comic opera called “The Sorcerer” in which John Wellington Wells, of J. W. Wells & Co., Family Sorcerers appears. Tom Holt used J. W. Wells & Company in a series of novels about the modern version of G & S’s magical supply company, and I’ve founded Nightengale’s on the same idea. I have a whole backstory for Nightengale’s:

The history of the Nightengale company began in the late 16th century, when they supplied Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley with ‘shew-stones’ or crystal balls. The company flourished during the European alchemy boom of the late 16th and early 17th century, and expanded into optical tools and occult mathematical devices as alchemy gave way to modern chemistry and the beginnings of Mad Science. In the 19th century, they achieved, if not fame, at least notoriety, as purveyors of a line of monster abatement equipment. They also began courting collectors of antique metaphysical artifacts, and at one point had almost cornered the market in rare editions of C’thuliana.

After the turn of the 20th century, Enoch Nightengale, then president of the company, became so concerned about the advent of modern rationalism that Nightengale’s catalogs became difficult to come by, passing from hand to hand among the adept, with word-of-mouth their only advertising. The 1889 catalog is the last to have achieved a general circulation, and even copies of this edition are increasingly difficult to come by. To have discovered a copy with the laid-in price list is very unusual indeed.

Traces of Nightengale’s continued existence occasionally turn up. Some printed items bearing their name have come to light from the Infernal Regions (see Welcome To Hell!), and their label is sometimes found on the Vampire Hunter Kits of Bo Press Miniature Books. It is to be hoped that a company as old and storied as Nightengale’s is still around in some nearby dimension, ready to supply “. . .the explorer of uncanny places, magimetician, philosopher, alchemist, monster hunter, or wizard.”

Pages

Pages

Front Cover

Front Cover

Price List

Price List

It’s up on the website now, here: Joshua Nightengale & Sons, Supernatural and Metaphysical Supplies (the 1889 Catalogue and Price List)