Homework Due Week of 4/25 + Open Studio Hours

Homework: This week, continue work on your final project (find assignment sheet/rubric here)

As a note, I will also be offering opening the classroom/studio for open studio hours this Sunday, April 24, from 1-4 p.m. I’ll be on hand to provide guidance, discuss ideas, or just give you the space to work on your project. Please remember you will need your Bee card to access the building.


[Video] Hardcover Books Tutorial

As you strike out on your own this week to make your first hardcover book, I figured you might be feeling a little intimidated or having a hard time remembering all the steps we took in class. It’s a lot to undertake, and while I’m intentionally asking you to explore this on your own, I also don’t want you to feel completely lost. So, to help, I’m creating a series of video tutorials covering the forms we did in class. I’ll post them as I finish them, but my plan is to create videos for:

  • Quarter Cloth Casebound Single Signature Pamphlet
  • Full Cloth Casebound Single Signature Pamphlet (with cover inset)
  • Casebound Quarter Cloth Single Signature Dos-a-Dos

I did have to break the tutorials down into pieces so they’d be easier to upload. Additionally, this is my first attempt at making video tutorials, and I’m working with my phone, so I know they are far from perfect, but I do hope they are helpful. I’d appreciate your thoughts or feedback when we return from the break.

And, without further ado, here’s the first of the bunch: 

Part 1:

Part 2: 

Part 3: 

The evolution of an artist’s book

I came across this recently and thought it would be of great value and interest to all you book-y folks. It’s a lecture by book artist Sarah Bryant of Big Jump Press given at Wells College. In it,  she closely examines and shares her process in creating one artist’s book (produced in an edition of 75, I believe).

It’s a process that took several years (and a great many mock-ups–I’d guess at least 10), and that deserves to be noted. That being said, the steps of her process (free-flow idea gathering and brainstorming, photography, sketching, concept development, book planning, design, organization, mock-up making) can also be done on a shorter time line, and I think that the careful consideration she gives to every choice is well worth emulating.

As we discussed in class, so much of creating an artist’s book is about careful decision-making and having a reason for doing things a certain way. Of course, the ideas shift and change throughout the process, and this project is an amazing example of that  evolution–truly, an evolution–of one project.

The talk is about 50 minutes long, but it’s worth a watch. Here are a few particularly relevant and interesting points Sarah made:

On giving thought and time to the seemingly tiny details: “People will notice even if they don’t notice they notice. … It makes a huge difference to be deliberate about these choices.”

On conscious attention to the process/evolution: “I do like to, at the end of a project, gather it [process materials] together and look at the narrative. … It’s so easy to go off the rails. You’re making a book about one thing and then you end up making , I don’t know, something else–sometimes badly. It helps to keep you focused to keep a record.”

On the joy of editions: “I’ve always been drawn to editions. Every time I’ve ever made a thing … I’ve always been disappointed because it wasn’t 20 identical things.”

On the idea of forefronting the book: “I don’t think you can make artist’s books without having the project be about the book. You’re always going to be making work about the book. … Even if you’re making a book that you think is about something else, you’re still working in book form and that means you find something in the book form that is worthy to talk about. … It’s always about the book.”

On working with a variety of tools AND choosing the right tool for the project: “I see the letterpress as  a tool the way a pen is a tool or a pencil is a tool and a computer is a tool. All of these things are tools, and I use them all. I don’t necessarily need to print letterpress. … To me what’s important is the execution of an idea.  I like using letterpress and  printing that way because I’m in control of every single thing. It’s a simple machine, I can mix my ink, I can design the thing. I can digitally design, I can carve a block. There are a million ways for me to do what I want. But also, it’s a limitation, and I like having a limitation. I like being able to work with a set of rules that I can find ways around. But I’m working with a set of restrictions that I think makes me more creative rather than less.”

Book Arts Round-Up, 5/2

A few AWESOME things I’ve found in the book arts world lately:

I’m beside my nerd-y self about this video that contrasts 18th and 19th century bookbinding operations. It’s 30 minutes, but it’s fascinating. And it’s worth noting that most of the techniques we cover in class are much more of the 19th century.

This book by Robbin Ami Silverberg is called “About Pearl.” Here’s how Silverberg describes it: “I created a series of unique handmade papers for the book that would contain a text I wrote about my grandmother’s skin and thoughts on aging. Each book in this series holds the identical text; each is unique because of its variety of skin-like papers, that suggest skin’s wondrous wrinkled surface.”

See more photos.

This is one of several examples of books with wooden covers. I don’t know about you, but I’d love to experiment with using alternative cover materials–wood, slate, linoleum flooring.

See the other examples. 




Ok, stop. Seriously. Can we just take about a minute to appreciate the sheer immensity of this book?! The way it uses its native materials and the light to create something new. Ack. I can’t handle it.

This gorgeous book was made by master binder Monique Lallier. She says this of using cut outs: “I suppose I keep coming back to it because I like the effect of “seeing through”, like in Les Sonnets (shown below) where the boards, the covering leather and the leather doublures are all cut out. In this case, it was to illustrate how Les Sonnets have an impression on you.” 

Read more about Monique in this recent interview by Herringbone Bindery.


I suppose this next image is a rare inclusion, since the book is definitely not handmade. But given the scope of our program, I think it’s important for us to consider how books can be artful in any form–handmade, machine made–and how that art should extend to all elements (materials, design, content). So, without further ado, I’m getting a kick out of the designer created individual books that come together to create a new whole.


Book Arts Workshop on March 16

book arts workshop picJoin us on March 16 for a book arts workshop at the University of Baltimore! We’ll be making three accordion books and exploring the creation of visual poetry in books.

Learn more and register here: http://bit.ly/1hMOofB

Photo via akinogapress

Book Arts Round-Up

Hi all! Here’s a round up of a few cool book arts links I found this week:

Is it a book, or is it a block of wood? I don’t know! ACK! But also, is this not so entirely amazing?

This set of books is by artist Ming Jing Lu, who says this about his work: “‘From wood to book, from book to wood again’ is the best metaphor for this project. If I didn’t do the paper version of this story, it would not mirror this concept. Now I feel that the whole project can tell this story and this concept by itself. The object as the medium narrates the content to readers.”

See more photos here. 

This is one of my most favorite accordion books of late. I love how she incorporates striking use of color, but in a minimalist way, and the illustrations are creepy and gorgeous.

This beauty is by artist Molly Brown, and it’s titled “Village Networks.” She says this of her concept: “I am fascinated by the strange effects that emerging social media on the internet can have on the psyche. It is a new sort of attitude towards social interactions– a combination of anonymity and over-exposure.”

You can see more photos here. 

Finally, I mentioned this book artist in class. The artist is Yusuke Oono, and the books are stunning beyond belief.

Oono uses paper cuts to create gorgeous, layered interpretations of well-known stories like Snow White and the Jungle Book.

You can see more of Oono’s work here.