Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Bookbinders frolic in the Forest (Grove)

No hard sell necessary for books to the bookish.
The biannual Focus on Book Arts, held late last month in Forest Grove, had something for everyone: creative works of literature, art, form and function, and classes teaching much the same. Here are a couple scenes from the artists' fair, where I sold a bunch of China Under the Covers—to my best and easiest audience—and got to hang out with other makers.

To maximize my time at the conference, I stayed nearby at the Grand Lodge, where they gave me the Bob Dylan room, like they just knew what a huge fan I am.

One vendor couple brought marvelous
marbled paper, cloth, and boxes.

Washi Arts' eye-popping inventory made it hard
to choose at the trade show.

Not to be left out of the learning, I took a class in repurposing old book covers in a coptic binding. I came home that night and made three more, including one that I had never finished from the last conference.

Parts of old books can be recycled into a handsome journal.

I stitched this one up after class, using covers from an old
journal that had shed them after years of heavy use.

A project from long ago finally receives the finishing touches.


Saturday, June 15, 2019

Nothing stays the same in the face of ne plus ultra de change

That's the aim—a detail from Saucymorons, Volume I.

... except my love for books and binding.

As I prep to teach more at Scripps Camp, which sold out within two days this year, I have good reason to unpack my packed-up studio (yes, again) while I consider mentoring a wannabe bookbinder starting in the fall. I did order a massive supply of paper recently so there must be some edition brewing in my soul—just hasn't reached my fingers yet.

At the end of the month, I take part in the biannual Focus on Books Arts conference in Forest Grove at Pacific University, with a table at the artists' fair and sale from 4:30 to 7:30 in the Cawein Gallery on Thursday and Friday, June 27 and 28, topped with a workshop. Learning and networking are what life's all about these days.

In the meantime, enjoy pictures from a magazine photo shoot done last fall. Pics by David Vigil.



I pretend to read Mandarin.

Tools of the trade: Last time I was in China I couldn't find
the brown brushes anymore because the plant whose fibers
are used to make them was too scarce.

The centerfold of Steel Standing shows a beautiful bridge.

A page of Baudelaire's L'Invitation au Voyage—I only have
a few left in this letterpress-printed edition of 25.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Campers-cum-binders know it's awl good

Just another view in paradise.

I'm still absorbing the delights of Scripps Camp, from the rollicking late nights, to the relaxation, to the reflection. As I warned everyone upon coming back home (and still making a rough re-entry), I might have to attend every year to experience the perfect place where "everything's possible, and nothing is required."

This year I led a workshop in making a trip diary of a nonadhesive binding that comes about over an hour and through the classic actions of bookbinding: folding, nipping, piercing, sewing. The binding evolves organically, and can be as easily undone if necessary. 

Now we all just need to take more trips to have reason to make more books.

Here's a mini photo essay of our bookbinding foray:

The stage is set for bookbinding at Scripps Camp.
These piles of papers soon become books.
Hint: It's not the book stork.
A condensed timeline of the five oldest bindings ends with Gutenberg.





Athenas show their creations.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Power's out in the studio—a great time to get out on the road

Letterpressed Lydian Bold: nothing better.

I'm excited to head back to the alma mater soon, to have fun and teach a book structure—just hoping I can get my fingertips healed enough to dig into all the materials and prep work.

For more on the book above, a workshop that taught it, and the story behind the title, visit here.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

It's official

Warner Pacific University students check out some tools of the
bookbinding trade (above and below) during my recent
presentation there.

The website for China Under the Covers: A Binder's Journey to the Roots of Books at last launched, and, judging by the orders, it works. What a relief—I was starting to think I'd be on a second edition before it went live; it just goes to show the weakest link in a publication process might be the one you think will be easiest to achieve.

Life is always full of surprises.

It's been a busy spring, including another chance to talk to Warner Pacific students about bookbinding, the power of story, and books' evolution from carved bamboo slats to the wonderful no-nonsense packages they are today.

I was just called to give a similar presentation early next year at the University Club of Portland. With an author-in-residence program, it appears to be a bastion of book lovers.

I'm also finally getting my personal library organized, one shelf dedicated to Authors I Know. If you have a story in you, but it's not on a shelf yet, what are you waiting for?
Panning right (above) and left (below), the shelf for works
by Authors I Know just keeps growing. Write on, friends!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Virtual trip to Nanjing tops off a record round of cheer

They came, they saw, they sang, and they loved on books
at the Oregon Historical Society in December.

More than a thousand people came to the Oregon Historical Society's Holiday Cheer event last month, the biggest turnout yet for the party celebrating books published by Oregon authors.

Thank you to all who came out and braved the literary gauntlet, and then made it all the way to the basement to see me. At the end of the day, I rustled around looking for a missing copy of Steel Standing (we authors were permitted to bring along a couple of other titles to sell and display), my letterpressed tribute to one of Portland's signature bridges on the occasion of its 100-year anniversary. It's the only bridge of its kind in the world and the milestone had passed with little official fanfare.

The organizer for Holiday Cheer happened by as I was scouring my spot and its surroundings. When I said what I was looking for, she said, "Oh! Our research library took a copy to buy for its collection." With just a few copies of that limited-edition left, I am heartened to know others hold that bridge as dear to their heart as I do.

Long-overdue website changes are completed and on their way for the Ma Nao Books main site and the bookbinding-book site.

As we near the Year of the Dog, here are some sights and sounds of China courtesy of the Internets. I visited Nanjing's Jinling Ke Jing Chu, a publishing house and bindery dedicated to Buddhist texts, on my first research foray, and it's featured in China Under the Covers. Still, nothing takes you back like video—even the office chitchat gets me all nostalgic. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Warm up with Oregon authors and their oeuvre

Save the date—I'm taking part in the Oregon Historical Society's 50th annual Holiday Cheer party with China Under the Covers (and a couple other Ma Nao Books titles) from noon-4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3. The historical society pours on the hot cocoa, the sweet songs of the Dickens Carolers, and Santaland memorabilia to bring on the good cheer, something we all need more of these days. 

This is a free event showcasing books published this year by more than 80 Oregon authors, and I am delighted to have made the cut! May I suggest you block out this time to do all your holiday shopping in one sweep? 

1200 SW Park Ave. in Portland, Oregon. See you there.