Monday, July 25, 2016

Write on for posterity

At an event honoring Woody Guthrie's time with the nascent
power agency (from left) BPA librarian Kay Silver, archivist Libby Burke, and author Greg Vandy gathered earlier this month to talk songs and history.

Books rule, and so does music. Together, they make an unbeatable combination. Now add in a Woody Guthrie angle, and it's darn near irresistible. While I make some headway on publication of my Chinese-bookbinding book, I applaud others for making it to press.

So it was on the occasion of what would have been Woody Guthrie's 104th birthday, and the 75-year anniversary of his productive stint with the Bonneville Power Administration, that author Greg Vandy explained how Guthrie came to be an "information consultant" for the U.S. government for a month. Guthrie toured hard, he wrote like crazy, and he smelled bad. But boy—what an assignment, and how he aced it.

Next time I face a big deadline, I will think about Guthrie, songsmithing to support his family of five, and knocking out 26 songs in 30 days.

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Québec, elles aiment les livres aussi

It's not often I come across public art that magnifies the delight and intrigue of reading. After all, this very interior activity would be difficult to make dynamic in the far larger, open "stage" of a streetscape. This cute Canadian trio drew me in from across the street. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Global literature students get hands on history

My annual pilgrimage to a class at Warner Pacific University that's freshly read Dai Sijie's Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress again brought hundreds of years of book history to the fore using Dai's sweet story as a launchpad.

If you have not read the book, it's a pleasant short read detailing two teens' adventures of re-education far from their urban and familial underpinnings. Their story is one of many stories, and includes many stories in itself—indeed, the friends survive, evolve, and grow stronger through storytelling amid turmoil and uncertainty.

Speaking of stories, I am into the really, really weary stage of publishing my how-to bookbinding manual and adventure tale, which means it's the step toward the home stretch, and the printer. Latest quandary is whether to crank up some Kickstarter for the first print run.

In the meantime, I keep busy checking last facts and line wraps (right), all part of the glorious editing life. I also help the art director brainstorm cover concepts (below). Referencing the traditional Chinese color for scholars, the cover for China under the Covers probably has to be some shade of indigo and perhaps xian zhuang, bound in silk thread.

Monday, February 08, 2016

2016 already looks like a barrel of fun

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Flip it good

Shab Levy (left) and Becky Luening of the Portland book arts
group get ready for some flip book action.

Some tools of the trade in creating flip books, including a
Levy-generated template.

Shab Levy led us local book makers on a thorough, fun foray into the making of flip books over a couple of recent rainy days this month in his airy Northwest studio. My first flip book is too embarrassing to post here, but it felt good to craft with my hands again and get some creativity flowing after all the time I usually spend on words, words, words.

At first we sought inspiration from all kinds of creations, including Levy's own impressive catalog of flip books and, of course, a zoetrope (that green object on the table above). Always good to have a zoetrope on hand, just in case.

Then we got to work, drawing, cutting, and delving into computer programs to set up the perfect sequence—to spread across some 40 to 80 pages. Flip books "read" fast, but they come together    s   l    o   w.

The next adventures of the year look like this, in about this order.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Make mine a monkey

With 2016 upon us, and February 8 bringing on the zaniest animal of all, one wonders what surprises could be in store. More hints TK in the new year.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Unique goods craft a memorable holiday

They came, they saw, they soaked up the handmade artistry at the
annual Northeast Community Center show earlier this month.
Thank you to all who came out to support us.

The November show at the Northeast Community Center marked my only outing this year as a craft vendor, but never fear—if you are in need of distinctive, durable, hand-bound gifts you can always come by for a studio visit in Northeast Portland (e me with a couple of times/dates that work).

This also goes for any other time of year. Around graduation I always get calls for portfolios—handsome carryalls that travel from interview to bookcase and hold our important papers and photographs firmly and carefully all the while.