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. 

Monday, October 02, 2017

It's fall is all

Milestones in bookbinding history along with hands-on models cover
 the evolution of an enduring communications device.

Lest we need reminding.
After wrapping a successful three-month run at my local bank, which puts small businesses in the spotlight, I packed up my Chinese-bookbinding show, but hopefully not for long.

After all, it's fall, and that's usually when I get bookbinding.

Just for this month (October), Oak Knoll Books—a book purveyor that specializes in books about books—listed China Under the Covers among its entire bookbinding oeuvre on sale. So if you too hanker to hunker down and bookbind this winter, you won't be alone.

A detail from one of this year's fantabulous birthday books, although the hyphen is kill-
ing me.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Has your summer had enough art?

Take a chance on a summer destination—say, Portland's
Pioneer Courthouse Square on July 29—you'll never
know what you'll find, just maybe not this Montana totem.

Before heading out to check on the purple mountain majesties of the home territory, I'll make one more big urban outing for the summer: to party down with independent authors participating in the Northwest Book Festival, running from 10 to 4:30 Saturday, July 29, in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 S.W. Sixth Ave.

I'll have on hand my presentation showing the nine biggest milestones in bookbinding, starting in China and ending with Gutenberg, plus models to show the evolution of the world's most durable and sustainable communications device.

Oh, yes, and you can buy a copy of China Under the Covers: A Binder's Journey to the Roots of Books, there as well.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Chinese bookbinding—now you can bank on it

From now through September 30, drop by the Umpqua Bank branch at 4335 Northeast Fremont Street here in Portland, Oregon, for a hands-on history lesson in the world's oldest communications device. 

As part of Umpqua's Local Spotlight program, neighborhood entrepreneurs are encouraged to display their wares at the bank's branches. Who else better to illustrate my book's months in the spotlight than Scott Nasburg, who designed the cover for China Under the Covers? Using milestones in the history of books (the last involves Gutenberg), we put together a visual parade showing the evolution of this tidy, durable, and oh-so-appealing format.

You can actually buy copies of my book there, too, which has already come a long way in the six months since its release. I haven't put the marketing plan into full gear yet, but so far the book has done a great job of selling itself.

As The Seattle Review of Books noted during the book's rousing Kickstarter campaign:

"This is exactly the kind of book a large publisher would find a tremendous risk, but is perfect for Kickstarter. It proves there’s a market, and it proves there’s interest in stories this personal, interesting, and specific."

Monday, May 15, 2017

It's increasingly all in the image

Some web updates are way overdue, so I've been neglecting this blog, lately focusing in on whether my new personal site should star this pic on the splash page (by Dale Bennett, photographer and tanguero extraordinaire):

or this (admittedly, one of the cover-idea outtakes for China Under the Covers):

Or maybe it should be this (by Katrina Van Heest, photographer and editor extraordinaire):

I ponder these design questions while taking regular trips to the post office to further disperse China Under the Covers, now halfway through its first printing.

I'm thrilled the book now has international distribution in the U.K. with Alan Isaac Rare Books and the Netherlands with Lidy Schoonens Boeken. Aside from Oak Knoll Books, stateside you will very soon be able to order from Washi Arts and in Oregon get your hands on copies at the upcoming Focus on Book Arts in Forest Grove. Of course, you can always PayPal me through the links at top right above, too.

Ready for a lesson in bookbinding history?
Photo by Denise Szott

Above all, the best marketing (or better: connecting) occurs in person. What a joy it was to sign books and give my Chinese-bookbinding spiel as the last formal event held at 23 Sandy Gallery, where for 10 years books took center stage.

My cheater timeline covers 1,000-plus years of book history
 and ends with Gutenberg. Photo by Margaret S. Davis

Photo by Margaret S. Davis

Photo by Margaret S. Davis

Me and my ma, biggest book lover of all. Photo by Denise Szott

Thursday, April 20, 2017

True to type, letterpress crowd springs into action

Come on out to watch some prints steamrolled, take in booky and print demos, sample free kombucha, and browse the work of fine printers as part of Design Week Portland. I'm at Table 33 and look forward to seeing you Sunday!

Laura Russell (in black and white) announced earlier this month
that her 23 Sandy Gallery will close May 27 after 10 fruitful
years of presenting book art from all over.

If you can't make it Sunday, save the date Saturday, May 6, for a book signing for China Under the Covers: A Binder's Journey to the Roots of Books at 23 Sandy, 623 NE 23rd Ave., three doors north of Sandy.

Gallery owner Laura Russell recently announced she's closing the place effective May 27 after 10 years of spotlighting books in all their forms and masterminding well-curated and -presented shows.

Russell has done so much for our scene, and we'll miss her bright showcase of creativity off Northeast Sandy Boulevard, but she still plans to curate exhibitions and support the field and hopefully will have time to do more work of her own.

May 6 brings another
chance to get some
hands on book history.
The gallery may be closing but other paths, and books, are opening. Come on out for a last look at a unique, special place; enjoy the current show (Built: Book Art & Architecture—how much better can it get?); handle my passel of Chinese book models; and/or simply say hello (or ni hao).