Monday, March 31, 2014

As Chinese Dreams prepares to move across the river, here's the "making of" the book version

Chinese Dreams, a show of 11 photographs of nappers from Beijing and the port metropolis of Tianjin to the remote reaches of Hunan, has places to hang starting in May. It will wind up its Northwest Portland tour spending the month of June at the Pearl gallery space of Cargill Communications, 819 N.W. Glisan. Even though they may not outwardly show it, I bet these sleepers would love a visit.

Even a "simple" binding takes multiple steps, to allow time for paste to dry and for paper to take its shape under weight. I learned this structure from Alicia Bailey several years ago as part of a roundup of rigid-page formats. My notes, however, remain skimpy so I improvised with these Dreams.

The pages dry after printing. If I called it giclée instead of inket, would customers pay more?

After folding, pages make up a collation station.


Nip it good.

Does nipping make much of a difference? (Left text is pressed; the one at right is not.)

A big difference.

Here comes a hinge. Triangle helps keep things straight.

Japanese paper makes the joint stronger. A bone folder seals the seam.

The book builds on itself.

Adding weight all the while—

—waxed paper, too. How did ancient bookbinders manage?

Stacking for more weight

For durability, a strip of Japanese paper rounds over the spine.

As Zhang Ping would say, Neat and tidy is the goal.

Almost there: covering the boards.

Paste applied, the paper already starts warping.

Bone-fold hither and thither.

Cutting corners. Recommended!

Long edges turn in first.

Halfway done

Ready for text.

Gauzy strong stuff wraps the spine again—probably overkill, but I love how the structure can splay flat and want to encourage readers to open the book wide, and often.

At last, bookcloth.

This was the trickiest part, maintaining tension on the text block while simultaneously assembling the binding and casing in the book.

Endsheets of text are pasted up and applied to inner side of cover boards. No more naked bookboard.

Numbered and chopped.

Ready for the shelves of bibliophiles everywhere.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Ma Nao Books notches first solo show: Click right up for a virtual visit

Zhangjiajie National Park Transporters, Hunan, Margaret E. Davis ©2014

My show came down this morning at the Northeast Community Center, but it occurred to me that February was such a short month and part of it we were immobilized by snow, so here are the images involved. By the way, they're for sale, $75-$125 depending on the size (6 x 9 or 11 x 14 inches), and handsomely mounted on half-inch maple blocks ready to hang. Or, for a smaller price, order the hand-bound book featuring all the images—news on that to be posted shortly. 

In any case, catch some Chinese Dreams while you can!

Tianjin Train Station I, Margaret E. Davis ©2014

Beijing Bicycle Repair, Margaret E. Davis ©2014

Zhangjiajie National Park Shopkeeper, Margaret E. Davis ©2014

Zhangjiajie National Park, Hunan, Margaret E. Davis ©2014

Changsha Bank of China Security, Hunan, Margaret E. Davis ©2014

Changsha Museum Grounds, Hunan, Margaret E. Davis ©2014

Beijing Pedicab, Margaret E. Davis ©2014

Beijing Jiugulou Dajie, Margaret E. Davis ©2014

Tianjin Train Station II, Margaret E. Davis ©2014

Tianjin Train Station III, Margaret E. Davis ©2014

Friday, January 31, 2014

Prime time arrives for the equine

I'm off to hang the show at the Northeast Community Center (for more on that, see the next post), but in the meantime here's something for the first day of the lunar new year. The illustration is a cut I found among a treasure trove of type in Montana last summer.

It's by Jesse Gleason (1881-1983), whose cabin you can still see in Choteau and who used to drink and draw, or more like: drink about drawing, with Charlie Russell. I like to imagine those two snug up against the fires in their studios or outside, comparing pencils, quality of light, scenes they'd like to capture. Or maybe they talked none of it.

Let's take a closer look at Gleason's work. The lasso rightly draws you in: See the figure eight? And then there's the hat and chaps showing the texture and wrinkles of time and use. Despite all that detail—the twists in the rope, the dust swirling—it's still all about the horse.

Have a happy one.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Close your eyes, relax, listen to the Horse come galloping

Tianjin Train Station I, Margaret E. Davis  ©2014
It's the rousing start of a new year, and all we want to do around here is sleep or, well, look at other people sleeping. That's the theme at least for Chinese Dreams, the solo show I'll hang Jan. 31, the first day of the Year of the Horse. It stays up through February at the Northeast Community Center, 1630 N.E. 38th Ave. If studio work goes as planned, there might even be a hand-bound book to commemorate it. For now, here's a glimpse.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Old and new stay on track

As I hunker down for the rainy season with my manuscript and first-reader comments, I realize I never reported on the Portland Letterpress Festival. In my initial notice here I anticipated the new venue for the growing fair of all things lettered and printed. The nascent but thoroughly historic Oregon Rail Heritage Center provided the perfect backdrop for our displays of similarly old-school and handcrafted wares. 

Inside, we could commune with letterpress lovers and Portland's hardworking No. 700 locomotive that pulled trains across America from 1938 onward. Outside, people printed by steamroller.

Inking takes time.

Plates line up for the big press.


Peeling up the print for the reveal.