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. 

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."