Sunday, September 28, 2008

No moss grows around here

With the lack of recent posts, one might think that we've been slacking here at Ma Nao Books. Au contraire. Usually our fingers are so sticky with glue we can't possibly sit to type, and anyway every waking moment seems to be spent with fingers to the bonefolder as the two of us (Ma Nao Books has an amazing assistant!) create the inventory for Portland Open Studios.

If you need tickets to the event, which runs Oct. 11, 12, 18, and 19, let me know. You can also buy them at New Seasons, Art Mafia, etc.

In other news, I'll teach the Chinese bookbinding workshop April 4 and 5 at Oregon College of Art & Craft next year. We cover some 800 years of bookbinding in two days and everyone takes home cool models and know-how that'll enrich their arty selves forevermore. Really, what have you done for your arty self lately?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The sticky business of going old-school

I haven't used wheat starch paste since I was working at the library in Beijing with Zhang Ping, but due to several concerns (who knows what's in PVA exactly? How come it's so expensive?), I've decided to start using it again. Here's how I mixed some up.

First, I made a double boiler.

Then I got out the ingredients, using 1 3/4 c. water to 1/4 c starch. Yay, Polar Bear brand!

I put it on the stove on medium heat until the stuff turned translucent.

At that point, I put the timer on for five minutes, stirring constantly as it burbled away.

At the end of the cooling period, it was rather pasty.

Then I strained it.

Because it was so thick, I added 2 T water and strained it again.

Now I aim to mix it with 1/3 PVA. The rest I put in the fridge to test how long it'll stay good.

And the dry stuff I'll store in a glass container.

It took a long time, but not as long as at the library where I once spent a day making it from scratch. I just came across an account of it in my journal and it involved hours of kneading of a flour-water mixture. The treat comes at the end when you fry up the remaining doughy bits.