Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Book lab launches at the Northwest Montana History Museum

Photo by David Vigil

In just a few hours we'll start a 12-session journey in getting to know—and making—the world's oldest communications device. Thank you to the Daily Inter Lake for the article last week.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Montanans make good bookbinders, too!

At Kalico Art Center in downtown Kalispell, a bunch of people spent part of a precious sunny Saturday learning to bind books with me. 

Saturday, April 30, 2022

These kicks fit my new Montana life

My blog is usually all about books, but I have to share the work of other excellent handcrafters! Check out these bespoke tennies I just received from Heidi Agner at Lincoln Gulch Engraving and Leather Works. I met her and her husband recently at the Kalispell Gun Show.

Plain Converse is cool, but custom touches step it up.

                                        Photo by Heidi Agner

Monday, March 14, 2022

Tell me again that books are dead

This pic also references a
newspaper, yay newspapers.

And then tell it to the 140,000 people who attended this past weekend's Tucson Festival of Books. 

Given an unexpected bunch of time off, I seized the day (and a half) and a Covid-related airline credit and made my way Southwest. The crowd at the book festival drew a wide range of people representing all ages, backgrounds, and tastes—judging from the exhibitors, the teens standing in a line 100 yards long for a YA author signing, and the offerings of music and food (wow... the gelato concoctions). What a surprise, what a fun way to celebrate books.

Viva el libro.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Wood you stop to admire it, too?

Never fails: Every year I think this December I gotta remember to wish my blog a happy birthday. Then I miss it. I think I was on hold with Alaska Airlines for too many hours last month to blog, but that's hardly an excuse. 

Nevertheless, Happy (belated) 15-year anniversary, Blog! I have neglected you, but some bookbinding news percolates, with a teaching opportunity possible in a few months in my new hometown.

In the meantime, enjoy the door (both sides) to the mothership of my new employer. I am of two minds: wishing that wood type was on a press bed, but then—here it is being useful and beautiful, and that is in itself a state of perfection. It is not locked up in a California job case in a basement, collecting dust in its crevasses and getting gummy with traces of leftover ink.

I also can't help but love the object itself; a door closes, and it opens. More of the latter, please, as I craft the ongoing release of Version 2.0 of Me. 

May this Year of the Tiger (I write here on the eve of it) provide all we desire. Xin nian kuai le!

Saturday, February 06, 2021

Bookbinding hits the Zoom circuit

Last year about this time I presented on Chinese bookbinding in a Portland State University lecture hall as part of the First Saturday PDX series on Chinese culture (now celebrating 20 years!). So many people came to hear about the evolution of the world's oldest communications device; dozens afterwards came up to check out my book-model petting zoo where books really work their magic. 

How much can change in a year, and yet how much can stay the same. 

Next week I present again on Chinese bookbinding, but this time from my keyboard and to groups near (the Portland Art Museum's Asian Art Council book group) and far (the Whitefish Art and Culture Club in Montana). Education about book evolution knows no boundaries. 

Happy Year of the Ox to everyone. This year is the metal ox, supposedly a harbinger of career opportunity so, in the words of one Internet oracle, "Don't let anxiety or negative thinking affect you." 

While I ponder my future, I am finishing all the rainy-day projects because, well, it's almost always a rainy day where I am, and it's still COVID. That means I'm on Volume III of The Life of Samuel Johnson and I fixed up a broken box ("before" pics above and below, "after" pics last three). Fittingly, I used lots of Japanese tissue so it's not good as new, but good for next decades of celebrating milestones.

This "giant train" was carved of wood in Japan at the behest of the Shackman toy company in New York.

All aboard!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

In a pandemic, it's easy to tap into bookbinding bliss

The book on books
The world outside remains frightful, so no better time to duck between the pages and learn about where books came from and how you might make some yourself—or just take an immersive trip to China including fabulous meals, cross-cultural fun, thousands of miles of sights, and falling down a Beijing manhole.

Visit the dedicated website here for more details on my book, China Under the Covers: A Binder's Journey to the Roots of Books.

Wishing you all health and happiness even more than usual.

Coming soon: How to bind a USB drive. The visual teaser: