Monday, January 26, 2009

Feeling bullish on the Ox? I am.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The fourth try's the charm

It took me several stabs to get the "binding" (a box really) right for A Tango with Ataturk, but I finally got there. The simpler I made it, the better it became. I'm glad I have enough of the Turkish-flag red bookcloth to do the edition, all 10 copies of it!

I should be shifted into production mode, but instead I'm already spending more time promoting the book than finishing it. I wonder if it seems I spend an inordinate amount of time promoting versus creating (about 3-to-1) because I so prefer the latter to the former? In other words, promoting takes me longer because I really do have to work at it?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

If only they had Gantt charts for bookbinders

Here are the projects slated for the Year of the Ox and the deadlines:

To do
• A Tango with Ataturk (January)
• Update Web site (February)
• Chinese bookbinding manual & memoir (April)
• Lois Langland residency application (June)
• Grandpa John & Idamae tribute (November)
• Tango Diary

To move forward
• Saucymorons
• An Adventurer's Guide to Rose City Cemetery

To consider for development
• World trip
• China times
• Essay on what newspapers were for Roy
• Portland bridges in Polaroid
• Chiyogami tea caddy and cell-phone recharging cradle

I"m amazed I posted anything at all today, given how glued I was to coverage of the inauguration. I could barely tear myself away to make the Oba-mousse that we're taking to the party tonight.

Friday, January 09, 2009

An ode to Aiko's

In my Chicago years, naturally I came to know Aiko's, a Japanese bookbinding-supply store with a museumlike presence on North Clark Street. The minimalist exterior hinted at nothing special; you had to stop and take in the tiny window displays to really understand that this, in fact, was a store. One you could even enter.

Inside it was pure beauty and, usually, solitude — maybe another reason why Aiko's didn't or couldn't stay open. The papers, full sheets unlike the halves now offered by so many other retail operations, lay stacked in shelves, every one a riot of color and pattern. When unfurled on the long tables, they crackled visually like fireworks in the neutral surroundings.

The bookcloth, that utilitarian fabric that makes a book function, flowed from bolts in every color but heavy on the jewel tones: crimson magenta, bright mossy green, a shimmery gold. I would save up for the silks, and buy by the quarter yard.

Despite having left the Midwest more than 14 years ago, I looked forward to placing phone orders every year or so. First, I'd fondle the swatchbook, then call and imagine the phone ringing in the quiet shop, and then the bright, breath-y woman would answer.

The Aiko's site now refers its customers to another supplier of Japanese bookcloth, but there's a 5-yard minimum, so the color had better be the one you wanted. I went scrummaging for my swatchbook, wondering if it would still apply.

Oddly, the date Aiko's closed is the day Roy was born, so perhaps our son brings with him a reincarnation of that store's gorgeous Japanese style and presentation. One can hope.