Covers and Content

Bookbinding, writings, general creativity

Archive for the category “Books”

The most beautiful Christmas Candy ever is really easy to make

Okay, let’s not talk about the fact that it’s almost one year since I last posted anything.

Let’s talk about marbling. Mmm, marbling…. and let’s talk about chocolate.

Like so:

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It looks fantastic. And tastes wonderful. And is actually very easy to make.

You’ll need:

200g milk chocolate
60g coconut oil/coconut butter. (If you can’t find it, skip this part, and you’ll have marbled chocolate instead of ice chocolate)
50g white chocolate
50g dark chocolate

Melt milk chocolate and coconut oil and stir them together. Put a piece of parchment paper (that is, baking paper, not actual parchment – since this is mainly a bookbinding blog, I thought I should add that) in a large pan or a tray, anything with a flat bottom. Spread the ice chocolate on the parchment paper.

Before the chocolate hardens, melt the white and the dark chocolate, and use it to make a lot of horizontal lines across the ice chocolate. The white chocolate might be a bit hard to do fine lines with, it usually only want to come off the spoon in big clumps. That’s fine. It’ll be pretty in the end anyways.

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Use the end of a match or something else (I used a large knitting needle) to draw lines across the white and dark chocolate. Draw them pretty close together. Be careful so that the needle or match doesn’t drip chocolate all over your pattern.

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Draw lines from the top left to bottom right, four or five centimeters apart.  Then do the same but from the top right to bottom right. Allow me to illustrate in Paint:

solfjäderLike that. But prettier. Now you have a fan pattern! (Or you could make any other sort of pattern, of course. This is just the prettiest, if you ask me.)

Put the chocolate to cool in the fridge for at least half an hour, and you’re done! Now you just have to take a picture to show me!

 

 

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The first book I’ve made in far too long

…is a cake!

Made for the Thank God It’s Over party that my NaNoWriMo region had. We have this tradition where we each year choose one strange thing that we all try to put in our novels, and this year it was a drunk seagull, hence the title (Adventures of a Drunk Seagull).

 

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Relief work

One of my favourite ways of decorating a cover is with relief patterns. It’s very easy, really. You can either cut out the design in thin cardboard (or heavy paper) and paste it on before covering the boards, or you cut it out in the board itself and peel away as many layers of the cardboard as you want (make sure you don’t go all the way through, though, that would be embarrassing . Or a combination of the two, of course. For letters and suchlike, you can also use thread. I recommend using thinner thread than you think you will need, or it might get too bulky.

Then there’s a secret trick to make it a lot easier and better looking. Because when you’ve put on the cover materials (don’t use too thick book cloth, and remember that if the pasted-on relief design is in another colour then the board itself, it might be visible through light cover materials… my, this was a long parenthesis, I almost lost track of where I… anyway.), the design is of course going to dissappear completely, and you have to track the edges carefully with a bone folder (if the cover material is delicate, put a paper between it and the bone folder to avoid scratches), and trust me, sometimes it’s very hard to find the design. Even though you just made it yourself.

So, after that confusing paragraph… there is a trick to make this easier. Take a piece of sleeping pad, or some other kind of not-to-fluffy foam material. Put it over the covered relief, and put in the press for a short while (about ten seconds will do it). The foam will press down the design, making it much easier for you to just trace the contours. You can also use the foam when you put the finished book in press, to protect the relief.

A box. Or, wait, four boxes.

 

 

 

 

I was going to make a post about something completely different, but it was harder than I thought to find all the pictures that I wanted. So here is instead a cool box I made. The swirly things are what keeps the lid shut. It’s also posing with three other boxes I made that aren’t nearly as fancy.

Exhibition(ist) books

I just realised that I never showed you the books I made for our college’s exhibition this spring (the one that I made the paper flowers for).

The exhibition was called Nakenchock, one of those made-up-for-headlines words, translating as Naked chock (I don’t know what the headline word would be in English). I made two books for it.

With the first book, I interpreted the title literally. I made a book where the cover could be flipped back to reveal the spine. I stitched it using coptic stitch (I think) and let the chain stitching be like embroidery on the spine. So the picture of the naked woman is made just by placing the holes of the stitching right.

But we also talked about other interpretations of the theme. Nakedness in a more metaphorical sense, showing yourself as you really are. I got the picture in my head of how I tore myself open (just metaphorically, okay) and let all feelings and thoughts show, turning myself inside out. When translated into book form, it became a book where the pages consisted of traditional cover materials – leather and marbled paper – and the boards were covered with printed excerpts from my diary. I printed it in 4 points or something so that it would still look like text, but would be really hard to read. Even so, the secrets were old by then and wouldn’t make sense to anyone that weren’t there at the time, and since none of them lived in Leksand and would see the book, I felt pretty safe about exhibiting it.

Tough Guide to Fantasyland

This is another book by Diana Wynne Jones, my favourite author. It’s a pocket book, rebound into hardcover using a method I hope I’ll never ever have to use again.

I cut off the spine, so that I had just a bunch of loose papers, then I pasted them together with strips of thin paper, two by two in the right order, to make signatures that I could stitch as usual. The original cover is attached to the first and last signature.

Once that boring part was over, I started on the cover. I’m… not good at plain covers. For this one, I decided to go with the fact that there was a map in the beginning of the book. I drew the map on a smaller piece of paper, folded it using the Turkish Map Fold that I’d learned just the week before, and embedded it in the front cover. Just for the fun of it, and because I don’t know how to stop once I’ve started, I embroidered a compass star thingy on the map cover, and the F in the beginning of the title.

Paste marbling

This is the second-best thing in the world. Or part of the best thing in the world, I haven’t decided. Anyways, the handmade papers I’ve shown you so far have all been marbled on a glue base. These are paste marbled, which is another thing entirely. It’s even easier, for one thing.

To start with, I made paste from wheat flour and water, thinner than I normally use. I mixed it with pigment powder, but any kind of paint works to mix in. I should also mention that before starting this, we had covered the whole room in plastic. Paste marbling gets messy.

I sprayed the paper with water and let it swell a while. If you don’t do this, it’s going to swell when you put the paste-paint-mix on, and get all wrinkly. I painted it with the colors I wanted. Then the fun part started.

Using all kind of tools, from a plastic thingy used when tiling walls, to pieces of string, my own nails, tape and a small toy car, I made patterns in the paint. There really are no limits to what you can do with this technique – just remember to spray the paper with water every now and then, or the paste will dry too early.

The smallest book I’ve ever made

If you’ve said A, you have to say B. In Sweden, at least. It’s a saying, I mean… okay, what I really mean is that I cant go talking about the smallest book I’ve ever made without showing a picture of it. As a bonus, you get a picture of Stéphanie, the friend that I mentioned in my last post.

Okay, so that’s actually the biggest book I’ve ever made, or helped to make. It was the guestbook for our exhibition Kometen Kommer, and we wanted it to be impressive. But look closer, down in the left corner of the big book…

 

There it is! 4mm high (or not-so-high). Stiched with a strand of my own hair, because I didn’t have any thread that was fine enough. This is the only time my fingers have felt too big when bookbinding. I did almost everything with the point of a needle.

The cover paper wraps around the front edges of the cover to become a pasted-in endpaper (there’s a word for that, I know it). I had to thin it out with sand paper to make it flexible enough to use. The bookblock is of very thin japanese paper.

I think I could make something smaller…

 

Another book

I love books with open backs. Not using them – they’re far to flimsy for me – but making them. There’s just so much you can do with them.

This one has some sort of jewelry theme. A figure with a hanging necklace on the front, a necklace clasp as fastening, and made with oriental stitching with glass beads and velvet ribbon.

The Game by Diana Wynne Jones

Today the exhibition with the dragon book opens in Falun, so with some kind of logic, I decided to show you what I made for last year’s exhibition: The Game by Diana Wynne Jones, bound for the exhibition ”Kometen Kommer”.

Kometen kommer would be the comet is coming in English, and the exhibition is inspired by the meteorite that fell here in Dalarna, Sweden some 377 million years ago. So the books we’ve made are a lot about space and stars and comets – and The Game was really the perfect book to make.
Since the book wasn’t of the kind that can be easily taken apart, I scanned and printed it. Each chapter got its own size and font. Then I dyed all of them in tea.

I printed the covers on better paper (Hahnemühle butten ingres) and drew the pictures on them. (Possibly spoilery text under the pictures)

I forgot to print the last part of the book, A NOTE ABOUT THE CHARACTERS, in time to dye it with the rest, so that got to be around the box that would become the base of the book instead. Then I got some metal wire (copper and something else, I don’t know exactly, but probably iron) and started putting it all together, with small glass beads representing the golden apples.

1
When Hayley arrived at the big house in Ireland, bewildered and in disgrace, rain was falling and it was nearly dark. Her cousin Mercer had called the place just “the Castle.”

2
Then [Grandad] showed her atoms, molecules and germs—after which Hayley for a long time confused all three with planets going round the sun and, when Grandma insisted that you washed to get rid of germs, wondered if Grandma was trying to clean the universe off her.

3
He had stood, for as long as Hayley could remember, rain or shine, in the exact same place outside the pub called The Star, playing high sweet notes on a shabby little violin that looked much too small for him.

4
A young lady in a white dress came down the bank towards the shore. When she was right beside the water, she looked around, grinning mischievously, and crouched down. Her white dress melted into her all over and she was suddenly a swan.

5
For a moment, she thought she was crying. Drops were falling heavily on the pretend cat and then splashing onto her leg. It was only when more drops fell on her head that Hayley realised the water must be coming from somewhere else.

6
The next day, it was hard to believe that it had ever rained. Hayley woke to find the sky a bright heavenlike blue with great snowy clouds hustling across it.

7
Hayley looked at her card. It said, FETCH A GOLDEN APPLE FROM THE ORCHARD OF THE HESPERIDES.

8
She was a proper comet, not like Tollie’s pretend one. Her hair gathered together and flung itself out ahead of her like the flame on a blowtorch. Behind it, her body was a small, curled-up, icy ball.

9
There was a hill to one side, and she could dimly see someone trying to heave a boulder up it.

10
He and Harmony held the tall longbow steady while Hayley picked and peeled at one of the lower twinkles. To her relief, it came free quite easily and rolled into her palm like a small loose diamond. Very carefully, she zipped it away into the smallest of her trouser pockets.

11
Another woman came along with a huge earthenware jar of wine and tipped it into the first woman’s face. “Drink up!” she shrieked. “Drown your sorrows!”

12
Part of the clump immediately rose up into a tall, square shape. It unfolded two long legs like chicken legs and stalked towards them. When it reached Martya, it stopped and let down a ladder from the balcony on its front. “Is my hut,” Martya said.

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