Covers and Content

Bookbinding, writings, general creativity

Just talking here

Okay, so something really great might have happened/be happening. I don’t want to write about it on facebook or talk to my friends at home yet, because it feels like that might jinx it, but I had to write about it somewhere.

I’m moving together with a friend this week. We’ve got an apartment in a part of outer Stockholm where neither of us have really been before. This morning, as we were moving some of her stuff here, she told me that the ugly orange building we pass on our way from the train is in fact a bindery. So that’s already sort of really awesome, and I definitely have to look for work there.

Remember I talked about the bindery I worked at four years ago, the one that got closed this year, where one of my father’s friends worked? Well, I talked to my father today, and he told me that this bindery actually bought one of their machines, and are thinking about hiring my father’s friend. One guy that I sort-of-know from the closed bindery already works there.

So, without knowing it I have moved withing five minutes to a bindery where I already have a small opening for conversation and possibility of getting work. This is so good it’s scary. Now I have to pretend to have good self-confidence, so I can go there (possibly bringing chocolate) and make them like me…

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Things I bought today

I’ve heard of the crowds at big sales, but I’ve never really seen them. I tend to avoid those sort of things. But they have nothing on the crowds when a theater sells off their old stage clothes. What they don’t have in trampling of people, they have in general weirdness. Instead of just dresses and trousers and shirts (which they have too, of course) there’s angels’ wings for children, soldiers’ helmets and big fluffy things with too much fabric that you’re not quite sure if it’s a dress, a skirt or possibly some sort of hat. And all of the clothes have sewn-in tags with names of the characters that once wore them. The blue dress I found, for example, once belonged to Gudrun. The cute hat was on a hanger with clothes from the play Och sanden ropar. A couple of years ago, I bought a robe called Man with torn clothes.

I didn’t buy any of the angels’ wings, nor a helmet (they were all to small), but I found a blue dress, a nice and sturdy petticoat and a very cute hat, among other things.

 

 

 

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…

 

Something in the mail

Work today was… not nice. I amused myself by planning to post pictures of the smallest book I’ve ever made. Yes, it’s smaller than this.

But that’ll have to wait for another day, because all unhappy feelings completely evaporated when I opened my family’s mailbox. There were letters! For me! Even one that I had to go and get at the post office.

One was a postcard from my bookbinding friend Stéphanie (who is in a lot of the parchment pictures – which reminds me, I have to write the final post on that!). Two was from swap-bot swaps. And then… do you see what’s under the letters? Yes, that’s another letter. Here, let me give you a better view:

 

This penpal and I have a bit of a competition going on, about who can write the strangest letters. I was honestly impressed this time. But my response will win me the victory, I just know it…

Doodling

When I was seven years old, I used to draw squirrels. Sometimes in bridal dresses. (I was a weird kid)

For a while, I was in love with geometrics. Stuff like this star (drawn by me age fifteen… and how did that suddenly get to be so long ago?), that I drew or sew. I had a flash of nostalgia recently when I saw a birthday card with this pattern in the kitchen of one of my mother’s friends. She had saved it for about ten years.
In high school, I wrote an embarrassing amount of names in the margins of my notebooks, over and over again. (It’s useful, now, I can date how old my notes/stories are by which name is written beside it…) Sometimes I drew a big heart and filled it with the names of all people that made me go warm and happy inside. Friends and crushes mixed with fictional characters from stories I’ve read or from my own head.

I also learned Tengwar, one set of Tolkiens elvish runes. That was good for when I wanted to be extra secret about the names or things I wrote. I was also very afraid of the one other person in my acquaintance who knew Tengwar.

Nowadays, my doodles have settled on the common theme of swirls. Swirls and leaves and small, small pictures. Like this:

This all makes me wonder what your doodles looks like. The things you draw when you’re really thinking about something else.

Take it as a challenge.

 

Remember that thing I said about marbling?

 

 

Because I do. All the time and everywhere, I said.

Every night for the past week when I’ve been preparing for bed, I’ve thought about how the striped toothpaste might possibly… and then I start brushing my teeth, because when you rise at 04:30 in the morning, you’re too tired for that sort of things.

But yesterday I got fed up with just thinking about it. I used a toothpick to make some kind of fan pattern (on the left) and some sort of double comb pattern (on the right).

And then I brushed my teeth and went to bed (one and a half hour too late).

 

Marbled ice cream cake

Marbling, like all other things in life, have a proper time and place. Namely, all the time and everywhere. Especially when you’re baking. This is a marbled ice cream cake. It’s the yummiest cake I know, and when done right, it’s the prettiest too.

The last picture is one of my marbled papers. It’s done in a fan pattern, which is the pattern I’ve described how to make on the cake.

If anybody wants to make the cake, and can’t find Daim chocolate, tell me and I’ll send it to you. It’s actually the chocolate I work with making, so…

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.

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