April is in full bloom here in Winston-Salem and it is beautiful! What a great month to start planning for summer activities and for opening the windows for spring cleaning! My newsletter gives you ideas for activities now and later, as well as focusing on a spring cleaning task of caring for your books.
Saturday April 23
Come find my booth at the annual Earth Day celebration at the fairgrounds! This remarkable celebration of the earth has grown from a small collection of die-hard environmentalists to a well-attended event with something for everyone. I will be emphasizing the books and papers I create from thrift store cast-offs and other sustainable materials. I promise demonstrations as well as items for sale.
The 2016 Piedmont Earth Day Fair will offer more than 100 earth-friendly vendors and exhibitors. For more information, check out Piedmont Environmental Alliance.
Do you know about Little Free Libraries? From their website: To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide and to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations. There are over 36,000 Little Free Library book exchanges around the world, bringing curbside literacy home and sharing millions of books annually. The idea is for people to provide small covered shelves to hold books that anyone might help herself to.
Several of my neighbors have been busy creating and installing these libraries in our neighborhood. I have been inspired by this energy to create a very little library of my own. It will be completed soon and is being entered into a juried art show. (Send me some good wishes toward acceptance, please!) Each of my tiny books (1-1.5" high) is a multi-signature, hand-sewn book, complete with interior writing.
So take a walk around your own neighborhood during this lovely spring weather and select the perfect spot to install a Little Free Library of your own...
Spring weather means spring cleaning for many people. In your spring cleaning, please do give ALL your books a good dust off. It is all too easy to move into a house, get the books onto the bookshelves, and then simply admire them - never touching them for years. At least once a year you need to:
- remove all the books from the bookshelves and check them for any moisture, mildew, or bug damage
- rearrange them - books get squeezed by others on the shelf and need to breathe a bit
- dust them well - the best thing to use is the old fashioned soft cloth (I am still using some of the cloth diapers my 26-year-old used)
- when dusting the shelves, do not use any products that leave residue; instead select something as simple as a little white vinegar in water - allowing the shelf plenty of time to dry of course before re-shelving your books
- clean leather bound books with a basic leather care product, slowly and gently wiping the cover. Don't be surprised if you find that dirt has been camouflaging the original color of the leather.
- and if you find a favorite book with a torn hinge, ripped pages, or a cover that is more off than on, take it immediately to your friendly bookbinder who will be delighted to work her magic...
Bookbinder and Papermaker
The daffodils and lily-of-the-valley are blooming in my front yard and the lovely tulip magnolia is bursting with bright pink blossoms. Spring is in the air and I am busy planning for summer craft festivals and teaching venues. The official start of spring is still two weeks hence, but it is certainly time to celebrate the return of the light and warmth!
I am on a bit of emotional high also due to having just returned from a week of teaching book and paper arts at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. At the Folk School, I was part of "Arts and Crafts Week", a celebration of the American Arts and Crafts period from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During this time there was a strong resurgence of handmade crafts as folks were resisting the impact of the industrial age. I taught a limp leather binding style utilizing both handmade bookcloth from Morris print fabrics and goat skin leather to 6 students over 5 days. I included linoleum block printing as folks worked to create their books in the style of The Roycrofters, a group of craftspeople in Aurora, New York who were well known participants in the American Arts and Crafts movement.
After the 5-day bookbinding workshop, I also taught a weekend paste paper class. We focused on traditional paste paper patterns, more linoleum block printing, and stenciling as ways of creating decorative papers. We ended the session by making flag books with class samplers of the paste papers.
If you are not familiar with the Campbell Folk School, please explore their website. There is much to offer and I will be back on the 2017 schedule!
In January, I wrote about some of the custom binding requests I had filled. One of those I summarized in this manner: "I read that you created a 640-page journal for someone. I want one too. I'll be hand-writing my novel". I created a leather cover with longstitch binding that included 20 signatures of 32 pages each. My customer, the novelist, wrote, "The journal arrived today as promised and it looks beautiful. It's going to be a pleasure writing in it." I wish him all the best in his writing journey. I know I am biased but I believe it makes a world of difference to be writing one's ideas or to be creating one's drawings in a unique and hand-crafted book.
As always, please consider the list of events I have scheduled and come say hello at one of the exhibits or sales venues. I am definitely open to scheduling individual workshops. This month I am offering 3 workshops - 2 private, 1 public - that are scheduled simply because people asked for the skills. I enjoy teaching and am told I am good at it, so come find out!
Bookbinder and Papermaker
Wow! What a busy holiday and post-holiday season I've had! I am grateful to have a number of projects and workshops ongoing. Please see Workshops for upcoming events.
Feathers shall raise men even as they do birds, toward heaven: - that is by letters written with their quills. (Leonardo da Vinci)
In December I visited a special exhibit of Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Leicester at the North Carolina Museum of Art. On display were the pages of a 500-year-old handmade (duh, the only kind available then!) book that da Vinci had journaled in, doodled on, and expressed his thinking in as he worked through various problems. The exhibit was informative, inspiring, and fully absorbing. It occurred to me that one does not have to BE da Vinci to journal, doodle, and otherwise work out one's thoughts within the pages of a handmade book.
One customer followed up on the da Vinci idea remarkably well: She commissioned a leather bound book, proceeded to draw and write out various herbal recipes, and gave the filled book as a Christmas gift.
I ended the month by teaching an introductory papermaking workshop at the Sawtooth School for Visual Art in Winston-Salem, NC. It was a one-day affair in which students had opportunity to practice the technique of pulling sheets of paper and got to play with a variety of pulps and decorative methods with inclusions. Most importantly we all had fun!
September was an exciting and busy month teaching two workshops - in marbling and bookbinding - and exhibiting at the West End ArtsFest, where I was honored with an Award of Merit. See below for details.
I had a fabulous time teaching Basic and Advanced Marbling this past month. The fine fall weather allowed us to work - and keep the mess - outside, where papers dried on the line. The workshop was well attended and we all created many sheets of stunning paper which will be used for bookbinding, collage, and other art/craft projects. I also had a good group of folks for the Secret Belgian Binding workshop. Everyone went home with a beautiful book.