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Chewing with the Paper Chipmunk

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Moving Day! The Chipmunk is Moving!

I've finally done it. Bye-bye Blogger! Chewing with the Paper Chipmunk has a new home at

I'd deeply appreciate it if you'd update your feed readers and bookmarks so you can continue to follow me over there. Thank you.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Bookbinding Sewing Cradle Tutorial

A friend recently asked me to make new sides for her sewing cradle. I decided just to make another sewing cradle and give the instructions here.

You'll need:
2 pieces of book board that will form the main body of the cradle. Shown here are two 13"x 4.5" (33 x 11.4 cm) pieces.

8 pieces of book board about 3"(7.5cm) long x .5"(1.3 cm) wide. These will form the supports on the "legs" that will hold up the cradle..

2 pieces of book board for the legs/ends. The pieces here are 3.5" (9cm) high x 6"(15.2 cm) wide for a 13" (33cm) long cradle.

And you'll need 2 strips of book cloth that are about 3.5-4" (9 to 11.5 cm) wide and slightly longer than the length of your cradle.

1. Measure approximately 1" down and 1" in from each end. Mark a slit that is as wide as the thickness of your book board. It should exactly match the placement on the other board, but be a mirror image. See photo. If necessary, err on the side of making the slit too narrow--you can always use an emory board later to enlarge it. 

2. On each of the smaller end boards, mark a 45 degree "V" in the middle. Do this on both sides, and on both sides of the other board this size. I find a small quilting ruler to be quite useful for this.

3. Carefully glue each small side support piece along the sides of the 45 degree Vs you just made. They will meet just at their tips on the bottom, as in the photo.  They won't reach all the way to the top--don't worry about that. Do this on all 4 sides. Put aside to dry.

4. Join the two main cradle pieces by gluing a book cloth strip down the center, as shown (the book cloth is on the underside in the photo). Leave 2 board thicknesses space in the middle.

5. Do the same on the other side. The book board will be sandwiched between the book cloth. It's fine for the book cloth to hang off the ends. You'll trim it after it's dry. Put it aside under weight to dry.

6. After drying, trim the extra cloth off the ends and trim open the slits:
The book cloth isn't exactly centered here because I was ditzy.
It won't be elegant, but it will work.

7. Using your bone folder, you can score down the middle of each side to neaten the joint in the bookcloth.

8. Slide each slit over an end piece/leg. Use an emory board or trim slightly to enlarge the slit if necessary (but be cautious--it should fit snugly). The V-shaped supports will hold up the cradle.

Your finished item will look something like this. You can take it apart for storage and travel.

I've made a couple of these for my own use. One is smaller than the other. That's the one I tend to use most, since I like to make small books.

Punch those sections with confidence.

This is my favorite hole punching tool--a pin vise. These actually come with different kinds of handles, including some that look like craft knives. You can attach a needle on the end of it, for nice holes that are smaller than those made with an awl.

Now doesn't that look delightfully menacing?

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Workshop Addendum

My Handmade Folded Books workshop at Origin Design Lab in Eureka is being rescheduled. It is now on June 2, 3-7 pm. In the meantime, I've been having fun constructing models and writing instructions.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Workshop at Origin Design Lab

I'm teaching a workshop at the very nice Origin Design Lab in Eureka on Thursday, 19th May from 4-8pm. From the official description:

We will build upon the simple accordion fold to create various book forms. Learn the secret to making a perfectly folded book along with other tips and helpful tricks. You will leave the class with finished models and ideas for plenty more. The material fee will provide a basic kit to get you started, papers and printed instructions. No prior experience is necessary. These books require no special equipment aside from a few easily obtained tools and materials.

Fee: $70.00 + 15.00 materials fee ($5 for Book Arts Guild Members)

Level: Beginning

They're at 426 3rd St in Eureka. 

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Paper Chipmunk Taxidermy

Hidden Clue by Sarah Wallace Scott at Abecedarian Gallery

Abecedarian Gallery in Denver, Colorado is currently hosting Artists' Book Cornucopia II, a juried exhibition. There is an online catalogue.

Needless to say, I was quite taken with this particular itemHidden Clue by Sarah Wallace Scott. Says Sarah,
"In my process of working with paper I found that I could make faux taxidermy using only paper. The problem was that no one could tell the difference. I tore out the pages of a used book and started attaching them in the same way as the other paper to make a more obvious paper chipmunk..."
Paper chipmunk taxidermy aside, I should add that there is work from quite a few interesting people in this show, including fellow blogger Anna Mavromatis (who has blogs about her book art as well as more ephemeral matters).

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Books in Capsules

I've long liked the idea of books in vending machine capsules. I've been hoping to incorporate this into my next show, which will be in the fall. Acquiring an actual vending machine is probably more investment than I care to put in (although, to be honest, I was surprised to discover one can be had for not much more than, say, framing a largish piece of 2D art).

However, I also thought it would be appropriate to have the "vending machine" be a handmade piece of the art. I have built a box that would be the perfect size, although, through trial and error, the dispensing mechanism has become increasingly simple until, in the latest incarnation, it is not more than a sloped drop down to a hole with a swinging door on it. The problem is, the @#$%! capsules tend to get stuck on the way down. I'm imagining the visiting public having to shake the box and shove their fingers up into the chute to unjam the capsules. Not quite the right idea. Alas.

By last night I was ripping out most of the innards of the thing and growing panicky over the time I've let go by on this. (Due to the usual health considerations, I've already lost much precious preparation time.) Sigh... I'll also need to complete about 50 tiny books to go into the capsules, in addition to the rest of the show. I have some one-of-a-kinds so far, and have some multiples in the making. They are actually kind of fun to do. Several have included found word texts. We'll see....

By the way, miniature books in toy-style vending machines are not a new idea. After I started on this, I discovered they have them in Japan, where miniature books are popular. And there are places in the US with a similar idea.

(Thanks to artist Scott Blake for sending the last link. He, incidentally, helped bring an Art-o-mat vending machine to Omaha, Nebraska.)

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Sohei Nishino Diorama Maps

© Sohei Nishino, taken from NY Times.
I just came across these interesting "diorama maps" by Sohei Nishino on his website. They are constructed from the "enormous mound" of film photographs he takes when visiting various cities.

They were also mentioned in a January New York Times travel piece about maps and such in London.

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