This page has moved to a new address.

Chewing with the Paper Chipmunk

body { background:#fff; margin:0; padding:40px 20px; font:x-small Georgia,Serif; text-align:center; color:#333; font-size/* */:/**/small; font-size: /**/small; } a:link { color:#58a; text-decoration:none; } a:visited { color:#969; text-decoration:none; } a:hover { color:#c60; text-decoration:underline; } a img { border-width:0; } /* Header ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #header { width:660px; margin:0 auto 10px; border:1px solid #ccc; } } @media handheld { #header { width:90%; } } #blog-title { margin:5px 5px 0; padding:20px 20px .25em; border:1px solid #eee; border-width:1px 1px 0; font-size:200%; line-height:1.2em; font-weight:normal; color:#666; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; } #blog-title a { color:#666; text-decoration:none; } #blog-title a:hover { color:#c60; } #description { margin:0 5px 5px; padding:0 20px 20px; border:1px solid #eee; border-width:0 1px 1px; max-width:700px; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#999; } /* Content ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #content { width:660px; margin:0 auto; padding:0; text-align:left; } #main { width:410px; float:left; } #sidebar { width:220px; float:right; } } @media handheld { #content { width:90%; } #main { width:100%; float:none; } #sidebar { width:100%; float:none; } } /* Headings ----------------------------------------------- */ h2 { margin:1.5em 0 .75em; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#999; } /* Posts ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { .date-header { margin:1.5em 0 .5em; } .post { margin:.5em 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; padding-bottom:1.5em; } } @media handheld { .date-header { padding:0 1.5em 0 1.5em; } .post { padding:0 1.5em 0 1.5em; } } .post-title { margin:.25em 0 0; padding:0 0 4px; font-size:140%; font-weight:normal; line-height:1.4em; color:#c60; } .post-title a, .post-title a:visited, .post-title strong { display:block; text-decoration:none; color:#c60; font-weight:normal; } .post-title strong, .post-title a:hover { color:#333; } .post div { margin:0 0 .75em; line-height:1.6em; } { margin:-.25em 0 0; color:#ccc; } .post-footer em, .comment-link { font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } .post-footer em { font-style:normal; color:#999; margin-right:.6em; } .comment-link { margin-left:.6em; } .post img { padding:4px; border:1px solid #ddd; } .post blockquote { margin:1em 20px; } .post blockquote p { margin:.75em 0; } /* Comments ----------------------------------------------- */ #comments h4 { margin:1em 0; font:bold 78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#999; } #comments h4 strong { font-size:130%; } #comments-block { margin:1em 0 1.5em; line-height:1.6em; } #comments-block dt { margin:.5em 0; } #comments-block dd { margin:.25em 0 0; } #comments-block dd.comment-timestamp { margin:-.25em 0 2em; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } #comments-block dd p { margin:0 0 .75em; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } .paging-control-container { float: right; margin: 0px 6px 0px 0px; font-size: 80%; } .unneeded-paging-control { visibility: hidden; } /* Sidebar Content ----------------------------------------------- */ #sidebar ul { margin:0 0 1.5em; padding:0 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; list-style:none; } #sidebar li { margin:0; padding:0 0 .25em 15px; text-indent:-15px; line-height:1.5em; } #sidebar p { color:#666; line-height:1.5em; } /* Profile ----------------------------------------------- */ #profile-container { margin:0 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; padding-bottom:1.5em; } .profile-datablock { margin:.5em 0 .5em; } .profile-img { display:inline; } .profile-img img { float:left; padding:4px; border:1px solid #ddd; margin:0 8px 3px 0; } .profile-data { margin:0; font:bold 78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } .profile-data strong { display:none; } .profile-textblock { margin:0 0 .5em; } .profile-link { margin:0; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } /* Footer ----------------------------------------------- */ #footer { width:660px; clear:both; margin:0 auto; } #footer hr { display:none; } #footer p { margin:0; padding-top:15px; font:78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } /* Feeds ----------------------------------------------- */ #blogfeeds { } #postfeeds { }

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tyvek Tinting

Tyvek is so versatile. I've been trying to find the right cover material for a set of miniature books (more on them later). I decided Tyvek might be the way to go. Even though I have some big sheets of it, I decided to split apart some Tyvek mailing envelopes--the lazier and cheaper method when working on miniatures.

My favorite way of decorating Tyvek is to use a foam cosmetic sponge dipped in acrylic ink. I then evenly smooth the color over the Tyvek, rubbing it in with the foam sponge.

It's best to work on top of some scrap paper and to wear vinyl or rubber gloves (I like the close-fitting kind, not the dishwashing kind).

Rubbing an even layer of the ink into the Tyvek brings out the patterns of its non-woven fibers. And one of the nicest things about acrylic ink is that it doesn't leave any discernible texture or tackiness--perfect for book pages. It just soaks into the Tyvek.

Once the Tyvek is decorated, it can be used for all sorts of things. Cut into strips, it can be used as decorative tapes to sew signatures onto. Keith Smith, in Non-adhesive Binding Books Without Paste or Glue, says of it: "Archival, flexible and strong, Tyvek seems perfect for pages in a book. It can be sewn...and since it is strong, it can be a substitute for book cloth. PVA must be used for the adhesive..."

I've used it for accordion pages and small book covers. Most of what I've read claims it's archival, although I think nobody will know for certain until it has been used for more decades. Keith Smith cautions that some binders are skeptical, warning that the plasticizer in it may eventually dry out and shatter. That said, the stuff is used to wrap houses and it's a popular art material. I just use it and enjoy.

This shows a little gift book I made a while ago. The cover material and the pages are paste-painted Tyvek. I wish the photo could convey its tactile quality--very sturdy, yet people seem to like to pet the  covers and pages.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Show in Point Reyes

This is the last week my book Atmosphere will be at the "Rain or Shine" Wild Book Show charity exhibition at Gallery Route One in Point Reyes. 

The last day is Sunday March 28, when there will be a party and live auction from 4 - 6 pm. You can bid on the books then, or, I believe, take part in a silent auction leading up to it. Proceeds will be split with the artists in the schools program in the area. I won't be there, as it's too far away, but if you happen to be in the Marin area, the address and hours are on their website.

Atmosphere is a miniature accordion of cloud photographs taken from my backyard and at the ocean near where I live. The pages are transparencies layered over coverweight matte paper. Both the transparent and paper elements were inkjet printed with pigmented inks, creating a layered dimensional effect. It has a magnet closure (of the weaker variety).

Atmosphere. Ellen Golla 2010.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Springtime Use for Books

Book artist Simon Goode posted some pics from the Solihull Artists' Book Fair on his Flickr stream, including this one. Perhaps not quite what normally comes to mind when considering which books to take into the garden.

Originally Posted by Simon Goode on Flickr

Saturday, March 20, 2010

More Magnetic Attraction

I mentioned a while ago that I've experimented with using magnets for closures, with limited and varied success. The problem was the tiny magnets I've tried are very strong, but once the bookcloth and/or paper are placed on top, they aren't really strong enough. Recently I got some more, slightly bigger, magnets from my favorite source. Oh my.

The first difference was after I unpacked them. The stack of square ones (1/2" x 1/2" x 1/16") held together with such force I couldn't pull them apart! I do realize that I don't have the strongest hands, but still... it took surprising effort. The trick was to carefully slide them with as much strength as I could manage (and even then I somehow got my hand in the way and got pinched hard enough to start dripping blood...yike).

Then I discovered that if you leave one sitting too close to the rest of the stack--say, within a foot or two of it--it will, after a while, begin to move and will SLAM into the stack...with enough force to smash the attracted magnet into shards. Pretty trippy.

I'm thinking these babies will have enough force under bookcloth and paper to work (hopefully not too well), although I have yet to try them out in anything. I'll let you know when I do. I should add that the company I got these from recommends this size for brochure closures.

Those with pacemakers and metal implants should probably steer clear...

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Why I Will Never Be a Successful Entrepreneur

The soggy damp Northwest of California is a great place to grow bog-dwelling carnivorous plants (these are my babies). Even with global warming and our now noticeably drier summers, it generally stays wet enough to keep them happy.

Unfortunately, there's also another wet-loving organism that thrives in this climate. Moss. In particular, an invasive, nasty and vigorous moss that spontaneously emerges on the soil of my plants and takes over their pots. I pull it out. It comes back. Only more determined. I really hate this stuff. And it grows not just on my plants, but on everything--our cars, our roof, our walkways... Trust me. It's not cockroaches that will survive nuclear annihilation. It's invasive moss.

Several things spring to mind when I see this green plague. Some of it isn't polite enough to repeat on this blog. But one thing I'd never thought is "People will pay to have this sent to them!"

I discovered that there are those with a more entrepreneurial mindset who bottle this stuff and sell it on places like Etsy.

I suppose this is why I'll never be a financial success. I'm completely lacking that business gene. When I see killer moss choking my plants and taking over my home, my first thought isn't "terrarium sales!"


Labels: ,

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Awful German Language... and the Awful State of American Higher Education

Yesterday was a good day. I got two beautifully crafted handmade books in the mail from Germany. One is a copy of Mark Twain's The Awful German Language, with hand-printed lino cut illustrations, and the other is called To Touch and to Cut, a cleverly designed math-related miniature. They are by Buechertiger (aka Hilke). I know several book artists who used to be mathematicians, Hilke included. What's the connection there?

As for the Mark Twain, I'd been following the making of it on Hilke's blog. Having taken three years of German a long time ago when I was a university student, I was entertained by her choice of text. Looking through these books is a real treat! They are quite wonderful.

On a sadder note, though, I'm finding it a bit ironic to be reading this particular selection now. As many of you know, the situation at California's state universities is dire. At my alma mater, Humboldt State, they are slashing programs and faculty and reducing the salaries of those who remain. Students are not only paying a lot more to attend, but they're crammed into their classes, if they're even fortunate enough to get into the ones they need. One of the programs that got the ax not too long ago was German.

We just heard from an acquaintance who teaches at the University of Nevada Reno that they have gone a step further. Their administrators are planning to eliminate the entire Foreign Languages and Literatures Department. No more French, German or Italian. Can you believe it? (If you're on Facebook, the students have set up a page about it.) And now even as I was writing this, someone else told me that UCLA, where I once took multiple foreign languages and linguistics classes, is planning to do something similar.

Even though people always thought I was an art student, I didn't actually major in art once I came to Humboldt State from UCLA. I had a double major in language studies and anthropology. It's been quite a while now, and my working knowledge of the languages I studied is growing fuzzy. But learning them still was one of the greatest gifts I got from my education. It shocks me to think that course offerings in major European languages are now considered expendable at American universities.

That's awful. Beyond awful.

Labels: ,

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fun Little Time Waster

Warning: stay away from this site if you have a tendency to compulsively doodle.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Microscope in a Book

From 1820, an engraving of a microscope built into a book binding at the Wellcome Library site.

With thanks to Margaret Fenney, who posted this on the Book Arts List.

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 7, 2010

More Inspiration from the Land of Children's Books

This time around the topic isn't children's books themselves, but a how-to on illustrating them. This was another find from Eureka Books that dates to the 1950s. There really is so much overlap when it comes to the design of kids' books and that of artists' books.

This especially got me thinking about possibilities for illustrated end papers and book covers, along with other aspects of book structure.

But what I most wanted to do was share the chapter on typography with bookmakers I know who tend to think of font and type matters as afterthoughts, if they think about them at all. Henry P. here says:

"Type is the most important element in most books. Even in the young child's picture books it is still a factor of great moment. No book could be considered well designed unless its type faces were well chosen, its size appropriate, and the type panels well proportioned and well printed. And the relation between type and illustration must be a successful one....Illustrations are almost always near neighbors of type in some form, and they must be compatible...

Occasionally, an illustrator is tempted to use an exotic type face because it goes well with his pictures, but here another factor enters: legibility. There are many...display types which excite and delight the eye for a line or two but which bore and repulse if pursued page after page. The so-called book types have stood the test of countless hours of reading and have survived because they do not weary....

Picture and text are bound to influence each other, beneficially or adversely. Who would choose any but the way of cooperation between them?"


Labels: , , ,

Friday, March 5, 2010

Children's Books and Artists' Books

Books meant for kids often have some of the best ideas for artists' book structures. They are, in many respects, often quite similar--they have an emphasis on illustrations with perhaps a little bit of text. Sometimes they also have an unusual structure or shaped pages.

I recently came upon a couple of children's books from what looks to be the 50s.

The first was sent to me by a friend. It's a German translation of an English book that was called Animal Lore and Disorder. It advertises "more than 200 comic animals." The pages are divided horizontally, so as you turn them, you create little mish-mashes of mixed up animals and mixed up descriptions to go with them. This here is a "Cowk," a cow/elk: "This animal lives in the farmyard. He gives lots of milk and cream and...hunters often go around Canada hunting him." The book itself is interestingly made. It is essentially a pamphlet with hard covers and a buckram spine. The paper cover wrapper is glued directly onto the book boards, with flaps left free. They tuck in around the front of the book. You can see the raw edges of the book board.

The second I found in a bargain bin at Eureka Books. It's not in great condition, but I liked the form of it and the way it was made. It's an accordion. The pages are shaped book board panels, all joined together with book cloth hinges and a cloth spine. It's satisfying to open and arrange these heavy, smooth panels joined with cloth. The sections move in a way that wouldn't be possible with the cheaper production methods of newer picture books.

I'm already imagining how elements of these two book forms can be worked into my artist's books.

Labels: , , ,