Friday, August 26, 2011

Too Short, Grasshopper...

This big guy showing up on my window screen reminds me of the fact that summer seems to go by so quickly. I know I was complaining just last week about the heat this year. It's hard to sit in front of a torch and kiln in the heat of summer. I did a show up in the Philadelphia area this past weekend, and when I got back home, the signs that summer is almost gone are evident. I know before I left -- a mere three or four days ago -- I'd been sleeping on top of the covers with the ceiling fan on full blast, and now I find myself sleeping under the covers with no ceiling fan action at all. Soon I'll be closing windows, and after that configuring the storm windows. Then there will be that day when the heaters are used for the first time. Of course there have been signs of the end, such as the shear size of the big guy who's peeking into my window. And the tomatoes ripening on the vine. As summer progresses the insects get so loud here in the country it could be characterized as deafening. Those who think the country is quiet have never spent an evening in the country in late July and August. One has to practically shout to be heard above the din some evenings. The days still get "too" warm, but there is that hint of cool air in the undercurrent. And the nights cool off making for good sleeping weather. So my hope now is for a long, slow, lazy autumn, because conversely to summer ending so fast, it always takes such a long time to for it arrive again only to go through its seemingly disproportionately short timeframe. And while there's always the hope of an "Indian" summer, it is just one more sign that indeed, summer has gone.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Becoming Reaquainted with a Lost Love

Before I was a glass beadmaker, I was a papermaker and book binder (among other things). I have not spent much time on the bookmaking in many, many years. Lately however, I've had a yearning to get back into it. I love books and reading so much that I almost cannot be without a book within reach or physically on my person at all times. Sometimes I even fall asleep with them, and both sides of my bed are flanked by floor to ceiling bookshelves, the nightstand is stacked with books, and there's another pile on the floor that belong to someone else that I need to read. Thank goodness for my Kindle, where at last count I had over 500 books. It has cut down on the weight of books that used to be in my purse.

So I've been trying to combine my "vices", and I've spent the last few days reacquainting myself with various book binding skills.

Initially, I have made "little" books, more accurately categorized as "miniature" books by the book arts community. They are approximately 1.5 x 1 inch when closed. Since I really don't like being without a book on my person at any time, that concept provided the impetus for my little books. They can easily be incorporated into jewelry or other adornment. All are blank and awaiting owners to personalize them in some way. I'm working out how exactly to combine the books with my glass art, but for now I think I'll just enjoy the book binding separately since it's easy these days to burn out on the beads. I've made 4 each of 3 slightly different kinds. The top picture is a closeup of one of the leather books. The three pictures on the left are groups of 4 little books of a kind (don't ask me why 4 of each, but it is kind of bookish in that each sheet in a signature-bound book has 4 pages, so one tends to think in multiples of 4). The top photo are books that I made of upcycled material, mainly packages and paper bags, with an exposed longstitch binding, decorative endpapers, and ribbon and bead closure. I added an anodized aluminum jumpring to the top of the spine for hanging on a necklace or something. The second picture shows the leatherbound version, with same exposed longstitch binding, little folders built into the endpapers, a leather tie closure, and jumpring. The bottom picture is a group of leather clad japanese tortoise shell stab binding books with decorative endpapers. I made a special wireworked hanger for each, and then crafted a leather button and braided ribbon and bead closure.

I must say I'm enjoying myself immensely, and several more ideas have sprouted as is usually the case when I'm working. It's one of the laws of artmaking -- the more you work, the more you want to work. I think my next step will be in making 1-, 2-, or 3-signature books in a size that would easily fit in a pocket -- maybe a size similar to the moleskins I like so much. Also, I discovered a really cool binding that combines an accordian fold spine with origami and a very clever way to hold in sheets without glue or sewing. And even more cool is that the sheets can be removed or moved to other places in the book. Since I'm constantly changing my mind, this might just be the perfect book. I'll keep you posted!

Edited to add labels.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Lost Poem Found...

So in the process of cleaning out 2 tall bookshelves, 2 bedrooms, and 3 closets, I came across the following poem that I had written...

How to let him out?
But no.     No.
Life if you leave it is scary empty
     Do not go so soon.
We are old but young;
     try mad wild experiments with me...
paint    watch people    dream    create
   compose    live free    live deepest.
Imagine purple bold love returned.
                                  We can, too.
                           Write me here --
                    Hurry before I have to go.
                                          Capture me.
      You are shimmering so gorgeous!