Monday, 31 August 2009

New baby boy!

I've barely had time to get to the computer but here is the newest edition to our family - little EJ, born on Monday 24 August 2009. In this photo he is just 24 hours old, weighs about 8lb and has a mop of very dark reddish hair. The little girls are fascinated with him of course. S had been hoping for a boy and L is still a bit bemused about it all but I think she likes him. His parents are delighted, as is all the family, especially my Mum, almost 93, and very pleased she has stayed the distance to see her great grand children.

I'm spending time outdoors with the girls because the end of our winter has been amazingly warm, even hot most days. It means the garden needs a lot of attention and water restrictions, which I think we may have forever now, mean there's a lot of hand watering with bucket and watering can. Winter vegetables are still thriving and it's time to plant seeds for the summer crops. Then there's the other parts of the garden, in particular a large area of grass that I'm trying to remove to plant a native ground cover. The chooks stand around me, clucking conversationally and hoping I'll toss some delicacy their way, and when I do then there's a scrum as they all compete.

I have a big book order starting soon so I want to get as much done in the garden as possible before I find myself indoors for days on end. I love making books - and I love being in the garden. It's a bit of a toss up I suppose but the books will generally win.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

I just love getting mail...

These gorgeous papers are from Rhonda at My Handbound Books and across the top are two handmade papers and two paste papers; across the bottom are two suminagashi and two ebru marbled papers. All made by Rhonda and my gift for winning her monthly newsletter draw. Thanks so much Rhonda. I'm torn between want to use them and squirreling them away in my marbled paper collection - that's the collection of other people's papers as opposed to my own marbled papers.

Another parcel in the mail was this recently purchased Hedi Kyle Festschrift 2009 published by the Guild of Book Workers . The dedication page states "We are pleased to honor Hedi Kyle Lifetime Achievement Member of the Guild of Book Workers. Delaware Valley Chapter". The publication is supported by the Philadelphia Center for the Book and the MFA Book Arts/Printmaking Program at the University of the arts, Philadelphia. This spiral bound book of 238 pages has articles, drawings, instructions and images by a veritable who's who of the binding world, making a great tribute to Hedi Kyle and offering the reader many insights and inspirations. We all know Hedi Kyle's flag book though not everyone may realise to whom they should be attributing it. This book is packed with readable information and understandable instructions and I think I'll be working my way through it for some time to come. Copies may be ordered at

My third welcome package in the mail was this book by Hilke Kurzke from Bonn. Hilke has been experimenting with Coptic headbands and has come up with this nice little book "Six Ways to Make Coptic Headbands", Buechertiger Press, 2009. As I enjoy making coptic bindings but I have serious doubts about the strength of the binding for such things as albums, I am always pleased to find information that may give that extra bit of support. This is another book I'll be working through in the next few months. You can purchase copies of this book, which I must add is very nicely and simply bound, from Hilke via her blog here.

I mentioned before, but didn't have a photograph, that I also received a copy of Melior's "Happy Bus" zine, so here's the cover and it really is a happy read. I don't know when the next issue is due out but I'll be getting a copy. Meliors is producing some beautiful embroidery of sea fossils, along with her other skills book making and photography.

Also into fossils and things scientific is Hope, whose blog can be found here and her Etsy shop longleggedfly here. I will very soon be wearing two of her fabulous silver trilobite pendants made into earrings. Hope is also a weaver and knitter.

Everywhere I look there are such talented artisans, so many people combining a variety of arts and crafts. Most of us do it for love, a lucky few are able to earn a living from it. Luck is the wrong word there, it takes a huge amount of effort and talent and I guess the luck is in finding a market or being in the right place at the right time.

Thanks for reading this long missive, do visit the people I've linked to and leave them a comment to say hello. I love your comments too of course. And after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing I've put my blog on Facebook and I'm still not sure if it's a good idea or not. Please tell me what you think.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

My Ideas book and another award

I received this very pretty award from Susie a few weeks ago. Susie is a mine of information about blogging and I've learned a lot from her blog 1st Floor Flat. Thank you Susie for the award - I'm honoured.

I must apologise for the quality of these photos. I'm not sure what happened but I think I need a new camera. Either that or the anti-shake isn't working. Sorry.

I want to give you a quick look at one of my everyday books that I use to write down my ideas and add snapshots of books I make. I made this case bound book when I was doing my book binding training at Sydney TAFE in the 90s and it is holding up very well to many years of use. Cloth covered, it has commercially made headbands (how dreadful that seems to me now) and I've trimmed out pages in every section to make room for all the bits and pieces I've pasted in. At one stage early on it looked as though it was going to explode so I took to it with a scalpel which seemed drastic at the time but saved the integrity of the book in the long run.

Above are journals I've made to write family history and to document some of my history of natural history information.

This is a rather poor photo of the book that made me realise that I wanted to make artist's books. I was researching in the Rare Books Library at the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology, Smithsonian Institution Libraries, I think in 1996 and I was lucky enough to be given a special viewing of the exhibition Science and the Artist's Book. Do look here to get a better look at this book [M.L. Van Nice Plinitude Somerville, Massachusetts, 1994 [seeds, bones, insect wings, feathers, wood, leather, paper, acrylic]] and the others in the exhibition. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that this book and the entire exhibition changed the direction of my work, and in many ways, my life.

Above some coptic/celtic/icicle bindings that I've talked about elsewhere.

On the left are some cross structure bindings and on the right my Jenny Hanniver : the unauthorised biography - a book I will be completely overhauling soon because I can't live with the faults.

More bits and pieces including a star book based on Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.

Above are many different book structures, most of them purely for fun. I make books for the challenge and commercially, but the greatest joy for me is making a book just for fun.

This book is actually titled (in silver) Marbling Muses, a bit of a hopeful title really, especially as I have difficulty capturing any kind of muse lately, let alone the one dealing with marbling. So here are photos from Marianne Peter's brilliant oil marbling workshop with a few notes visible from her paste paper workshop. I've just noticed that in the book I've said Marianne comes from France. Wrong - she comes from Belgium!

With great enthusiasm I've sketched pages of marbling guides to favourite designs. Of course when I actually marble I completely forget to follow the instructions and I get very excited if my paper turns out the way I intended. I also enjoy the surprise of the unexpected.

This is the head of the book, showing some of my marbling, which I like, the "made" headband, which I don't like, and the stubs of the pages I've sliced out.

I think on the 'post-it' is a recipe for guar gum base for the marbling I did with Marianne Peter.

So - not an amazingly beautiful book but one I would be most unhappy to lose. It not only has years of plans, ideas, recipes, instructions, photos, drawings - it is chock full of great memories of people and books and the wonderful fellowship with other people who love to bind and marble. Like the people I'm meeting through blogging.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Friends, family, an award & great blogs

Just a few photos of my recent time in the country. As usual the hospitality was wonderful, the company all I could wish for. The nights were very cold but the days were sunny and warm - what more could you ask for in mid winter? From the wrap-around verandahs there is a view in every direction, often with grazing cattle or horses or just the chooks doing their own thing.
The orchard is presently laden with mandarins, producing wonderful juice at breakfast time, and the stone fruit trees are in flower giving promise of much eating, bottling and preserving to come in summer.
The morning turns from complete fog to this beautiful mist then to brilliant sunshine.
Driving to visit friends we stopped to move this young Echidna (Spiny Anteater) [in link see Monotremes] off the road and to the comparative safety of the ditch. At the sight of me he curled up into a spiny ball, far too spiky to safely pick up in my bare hands. I nudged him gently with my shoe and very tentatively with my hands and succeeded in getting him off the road. On our return trip we looked out for him, hoping he hadn't ended up as roadkill but there was no sign of him so I hope he was safe. Of course I have no idea if "he" was a male or female but can't get my head around saying "it".
Back home this weekend we had a family lunch and the little girls made a floral installation which they attached to the fronds of a ponytail palm. Actually the big little girl made the camellia and clothes peg arrangements and the little little girl did her best to help.
The Karma Friends Award. It has taken me ages to acknowledge this award from Cheryl at scrappy cat. Thanks so much Cheryl. I'm meant to pass this on to 8 bloggers but I think I'll just tell you about some fabulous blogs I've found and if you want to pass on this award then that will be lovely but I know many people are avoiding awards so just consider yourself awarded with no strings attached. Blogging is great for making new friends so this is a very apt award.

I read a lot of blogs, particularly book binding ones so here are a few. I must say that I do like to leave comments because I think it's important that we know we aren't just blogging into a black hole. I'm always surprised when I see that a blog has a lot of followers but there are no comments. So please, if you see something you like, do take a moment to say so.

Shannon at bathtubdreamer has used Keith Smith's Woven Chain Binding;
Have a look at Handbound for beautiful books and boxes;
Congratulations to fellow Australian Rhonda Ayliffe who has been commended by the judges in the East Gippsland Art Gallery inaugural book awards;
Meet book arts instructor and author Pam Sussman;
A most prolific and successful binder is Kristen Crane;
Look at the books, boxes and earrings made by Monica Holtsclaw of Boombox Bindery;
Holly at Often Medieval in Mood (just the name drags me in) tells of Fantasy in the Forest;
See books, boxes and albums by Wendy at Windy Weather Bindery;
and for something completely different, Cake Wrecks for those who haven't come across this usually hilarious, sometimes beautiful, often creepy but award winning site...

I have, possibly foolishly, networked my blog on Facebook. Having done this I now realise I haven't the slightest idea why I did it and it has left me with a huge blank spot near the top of my blog for network followers. I'm not sure what the point of it is, why it will be useful - in fact it is making me think I'm just a complete computer nerd. If anyone has any advice, good ideas (or bad ones) about this, please tell me. I don't even know what questions I need to ask.