Thursday, 16 July 2009

Blind as a bat ...

I can't believe this but I've wrecked my reading glasses and life has become a blur. I'm struggling with a pair of multifocals which make me dizzy and make reading a nightmare. I did think being forced to use them may be a good thing and I'd get used to them - and I'm still trying - but I really don't like feeling that I'm about to fall over all the time.

In the morning I'm abandoning the family for a few days to go north to Gloucester to visit my lifelong friends on their beautiful farm. It's raining steadily so I hope it doesn't turn into a flood that strands me in the country. My friends have been rained-in twice this year when their creek flooded and cut them off from the road. Of course it's a wonderful place to be stranded and their hospitality is legendary so I can think of worse things that could befall me.

My workroom had a new addition today. We bought a very solid timber table and two chairs that are perfectly sized for a three year old, and assembled them. As I couldn't read the miniscule instructions I had to make an educated guess at the assembly but it wasn't too hard. S put in the screws and learned to use an Allen key and was extremely proud of her new skills and I was pretty impressed with her too. She is very proud to be setting up her workspace in my workspace and I know she will be good company for me. She has already cast an eye over my tools and suggested that we can share some things so I feel it will be interesting to see how we both deal with that. There will have to be very strict rules about sharp instruments and they will be kept well out of reach and some locked up.

My mother was very creative, and I have always felt because of her imagination and generosity in letting me make a mess, that I had a charmed childhood. I tried to give that same experience to my children and now I am fortunate enough to have another generation of children to "create" with. As we have a new baby due in a few weeks I expect to have plenty of opportunity to work and play with S (3 1/2) and L (15 months). My house may be chaotic but the little girls don't care which suits me just fine.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Two books

I can see that my unpacking is going to be an ongoing, and probably to the reader, invariably tedious business so while it will be in the forefront of my mind, I don't want to bore everyone else by going on about it. Except to say that it will happen eventually and one day I'll be able to say "All done" and then I'll show you photos of my [potentially] wonderful workroom. Perhaps by then I'll be confident enough to call it my bindery.

While I'm waiting for books to be made in the here and now, I have a few photos of books made last year. This first was a farewell book for a longterm member of staff. I was called in to plan the book and to assemble it, something I was very happy to do for an old friend. These are the A4 sheets, folded and made into sections. The staff had written and drawn on the sheets and there were enough pages for quite a substantial volume.
I did a 6 needle coptic binding, using waxed Irish linen thread.
I normally make my board attachment through the boards but for some reason (and I can't imagine what it would be) I attached around the boards. I know many people do this but I always feel the stitching is more secure the other way. The book looked fine and the recipient was delighted but now I wish I'd taken that extra step with it.
I made this blank journal for a raffle prize and wrapped it in beautifully soft leather.
I used my own marbled paper for end papers and because I had less than an hour to make it I used an Italian made book block, rather than sewing my own.
How do I happen to have such a thing close to hand? Remember those books I make for the shop? That's a clue... But the leather is gorgeous and the endpapers were pretty nice.

Monday, 6 July 2009

My new beach & some book works in the pipeline

I always felt privileged living at Coogee Beach and it was quite a wrench to leave it behind. It didn't take me long to get over that - the moment I saw Terrigal Beach on a sparkling summer day, I knew I was hooked. Now that I've moved to the NSW Central Coast I realise that there are many magical beaches and at least 7 of them are within a 10 minute drive of our home.
This is Terrigal Beach, which morphs into Wamberal Beach as it meanders north along the coast. South to the right the beach makes a turn around a rocky outcrop and forms another small beach with a boat launching area, a place for hopeful pelicans to hang out looking for scraps from fishermen. At The Entrance, another town a bit further north, there is a daily pelican feeding time, to which hundreds of pelicans flock, as do hundreds of tourists.
For more on pelicans, see here. One of the things I really love is watching these huge birds flying in V formation over our garden, taking a short cut from lagoon to beach.

I had an interesting afternoon yesterday with my friend P, as we worked on developing a new range of books for his shop. I managed to clear enough space in my work room so that we could lay out leathers and beautiful papers, cutting board by hand and making some serious policy decisions about what we'll make. I'm sorry to say that I was so engrossed I completely forgot to take photos but considering the state of the room, still piled high with boxes, that may have been a good thing. I'm really looking forward to making beautiful books for P's shop. I promise there will be photos as this ongoing project develops.

Thank you to all those bloggers who posted, welcoming me back to the blogosphere. I do appreciate your kind thoughts and I enjoy reading your blogs in turn.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

After nearly 6 months of silence ...

... I've surfaced! Still not organised, not completely unpacked, but renovations are done and I love my new house, the surrounding gardens and of course, seeing my little grand daughters daily. The vegetable garden is under way with winter veggies taking off, and even though it's winter we are picking lettuce and rocket every day for salads. The chooks love it and you'd think the old black cat had lived here all his life. I've even bought a car, after many, many years of not driving.

Thank you to all my blogging friends who have supported me through these months with comments and emails; I can't tell you how much I appreciate that. For quite a while I didn't have internet access and the first thing I did once online was catch up on all my favourite blogs. I try to comment as often as possible because I know how encouraging that can be.

At the moment I'm working to get my work room unpacked and usable so that I can make some books. I've done one commercial job and I'm about to do another, so that is a great incentive to get organised.

I received 2 wonderful parcels recently from Gracia & Louise. These contained collaged zines by Gracia Haby - "Tumble & Fall", a magical book of stars, and "A vagary of impediments & a sneak of weasels", an illustrated list of collective nouns. Beautifully presented and packaged, the parcels also contained cards, and a most welcome surprise - a copy of "Tweak, Tweaked, Tweet", a concertina of Australian birds, by Louise Jennison. Visit them and see what they are making. Thank you Gracia and Louise. Oh, and if you are fascinated with collective nouns, do visit their other site here.

Another surprise came my way a few days later when I read in Melior's blog Bibliophilia that I'd won her June give-away. This, #1 of her zine "The Happy Bus" has now arrived in the mail and I'm delighted with it. Original writing by Meliors and others, a fold out map showing Neural Pathways to Happiness and a little packet of stickers - plenty to read and think about. Thanks Meliors. Now, if you don't know Melior's blog I suggest you visit and leave a comment by 14 July. You'll be in the running for her July give-away - a staghorn coral brooch, embroidered to represent a fragment of bleached coral.

Way back at the beginning of this year Astrid tagged me. In response, rather than list things about myself, I think I'll just lead you to a few new blogs I'm reading. There are so many interesting book binders and book artists out there now and I find more each day. In fact Astrid's blog is a great source of new blogs for me. I'll try to add a couple each new post. I think it's important that we support one another.

Blue Roof Designs; Books by Rachel; CaiLun; Moonbindery; Buechertiger; Paper Curious - so read them and enjoy. And don't forget to leave a comment now and then.