Busy days at Rockpile

The past month has been busy, but I’ve hardly taken any fotos and haven’t wanted to blog without them. Sometimes I look back through my recent photographs and realize that I’m spending way too much time inside; more natural light, more vitamin D as the days get shorter, more fresh air: goals for this month! Highlights of October included my first Western Mass session of Beginning Bookbinding, many long days spent in my tiny studio making books for a local craft fair, and preparing for a small edition of screenprints for the holiday season.

My past several posts have reflected my focus on making a home in my new location, and I’m happy to report that I’m ready to move forward on that front; that is, I feel at home! Not that every day is amazing or that I’m making millions off of the long hours of book binding, but I do spend far fewer hours missing the mountains (while holding them and my beautiful friends there very dear). Feels like progress, with more (hopefully) to come. Lots of love to all of yous.

the last days of summer

I made these three colorful books in a burst of creative inspiration yesterday. I think that they are perfect for this time of year- faded and colorful in a nostalgic kind of way.

what my mind dreamed up…

What would you envision for a customer who requested a book for an ‘intellectual soul mate’ lost at sea?

It look me a little while to land on a motif for this one, but one of the things that helped my creative process was the obvious passion of the person requesting this custom book, which would be a gift for someone special. He wanted me to incorporate the phases of the moon, and the sea…so after a few weeks of methodical brainstorming, I landed on a big idea, and started to get to work.

I love custom orders because I end up making books I’d never create otherwise. And I loved that I was able to take my time on this one, enjoying all the symbolism that it involved and the subsequent ways that it helped me to make meaning in my own days of late.

A week ago I watched a beautiful Taurus baby come into the world. And though I have wavering interest in the influence of the planets and sun and moon, I appreciated the meaning created around this brand new person’s timing of when to be born and lock eyes with her mama for the first time.

In short, my love of making significance out of circumstance loved this nice juxtaposition of the moon, lost and found companions, and all things beyond our control…each a lovely part of life under the sun.

A Rake’s Progress

I just finished A Rake’s Progress, the new biography of David Hockey; I remember some of his swimming pools from my time at the Art Institute, but I’ve gained an inspiring respect for the artist now that I’ve learned a lot of the story behind his work. One of the things I loved most about the biography was how it retold so many of the personal anecdotes relating to the portraits that Hockney painted. The above portrait, American Collectors, was commissioned by the couple pictured, but Hockney took so many liberties with the feeling and narrative elements of the scene that they “hated the picture so much that they decided to take it out of circulation by buying it and donating it to the Pasadena Museum, with the stipulation that it should be kept in the basement”.

Reading artists’ biographies is always inspiring in unexpected ways. This week I want to watch Painters Painting, starring some of my favorite Abstract Expressionists, and A Bigger Splash, about Hockney, which I learned about inĀ A Rake’s Progress.

DIY Bookbinding: Wrapping Things Up

This week we moved on to two basic hardcover structures: a simple concertina/accordion dos a dos, and a single signature “spineless” book.

As a newer student of binding, I loved making hard-back books not only because they looked so clean, but also because they’re very impressive to show off- not many people who don’t have experience in bookbinding can tell how they’re made. These days I love showing students how simple and quick some very pretty hardcover structures can be to bind. Let me know if you’d like info on how to create these two!

Thanks so much to my lovely bookbinding class for all of their curiosity, lightheartedness, and enthusiasm for making books. We had a great time in the three week workshop, and I’m excited to be offering one or two new classes in May. Stay tuned for details and email me at rockpilebindery@gmail.com if you’d like to be on my mailing list for classes, events, and news. XO!

DIY Bookbinding- what we’re up to!

Last week we explored several stab binding variations, starting with the simplest of Japanese bindings and a more intricate tortoiseshell pattern. There are some good online tutorials for these structures, so Google them if you’re curious!

We also made this creative variation on the traditional stab binding. You can find instructions in Keith Smith’s Non-Adhesive Binding, a great resource for making books at home.

This week we’ll practice longstitch sewings with multiple signatures. More photos to come. Hope everyone has an inspiring and productive week!