Bookbinders tickets

There was a fascinating discussion on the bookarts listserv about something called a bookbinders ticket. It’s a small paper glued into the back of the book with the binder’s unique mark and it tells you about the binder and when it was made. They’ve been around for  about 400 years and give a offer a history of bookbinding.


I do not make tickets but I do have a little round rubber stamp that I use to mark in the back of my books so people will know I made them. When I get to making more elaborate case bound books and such on a regular basis, I think I will make up some of these. I think it’s important for future generations to know as much about where a book came from as possible. Do you mark your books?

And for the record, I think the artist book colophon has it all over the ticket. (detailed in the next post on bookbinding).

Some links on the topic of bookbinders tickets:

Photos of tickets in color

Recession-proof your artistic income

Who wouldn’t love to not just eek out a living, but really thrive as an artist, even in a down economy? One of the best ways to do that is by creating multiple streams of income from your work. Laura Bray of Katydid Designs is offering an online course to help you do just that. Here’s what she’s covering (as she describes it):

In this course, you will:

* Learn that creating multiple streams of income is the fastest way to reach your financial goals while making a living a doing what you love.

* Learn how to leverage your artwork and projects to make money for you over and over.

* Learn how to create passive income. You can be independently employed, go on vacation, and still make money!

* Find out the many ways an artist or crafter can make money from their art. You probably haven’t even thought of some of them!

* Learn from experts in creative income areas such as; online selling, art licensing, children’s book illustration and craft shows.

Keep focused, do what you love and learn a ton of different possibilities for creating a good living from your talent without working yourself into an early grave. All this for only $50? Amazing! See more info about this class here. Hurry and sign up, class begins September 7.

Things are all abuzz

There are several things going on around here, artistically speaking. (I have a husband and 4 kids that we homeschool, so we are always busy!)

One thing is a chunky book swap I am hosting. The theme is “A little birdie told me,” and it’s turning out awesome. The pages are 3X3 and there has to be a bird or wings on the page somewhere. The quote doesn’t have to be about birds, but many of them are. Once I get them together I’ll post some pics here.

Also I am in the latest Gleaner Zine swap. I’ve been itching to do a zine for the longest time and I guess now’s the time to dive in. The theme for that is domestic bliss. I love all things homemaking and wanted to explore that topic artistically. My head is swirling with ideas along those lines. I’m not sure about the page count yet, but I am planning on making some additional copies that I’ll make available here next month.

Of course my Chandler & Price old style letterpress is still gunked up and yucky. She has beautiful bones though, and little by little I am wiping away the grime and her battleship grey beauty is shining through. Who knows when I will actually be able to print on her–I still need a treadle, type, furniture, etc, etc, etc.One of these days I want to get some more books bound. That is frustrating me! I have some cool things in my mental queue that I want to actually finish and add to my store. And to blog about. But that will have to wait for another day. I have plenty to work on this month. Oh and I’m also considering another giveaway–a Keith Smith book. What do you suggest I do in the way of a contest?

Measurable goodness winner!

I had lots of entries for my little giveaway and was so excited to see such exuberance for these humble brass rules. I really do wish I had a set for each of you. It was so much fun that have already decided I will have another giveaway soon–maybe paper. Or a handmade book. Or a kit.

The winner is… (cue cheesy drum roll)


Congrats girl! Get in touch with your snail mail address at annahawthornebookarts at gmail dot com and I’ll get them in the mail to you pronto. Then you must blog with photos of how you use them. (Well you don’t have to, but it sure would be fun.)

In art, bigger really is better

These days in the art community there is a wonderful movement that strives to get back to handcrafted, placing a premium on pieces that are brimming with the artist’s personality. I agree, I much prefer the one-of-a-kind over the mass produced. I prefer smaller pieces that are well done over larger pieces that lack detail. That said, there are some things about your art that are better bigger.

  • Bigger Dreams. Goal setting is important, but don’t forget your dreams in the day to day. When you are afraid, reach even higher.
  • Bigger Quality. How can you improve on your quality?
  • Bigger Knowledge. Take a class. Call a mentor. Read a book. Get into the studio and experiment. It is amazing how learning will spark the creative juices. Learn something new already!
  • Bigger Reputation. What do you want people to say when your name is mentioned? Make every effort to keep your word, ship on time and offer value every chance you can get.
  • Bigger Body of Work. Keep on growing. Keep on reaching. Keep on working.The most successful artists are the ones who are faithful to work work work.
  • Bigger Circle of Friends. Get out there and make sincere connections. Not just for your career but for your sanity. Friends keep you honest, give your ego a healthy boost and make sure you keep some balance. But adding to your professional Rolodex doesn’t hurt either.
  • Bigger Heart. Be generous with your information. Offer freebies. Donate profits or do work to sell for charity. People love people who aren’t afraid to share their knowledge with them.

These things, added up, will add up to a fulfilling artistic career. And all that will translate into bigger dollars, but all the other “biggers” will ensure that your increasing profits are not temporary, but a natural, permanent growth. And that bigger is definitely better.

You can judge a book by its cover

The cover of a book, especially an antique, determines its value. A great volume with an intact spine and flyleaves is sought-after by collectors the world over.

When you make a book, keep in mind that the cover is not an afterthought. It is not simply a holder for the title or something to keep the pages inside from getting ruined. Yes it is all that too but it’s more.

It’s like the front door. It’s the readers first interaction with your work. It’s the thing they hold and manipulate to get to the “good stuff.” It’s the first stop on a journey through your work. Why not make it really count?

An article to enjoy is this one on an exhibit of the Morgan Library and Museum. A limited collection of their books spanning 1400 years displays the exquisite detail of the covers. You almost hate to open them up for fear the text won’t live up.

When you maker your next book I hope you will take the opportunity to make the cover a work unto itself.

Finding artist book inspiration

Creative block is one of the things I struggle with. Things are rocking along and then one day, without warning, it’s like someone dammed up the river of ideas. Suddenly I got nothin’.

If you are stuck, lacking inspiration or just afraid to try something new, maybe you can try one of these:

  • Found Magazine is filled with ideas and inspiration. It’s all about old receipts and love notes and pictures of strangers just begging for their story to be told. It’s fun to peek into the life of a stranger this way.
  • Watch a video at TED.
  • Leave your work, close the door behind you and take a walk. Clearing your head does wonders for the creative process.
  • Check out these these packaging solutions. How creative!
  • Visit Vamp & Tramp Booksellers to peruse all the artist book happiness they have available.
  • Printed Matter also has a good variety of artist books to drool over.

There are ton of other book artist sites but these are a few that I enjoy.

Getting the most out of your art museum trip

Yea it’s museum day! Your family is excited as you all pile in the car. How can you get the most out of your precious time together? Here are some tips to help you enjoy your local art museum to the fullest.

  • Go when your family is at their best. for some it’s morning, for others the afternoon. Assess your family’s best time and go then. And remind the kids about the usual–whispering, not touching anything, etc. so they know what to expect, especially if it’s their first time.
  • Go on free day. Many museums offer days with free admission. Take advantage.
  • Check the schedule. Before you head out the door check the museum’s listing of temporary exhibits. Maybe one fits what you are studying. Mark future exhibits on your calendar so you won’t forget.
  • Study a local artist that has work in your museum before you go. Your kids will enjoy the artist’s work much more when they feel connected to the artist. Maybe you can even schedule a studio tour with the artist. It never hurts to call and ask!
  • Leave prepared. Have all the stuff you would have wherever you go. Feed the kids. Wear comfy shoes.
  • Get a map. Plan out your tour, learn where the bathrooms are (and the fire exits too) and see what’s available for viewing.
  • Get a tour from a docent. They will tell you all the interesting tidbits you might never learn otherwise. They are passionate about the museum and will usually offer a great tour.
  • Go on a regular basis. You don’t have to see the whole thing at once. Take it in small bites and savor each moment.
  • Buy a membership. Membership really does have its privileges. Members have access to private shows, special events, classes and newsletters. And if you are a regular museum goer you’ll save money on admission.
  • Plan a visual scavenger hunt. Make a list for the kids to check off, such as “a lady with a hat” or “a piece of fruit” or “a statue of a horse” and let them look for them.
  • Don’t skip the gift shop. It’s a great place to pick up unusual gifts. And they almost always have neat things you can use in your homeschool, like sun printing paper, models and art prints.

Using your artistic voice

I was reading this post on Sarah Hodson’s blog. There is a new machine out there that I am crazy about. It’s a screen printing machine that Provo has come out with that, like the Cricut, is going to revolutionize the craft world. See a video demo of Yudu here.

What I appreciated about Sara’s post was the video from Provo featuring a man giving the homeless a voice using the machine. Please view the video.

It really got me thinking about communicating faith in art. There is reason for us to create beauty, to communicate the Gospel, to offer hope and help. We as Christians have a unique voice. We bring the hope of Christ to what we do. It is Christ in us, the hope of glory.

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Col. 1:27

When we allow Christ to shine in our art we have something unique to offer, not just any hope, but the hope of glory.

Christ is come to save, to heal and to deliver. When we can get that across, not just in a literal way, but in the subtle artistic communication–that is one to one, artist to patron—you are able to reach the very soul of another person. Art disarms, connects and elevates. For a moment in time you are able to communicate soul to soul with a person you may never actually meet this side of heaven. you are truly, as Ron DiCianni puts it, “Going into all the world…one painting at a time.” Or one book. Or collage. Pick your medium, the principle is the same.

What an exciting time to be an artist. Modern technology has brought the ability to get your art into people’s hands to the next level. Take advantage of every opportunity you have to communicate the Good News to everyone you can. Be bold, be subtle, be brave.

In my next post I will share my personal art scriptures and how they fit into my artist statement.