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.

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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 http://sevenroads.org/Articles/Mitchell1953/BookbindersTickets.html

http://www.finebooksmagazine.com/fine_books_blog/2009/03/a-bookbinders-ticket-and-bookseller-labels.phtml

http://www.wesellusedbooks.com/bookplates.html

Measurable goodness giveaway

I am so geeky about all my bookbinding tools. I love my almond-scented Italian glue, my wooden bone folder, my Japanese punch. They inspire me every time I pick them up.

One tool I often reach for is my set of brass rules. They make measuring super simple, because I don’t often plan ahead and have to do things one-handed. They are incremental and super handy for all sorts of things, from books to boxes to most any craft project where you need a standard measurement. I use them for drawing lines, spacing and folding paper.

Since I have two sets I thought I would pass on an extra set to a fortunate commenter. This set is still in the package from Hollander’s.

To enter: simply leave a comment telling me that you that you don’t already own a set and that you promise you will use them. One entry per person please

If you promote this giveaway on Twitter you can leave a comment for an extra entry (making a total of two).

Deadline: April 30, 2009 at 9pm CST. Best of luck to you all!

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.

The best weekend ever

I had the most amazing weekend. It had nothing to do with home education or church or family. It was all about art. I almost never get opportunities like this. Here’s what happened.

 First, I went to a workshop at the Philbrook taught by my favorite book artist, Julie Chen. It was so fun to meet her and spend the day making books. We did a carousel book. It was so good to see my “bookie” friends and hang out at the museum. We are probably going to have Julie back next year for a two-day workshop. That would be terrific!

Then Sunday afternoon Julie gave a lecture on her books, reviewing her process, showing mock-ups and the journey of a book from idea to reality. She also showed slides of her studio and equipment, which is always fun to see. I like to see where artists execute all their ideas.

This was so helpful. She explained how she decided how many books to make in a run and how she sells them. I learned so much about her artisic process and about how things work in the book arts world.

After the lecture some of us went to a docent’s house for appetizers. We got to talk with Julie and have a great time chatting about books and art in general. It was so nourishing to my soul to talk about art with people I never get to hang out with. The weather was amazing as we sat on the back patio and talked about the museum, the calligraphy guild, and just minutia among the azaleas and dogwood trees. Everyone had such an interesting story to tell, about their lives and about art.

I cannot wait until we get our book arts guild up again. That was so much fun. It was a place to really spread your artistic wings. We are trying to hook up with the museum and meet in a classroom there. That would be a great partnership.

This weekend was like a gift. I didn’t have to pay a lot of money, leave my family or make a trip. It all happened right here in my backyard. It was a time to refresh and reflect, both on my journey as an artist and on my plans for the future. It helped settle some things in me, about the direction I want to take and how I want to get there. I know God will use my art and I’m starting to see just how He could do that. Now I need to make some time to get the studio and create some books!