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?

Which came first: the content or the concept?

In Keith Smith’s tome Non Adhesive Binding: Books Without Paste or Glue (volume 1), he discusses the relationship between idea, construction and content. This is like the holy trinity of artist books–the conceptual, the physical and the visual. They can come in any order and they are dependent upon one another. Mr. Smith believes that they are intimately connected, but binding serves content, even if the binding choice comes before the content is actually created.

Usually I come up with a concept (such as inspiration from a song or a phrase) first. Then I create content and lastly choose a binding or construction to hold it. Sometimes I find a cool construction, though, and that will motivate me to create something to put in it. Once in a while I will write a poem and work back to the concept and then create a container that is appropriate. And I have to agree with Mr. Smith. Binding always serves content. If not, the results are awkward and uncomfortable. But when these three elements are in harmony, the results are spectacular.

I love thinking about how these three interact, and how different the results can be, depending on where you start. It’s a process that is exciting with each new project and starting at a different place than you are used to can result in work that is fresh and vibrant. And if you don’t have this book–or any of his other books–you need to order one (or all of them) ASAP.

Do you have a particular order, or rhythm, you usually find yourself in when making artist books?

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.)

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.

5 uses for school glue

I don’t know about you, but when it’s back to school time I can’t resist stocking up on white glue. It was only 5 cents a bottle, after all. But now I have about 20 bottles of it. So what do I do with all this white gluey goodness? (I mean besides letting the kiddos rub it on their finger and peel it off…)

  1. Make a relief design art project. Draw with it on paper. Make sure the lines are nice and thick and don’t fill in any spaces. Let it dry overnight. The next day you can place another sheet on top and rub with crayons or colored pencils and create some great rubbings. Try lots of different patterns and you can mix and match for interesting effects.
  2. Use it as a resist. Once again, draw a line drawing with the glue in nice thick lines. Let it dry overnight. The next day get out your paints and color in your picture. The colors will stay within the glue lines and you can end up with a great effect that looks a bit like batik.
  3. Use it to make play putty for the kids on a rainy day.
  4. Make some Papier Mache goodies.
  5. Use it like a glue stick. Now isn’t that handy?

Still have some glue left? For even more fun visit here.

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.

Artful Maundy Monday Oct. 12

The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.


I hope, as Christian artists do, that my work will somehow glorify God, and not always in the obvious ways. We strive for our works to speak to His essence, to His Spirit, even if it is not a “Christian” piece. If you allow God to work with you in your studio, His will be evident in some way in the finished product. And we will be changed as well, as we listen to His voice.

As Michelangelo may well have referred to the “divine perfection” of his subject, God as Creator of all still is the light source. He still receives the glory for His creation, whether the artist knows it or not. Beauty is God and displaying beauty in your art will always please Him, even if no one else ever sees it.

This is the first of a post series on faith and art. Please feel free to comment and start a [respectful] discussion about Protestant Christian faith and art.