Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Category Archives: Design

I may have found my new career…

I’ve been occupied this week with making a gift for my sister to say ‘Thanks’ for my wonderful sailing holiday in Greece. Here’s a sneak preview of what I made for her. I was going to send her a CD with copies of all the photographs I took but I decided it might be nice to make an album of the highlights which would hold the CD. So here it is.

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I’m now going to make a birthday gift for a friend celebrating her 40th birthday on Saturday. She is the daughter of my very good friends, Mike and Julie, and it is very scary indeed to realise that my friends’ children are now reaching 40. How can this be? I am sure I’m not much older than that myself. Mind you I did start counting my birthdays backwards several years ago, so I might be mistaken….

As this is a return to my bookbinding posts, I want to tell you bookbinding folk of two discoveries I have made recently. One is Ratchfords who sell a full range of bookbinding materials from their web site  – not the best online shopping experience but they are extremely helpful and offer prompt delivery. My other discovery is a factory shop at Pittards. Pittards is  in Yeovil, where they make gloves (in fact the local football team, Yeovil Town,  is nicknamed The Glovers) but the factory shop has a HUGE range of all grades and colours of leather and leather working tools you can imagine – as well as gloves and handbags etc. I visited the other day and managed to take these photographs.

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Wow. Very inspiring and the prices weren’t too bad either.

wimbledon2009

I watched the epic Men’s Final at Wimbledon on Sunday. What a match! I started out rooting for Roger Federer but by the end I was so impressed with Andy Roddick’s play, I didn’t want either man to lose. Poor Andy Roddick looks shell shocked in the photo above. What a marathon, one of the best matches I have ever watched. I’ve been feeling a bit bereft this week, no more Wimbledon for a year but all is not lost. I can now move seamlessly on to watching the cricket – The Ashes series started yesterday and promises to be as exciting as ever. By the time that finishes, the football season will be starting again, hey ho.

And now, the job of a lifetime. It has come to my notice that Wookey Hole a complex of caves near Wells in Somerset and a famous tourist attraction is advertising a job vacancy. They are going to pay £50,000 a year to some one who is willing to live in the caves and be……a witch. Local legend says the original Wookey witch was turned to stone when a Catholic monk, sent by the Abbot of Glastonbury, splashed her with holy water. A large, vaguely witch-shaped stalagmite in one of the caves is said to be her petrified remains.

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Wookey Hole wants the appointee to go about her everyday business as a hag, so that people passing through the caves can get a sense of what the place was like in the Dark Ages. This was when an old woman lived in the caves with some goats and a dog, causing a variety of social ills including crop failures and disease. The job is straightforward: live in the cave, be a witch, and do the things witches do.”

The ad goes on

Wookey Hole is advertising nationally and hopes to attract a strong field of candidates, with the £50,000 salary serving as a major incentive. Ambitious witches, looking for a key career move, should turn up dressed for work and bring any essential witch accoutrements. A limited range of potion ingredients will be available. We are witchless at the moment so we need to get the role filled as soon as possible. The successful applicant will need to like dark, enclosed spaces, be good around a cauldron, enjoy the company of cats and have a good cackle. We are looking for someone who is friendly, a little mischievous and with lots of character.

Interestingly, there is also a paper mill at Wookey Hole and they make the most beautiful handmade paper which I have bought on many occasions. Perhaps I could be the Wookey Hole bookbinding witch….

PS Please check out the Social Vibe widget in my sidebar, if you click on it, TNT will make a donation to the ‘Fill the Cup’ campaign by the World Food Program. It’s free for you and it’s a very worthy cause. Better still, if you have a WordPress blog, put your own widget on your blog! You can choose from a selection of different charities and sponsors. Every little bit helps :-)

Roverandom

I took a break from my big project this week (still can’t really show you it!) It was a bit of a busman’s holiday as a friend’s daughter, Jemima,  who is in the second year of a Visual Communication degree at a local uni, asked me to help her with her final project.  She had found a little known story by J.R.R. Tolkien called ‘Roverandom’ and she has produced 31 illustrations to accompany the text and she needed help binding it into a book – which is where I came in. The illustrations are beautiful – she drew them and used monoprinting onto handmade paper to achieve the wonderful textured effect of the  finished images. Here are some photographs of the book, it’s box and some of the illustrations.

box

The box

The open box with the book inside

The open box with the book inside

The book

The book

Inside the book

Inside the book

The mermaid

The mermaid

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I thought the book looked fantastic when it was finished and the illustrations fitted the text perfectly. I’m sure that Jemima will do really well when she presents this finished project to the university for assessment and I’m sure she has a very promising future ahead of her.

Other than this, a mixed week again. My laptop died and had to be resuscitated at the Apple Store in Exeter. It was caused by a faulty graphics card and I am very pleased that NVidia are picking up the tab for the repair. I didn’t really mind having to go to Exeter, it’s a rather nice city which has very good shopping (always a bonus in my book) and I bought some new glasses – which I did need as I keep mislaying my other pair (and then I can’t find them because I need my glasses…..) – it is really annoying. I went to the supermarket ‘sans specs’ the other day and was wandering around in a blur, unable to read any labels or price tags. Luckily, I knew by heart where the keys were on the PIN machine.

I have chosen a rather nice pair of Paul Smith frames and they are going to have the sort of lenses that turn into sunglasses when it is sunny out so I won’t need to keep swapping and changing glasses all the time when summer comes (and we have been promised a good summer this year. Yeah. Right.) or on my trips to sunnier climes – which will mean one less pair of sunglasses to worry about losing (or sitting on).

spectacles

I do find it very difficult choosing new glasses – mainly because of the problem everyone faces – I can’t see myself properly in the optician’s mirror when I’m trying them on. I think they should video you wearing them and then play it back to you (while you are wearing your own glasses of course :-) )

Oops, just had that problem –

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Any way, back to my specs. As I was handed the bill for my varifocal, transitions lensed, (very lovely) glasses I was reminded of this ad. Maybe I should have gone to Specsavers…..

Poor pooch.

A fine day indeed

I had a particularly good day yesterday. The night before, I stayed up until 2am printing pages and then got up at 7am to finish the job, rushed to the post office and posted the latest book to the record company, so that’s 8 finished, 12 to go. Once that job was done I could head off on a much anticipated trip.

Since I became interested in bookbinding, I have come across the work of Cathryn Miller on many occasions and I have always admired it. I was thrilled when she started commenting here. I bought a book recently called ‘500 Handmade Books’ a while ago and two books caught my eye in particular – both were by Cathryn.

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The first of Cathryn’s books was called ‘Bipolar Dream Journal #2’ and it’s gorgeous, made using handmade paper.

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I particularly like this one because I had a go at this ‘dos-a-dos’ binding and it’s difficult! The colour scheme she uses is a favourite one of mine – I love the black and white and the red ribbons. My own effort used my images printed onto linen bookcloth.

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The second book I admired is one I have mentioned before in this post. It’s an ingenious construction made out of a single piece of card. The photographs on the book were all taken by Cathryn (the photographs of the books were taken by her husband, David) and when I think of what ingenuity and patience must have gone into working out the placement and construction of this it makes my brain hurt. It’s called a ‘bustrophedon variation’  and the piece is printed on both sides with Cathryn’s own images of street art. It’s called ‘No Skateboarding’.

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I was thrilled when Cathryn started to comment here on my blog, and I was even more thrilled when she mentioned that she and her husband, David, were on a walking holiday in the UK and she suggested we meet. Well, yesterday, I went to Salisbury to meet her and David for lunch. Salisbury in Wiltshire, is famous for two things (there are probably a lot more but these are THE most famous things about Salisbury)  – Salisbury Cathedral

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and Stonehenge

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and it is now famous as the place I met Cathryn Miller  – and she gave me the artist’s proof of the ‘bustrophedon variation’ I mentioned above! It is exquisite! I have seldom been more surprised and thrilled, in fact I was almost (but not quite) rendered speechless at her generosity. If you read this when you get back from your trip, Cathryn, THANK YOU. You and David are delighful, talented people and it was a privilege and a pleasure to spend time with you both. I will let you know how I get on when I eventually have a go at a ‘bustrophedon variation’ – but it will have to wait until I have finished my book commission!

I’m having a lazy day today – watching movies (Howard’s End at the moment), varnishing prints, tidying my desk

my-desk

and playing with the dog at the beach

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We had a nice walk today but a couple of days ago, we encountered a younger Bichon Frisé puppy. The two dogs squared up to each other, danced around for a few seconds, then the other puppy turned around, cocked his leg and peed all over Milo. We were both taken aback – I’ve never seen a dog do that before. The cheek of it! Poor Milo! Apparently, this happened because Milo was being submissive to the younger dog – so I am going to give him assertiveness training then we will go and find the puppy and show him who’s boss :-)

Busy, busy, busy…

I have a huge bookbinding project on the go. I can’t give you too many details at the moment but the book in question is part of a huge 6 volume anthology and the plan is that I am binding volume 1 which is going to be used as a sample to show to some seriously famous musicians and actors to get them involved in the project. If I tell you that the first person it is going to be shown to is Morgan Freeman, you will see what I mean. No pressure there then. Gulp. So if I disappear off the radar for a while you know I am either getting stuck into the project or having a nervous breakdown.

My #2 son has been home for a couple of days and has given me some really good, useful input into my design ideas. He has just returned from visiting his father in Los Angeles and he brought Milo a gift. A T-shirt. Here he is wearing it.

milotshirt

I have to say he was not very impressed with it. He knew he looked ridiculous and did sulk until we took it off him.

Does my bum look big in this?

Does my bum look big in this?

We spent a large portion of the time #2 son was home trying to train Milo to use a dog flap in the back door. We taped the flap open so he would get used to going in and out without having to push the flap and he can do it. He just chooses not to. He sits with his head poking though the flap crying piteously until I can’t stand it any more and let him in. I don’t want the neighbours to think I am torturing him. The few times he did cave in and come through the flap, we celebrated and praised him and gave him treats but to no avail. Now #2 son has gone, Milo and I are back to him using the door like a human with me as his doorman.  Or we have a puddle on the floor. And the dog flap is so draughty…

#2 son is off travelling on Sunday. He is away until June travelling around Australia, Micronesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar…. I’m not envious. Honest. I felt bereft when he left me yesterday. In reality, he lives up in London anyway so I only see him infrequently but knowing for sure I’m not going to see him for 4 months and he is going to be so far away is very depressing. Have decided the best thing is to keep busy.

Back to my book…..

Add: I have an iPhone which I love and I just read an article by David Pogue in the New York Times about iPhone apps. You can read it here. He mentions this video which is a group of people playing ‘Stairway to Heaven’ on their iPhones using a app which turns an iPhone into an ocarina. I have this app (- and many, many, many, many more!) If only I had time to play with them I might eventually sound like this.

Inspiration…and a little perspiration

I’m sorry, I’m sorry – been neglecting my blog, I know. My excuse is that I have been working on a very complicated web site (well, for me anyway) and after spending every waking moment toiling away at my computer, the last thing I felt like doing when I stopped to relax was blogging. Anyway, it’s all finished now , I even found time to make a book for a friend. I made her a web site a few months ago for her new bed and breakfast business, and she asked me if I would make her a visitors book for her guests to sign. Here it is.

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I used an image I took of her house and printed it onto Belgian linen bookcloth. I made the striped back cover in Photoshop and it was tricky working out where to place the stripes and image so that they were in the right place when I bound the book. It worked even better than I hoped. I hope she likes it.

One of the things that tempted me back to my blog (apart from my friend Carol telling me how much she enjoyed reading it – all bloggers should have a friend like Carol!) was finding that the lovely writing gb had given me this award. The award was originated by Montessori Mama – isn’t it pretty? Very cheering on these cold winter days.

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The rules are these:
– List six things that inspire my creativity
– Pass the award on to 6 more kreativ bloggers
– Link back to the person who gave you the award
– Link to the people you are passing it on to and leave them a comment to let them know.

Six things that inspire my creativity. Hmmm…

1 Reading. Once I am interested in something, I have to read as much as I can about it. The down side of this is my ever expanding library which threatens to take over my house. My latest inspiration is a book called ‘500 Handmade Books – Inspiring Interpretations of a Timeless Form‘ published by Lark Books.

2 Other bookbinders. One particular thing that has caught my fancy (which is in ‘500 Handmade Books’) is a wonderful ‘bustrophedon variation’ by Cathryn Miller, which is a sort of book which folds up into a small cube. I think it’s delicious and especially as I think this was created by the same Cathryn Miller who also comments here and is a member of the Book Arts Forum, a wonderfully inspiring place to visit.

3 Blogs. I was inspired to try bookbinding by reading the blog written by Dennis Yuen. He also has a beautiful book featured in  ‘500 Handmade Books’. His blog features lots of tutorials and images of the gorgeous work he does.

4 Curiosity. I see something, I have to try and work out how it was done and reproduce it. Expect to see a ‘bustrophedon variation’ attempt gracing (or otherwise) these pages sometime soon…

5 A slightly obsessive nature. I have been designing and writing this web site I have been working on for over a week. I sit down to work as soon as I get up and often find myself sitting working until late at night. I even dream about solutions to problems I am having. I realised on Monday, I had not been out of the house for a week, apart from taking Milo into the garden for a run around. (No wonder I am not having much luck meeting a new chap). I am also obsessive about finding lovely materials to work with, nice paper, leather, fabric and so on. Oh and kit. I love the tools and gadgets and equipment that go with bookbinding.

6  I love it when people appreciate something I have made. It gives me such satisfaction. When I was younger, I was always lacking in self confidence so when people praise my work it gives me such a buzz.

So there you have it.

I pass this on to  the following people who all create such wonderful things and who all seem to inhabit a parallel universe where days are 48 hours long. How else do you explain how much they achieve? Or is it that I am rubbish at time management….?

Teresa – home schooling , soap making, homesteading, cooking wonderful food, writing and so much more

Amy H – she knits, she makes books and brings up two small children – they are all gorgeous.

Kylee – making polymer clay jewellery, running language and jewellery making workshops, bringing up a baby, President of her local Arts and Culture Association….

Kim – the friendliest, most supportive blogger who encouraged me when I was first starting out and who is a wonderful artist. She also founded the  Top Artists Directory which must take so much time to keep updated and also writes the poetry blog PoeArtica

Astrid – a bookbinder from Germany who has never failed to inspire with the quality and the variety of the books she produces. Not to mention the quantity….

Claire – my friend in the real world, who has written a really funny book ‘Plus One: A Year in the Life of a Hollywood Nobody‘ and whose persistance and hard work in getting this book into print and then used as the inspiration for a movie ‘The Making of Plus One‘ is truly inspirational. She even appears in the movie – how cool is that?

Now to close, this is so creative it deserves a Kreativ award of its own. Great music and a superb video by Oren Lavie. Enjoy.