Things that make you go 'hmm'…
Category Archives: Design
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.
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).
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 –
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…..
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.
The first of Cathryn’s books was called ‘Bipolar Dream Journal #2’ and it’s gorgeous, made using handmade paper.
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.
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’.
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
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
and playing with the dog at the beach
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 :-)
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.
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.
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.