Day 7, and I’m feeling the pressure. Producing THREE copies of this book is far more than I had expected. I think I can complete them all by Friday, but it’s going to require a Herculean effort. The clock is ticking, and it feels like it time not on my side, most of the day today.
However, I did get most of my printouts “weathered”, and got the first page–which is the most complicated in terms of painting–complete. The weathering process is messy, and involved spraying walnut-colored ink on the sheets, then dry-brushing it so it’s not too spotty, then wet-brushing and toweling off most of the pigment, to leave just a light stain on the paper. It’s tricky because I can’t get too much of the walnut ink on the photo images, due to the wet-working, which tends to lift off the Canon ink. So it is tedious and at times, time-consuming, but I’ve got a system, and it seems to work.
With all the prints I have at hand, weathered (7 out of 11), I hung them to dry, skived the strips of leather I stamped about a year ago when I first had the idea for this project using my Schärffix Skiver, and I took a lunch break.
After a quick snack, I headed over to my studio at 205, to finish up my lying press. The parts for this press were things I already had at hand–I bought them last Fall with the intention to build this press over the Winter, and just never got around to doing it.
With the help of a fellow “205er”–Phillip–who is an excellent woodworker and an all-around great guy, I was able to put it together in just a few hours (not counting the 2-days I had the boards glued up and clamped, so the glue would be nice and cured before I Started cutting and drilling it.)
Phil recently got a new planer/joiner, and I just so happened to need the edges of by boards squared up, so I left them with him last night to run them through the joiner and dress up the edges. Today, he let me use his drill press, and I drilled the holes for the pipe clamps, then took the boards back to my studio to sand and finish with hand-rubbed Danish Oil. It turned out really nice, and the contrast between the Red Oak planks and the thin, poplar faces is especially satisfying to me. This press will be a tremendous addition to my book making tools–and will definitely help in this project.
Back to Green Hill, and time to start coloring. The end of the day is fast approaching, and I’ve got the most complicated page to do first–so I set to it, readying my little porcelain palette, and getting my brushes picked out. This page has a lot of details to be painted, and it’s slow work, but I finished them.I’m using watercolors from Daniel Smith, M. Graham, and Finetec. The Finetec golds are superb–I never thought I’d find a better gold watercolor than Schmincke Horadam, but I’ll admit, Finetec looks more like real gold, is more opaque, goes into solution faster and more evenly, works like a dream-wet or dry, and at nearly 1/3 the price, it’s a no-brainer.
Tomorrow will go much faster, as most of the other pages don’t have nearly as much detail painting. Most of the work on them is the Asemic writing, which I’ll have to start at my studio (I need a light table to draw the “grid dots”). But the writing goes surprisingly fast, and these pages should all be done by mid-day Thursday, I’m hoping. Depending on my progress tomorrow (Wednesday), I may decide to just finish one copy of the book now, for the show on Friday, and complete the other two after my Residency is through.
Ten days seems like a long time, but with the delays in getting my prints made (that set me back nearly 3 days), interfacing with the public (mostly teaching small children about book binding–which I enjoy tremendously, but it is not conducive to making art), and moving things from my studio to Green Hill and back every few days (so I could do “homework” over the weekend when they were closed), it seems like I might have been a little too ambitious with planning to complete a3-copy edition of this book in just 10 days.
One thing is for sure–one book will be done by Friday evening, come hell or high water–and it will be a splendid piece, I’m sure. I’m very happy with my work so far, and having a great time experimenting with new materials, techniques, and tools which is what an “Artist Residency” is all about. I’m also enjoying working with the people who visit Green Hill-children and adults–and I realize just how much I miss teaching.
One thing I will definitely take away from this Residency is that I need to start offering small, affordable classes or workshops in bookbinding. Nobody is doing that here in Greensboro, and I think there could be tremendous interest if I get the word out.
And I’ve got no problem catering to a more “Crafty” crowd than some of the “bookbinding superstars” here in Western NC like Don Etherington, Monique Lallier, and Daniel Essig (after Timothy Ely, Daniel is one of my biggest inspirations). Personally, I’d love to attend some of their classes, but I think they tend to cater to a student base that is much more serious about bookbinding–mostly professional binders and academics.
I believe that a few classes about Art Journaling, using some of these “scrapbooking” supplies and materials in a more “fine art” environment, and and basig binding techniques and structures are niches that is sorely in need of addressing in the art world in general, and definitely in the Book Arts…