Who doesn’t love tunnel books?

I love tunnel books, and have since I was a child. About a year and a half ago, Bound & Lettered (Vol. 16, No. 2) published an interesting article about a very cool tunnel book by Mary Conley. My friend Rose made a beautiful tunnel book using the instructions laid out in the article, and I began thinking about tunnel books some more. But so far I haven't acted on them ... because, as the saying goes, " life is short, and art is long".

A tunnel book I made in art school with a text by Ann Fadiman.
A tunnel book I made in art school with a text by Ann Fadiman.

Back in art school, though, in about 2006, I made a tunnel book from a drawing of a child on some steps in the shuk in Jerusalem. And later, for another class, I had a blast making a tunnel book of butterflies with text from a essay by Ann Fadiman, "Collecting Nature", from her collection of essays entitled At Large and at Small. Oh wait, I've blogged about this before, just a mere 13 years ago. How could I have forgotten? 🙂 And here, wherein I claimed that I'm not a fan of tunnel books! Re-reading that post, I still have some of the same opinions about their drawbacks, but it seems that I've warmed up to them in the past decade. And I really did love them as a child.

This guy has such fun making a tunnel book from a stack of identical postcards.

And here are just a couple of links to some favorite tunnel books I've seen around the internet:

All the pretty little clamshell boxes

Finally! Among all the not-quite-right clamshell boxes, a clamshell box that fits my pencil portfolio, How To Be In The World! Goldilocks would be proud. (Remember my first clamshell here?And that first failed box for this portfolio here?) The finished box is pictured here, housing the portfolio and resting on the ones that didn't quite fit.

During this process, I ran out of bookbinding board (aka binder's board). Given the state of my bookbinding board, I wasn't absolutely sure about that. In my quest to finish the box immediately (hah!), I ended up organizing my motley collection of board. Which included a trip to the hardware store a digital caliper tool. So efficient, yes? Not. Now they're organized by thickness and grain, and I was able to ascertain that yes, I had indeed run out of the particular book board I needed.

This organizing led to some research on what thickness of board I should be using. Turns out, the 0.074"/1.9mm board I was using was just right, while 0.06"/1.5mm board is good for smaller books, and the 0.12"/3mm board I have on hand would be good for very large books and boxes. I usually stick with Lineco board because it's available locally. Davey Board (link is to Talas) is popular, but difficult to cut, I understand.

By the way, there is some great information about bookbinding board in Matt Roberts' and Don Etherington's dictionary of descriptive terminology on the website of CoOL (Conservation Online).

Well, now I've got the box-building bug. I've thought of so many things in my studio that need clamshell boxes, but I have some pressing deadlines right now. Look for posts later in the fall showing clamshell boxes for ... my collection of artists books, especially, but so much more that begs for a box.

An online italic calligraphy class with John Stevens

I recently finished a wonderful five-week online class with John Stevens. Take a look at his work and you'll see why anyone would be lucky to study with him. The class was entitled "The Italic Letter". I had not studied italic calligraphy, per se, for quite some time.

We began with a look at "basic" italic (ha!) and a close look at the basic shape of the strokes. Here's one of my earlier study pages.

a page of basic italic text with a particular form of finials
A page of basic italic calligraphy with a particular style of ascenders and descenders

We considered the placement of lettering on the page, and .... well, so much more. Here are two study sheets, one a block of text and the other a study in two weights.

The third sheet is a block of text, considering ledding and layout.

a page of italic in two weights
A study of italics in two weights
a page of italic as a block of text
A block of italic text
Then we began looking at going smaller. Here is one sheet of diminishing sizes, and another at the smallest size I could manage.
a page italics from fairly large to tiny
Using various pens, I worked my way down from about 4mm to a pointed pen modified to a very small broad edge.
Just about the smallest italics I could manage, with a penny to give you an idea of size.
Just about the smallest italics I could manage, with a penny to give you an idea of size.

John will be repeating the class soon. I highly recommend it! Sign up for his newsletter to be notified of new classes.

Clamshell box #2 – measurement fail

clamshell box fail

I just finished making this clamshell box for my abecedarian pencil portfolio, "How To Be In The World". Except that it's about 1/16" too shallow to fit all the pages! Simply checking the fit after I made the inner tray — the first of three components to be made — would have made all clear. But I didn't.

So now I have a beautiful clamshell box that needs a content. And a stack of pages that still need a box. Ah, well, I had planned to make three clamshell boxes this week, to solidify what I learned in the online bookbinding class through the University of Utah. Looks like the second and third ones will be virtually identical!

Rachel envelope

It's been that kind of day. I wrote a letter to my niece using sumi ink and a 1/2mm Brause dip pen. It looked quite nice, if I say it myself, except that I discovered a huge, wet splotch of sumi ink on the back of the letter when I began to fold it for mailing. I mailed it anyway. Sometimes you've just got to move on. (The scroll-point red marker on the envelope went a little better.)

Bookbinding classes on the internet

Clamshell box and flat-back cased-in book.. Lavender from my friend Rose.

Early in the summer I came across the "Summer Bookmaking Series", a variety of online summer offerings of University of Utah's book arts program. You can see what was taught here (you may have to scroll down). One could sign up for the whole series, or do it a la carte, which is what I did.

I took the Flat-Back Case Binding on August 3, and made the green book pictured above with Emily Tipps during the two-hour session. I was impressed by both Emily, for teaching it so clearly in the allotted time period, and me, for following along successfully in that same two hours! The recordings of the classes are available a month after the live class. (Yes, I have some shiny spots on the spine front of my book. I could have avoided that by taking a little time taken to cover the surface when bone folding, or by using a Teflon folder instead. It's a model. I'm happy.)

The Clamshell Box was not part of the series, but a stand-alone class. I signed up too late (in May!) to get into the live August 15 class, but there was an option to buy the session recording and materials kit. This is what I did. When the recording became available a few days after the live class, I watched the seven videos and made my clamshell box with very little trouble.

I'm very pleased with what I learned in both classes, and will make a few more of each before my time for viewing the recordings runs out.

My work in Letter Arts Review!

My ABC pencil portfolio in Letter Arts Review!

On Monday, I was thrilled to receive my copy of the current issue of Letter Arts Review. It's always a good day when the LAR arrives, but especially so this time: my ABC pencil portfolio, How to Be In The World, was featured in it — all 28 pages! If you follow this blog, you've read about the portfolio several times here. The final product is definitely a ship of Theseus: every single page has been redone at least once.

Although I'm understandably infatuated with those particular pages, the entire issue is an excellent one. It includes an interview with the inimitable Julie Wildman, a book project by Louise Grunewald, Anna Pinto on pastels and pochoir, and more. Get your own copy here.

(In a few weeks, I may be letting up on the exclamation points. Maybe.)

The Nota Bene of Big Sky Scribes

Recent of issues of the Big Sky Scribes' Nota Bene.

As editor of the Nota Bene, Big Sky Scribes' triannual publication, it is always a pleasure to sort through the many contributions from our state guild's members to put together an issue that showcases their work. The most recent issue went out to members a couple of weeks ago. That lovely image on the latest cover by Shelby Barrentine commemorates Earth Day.

As a side note, did you know that "triannual" means three times a year, while "triennual" means once every three years? Just thought I'd clear that up.

Flowery Built Up Capitals

Various bits of correspondence decorated with watercolor flowers and built-up capitals.

Slightly hungover from an overindulgence of Built Up Capitals, I'm trying flower painting... and a little hair of the dog that bit me, because I can't quite go cold turkey even now.

A small peek at a recent commission

Commission work. Poem lettered for accordion book. Covers: bookcloth over boards. Text: Stonehenge, sumi ink, gouaches, watercolor. About 5 in x 9 in.

Last month I had the honor of lettering and binding a poem written for a wedding anniversary. I was quite pleased with the result, and so were they. (Lettering blurred for privacy considerations.)