It seems months ago that I started these books. I tore the paper and made the text blocks and then they sat,ignored on a table, while other things interrupted the process. But on Friday I finished a bunch of projects—and took an 18-mile bike ride in the morning before the rain started again, so I wasn't grumpy! With all the energy I had left over I decided it was time to clean up the studio and clear off the tables. The best way to do that was to finish these books (and a bunch of other personal projects), so that's exactly what I did.
It wasn't smooth going, however. Each book was made with a different type of paper (well the two center books are the same paper) so the sizes for everything from boards to fabric to decorative paper is different. It took me awhile to cut everything down. Typically I make a lot of books of the same size at the same time to streamline the process.
But there was some serendipity and I like to enjoy and embrace that when it happens. The book on the left is actually quite stunning in person with an icy blue, shiny fabric that perfectly coordinates with the decorative paper. That paper is something I painted months and months ago. It never went with anything. I got it out and it went with the blue text paper of this book (the book is 9-7/8 x 10-1/2 inches and made with the new ice blue Stonehenge).
I didn't think I had any fabric that would go with that decorative paper and was just about to settle for a dull green when I remembered I'd purchased a small roll or two of odd fabrics also a couple months ago. I went back to where I keep bookcloth and sure enough it was hiding there, about 20 inches of this lovely icy-ness. The book is a little larger than I like to use, but it is very thin (only 3 signatures because I got interrupted while tearing the paper and didn't take my own advice about not stopping in the middle of a tearing project—one sheet had a wrong first tear, and that means I'm just drawing on that as loose squares!
The center two books are both made with "impulse buy" paper. I was at Wet Paint after they'd received a paper shipment and Verra was cataloging and storing the paper. The Bockingford watercolor paper was sitting right on top. I hadn't tried this paper for years. I'm not a fan of cold press papers in general, but the colors are lovely, so I decided to get some. I am not recommending this paper. It was there, it was pretty, I was vulnerable. I got a sheet each of 4 colors and made a signature out of each color. The large book with the tan fabric (which has a lovely visible weave not really visible in the photo) is 8 x 9-1/2 inches and has one signature each of a cream, a pinky-peach, a light blue, and a mint green. To get that size out of the sheets I had long strips left over, which when folded with the grain yielded the small landscape book in the front: 8 x 4-9/16 inches. It is only half as thick as the sister book, because there weren't that many strips, but another bit of serendipity. I had a piece of decorative paper I'd put away thinking I'd never find anything to use it with and it matched these papers perfectly, along with a strip of blue fabric! Yippee. (The Tan fabric was also a left over piece!)
The book on the right is made with the Stonehenge Kraft (brown/tan color) paper I alerted you to awhile back. I purchased mine at Wet Paint. This book is 10 x 8 inches and has 6 signatures. I'm concerned about the Kraft paper because it cracked considerably when it was folded WITH the grain. I let a large portion of the paper rest for a couple days, hoping it would acclimatize in my studio, but it still cracked with the grain when I continued. I went ahead and made the textblock. I know I'll enjoy working on the paper, I'm just not sure at this point if I can bind more books with this paper. I'll let you know what I find out.
Now that these items are out of the way I have more cleared space. I can start making cases for another project. (I have six or seven I have to do.)
When that's done I've got a couple stacks (yes stacks!) of books that I need to read. Funny how they pile up. But I'm looking forward to sitting down, and painting in these books. Right now I'm just enjoying the clear space, the checks on my to-do list, and the delight that everything pulled together for these books in such a fun way.
I hope, if you were fortunate to have time off this weekend, that you had your own bookbinding adventure. Today, in the U. S. it would be a good day to go out to the Memorial Services held in your area and sketch the soldiers, and former soldiers: to remember all the people who made our lives possible. It's a good time to be grateful. Start in your journal and see where it goes into your life.