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Headed to Tonga

June 28, 2010

A couple months ago I was invited by a former art professor to come to Tonga for ten days. The idea, as far as I understand, is to join a group of American students with a group of local Tongan artists to make paper and dyes from native materials. Then we’ll each make an artist’s book, and the final books will be shown in a traveling show. This sounded beyond fun to me, but I was pretty sure I couldn’t justify it… but then I decided I couldn’t not justify it… I’m going! I leave tomorrow. My travel buddy Shannon is coming, too, and after our time in Tonga, we’ll hop a plane over to New Zealand for 10 days of exploring the North Island. Too bad it’s the dead of winter down there, but I’ll take what I can get! (if you recall this post, the South Pacific has been on the top of my “if I get to do any international traveling this decade” list… as long as I was going to be in Tonga… I had to hit New Zealand, too!) I’ll be sure to report back… wish me luck!


June 26, 2010

I’m a bit late in writing about it, but a couple weeks ago I finished a two-week class in advanced leather binding with Monique Lallier. I hadn’t been back since 2007, and we had a really great group and a really good time.

Unfortunately my designs are a bit involved, so I didn’t finish my books, but here’s what came of two weeks at the AAB:

A sewn text block. This one is a bit unconventional because it’s a UK deluxe edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which had originally been perfectly bound (glued sections as opposed to sewn). So I made sections using a sewing machine so that I had a “fold” to sew through.

Ready for trimming in the guillotine.

The book is sanded until it’s glassy and then decorated with color or gold. This is the best shot I could get of the reflective surface.

I’ve done quite a few edges this way: I put a red layer of color down, let it dry, masked it, washed some of the red off, and then put down the purple layer.

Quite dramatic once the tape is removed!

Here’s the 2nd Harry Potter book:

headband in progress, top of HP2 book

headband at tail of HP2 book. (Who said that headbands have to match?) :)

HP2 book ready for covering. It’s covered now, but I don’t have a photo of it yet. And the design will take a while, but it’s going to be great… someday, when it’s finished. I’ll post pics.

The busy crew.

A Telluride sunset along the river trail:

I saved a few copies of my book that I did for my final show for fine bindings. The above design is taken from one of the illustrations in the book.

designs cut out by hand.

The book, ready for covering. But only after I took the leather down to .5 mm

And lastly, the final book. I’m quite delighted with the outcome (Well, it’s not actually final. It still needs its doublure, too… I’ll try and get some good photos when it’s all done.

I’ll leave you with one more fantastic Telluride sunset.

On Tuesday I leave for a 3 week Tonga / New Zealand book-making and exploring trip. I’m very excited! And I need to buy a snorkel mask. )

Dear readers,

April 8, 2010

I have a request. Sparing you the gory details, let me just say:

Please back up your computers at least once a month, and not once a year.

That is all.



Tini’s Plaquettes from 1964

March 8, 2010

I posted some photos of Tini Miura’s plaquettes from 1964 over on my bookbinding blog. She did these in 1964 as part of her studies to become a master bookbinder. Go have a look!

Gilding and Onlay Workshop with Tini Miura

March 1, 2010

The week of Presidents’ Day we invited Master Bookbinder Tini Miura here to Salt Lake City to teach a weeklong course titled “Execution of a Cover Deisgn on a Leather Surface.” I first met Tini in 1999 when I took my first bookbinding classes at The American Academy of Bookbinding, and I took subsequent classes from her in 2002 and 2004–but I never had taken her onlay and gilding class.

I’ll spare you much words and just jump to the photos I took of the students’ work. Here are the final plaquettes: (final being relative–they’re still not cleaned up and polished)

Diclaimer: some of us were not that thrilled about our designs–the main point was to practice the techniques, so my classmates said I could post photos as long as I don’t say who did what; but I will tell you that mine is the Micky Mouse — er — water molecule one (designed by my brother in-law for his dissertation that I bound years ago…and will someday finish). I’m thinking if I turn the water molecule upside down and use two closer colors for the parts, it will look less mouse-ish. Also, it looks like I didn’t get a photo of one of the student plaquettes. Darn. :)

Needless to say, each of us who took the class had a great time. Tini is truly a master at what she does. She is incredibly generous with her wealth of knowledge and experience, and even more, she is a delightful person with a huge heart and amazing stories to share. Combine Tini with the rest of the personalities in our group and it was of course a recipe for a great week. The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Guild of Bookworkers has some great members.

It was so good to see Tini and to learn from her again! I still can’t believe my luck that I’ve had the privilege of learning from such an extraordinary person.

Flash back to 2 years ago (pre-blog era) :) Leaving Oxford With a Bang

February 24, 2010

I don’t know if any of you ever get flashbacks to exactly one or two or however many years ago. I do. I don’t know if it’s the weather that creates the associations, or what. But today I woke up thinking about how two years ago right around this time I was finishing up a 6 week internship as a book conservator at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England. So I started digging through my photo archives, and I came across these photos, dated 2008_02_22:

“This is what woke me up last night”

The short version: I awoke in the middle of the night to a loud BANG when four drunk teens / early 20s drove into my neighbor’s and my houses.   Thank goodness for the brick wall around our houses, since they protected the actual houses from being damaged.

The house I stayed in is the door to the right: only the wall was damaged. My bedroom window was the large one on the right side of the white wall. The house on the left was my neighbor’s.

I had to give a detailed report to the police, so I wrote up a lengthy account, too.

Here’s the long version (I’m not offended if you don’t read it) :)

On my next-to last night in Oxford (Fri, Feb22–well, really it was Saturday), I was abruptly awakened at 2 am by an incredibly loud bang–followed immediately by laughter and running footsteps. My heart was pounding, and at first I thought (or perhaps just hoped, not wanting to have to face whatever mystery might be below…) that it was some kind of prank–something like a dry ice bomb or something–and I kinda sorta just wanted to go back to sleep. But the sound was on my neighbor’s doorstep–and I thought surely kids wouldn’t deliberately blow up a random person’s doorstep? I also looked to the window, and saw a cloud of dust drifting past my window (all of the above happened within a few seconds)…the kids below were running off and laughing, but then I heard them come back, and I heard the neighbor (a very tender-hearted Chinese woman) come out, and say “what have you done to my home? You’ve ruined my house! The kids asked if she was okay, and were saying “we didn’t mean to!”

Obviously, at this point I had realized that I really did need to go down and make sure Carolyn’s house (my landlady–the house in which I was sleeping) was still intact… and offer any support that I could…

Carolyn was away for the night; as was Katalin. I was the only one home. I had to put on some trousers and a coat, find my keys so I could get out (and thought to myself, if there was an emergency in which I needed to get out immediately, I’m locked in without my keys!)

I came out to find a smashed car and rubble in my neighbor’s tiny front garden. Our houses are situated right up alongside a narrow road, with 3 foot high brick walls enclosing the wee gardens. Four kids had rounded the bend, and somehow managed to drive right into the wall, taking out three walls, trees, and the neighbor’s front gate.

My neighbor was a bit hysterical. At first she thought I was one of the kids and started to scold me; I reminded her that I was her neighbor (we’ve only met once), and she fell into my arms, sobbing. “I’m so scared. My husband is not home.” I told her it would all be okay, and look. It’s amazing that her house is unharmed–that only the garden was destroyed (she couldn’t get outside w/out climbing over the wall), and everybody’s safe.

I checked to make sure the police were being called–my neighbor’s 18 year old daughter already had them on the phone. The license plate was, well, not going anywhere. (the driver, a young black female, tried to start the car again so as to drive off–but this car was high-centered on the wall–not to mention it was bashed in)…

I began talking to the 3 who were passengers (two white females and one black male–all were probably in their late teens or early 20s); I learned from them that the young black girl who was across the street at this point was the driver; she was on the phone with her mom. The girls were using pretty irrational logic with me: “we didn’t mean to–there was a curve in the road (they had come around a curve, but should have straightened out–they must have been going quite fast). There was a cat (probably also not true–but regardless–lets sacrifice all four of us and that house on behalf of the cat?!)

The kids started to walk off, and though I didn’t know where they might go; I figured it best if they not flee the scene. So I followed them up the lane and talked to them (the driver still quite a ways off on the phone, thought I kept my eye on her to make sure she didn’t flee).

I asked them if they were all right “we’re fine. The driver–we need to help her. She’s all shaken up. We need to go…” I told them I was concerned, because they were in shock, and they were probably injured and didn’t know it (this seemed to be news to them–like I say, they were a)presumably intoxicated and b)in shock. Basically, I calmly engaged them in discussion. Told them that the responsible thing to do is to stick around until the police arrived. “But we need to take the driver to her mom.” No, says I. Her mom can come here. But she needs to stay here. The boy was saying “my back is gonna be killing me tomorrow.” I asked if they’d been drinking. One: “nuh…naw. I don’t even drink…” The other: “I had a few drinks, but I wasn’t driving…but our driver didn’t drink…”

The police pulled up and the kids started to hurry off down the lane and around the corner. One of the police chased after them and as he passed me, asked for a descrip. of the driver, which I gave him. It was an easy enough pursuit. They all came back with him. The officer took some very basic info from Adele’s daughter and me, and said they would probably be contacting me soon for a witness’ statement. I had no way of contacting Carolyn. Only one wall of her garden was taken out, the rest of her house and garden completely escaped.

I don’t believe the driver ever even hit the brakes.The laughter right after the bang is particularly unsettling. As the police loaded the driver into their car, I heard one say to her, “you’ve failed four times. That’s enough tries for you,” Meanwhile the blonde irrational girl was saying to them, “do you think that the reason she can’t get much breath is because she’s injured? Because we’re in shock–we might not know how injured we are…”

And this was my adventure of last week.

The next night–my last evening in Oxford–a nice police woman came over and took my testimony. It took ages b/c she had to write it by hand. I agreed to go to court if it should come to that. Let’s hope not–

And that was how I spent my last night in Oxford–giving my statement to a policewoman.

Just thought I’d share.

Wherein I amend some of my slovenly tendencies

January 16, 2010

This year I decided to be very practical and I only set two new years resolutions in stone: (Sure I have other goals, but for now, these are my iron-will ones to focus on)

The first was that I will not go to bed until all my clothes are put away.

The second is that I will not open my computer in the morning until I have read my scriptures–even if it’s only a verse.

So far, so good.

My room is clean again!

(On the clothes one, my older and tidier sister laughed “yeah, I discovered that secret when I was about twelve.”)

Oh well, some of us catch on to these things a little later in life :)