Monday, June 22, 2009

Movie and Reading Journals

My movie and reading journals posed unique problems since I have limited equipment at my disposal but want to devise ways to print text. Solution (though temporary and limited!) = rubber stamps. Each version contains stamped templates with information fields pertaining to movies you've seen and books you've read. The words were carved in rubber stamps and applied by hand to every page. At different times in my life, I've tried maintaining lists of movies but haven't managed to keep the habit going. These books provide space for recording pertinent book and movie details, including your thoughts in response. You might think to yourself, Which movie did I love last year and why? After consulting your movie journal you ably remember, Ah yes! Steve McQueen's "Hunger" was a revelation for its depiction of suffering and the spiritual! Additionally (at least, for me), a given movie or novel often sends me in different directions - in search of new authors or genres - a practice that a friend once defined as "spiderwebbing." It occurred to me that saving information might make it easier to track how, as a moviegoer or reader, you got from there to here. You might ask yourself, Where did I get the idea to read all of these Thomas Hardy novels? Upon consulting your reading journal you'll find it all began with Virginia Woolf's diary. As an aside, Hardy is not a stuffy, verbose Victorian novelist. He's a true modernist all the way. If you haven't read The Mayor of Casterbridge you haven't lived! The first page will break your heart. The movie and reading journals, as well as their blank counterparts, were made with Mohawk Superfine 80 lb. paper. Mohawk is an American company (with mills in Ohio and New York) that tries to observe environmentally-sound practices in its paper manufacture (important given that paper is made from trees). All of these books are in hardcover and case-bound. I used a binding called a Modified Bradel that I learned during a workshop at the the San Francisco Center for the Book. This style allows me to create a slightly rounded spine which, to my mind, makes the books seem a little less crafty.

Storyboard Notebook

I designed this storyboard notebook to aid visual artists - cartoonists, graphic novelists, advertising types, filmmakers, and anyone else who works sequentially. Each frame was printed by me using a hand-carved rubber stamp, and is in widescreen ratio, albeit on a small scale. The frames are uniform but slightly rough, as though the lines were drawn with a brush and ink. All of my smaller books were made with 100% cotton, 115 gsm Somerset paper produced in England at St. Cuthbert's Mill. It's a lovely, soft paper that takes ink beautifully (and is also pleasant to touch). Both the guitar and storyboard are available in several colours and their covers are adorned with the same stamped image that appears inside. I thought this was a resourceful way to denote the book's contents. The stamps also provide a simple, graphic element - the guitar tabs resemble a Charles Rennie Mackintosh chair back, for example. (

Guitar Tablature Notebook

My guitar tablature notebook was conceived as a portable, beautiful notebook in which to save chords and lyrics for song composition. It should be carried in a pocket or a bag since you never know when the muse will strike. My husband is a fantastic guitarist with a bad memory that leads him to forget strands of songs he's written. Consequently, he served as the inspiration for this book. Additionally, I'm attracted to the idea of notebooks as keepsakes - repositories for the evolution of great ideas. I want the notebooks I make to help people finish thoughts, and to store those thoughts so you can go back and track their development. The tabs were made with hand-carved rubber stamps and applied with love and considerable hand pressure to every page. I used archival quality stamp pigment - non-toxic and built to last. All of the notebooks in this run contain 80 pages of creative opportunity.


Once the paper is cut to the right size and printed on, all of the pages are folded into signatures which must be sewn together. The sewing stations are created with an awl, as shown in the top picture. The sewing is done with a binder's needle and thread, as the middle picture indicates. I use Irish linen thread for its tensile strength. The book is essentially built by sewing the signatures on top of each other in a stack (and in the appropriate order!). They must be linked, which is achieved by looping the needle through the thread at each sewing station, as depicted in the bottom photo. The sewing should be tight but not too tight, resulting in an even, flat spine.

To sell books, you have to make them

For the June 13 CBBAG Book Arts Show in Ottawa, I made and sold notebooks. My publishing projects are moving very slowly and aren't available for sale yet. Plus, I always see great potential in a new notebook and figured the like-minded would stop at my table. I decided on two formats and figured blank and specific-purpose books could meet all (or at least some) needs. Pictured above are my materials and the colour palettes for each style. The top photo includes the bookcloths and Japanese endpapers I used for my larger books (measuring 7 5/8 x 4 7/8 inches), which were completed as movie and reading journals, as well as blank versions. The second picture features the cloths and endpapers used in my smaller books (measuring 6 1/2 x 4 7/16 inches). These were finished as handily-portable guitar tablature and storyboard notebooks, and a healthy supply of blank styles too. The cloths for the smaller books are paper-backed rayon in solid colours. It has the look and texture of fabric and goes on the books very nicely. For the larger styles, I used a mixture of cloths - Japanese silk, two shiny, rather stiff varieties (in blue and ivory), and a peculiar plastic-like green cloth that proved challenging to work with since it seemed to stretch when coated with PVA glue.