Feb 032015
 

I thought I’d share a few random details from my natural habitat (aka The Studio). And, just like my studio, it will have no particular order.

This shelf features a few parody “pharmaceuticals,” among other things. There are also bottles from real (now withdrawn from the market) pharmaceuticals I’ve actually been prescribed, as well as souvenirs from when my husband was sent to (the now infamous) Dr. Moon of Redding many years ago… The purple rubber kidney was a gift from a good friend in memory of her late husband who’d been on dialysis.

This is another shelf. It features… stuff.

Bookends with flat backs make excellent little shelves when mounted to the wall.

Below is another bookend shelf… among other things. There’s enough room on the bookend to fit a large plastic raven:

Thread… Almost as bad a fetish as the one I have for paper. I have come to appreciate the difference good, beautiful thread makes on the overall quality and look of a handmade book. And, at least for me, a spool can last for years. *Supply note below.

Plastic drawers are a bit of a fetish too. This is a close-up of the one above near the raven. (Yes, the proximity of “Knives” to “First Aid” was intentional).

This little roll holder is made from a large paper clip. It’s attached to one of those wire shelves that hangs under a shelf. The receipt paper is great for notes and for folding mock-ups of book pages.

Nearby hangs a metal strip with some magnets. The magnets are strong enough to hold some of my tools. These needles are a pack of darners sized 1-5 from the craft store. They’re cheap and work well for bookbinding. (Although Buechertiger has also gotten me into harness needles, which are not so cheap, but, depending upon the size, are strong, nice and big (but not too big) and dull-ended — perfect for someone with clumsy hands like me. Still, I have a fondness as well for my darners.

Mesh desktop organizers are great for holding rulers, and it’s easy to put screws through them for hanging. This one is hanging from a shelf. There’s another, smaller one meant for holding business cards mounted next to it. It holds bone folders.

Friends to keep me company…

(This blog began in 2009 with a post about the black widows in the studio. Spiders have been a running theme for a long time.)

Evidence of actual work in (on again-off again) progress. I really have not forgotten about those Book•ArtObject editions! Life has interfered in great ways with me getting them finished. But my goal for this year is to finally do that. This is Superstition. Or, rather, the second time around with Superstition. I almost finished the entire edition well over a year ago, but a technical disaster (among other things) struck. It all had to be scrapped and redone. A tale of angst I have not yet brought myself to write about.

Here’s also a sneak peak of “Poison,” which is a little simpler to assemble. I’m hoping to finish it first.

Yes — they really are printed, and have been for over a year (the copyright date printed on them is 2013!). Alas, extended time in the studio when I’ve been lucid enough to work has been hard to come by. As it stands, more delays are ahead, including another scheduled visit to my favorite far away medical complex(es)… But I do plan to be gluing some “Poison” spines before then (… she types, while knocking on her wooden desk).

*Supply note: An excellent source for high-quality unwaxed (and other) linen threads is Buechertiger’s supply shop on Etsy. We’re friends (full disclosure), but I’m also a happy customer.

May 162014
 
These aren't the cat's.

These aren’t the cat’s.

Hmm… it seems if a gal mentions her physical maladies on her blog and then disappears for several months, some kind readers will begin to worry. Thank you to those who’ve contacted me, and apologies if I still haven’t gotten back to you! I haven’t forgotten.

Yes, things caught up with me. Ours is a dual-degenerative-malady household (triple if we include the elderly cat — his pill dispenser has its own spot between ours). Things, alas, get “interesting” from time to time.

There was also an out-of-town jaunt to a Big City Academic Medical Center somewhere in there too. (Short answer: whatever I have, it’s rare. But they don’t know what I have.) A similar excursion is coming in the near future. It’s likely to be as futile as the last, even as the tests they plan to run seem ever more exotic.

Fortunately, there’s a great art supply place with a mind-numbingly huge paper selection not far from the Big City Academic Medical Complex. It’s also staffed by incredibly nice people. I discovered this when I, dead tired, drove away and left my cane standing in their parking lot. They took good care of it for me until I could return the following day. In fact, they were all so nice when I came back, what could I do, but buy some more papers to thank them?

One day when things were becoming particularly overwhelming, my dear friend Shirl showed up and whisked me away to one of our favorite haunts, the delightful Dollhouses, Trains and More in Marin County for some toy shopping. She knows what soothes my heart. The minute I saw this precious little empty store counter, I knew I wouldn’t be filling it with Fimo candies.

Candy Counter

Candy Counter.

She also urged me to get this lovely tableau for the studio. How can you not love someone like that?

Studio Tableau

Studio Tableau Close-up

But life goes on. I’ll be back soon to tell you about some nifty laminated papers I recently made, my latest plaything-journal-sketchbook, and my progress on the Book Art Object editions. I’m also working on some sketchbook models with an eye to putting together a workshop. Let’s just hope things stay relatively “uninteresting.”

Oct 032013
 

Big stamps above worktable

We’ve been having so much fun around here. Half the roof had to be replaced. A rain storm happened in the middle of the roof replacement. The tarp didn’t work in one spot.

The water mess is mostly cleaned up now — mostly — but it has meant even less time in the studio. No studio time and lots of loud noise and lack of sleep makes for a grumpy Chipmunk.

I needed to get less grumpy. It was time for simple, mindless paper crafting and a small amount of studio decorating.

There’s one patch of unused wall above a drafting table. It’s too high and inaccessible for a shelf. I’d thought I might hang something decorative there, but had never gotten around to it.

If you scan something quite small, such as a postage stamp, at a high resolution you can turn it into something considerably larger with no loss of image quality. These stamps were scanned at their usual size at 3200 dpi, then resized to roughly 12 x 18″ at 300 dpi — perfect for printing on a 13″ wide printer.

I have a lot of stamps.

Big stamps

Atoms for Peace

 

Jul 142013
 

These other paper aficionados have set up house right over one of my studio’s windows. Oh dear.

My new neighbors.

My new neighbors.

Update: There are two of them. One on either side of the house. The other is high up in a redwood. We’ve decided to let them stay… for now. We’ve been told they are mellow paper wasps, as opposed to the scary hornets we had a few years ago. Even so, I sure don’t want to offend them.

Nest Number 2

Next to the Window

Outside the window.

Apr 072013
 
Superstition Prototype.

Superstition prototype.

My anxiety has been rising over my two Book Art Object Edition 4 contributions. They should have been finished long ago. Every time I start making progress, something happens to slow everything down. Let’s just say, in terms of productivity, a couple of weeks of dizziness and vertigo, capped off by an ER visit for something else, isn’t the most efficient way to go. (The ER was two days ago, and, I’m happy to say, what prompted that is now back under control.)

Alas. Books do not get made when the maker is in bed.

However, I have managed to carve out a little studio time here and there. I’ve finished prototypes for both of my editions. Here is the first one, a board book called Superstition. It will be an edition of 13.

The first page spread is a foldout. The secret to these is that they do not get folded straight down the middle and across for both top and bottom portions. There won’t be enough room for the thickness of the paper and the page won’t fold together neatly if you don’t allow a bit of an offset. It’s easier to show a diagram than for my inarticulate brain to attempt an explanation. This is from a commercial book with a similar style page that folds out:

Foldout Diagram

In diagram form, it looks like this:

Foldout Diagram

For 13 books, it’s impractical to measure and fold each one without some kind of jig. But how to easily construct a jig with so many fussy score lines? There are different ways to do this, but the solution I like is to use a piece of Mylar. I marked the one large and one tiny cut lines and the three fold lines, then carefully cut or scored and folded them, just as I would for the finished page. The transparent material makes it easy to line it up correctly with the paper underneath.

Mylar Jig

As I score each section, I fold the Mylar down to reveal the next appropriate edge to score against.

Mylar Jig, First Score

Scoring against jig

I save the lines to be cut, rather than folded, for last. I carefully mark the end of each with a pin prick, and use a real straight edge for that. This works very well.

The platform/object you see me folding on is a corner jig a friend made for me. I have a small cutting mat that fits perfectly on top of it, if needed.

Corner Jig with Mat

However–at least with this mildly awkward foldout page–I’ve been experimenting with using my light box for the actual assembly (the part where it gets glued to the boards underneath).

Assembling page on lightbox

And now… to finish putting together the 13 books…!

Mar 052012
 

My experiment in blogging began three years ago today. Chewing with the Paper Chipmunk has changed quite a bit since then. A lot of things have changed since then.

Peek-a-boo...I see you...

But one thing has not.

My very first post was about the black widow spiders in my studio. They, alas, are still here. As I walked in the door the other day, I spied a rather large specimen darting behind a big heavy bookcase that is bolted to the wall (this is, after all, California). I can’t move the bookcase, and there isn’t much I can stick back there with which to remove her nor, I am imagining, her several hundred children waiting to hatch.

I’m not particularly worried about being bitten. Black widows, as far as I know, keep to themselves and don’t wander too far. She’s kind of cute, in her way. I’ve since seen her hide upon sight of me a few other times. Charming. Really. Delightful. Most delightful.

And now that I’ve probably scared off all my spider phobic readers (Wait! Come back!), I want to announce a celebratory blogiversary giveaway—my very first. I never dreamt three years ago how many fabulously eccentric, fun, funny, creative and all-around wonderful people I would meet through this blog. Thank you all.

Leave a comment, and I’ll send you a little surprise. I loved Amanda Watson-Will’s idea of sending a little something to several people (and, I must say, her little giveaway book was delightful). I’m not sure if my small surprise will be delightful, but that will be the idea here, at least for all legitimate and welcome comments (alas, unfortunately there’s been a dark side to having the blog as well…). The deadline is the end of this coming weekend (before Monday 12th) California time.

And I promise—you won’t find any stowaways in the the package.

Jan 282012
 

They are bad luck to climb on as well.

Heavens. I’m feeling superstitious about my last post mentioning ladders and superstition. Shortly afterwards, I fell off a stepladder. Remarkably little damage was done, considering. I’m ok. Still, a bit unnerving. I’ve been trying to tidy up the studio a bit (which sounds so tame–actually, I can’t work in there at the moment. It’s utter chaos). Perhaps there should be superstitious beliefs about high shelves.

I’d sworn I was not going to commit myself to anything this year. Then I signed up with Book Art Object … and now I just signed up to also do a second 10-book edition for Book Art Object. My second title will be Poison. I’m wondering how strict the definition of “book” is over there. I was originally thinking of another “children’s” board book, but then I started contemplating the medicine bottles filled with capsules I did several years ago. I also recently came into possession of a bunch of discarded psychiatry journals. Possibilities there, somehow? Perhaps not straight capsules, but something similar that provides texts and pictures. Or perhaps something completely different–say, a book about how some people are poison? Just dreaming up ideas at this point. I like this part of the creative process–mad scribbling of ideas and playing around with things to see what might work. And it’s much more enjoyable if I start now, rather than waiting 8 months into the project.

Nov 192011
 

In my never-ending quest to get the studio straightened out, I came across a doll I bought years ago from a craft store. I’ve used these in the past to make packaged voodoo dolls as gifts for friends. I decided it was time to make another.

Click to read.

I found the original “packaging materials” on my computer, but figured it was time to change the design a bit. I also added some wording about propping it up next to the cutting board next time you chop onions (why not?). And even though I’m not planning to sell these or make it a commercial item, I put a new “product name” on the label after discovering that my original choice is, of all things, a registered trademark belonging to Dow Chemical.

On back, I added a description of the contents, a bar code, the obligatory “Made in China” and a warning about use by children. I thought it added a nice authentic touch.

I have some narrow sleeves that were originally intended for bookmarks. And I have some other, tinier sleeves just perfect for a few starter insect pins.

Voila. A finished Payback Magic Voodoo doll that almost, indeed, looks as if it could’ve come from a tacky dollar shop.