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.
These other paper aficionados have set up house right over one of my studio’s windows. Oh dear.
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.
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:
In diagram form, it looks like this:
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.
As I score each section, I fold the Mylar down to reveal the next appropriate edge to score against.
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.
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).
And now… to finish putting together the 13 books…!
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.
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 giveawaymy 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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve been a bit more quiet than usual, as you might’ve noticed. Mostly I’ve been recovering and trying to get things back together after last month’s show. The current decorative motif in the studio is Hoarder Nouveau. I’ve been attempting to shovel out. For a while I thought I was making good progress. I now don’t feel like I’m making good progress. It’s pretty hard to do anything in there at the moment.
However, last week I decided @#$% it, and managed to move enough piles aside to make room for a little paste painting. I’d come across an interesting set of scraper/spatula things at a store that were, the package said, for the kitchen. (Really–are you going to scrape dough and not paint with something that looks like that?) I also recently found some interestingly shaped toothbrushes and a square wire whisk. I’ve been wanting to try out my new toys tools.
(Clean and unused) cat litter pans of water are great for wetting sheets of paper.
I like to work on a sheet of plexiglass. The white surface you see underneath is a super absorbent incontinence pad. It was a gift from a friend, who told me they’re wonderful for when her kids paint and do messy things. She’s right–it makes cleanup easier and keeps all the nasty stuff off my cutting mat underneath. This has been a very thoughtful gift.
A square wire whisk was new for me. This definitely has possibilities. This is painted on Tyvek.
This one was made with miscellaneously shaped cut-outs of sticky-backed fun foam mounted on a rolling pin. After it was dry, a second layer with a comb was added.
This was originally done with a fat grouting comb and a golden color that I didn’t like so much (nothing against the tool–I just didn’t like the paper). Then I went over it again with a different color, and liked the result even less. So most recently I went at it a third time with a thin rubber comb pattern and a different color. Now I like it.
Some of my blogging friends have been doing things like Worktable Wednesdays or finding other thematic days to highlight their studios. I thought I’d join in. Muddled Monday came to mind, but it’s not Monday. Disarray Daily is more all-purpose. Although Freaked Out Friday might’ve worked as well.
I need to get stuff done. I have a show headed toward me. Thanks to my various maladies, I feel muddled and very, very tired. Pretty much all the time. I have been doing things, but not finishing much of anything. I have quite a few half-made prototypes and projects. I keep telling myself this is good — better than no projects at all! Still.
I decided that I need to pick one thing and focus on it as best as I can. Just start working through the list. First up is a flag book called You’re Not Paranoid. I made one similar to it a couple of years ago, and decided to make a more polished small edition. This is my prototype copy. I took Karen Hanmer’s advice and used a heavier weight paper for the flags than the spine. This ensures a satisfying tactile experience when opened.
A few other things in the pipeline: a small edition foldout book about germs with petri dish covers; a Board Book for Bored Children that will require a disclaimer that, no, I’m not really suggesting children play with matches or bleach etc; a book about memory made with a dollhouse window in a box (still being assembled); and an accordion consisting of layers of transparencies. Still not started, but being contemplated, is something with a skeletons in the closet theme. And I haven’t forgotten the vending machine minis, although I haven’t been able to do much with them at the moment. I feel overwhelmed.
Most of these projects keep winding up piled on my table. Often all at the same time.
Reminds me . . . years ago a friend came to visit. He was a sculptor whose work emphasized open space and clean lines. After sitting down in my studio, he began to look noticeably uncomfortable. Beads of sweat formed on his brow. He needed to go outside.
With grateful thanks to Buechertiger, I discovered that my blog feed was messed up without me knowing it. The new feed was working on my end and sporadically working elsewhere, so I didn’t realize that others were having a problem. It used to work. I’m not sure what happened — possibly it had something to do with the forward that I have set up from the old blog. Whatever it was, I’m grateful to my persistent friend for leading me to dealing with it.
Unfortunately, in spite of trying to do it without dumping everyone, the only way I was able to get everything working right in the end was to start over. ARGH!! My growing list of deeply appreciated followers is now . . . gone. Blogger misery and isolation.
I do realize I’m trying your patience at this point over this @#$%! blog move, but please, I’m hoping you’ll find it in your hearts (and that you’ll find that, on the whole, I’m more entertaining than annoying enough) to resubscribe, even if you just did after the move. This really should be the last time. Thank you very much. And now please excuse me while I go pound my head against the wall.
My answering machine says that I’ve been abducted by aliens again and when the probing is finished, I’ll return the call. Moving this blog has, at times, really felt like. . . never mind.
I’ve been thinking about caution signs. I’m currently working on an edition of flag books that has some inside. Not showing aliens, but surveillance cameras. A peek is coming soon.
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a paper crafts story. I have a surveillance camera in my studio, aimed over my worktable. It’s actually just a paper model designed by Kenn Munk that came with the book Papercraft: Design and Art with Paper. But the weird thing is, even though I glued it together and put it there, I found myself, in the first few weeks it was there, frequently looking up at it with a vague sense of unease, as if it were real. I’ve noticed that people quietly eye it when they come in. Interesting.