Welcome to my Book Arts site. Please feel free check out the information pages and tutorials. Also, if you find any of the information useful, please drop me a note (jackie at tjbookarts dot com) and let me know.

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July 31, 2007

Tues. morning musings and a bit of serendipity…

Filed under: Morning Musings — jackie @ 8:57 am

Good morning readers.

Yesterday we got a good heavy rain shower. My plants and grass are very happy this morning. Of course it also means that the humidity level will be high today.  

Over the years, I have found that when I am pondering over an issue it seems that I always find other folks who are pondering over the same issue at the same time.

Rhonda, over of the My Handbound Books blog, had a great post yesterday on pricing handmade books. I have struggled with this issue myself for many years. How to your price your books so that they are reasonably priced so that people will buy them and are still profitable so you can afford to keep making them?

Years ago when I was participating in alot of craft shows, I would base my book prices on a formula that my Mom gave me. (She is also a crafter and for many years sold custom made jackets and vests at art shows.) I still use that formula but I always adjust the number up, or down, depending on if I think the price is appropriate for the amount of time I put into making the book.

As artists there is really no way we can charge for our time per se so it’s important to be able to work efficiently when making our books. Having a bit of an assembly line for the basic parts helps save time so that you can concentrate more on the decoration.

In her post, Rhonda says “First of all, I have found that when people buy a handmade book, they want it to look handmade. My traditional hardcover case bound books did not look handmade at all, and I even had some people question them thinking they had to be commercially manufactured! I think that makes it harder to get a good price for that type of book because the buyers think it looks the same as a book they can buy at W*lmart.”

I was talking with my friend Holly on the way home from working at the gallery about this very thing.  I seem to have a harder time selling my traditional hardcover books these days. Having so many commercially available books doesn’t necessarily make it harder to get a good price for them as you should still price your work to be profitable or it won’t make sense to continue making them. I do think it makes the consumer question why they should buy your book as opposed to the ones at the B&N. I don’t know how many times someone would walk into my booth at the art show and make some comment to the person with them like “you can get these at Barnes and Noble”. Grrrrrrrr.

That’s where we come in as artists and business people. We need to “know” our market and what they will buy. When making and pricing our wares that’s the first thing we should take into consideration. We need to know what people are looking for in a handmade sketchbook, journal or album as well as how much they might spend for that item. And, we also need to educate our market on the value of a handmade book as opposed to a machine made one.

Thankfully, there are a few people out there that already know the value of what we make and they will seek us out.  It’s just all the others that we need to convince. :D

I hope everyone has a great day.

• • •

July 30, 2007

Monday morning musings…

Filed under: Inspiration, Morning Musings — jackie @ 8:31 am

Good morning readers.

Looks like we may have rain today as it’s dreary outside this morning. We had a bit of rain yesterday in the evening though we had overcast skies and thunder througout the day.

This past weekend my brother Rob was admiring one of my handmade sketchbooks. He said that he wished that he had the nerve to pick up sketching again as he did alot of it as a child and young adult. I know he has the desire but I think he feels shy about it. I understand where he is coming from. As adults we are sometimes so hesitant to start something new for fear of not being good at it. Of course we won’t be good at it at first but we get better the more we do it. Though that doesn’t keep us from being embarassed about our first tries.

I pulled out two books yesterday. The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to be the Artist You Truly Are by Danny Gregory and Color: A Natural History of the Paletteby Victoria Finlay.

The first book I will send to my brother in hopes of getting him fired up to attempt some drawing. The second book is about color and the quest of the author to find out where certain colors came from. She is like an archaeologist digging for clues from the past. It’s very interesting. I started it a while ago but my short attention span theater brain moved on to something else. I was reminded of it yesterday while I was surfing around and am reading it again.

If you are interested in learning to sketch Danny Gregory’s site Everyday Matters is a great place to start. He also has a Yahoo group of the same name that is pretty active.

Here are a few more sites to spark your interest in keeping a sketch journal.

Illustrated Watercolor Journaling from the site…”As the world gets more immediate, more online and easy to delete, the journal is a low tech, highly tactile method of capturing aspects of your world. A variation on the written journal is an illustrated journal — adding the richness of hand drawn images to words.”

Michael Kluckner’s Travel Art Lots of journal pages to look at.

RozWorks Roz has lots of great pages from her journals posted on her site.

Moonlight Chronicles if you haven’t seen one of these little books you’ve missed out on a real treat. Dan is also the author of How to Make a Journal of Your Life. Which is a great little book to get you started sketching and writing about your daily life.

I hope everyone has a great day.

• • •

July 29, 2007

Sunday morning coffee and where I’ve been…

Filed under: Morning Musings — jackie @ 10:11 am

Good morning readers.

I’ve been away the past couple of days putting in my work hours at one of the galleries that I have my handmade books in. If you are visiting Charlottesville or the Wintergreen resort area of Virginia make sure to stop in the Valley Green Gallery which is on Rt. 151 in Nellysford which is right next to the valley area of the Wintergreen resort and properties.  I have a small display right now but am hoping to expand it some in the future.

Here’s my meager display…

Valley Green display

I also picked up the standup desk that my Dad made for me. I am really excited about it. It is made from an old postal clerks desk. Unfortunatly I didn’t get any pics of it while it was still together in my Dad’s workshop but I’ll take one once it is in place in my studio. 

Wintergreen is in the Shenandoah mountains of Virginia. While I was there it was butterfly season as they were everywhere flitting around. I’m sure a few ended up in the grill of my car. On the way back to my parents house from working the store I passed a thistle bush that had many butterfilies on it. It was really cool looking to see so many butterflies in one place. Here are a few photos so you can see how pretty they are.

Butterflies

Butterflies

Butterflies

Oh…and the bees seemed to like the thistle also. Apparently thistle makes good honey.

Bee

I hope everyone has a great day.

• • •

July 26, 2007

Thursday morning musings…

Filed under: Morning Musings, Popup books — jackie @ 8:33 am

Good morning readers.

It’s overcast and looking like it might rain here in Va. Beach today. We could use the rain but I’m hoping that it will clear up by later this afternoon as I have a family photo shoot this evening. 

While surfing around for more information on pop-up books, I came across a site about an elective course that was offered at MIT.  The course was called Building With Books and offered in 2004.  Basically students spent the semester creating things from discarded library books. Some of the items built were a reading lamp, a bookcase, an umbrella stand and a rocking chair. You can check out these and more in the gallery section of the site.

Has anyone seen the new TGI Fradays TV commercial where the menu is being opened and the scenes pop out of it like a pop-up book? It’s really cool. They have a pop-up on their main site but I couldn’t find a video of the commercial to link to. If you’re at work turn down your speakers as there is loud music on the page.

If you’re into the mathematics of pop-ups there are a few articles on pop-up cards as a vehicle to teach mathematics as well as some on the engineering of folding on this site. Gotta love student research projects.

Here’s some nice PDF tutorials on book making from the San Diego Museum of Art education department.

You can find some nice beginner tutorials on pop-up book techniques on the Art Is Smart website of Jay Davison Ballanger.

That should keep you all busy for a while.

I hope everyone has a great day.

 

• • •

July 25, 2007

Time time I really need some time…

Filed under: Morning Musings — jackie @ 8:54 am

Good morning readers.

I recently realized that I don’t know where my time goes. I feel like I should be accomplishing more than I do each day but most days I lose all track of time and before I know it it is dinner time and I haven’t accomplished as much as I think I should. (anyone esle have that problem) I have decided that I need to keep better track of my time on a daily basis so I’ve created a schedule for myself which includes designated work hours. We’ll see how it goes.

So, yesterday Kate of The Book Dragon blog nominated me for the Rockin’ Girl Blogger award. Thanks Kate! She wrote a nice little blurb about the site too. You can check it out here.

I know this means that I need to nominate 5 other deserving bloggers. I’ll have to give it a bit of thought as I think all my favs may have already been nominated.

Today’s inspiration: Not book arts related but inspiring none the less. Bluejays waiting to get the peanuts I throw out for them each morning.

 Bluejays

• • •

July 23, 2007

Monday morning musings…

Filed under: Inspiration, Morning Musings — jackie @ 7:49 am

Good morning readers.

I’m off this morning to pickup my books that were in a local exhibit for a few weeks. I’ll be happy to get them back. I’ll be putting this book up for sale later today if anyone is looking for a nice journal.

Of note…

Artist Tanja Bolenz has some really interesting books on her site. In particular check out the restoration and repair section as she has created some books with the leather covering cut away to show the details underneath.

For the visual journalers out there artist John Copeland has some photos of his journals on his site. Some of them you can click through and see the pages.

The Syracuse University Library has some great examples of artist books and book structures in their collections.

I hope everyone has a great day.

• • •

July 22, 2007

Sunday morning books and coffee…

Filed under: Commissioned Works, Inspiration, Morning Musings — jackie @ 8:02 am

Good morning readers.

A few years ago I wrote a little booklet on making Polaroid image transfers. I use it regularly as a handout when I teach my classes. Even though it’s not a book arts technique, it is another tool in the box for creating visual journals so I have reformatted it and have to made it available on my free tutorials page.  Enjoy!

So…I was digging around in some old files looking for some specific pictures and found these photos of a custom book I made many years ago. It was commissioned by a friend’s husband for said friend as a holiday present. The binding is leather and fox fir (the fox fir was from a road kill) with a metal and antler closure. The box is custom made to look like a cigar box. It is padded and lined in velvet. If I recall correctly, the book size is about 5″X6″ or so.

Fox's Folly

Fox's Folly

Of note…

The site of Estonian Leather Artists Association is not in english but if you click on the name of each artist most of them will have some great examples of some books done in unique leather bindings along with their info.

I hope everyone has a great day.

• • •

July 21, 2007

Filed under: General — jackie @ 12:00 pm

I forgot to mention that our local B&N had some Rag & Bone digital albums on their colored dot sale table this week. You might want to check your local store to see if they have any if you’re interested in trying one out.

• • •

Saturday morning musings…

Filed under: Inspiration, Morning Musings — jackie @ 10:48 am

Good morning readers.

The weather here has turned absolutely beautiful! It’s warm and breezy with little humidity. A perfect day for any outdoor activity.

Of note this morning…

Rhonda has posted a nice little tutorial on making a Chopstick Notebook on her blog My Handbound Books.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that my friend Holly had brought me back a cool book from a shop in Tallinn, Estonia. While she was there she asked if she could take a few photos of the shop and she gave me a few  that she took to post of the blog. Gotta love friends who know what you like. :D

I’m assuming that all the books seen in the photos are by binder Pille Kivihall.

The other person with Holly liked the way they packaged their books so much that she had to buy a book just to get the packaging.

Bindery in Tallinn, Estonia

A few cool old pieces of equipment. The bigger one looks like a stack cutter. Not sure what the smaller one is.

Bindery in Tallinn, Estonia

Some small books in a leather bowl. Very nice.

Bindery in Tallinn, Estonia

These guys look like birds sitting on a shelf.

Bindery in Tallinn, Estonia

It’s nice to know that I am not the only one with shelves that look like this. I think it is that universal artist thing.

Bindery in Tallinn, Estonia

I love this book.

Bindery in Tallinn, Estonia

I wish she had gotten a few more pics. I would of loved seeing a full photo of the bindery as I am an admitted voyeur when it comes to other people’s studios. :D

I hope everyone has a great day.

• • •

July 19, 2007

Thursday morning musings…

Filed under: Morning Musings — jackie @ 11:18 am

Good morning readers.

Nothing exciting to report on the weather front today. Just the same old hot humid stuff as yesterday. Blech! The rain was nice but in the end just made it much more humid outside, though I think I heard that this weekend was going to be nice. We’ll see.

Of note…

The Art O Mat turns ten this year. A friend of mine got me a small book from one of these machines in one of the first years they were out. I think they are so cool.

Want to bind a custom copy of your favorite classic? Check out Project Guttenberg. Many old books are available as text downloads and can be reformatted to be printed out in signatures and bound into unique books.

Bookgirl has some interesting info about pop-up books in her blog post this morning. I would love to take a class with either of the artists she mentions. I am envious that she is going to Arrowmont. I went there back in the mid 90’s and took a papermaking for books class with John Risseeuw. I still have some of the paper that I made as well as the books.

Rhonda Miller has a book arts blog called My Handbound Books. It’s def. worth a look as she has alot photos posted of her work. Very inspiring.

I hope everyone has a great day.

Jackie

• • •
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