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.


May 2008
« Apr   Jun »

Sign up for our newsletter!

May 24, 2008

Saturday morning coffee and musings…

Filed under: Morning Musings, stuff to buy — jackie @ 8:47 am

Good morning readers.

While I was in the DC area I stayed in the Alexandria area and visited Old Town Alexandria in the evenings. On Saturday evening I was lucky enough to find the Paper Source store still open. For a bookbinder and someone that loves paper it was like walking into heaven. I know I heard the angels singing as I walked in because to the right was a great wall of paper. Decorative papers floor to ceiling for at least 15 feet.

Of course I got some paper while I was there…did you even have to ask? :)

As I was on a budget I could only get about half dozen or so sheets but I got some lovely Italian and Japanese papers. I have been wanting to try the Bookbinding Guy’s technique and Jerry’s only has papers with large designs available so I was thinking that I would have to buy some nice decorative paper with small designs off of the Internet for making the books. It was kismet.

While I was there I got a nice traditional round glue brush. Someone noticed that I used the cheap flat paint brushes and said I needed a bookbinder’s brush. I’m a little nervous about it as it was expensive and my brushes always seem to get ruined after a time. That’s why I use the cheap ones.

I think I mentioned before that if you’ve bought Frankie’s video and are going to try his technique, you’ll want to make yourself a small book press.

Also, Dolphin Papers carries the paper that he uses for the pages (as well as other great bookmaking papers). Ed’s prices are comparable to Blicks and you get better discounts for buying larger quantities.

I’m doing a little spring cleaning and I have tons of leather scraps that I will be bagging up and offering for sale next week. The scraps are varying sizes. Mostly good for small projects. If you might be interested, shoot me an email and I’ll let you know when they are available.

I hope everyone has a great day.

• • •

May 23, 2008

Friday morning musings…

Filed under: Morning Musings — jackie @ 9:09 am

Good morning readers.

I’ve been busy all week catching up after my two weekends away.

I’m pretty excited as I’ve finalized plans for a Flush Mount Album making workshop that will be held on September 17 & 18 here in Virginia Beach. The workshop is geared towards working photographers that want to learn how to make their own albums as well as binders looking to add a new product to their binderies. The class size is limited to 10 students and runs from 10-6 both days. It’s going to be a jammed packed two days. :)

For local readers, I’ve got a few classes coming up. I have a class this Saturday the 24th at Jerry’s Artarama from 1-4pm. We’ll be making small hardcover journals. I have a 2 part class at The Contemporary Art Center that starts next Thurs. and runs from 7-9:30 pm. The class will cover how to make a traditional style hardcover journal or scketchbook. I’ll also be teaching at the children’s summer camp at the CACV the week of August 11-15. The class will be focused on different styles of bookmaking. I’m teaching two classes. One for teens 12-16 and one for pre teens 9-11.

When I am not teaching classes this summer I will be working on getting ready for the fall art shows. So far I’m planning on participating in Jerry’s Fall Show as well as the Art Expo at Virginia Wesleyan College. (Side note…If I had the money this is where I would transfer to after graduating from TCC) I’ll probably be participating in one or two others but need to decide which ones will fit into my schedule before apply. There are a ton coming up.

I hope everyone has a great day.

• • •

May 19, 2008

I’m back…

Filed under: Morning Musings — jackie @ 10:27 am

Good morning readers.

I’m back from my birthday excursion to Washington DC and am exhausted from all the walking we did. I managed to see the National Women’s Museum, The Freer Gallery and do a walking tour of all the National monuments on the Mall. We also walked around Old Town Alexandria, Virginia and had some great food while we were there.

My friends that were with me organized a birthday scavenger hunt and had me ask for things such as denture cream, granny underwear and stool softeners from strangers throughout the weekend. :)

My dogs are also exhausted from all the fun and excitment they had at puppy camp. They are crashed out on the floor and occassionally one will twitch and ear or open an eyelid so I know that they are still alive.

After two weekends away I have alot of house cleaning and book work to catch up on but I just wanted to stop in to say hi.

I’ll have more to report later.

I hope everyone has a great day.

• • •

May 15, 2008

It’s my 50th…

Filed under: Morning Musings — jackie @ 6:58 am

Good morning readers.

I don’t feel that old at all.

Over on the forum there are three of us that have a birthday today. (Happy Birthday Carol!) That’s pretty cool. I’ll be out the door shortly to have breakfast with my friend Holly who shares the same birthday as me.

I’m busy finishing up a few things before our weekend trip to Washington DC.

I’ve been working on new customizations for the Chameleon Notebook. I’ll be offering non-leather covers. I have a really nice one in the works that is a soft bomber jacket leather-like vinyl.  I’ll also be offering a notepad option in lieu of a flap pocket in the back.

I know I mentioned the DIY Planner site before for users of the chameleon Notebook but it’s definitely worth another mention as they have so many great templates that you can download and print to make customized inserts. Just go to the template area and do a search on the “classic” paper size. Most are PDF files but some of them are Word or Open Office files that can be downloaded and edited.

Another great tip for Chameleon owners (thanks T-na) is that the large Moleskine Cahier notebooks fit nicely in the notebook. So if you prefer not to make your own pamphlets or are looking for a nice lined paper booklet, these would work well.

I’m getting great comments about the Chameleon from people that have purchased them.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day.

• • •

May 13, 2008

Tuesday morning musings…

Filed under: Morning Musings — jackie @ 7:59 am

Good morning readers.

I was away this past weekend visiting my parents for the Mother’s Day weekend. While I was there I had the great surprise of seeing all my sisters as they came in to celebrate my 50th birthday.

That’s me on the left in the bright green shirt. I am on the oldest of the four of us. Sydney is to my right, then my Mom, Catherine. Alice, the second oldest, is to the right of Mom and Frances is next. Sydney and Frances are twins. Frances is expecting her 11th child this fall. (I don’t think I’d look that good with 11 kids. :) )

Unfortunately my Dad was unable to be in the photo as he had suffered a mild heart attack and was in the hospital. He’s doing fine but was waiting to see the cardiologist on Monday. 

This weekend the birthday festivities continue with a trip up to Washington DC. I’ll be checking out a few museums as well as a few paper and book stores.

Of note…

If you bought, or are thinking of buying, the Bookbinding Guy video you’ll want to go ahead and make yourself a small book press.

Also, if you’re really industrious you could surf on over to Rhonda’s site and make some paste paper to use for your covers. It’s fun and really easy to do and looks great on your books.

I’ll be updating the custom Chameleon page with new scans of available lining and accent colors later this morning.

I also have a new non leather Chameleon cover option that will be available soon.

If you haven’t already, check out the Chameleon Flickr page for some great photos showing Chameleons in use.

I hope everyone has a great day.

• • •

May 8, 2008

Review: The Bookbinding Guy Video Workshop

Filed under: Review — jackie @ 7:58 pm

Good evening readers.

As promised, here is my review of The Bookbinding Guy Video Workshop.


Frankie Ridolfi is a man after my own bookbinding heart. In his new video, The Bookbinding Guy Video Workshop, he states what I’ve been saying for years, that you don’t need any special tools or equipment to make books. That you may already have what you need sitting around the house.

From the site, “There’s a reason this ancient craft has been taught through apprenticeship—the best way to learn is to watch someone and then try it yourself. In this spirit, The Book Binding Guy Video Workshop passes the secrets of quality book making on to you.”…”High-quality doesn’t have to mean high-priced.  For less than the cost of one hand-made book in a retail store or a one-time bookmaking class, this DVD teaches you to make as many books as you like. The tools needed are common and inexpensive—you probably own many of them already.”

The book that Frankie teaches us how to make on his DVD is reminiscent of the traditional style bindings found during the late 19th and early 20th century. Frankie puts his own spin on the binding technique for this classic binding. They have leather spines with raised bands and decorative paper covers. Each step in the binding process is broken down into manageable parts and his method of binding has made some of the harder tasks, such as adding leather to the spine area and headbands, easier for beginners to master.

One of the things that I like about the video is that, instead of just talking to the camera, Frankie teaches us while he is teaching a student.Â

When you open the case for the 90 min. DVD the first thing you’ll find is a quick start guide with tips for getting started. On the DVD, Frankie breaks the bookbinding process down into five parts. He starts off with a description of the tools and materials needed to start your book. He walks the viewer through the basics of preparing the paper, sewing the signatures onto cords and preparing the block. In addition, he includes instructions for sewing headbands onto the block and using leather for the spine of your book.

As an extra bonus, Frankie includes a PDF on the disk of bonus items and information. The PDF includes resources such as materials suppliers, checklists for tools and materials, a step by step cheat sheet of the process as well as a printing primer that describes how to setup and print text for binding into a book.

You’ll definitely want to read all the supplied materials and watch the video all the way through at least once before starting the project.

The DVD is $39.99 and can be ordered directly through the website or as a download from filmbaby.com.

The easy to follow step by step process and Frankie’s even paced and relaxed style of teaching make this DVD perfect for anyone brand new to bookbinding as well as someone who is looking to add a few new skills to the ones that they already have.

I give this DVD tutorial Thumbs upThumbs up.

(Please note: All photographs featured in this article are copyright of Frankie Ridolfi.)

• • •

May 6, 2008

Tuesday morning musings…

Filed under: Morning Musings — jackie @ 10:40 am

Good morning readers…

The weather here in the burbs has been warm and sunny the past couple of days. Luckily we’ve not had any rain so the folks that were affected by the tornados have a chance to collect thier belongings and clean up without worrying about bad weather.

I’m still busy playing catchup this week. A few more Chameleons went out to thier new homes yesterday. They’re getting nice reviews from new owners.

I’m working on my ideas for my swap book that’s due out on the 15th.

I found a pair of pink Timberland boots at the thrift store for eight dollars yesterday. They are in almost new condition. I have been looking around for a pair of shoes to paint on and I think these will be perfect. (Note…it’s the odd artist part of my personality that wants to do this.)

Of note…

Check out these instructions over on the Layers Upon Layers blog for making a leather look felt. It’s definitly on my “try it” list.

Sue Bleiweiss has got a new online mixed media journal class starting up on June 9. I wish I could afford to take it. It looks really fun. For now I’ll just have to oogle the really cool books that she posts over on the blog.

I hope everyone has a wonderfully creative day!

• • •

May 4, 2008

Free at last…

Filed under: Chameleon, Morning Musings — jackie @ 10:17 am

For a little while anyway.

Good morning readers.

I’m back from the final exam abyss. I feel like I have been in park mode the past two weeks preparing final projects and for exams. It’s all done now and I feel that I did pretty well.

As promised, here’s a few pics of the big honking book and box that I did for my Visual Arts Foundations class.

The box houses both the book and the set of boards that we made throughtout the semester.

The book is approx. 14.25″ wide by 11.25″ high and 2″ thick. The binding is a modified stiff leaf structure. The book and box are covered in Onasburg cotton with a leather spine on the book and the same leather used for the straps on the box.

The block was created first with matboard and tyvek and the printed pages were mounted to the block pages. Then the whole thing was trimmed before covering. I had to break out my plough to trim this baby as it was too big to fit in the guillotine.


I wish I had taken some photos during construction but I was too busy just trying to get it done. It took three days of almost continual work to get this put together. I learned alot things as I was putting it together. I’ll post about it in a thread over on the forum in the near future.

You can find instructions for the basic stiff leaf structure in this book.

Now that school’s over for the summer, I’ll be concentrating on cleaning my workspace, finishing up some tutorials that have been on the backburner, adding more accessories to the Chameleon page and preparing for a few art shows this fall.

I’ll be updating the Chameleon order page with new scans of leather and lining color examples. I’ll also be offering them in vinyl as well as imitation leather for those folks that prefer something other than leather.

I’m now in the process finishing up a few custom Chameleons that will be going out in the mail tommorrow. I also did a preliminary watch of the Bookbinding Guy’s DVD. I’m planning on watching it again this afternoon (have to wrestle the TV away from other members of the clan first) and having a review out the first of the week.

Here’s a photo of a custom custom Chameleon I made recently for a client. They wanted a Chameleon with a flap.

I added the pen loop inside so that the pen is protected by the cover.

Of note…

I got an email from one of the new Chameleon owners, Pascal in France. He sent a few photos of his Chameleon on an adventure in the desert (Ouarzazate).

He promises to also send along some sketches from his trip. Very cool!

I hope everyone has a great day!

• • •

All Content and Images Copyright unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by WordPress |•| Wordpress Themes by priss