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September 18, 2007

Monday musings…

Filed under: Morning Musings — jackie @ 12:50 pm

Good afternoon readers…

The weather here is sunny and cool. A typical early fall day. The dogs are frisky and I’m in the mood to bake a pumpkin spice bundt cake. Mmmmmm…

This week, besides my school work, I’m getting ready for a small art and craft show at the Valley Green Gallery in Nellysford, Va. I don’t have much time so I’ve been working on putting together some simply bound books to send up with my friend Holly (she’s a weaver) who will be manning the table for both of us. (Thanks Holly!)

Lately I’ve been feeling a bit like a “square peg” when it comes to my bookbinding. I understand that coptic bound books with lots of “interest” on the covers sell better than traditional bound books (at least here anyway) but I’ll let you all in on a little secret… I really don’t enjoy making them.

While finishing up my book for the book swap (I know…I’m behind) I started thinking about how much I love making traditional case bound books. I love the preparation and I love how they feel in my hands when they are finished. Especially ones with full or partial leather covers.

I have been hesitant to make them lately. I’m not sure why. I really don’t think they take much more time to create than a coptic bound book. They are not portable and there is a bit more drying time involved because more glue is used. I’m thinking the problem is the issue with what people prefer to buy. Which now begs the question…should I create artwork that I am pretty sure will sell even though I don’t enjoy creating it or should I be true to myself and create the books that I enjoy making?

That said…I stepped out of my box a bit when creating my book for the swap. It’s still traditional but let’s just say it’s got some “interest” on it. I can’t show you a photo until after my swap partner gets it. (Even though I’m dying to.) Should be next week sometime. (Marloes, it’ll be there soon…I promise!)

Thanks to those of you who responded to my second question about classes. I’m still trying to figure out how to get more people in our area interested in the book arts. Bookgirl suggested that I might add some mixed media techniques to my classes. This is actually what I am doing for my six week class that starts in October. Each week I’ll be teaching a different technique that can be incorporated into making books. A few things that I’m planning on having the students do are papermaking, transfers and block carving. I’m hoping to get some interest for the class but it’s hard to get people to commit to a class that runs for more than a day. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

I hope everyone has a great day.

• • •

2 Comments »

  1. The question you ask about doing what you love best or doing what you know will sell is a universal one. I think it’s especially difficult for those artists who have expectations of making a living from their work. It’s hard to imagine making only art (and here I include handmade books) that the market wants, if it’s not art that you care about. It also isn’t very satisfying to make work that you love, but that isn’t appreciated by the market. I think the answer is somewhere in the middle: make some of each. And for the art that you love that may not sell as well, try to make sure that you’re educating the market as much as you can about the value of what you’re offering. My 2 cents.

    P.S. Rhonda Miller wrote a thoughtful post not too long ago about pricing her books ( http://tinyurl.com/2ut9h7 ). Here are the last few lines of her post, which gave me some food for thought:
    “…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. So I try to keep my books looking handmade but still well made, of course. And I’m guessing that artsy books and artist’s books typically don’t fetch their real worth, as is the case with a lot of art.”

    Comment by BookGirl — September 18, 2007 @ 7:14 pm
  2. Don’t worry, I’m patient. :)

    Comment by Marloes — September 19, 2007 @ 1:21 am

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