Monday, December 10, 2007

Absent - but not gone.

Wow! How fast four months goes by...

My apologies for the absence, but things have been just a little bit crazy around here, but they are settling down now. Pictures of the completed bindery coming in a day or two, and after the holidays I should be able to devote some time to actual binding.

For those who are interested, I have a personal journal here.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Into the homestretch

I've been absent a couple of weeks, but not sitting on my hands. We are finally coming into the homestretch with getting the bindery set up.

Part the first

Finally, the old storage room/bedroom is empty and ready for the floor to be redone:

Here for the first time, we can see the eponymous corner after which the Corner Bindery is named. (Actually I could have taken a picture earlier - but it would not have shown much but stacks of boxes and random junk I was embarrassed to show!)

Part the second

I'd hoped to type this as the handyman I hired was taking up the carpet... But as has been typical of the whole project he can't get started until Wednesday. Ah well, one takes progess as one gets it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bookbinding forums.

It's very amusing to see various places on the web come up with new and cute names for forums... As though the words forum itself didn't have a long and meaningful history. Everything has to be new on the net it seems - sometimes agressively so.

That being said, here are some binding forums/communities/whatever that I check on a regular basis;

  • The Book and Paper Arts Forum. "Dedicated to all forms of bookbinding and book arts" - plus a section for paper arts (marbling, etc...) related to bookbinding. This is my go to source for advice and information.

  • Flickr is home to the Handbound Books Pool - which has two sections, Discussion (which is fairly slow and rarely used), and the Pool (basically a photo gallery). There are some very nice works in the gallery (which has new photos fairly steadily), and of course Flickr lets registered members leave comments.

  • Livejournal hosts the Bookbinding and Book Arts and the Handmade Book communities. The latter is much more active and has many creative bindings posted there.

  • Artists Books 3.0 is a new forum for "artists, curators, librarians, students, and researchers interested in artist books and the book arts". Being new, it is kind of slow at the moment but shows potential as social networking/mini Live Journal site for the bookbinding and book arts communities.

With the exception of the first, I found these via Google's blog search. I have a search on "bookbinding" saved as a feed and read it regularly in Google Reader.

Updated - 10 July 2008, added Artists Books 3.0

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Shipping Books

As I said earlier, I've been ordering books from Amazon and buying them on eBay. Quite a few of these have arrived over the last week and some... And I'm quite annoyed.

Wrapping the book in a layer of newsprint and dropping it into a manila envelope does not constitute proper packaging.

Even if the envelope is lined with cheap bubble wrap or foam.


Out of five books received from amateur booksellers, three have been damaged because of poor quality packaging. One (a tall thin hardback) arrived actually creased! When I brought up the matter with the bookseller she replied, "We are not responsible for what happens to books after we ship them". Now I'll be the first to admit that she is (mostly) correct. But booksellers are responsible for packaging books to survive shipping. If you fail to package a book properly, you are just as responsible as if you personally had damaged the book.

Have you ever ordered a book from Amazon itself? Next time you do, take a close look at how it is packaged - stiffened with cardboard, padded with bubblewrap, and protected from contacting the sides of the cardboard box the books are placed in. (Though their packagers aren't always as careful to pad on all six sides as they might be.) That is the only way to properly package and ship a book.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Garage complete

After two hard days of carpentry, the garage is complete! Another step on the path to setting up the bindery behind me.

On the other hand, the storage containers won't arrive until Thurs, rather than the today as I had planned. Why is it that the estimated arrival date goes up between when you first inquire and when you show up with money? (At least, that's how it always seems to happen to me - and the reverse of what I would expect.) This puts me most of week behind in getting the bindery set up, most annoying!

Tools and materials are accumulating in the corner of the living room, and many of the books I've ordered have arrived. (And those books are the source of a rant boiling inside me... More on that in a day or two.) I've been entertaining myself going through them and making a list of the bindings and structures I want to try. (And sorting them - simply ones first, more complex later.)

Monday, July 9, 2007

Quivering with anticipation

Good news on the bookbinding front - I met with Matt, the friend who will be helping me build the shelves in the garage, and confirmed this upcoming weekend for installing them. Take two weeks from then for cleaning out the storage room and taking up the carpet and tiling it... And by the first of August I should be able to set up the bindery! On top of that, UPS tracking shows my packages from Hollander to be 'out for delivery', and my Amazon account claims a shipment of books will arrive today!

Yeah, like Brenda said over the weekend, I'm getting to be like a kid on Christmas Eve.

The new workshop space will be in what used to be a bedroom. We've decided to go ahead and take up the carpet (even though it is new) and tile it before putting in the craft stuff. It's a workshop - and paint and glue and scraps will end up on the floor. Much easier to put in a durable floor now, than to take everything out of the room and do it later. We'll keep the removed carpet and recycle it elsewhere in the house for floor mats / throw rugs etc...

So far as workshop furniture goes, basic and cheap it the watch word. I've got a couple of extra bookcases in the garage that will go in there, and I'll pick up a used table or desk from somewhere. I'd originally thought to build a dedicated bench, but I really should hold off until I have enough experience to design one.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Shopping in Seattle.

Off to Seattle today. Both physically and virtually!

The physical visit was fun, as it was a beautiful day to drive around the Sound. Brenda (my wife) and I visited Daniel Smith to finish stocking up on supplies, and then popped up a few blocks for coffee and doughnuts at the Krispy Kreme. (I grew up in Winston-Salem, the home of Krispy Kreme. Back there they are as much a part of the local culture as Starbuck's and other coffee houses are here in my adopted home.) We finished the visit with a swing by Ikea to price furniture and get ideas - but of course the 'home craft center' displays that had been there for two years were gone. In the scratch 'n dent area was a nice low and wide chest of drawers that would have been perfect for paper storage, but was a bit too pricey. Of course now that I know, I'll keep my eyes open when I hit the local the local thrifts.

The virtual visit consisted of hitting with a shopping list I'd gleaned from the web and the library. While its much less of pain to visit a store virtually, its also much less fun.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Binding today

It's been a busy week wandering the web and learning where bookbinding stands today. I'm amazed at how much has changed with the rise of (home) craft binding and book art. My mind is bubbling with potential projects. 'Back when' I learned binding, they taught case binding and that was that.

While out a' wandering, at I came across this shopping list. While the circumstances that caused him to compose it are tragic, it's been incredibly useful for deciding what I need to outfit my workbench. I've sent off order to Talas and Hollander, and perused my local art supply store - I'll need to clear some space here in the computer room to store it all.

The visit to my local art supply store was a considerable disappointment. It's been a few years since I was in there - and discovering they had moved and downsized was an unpleasant surprise, if I had to guess, having two major chain craft stores move in within a few blocks has hit them pretty hard. But frankly, there's no excuse to have a store so cramped you can hardly move and employees who answer simple questions (like "can you order me this?") with "I dunno".
[end mini-rant]

Since here on the fringes of civilization, that store is pretty much my only hope - I'm thinking there will be a lot of mail order in my future.

The contractor is done with the garage, now to arrange for a weekend when a couple of friends can come over and help me build the shelving. Another milestone passed on the route to a binding bench!

[Note, 8/18/07 - this was originally just a reflection, but since it also includes a rant I'm including it there as well. I'll have to get back to the original reflection someday.]

Monday, June 11, 2007

Back to Binding

A contractor I've hired to redo my garage finally got started today - big news! When the storage room in the garage is done, the room in our house currently used for storage becomes our arts & crafts room - including a bindery for me!

It's been thirty years since I last took a bonefolder in hand, and that was a class back in junior high. I've read a bit here and there since then, but haven't done any binding. I'm a trifle annoyed that I've convinced myself all these years that I hadn't the space... But that's water under the bridge.