Monday, July 20, 2015

Inventor Trading Card Book

Inventions, both outlandish and practical, along with their inventors, is one of the things Maker Faire is all about. It'd be difficult to sum up the fair in a single blog post but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office booth has a fun way to showcase the importance of inventors: with trading cards!

I'm not an inventor myself, but the folks at the U.S. Patent Office booth won me over with the trading card set (free, by the way) they have of important/famous folks that had patents for inventions.

I loved the cards but had no idea what to do with them. While cleaning up some scraps around the studio, it came to me- make a book!

Since cards are individual sheets of paper and it was important to view the entire card, front and back, the loose leaf Coptic stitch was the way to go. It holds all the cards between two hard covers and allows the entirety of each card to be viewed with minimal destruction to the card itself.

The cover boards are wrapped with a cotton fabric that was not originally intended for bookbinding but which I starched myself with methyl cellulose for easier use. So, it was almost like I was an inventor too...

Did I mention all the cool people and things I got learn about while I made this book?!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Built from Apples

Who doesn't love the chance to combine two things they love? Now, bookbinding and cider might not seem like your typical duo, aside from the occasional glass of cider while putting together a book, but, bear with me here because you have to literally think inside the box. 

I love traditional binding structures and materials but I also enjoy having fun and experimenting so when Hand Bookbinders of California put out the call for their 43rd annual members' exhibition, I knew just what I wanted to do. 

The Hand Bookbinders of California promote fine bookbinding in all its forms so I decided to push the limits of traditional technique by using non-traditional material: namely a cider box for the cover. 

I have been working with French Linkstitch binding for a while now, exposing a sewing method that is often hidden behind a spine, to make journals that open flat while the sewing creates nice designs along the spine. To let the binding method sing true along with the cover material, I went with a Smith & Forge Hard Cider box. This crisp, dry, canned cider come in larger boxes which means a larger end result and more visible stitching. The lightweight cardboard used in the packaging shows where the cans were placed which added an unplanned but nice texture to the project. 

The container was made the same way that canned soda boxes are, with a part on top you can punch in to create a handle. In order for this to operate properly, the side panels of the box, which are the ones that to create a cover, were made with small slits at the top, right in the center where the fold would go. The slit height fell exactly where I needed my kettle stitches to go so I had to do a bit of light paper repair for the stitches to hold. A small piece of Lokta paper (handmade, Nepalese paper), a bit of PVA, and a bone folder were all that was needed. The Lokta paper was glued to the inside of each panel, across the fold, covering up the slit. Because each side panel would be folded in half and then laminated together after sewing, I knew that just one strip would hold and I also didn't have to try to disguise the repair because it would be hidden. 

Because the motto of the cider company is 'Made Strong', I used that  motto for inspiration of the design/placement of the sewing stations. With the orange-red logo color of the cider and given the fact that I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, 'made strong' to me makes me think of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge. Both bridges have survived earthquakes and tons of traffic on a daily basis and they make use of tall and shorts posts for support (forgive my oversimplification of engineering, these bridges were inspiration only and the sewing was a very loose interpretation). This lead me to alternate the spacing of the sewing stations for the X-shape created with the French Linkstitch, so there would be small X's holding down the ends and a large X in the center. 

The final result was a blank journal both bookbinders and cider enthusiasts could enjoy. 

If you haven't had a chance to check out the Hand Bookbinders of California 43rd Members' Exhibition, please do. There are many amazing feats of binding by some incredibly talented people. It'll be on view at the American Bookbinders Museum until September 13.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Walk Around Lake Merritt

L and I are spending our Saturday running errands all around the Bay so here's a more relaxing post from our most recent meander around Lake Merritt.

I was kind of obsessed with the bonsai...

 A bit of chamomile

Corn snake at the nature center

California poppies

Lady Bug!

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Morbid Cake

Now, while I'm not much of a cook-- my cooking adventures often end in flames-- I do enjoy getting my bake on from time to time. A few months ago (yes, I am behind on new posts, I know, I know) I had the chance to combine baking with my love of paper craft in a cake made for a friend. 

This friend is into many things strange and morbid and it seemed only fitting to make a graveyard cake. The gravestones were hand cut out of paper, hand lettered and then attached to toothpicks to top the cake. I even made a personalized 'not dead yet' gravestone (not pictured).

The cake was chocolate, resembling dirt once you cut into it. For an added layer (cake pun), I used strawberry preserves as a filling so things would seem a little 'bloody' while you were eating.

The cake was frosted with a simple cream cheese frosting which was easy to manipulate into a cemetery.

A bunch of graham cracker crumbs, cocoa powder, and a bit of edible gold glitter completed the look. Not your typical birthday cake but hey, it was fun to make and it tasted great!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Sketchbook Project 2015!

In a little over a month, The Sketchbook Project 2015 tour will be in the Bay Area and I'm ever so excited to once again have a sketchbook on tour. Since some of you will soon be able to view my submission in person, I thought it timely to share my work-in-progress images highlighting the making of my sketchbook. For those of you that follow me on instagram (@ninaevezeininger), you will recognize some of the images, since that is where I share my projects in 'real time'. 

If you are not able to make it out to the Bay Area The Sketchbook Project events, or you don't live in an area they are visiting, you can view my completed sketchbook in its entirety in their digital library. There you can also browse all the other wonderful artists that participate. While it's not the same as seeing the sketchbooks in the flesh, the folks over there do a phenomenal job of scanning the works.

As you know, I simply love words and quotes and I've been wanting to do more hand lettering so my submission for the 2015 tour was a compilation of hand lettered and illustrated quotes. Everything is done in a line drawing style and all black and white. There is some black colored pencil shading for the first quote, which is done over several pages, just to increase the impact of that quote.

The sketchbook opens with a bit of Shakespeare, perhaps his most quoted lines ever: 'To be, or not to be, that is the question', from Hamlet. Might as well start off with a bang, right?
The impact of this quote/question has so many layers to it so the quote itself is done over a few pages and is cut out of the paper.

My process involved sketching everything out first with mechanical pencil, then outlining and filling in with Micron pens, before finally using an eraser over the entire page to remove any pencil remnants.

There are too many nice quotes to have them all memorized so I collect ones that I like on my Pinterest board and I drew inspiration from there for the sketchbook.

The project was fueled by a lot of tea and tea lattes. While I would love to say that I have a home studio, my artistic career is not yet at that point, and even though I have a great little workspace in the apartment, coffee (tea) shops provide less distraction than my 2 cats, laundry, dishes, and all that other stuff that always seems to lead to procrastination when trying to work at home.

Even though I was working right up until a week before the extended deadline, it seemed like, SNAP!, and I was finished and shipping my little book off to Brooklyn. 
I'm thinking this project would be a great jumping off point for a broadside project, who knows...

Until next year, Sketchbook Project!