Most mornings, for over a week, the first thing I have done is make book cloth. It needs to dry overnight and the only place I can keep it safe from the cat is on top of the washing machine, so it’s one sheet at a time.
Three of these pieces are from silk scarves bought in Bali in May for this purpose. I previously used this beautiful red and gold, and another similar fabric of a vibrant purple from fabric I had bought about ten years ago. After much searching, and a visit to the fabric market at Klung Kung, I found that although there are many gilded fabrics that look similar to these, they are all polyester, and not suitable for bookcloth. One must use pure cotton or silk, which is then laminated to kozo paper.
At Klung Kung market in February I found a navy and white pure cotton man’s headcloth from which I have made one piece of bookcloth so far. It will be very robust and look good too. When I got home, it occurred to me that I could make bookcloth from the silk scarves that are available everywhere in Bali. So in May, I bought these three scarves. The blue one at the top is not as blue as it has photographed. More a burgundy/tan colour with some blue and magenta. I think it is my favourite.
The pink has photographed true to colour, though the one with the peacock green pattern is brighter.
Three scarves (and a headcloth) make a LOT of bookcloth. Each scarf has used a whole sheet of kozo paper. The silk is not very robust. When I made my first piece of bookcloth, I thought I had damaged the silk in the process, but once I went on to make the others, I saw that the silk, which is finer than silk I have used for bookcloth before, has many small flaws and I am not making them worse. See close-up.
I’m not sure how the silk will last ‘in the field’. The books are intended for the 30th anniversary of my first trip to Bali in 1986. We have enough bookcloth though, that should it become too ragged, we can make new covers.
These are our little notebooks for our next trip to Bali. It is getting very close now. The orange cover paper was done with reductive stencilling and the green one was done with a technique shown to me by a friend. It involved acrylic paint and a pool noodle. The endpapers are gelli prints on pages from an old atlas.
When I travel I always take a small notebook. I use it for phone numbers, exchange rates, prices of things, and writing notes about what I did each day. I always cram in so much activity that two days later I have no idea what I did ‘the day before yesterday’. So I can always remind myself from my notebook if I have writing to catch up on in my sketchbook.
I loved the book-cloth I made from these gilded Balinese fabrics. This is my sketchbook from my last trip and two notebooks. I searched and searched for more, but now it is all polyester and that is not suitable for making book-cloth. So I decided to re-bind the book I made for a trip to Bali nearly two years ago. That is the purple one. I had made an ox-plough book, which works similar to a concertina. I did a number of watercolour pencil drawings in it, but I didn’t finish it. I found that structure didn’t suit me for a travel journal, so I just pulled it apart and now it is a coptic bound book for the upcoming trip. I have just abandoned the drawings I did then. I may have finished them had I not been going to Europe eight weeks later, but now their time has passed. The purple fabric is too nice not to be used, so it is going to be my sketchbook for the month of May in Bali.
Sitting on my verandah sketching the frog, my friend arrived to say that the lovely Nyoman would take us to the fabric market at Klung Kung. This market has a history with me. More than 20 years ago we were taken there by Nyoman Bug Bug (that’s the name of his village). It was Aladdin’s cave! The following year I went back and it was a building site. Aaaaargh. However this friend had been more recently and assured me it had returned and was still full of wonders.
I had a purpose. I wanted to make more bookcloth from Balinese fabrics. I had bought some Balinese gilded cotton fabric upstairs in the old Ubud Market about ten years ago. I made these purple books for the previous visit, and for this visit I am using this red one. But I have no more! I had been to Jalan Sulawesi in Denpasar on the previous visit and found very little in the way of traditional fabrics.
Sadly, the story is that nowadays this fabric, though found everywhere, is made from polyester. So it is not suitable for bookcloth, which must be silk or cotton. I bought a small piece (70c) just to try, but I am not hopeful.
Most fabrics were in sarong lengths, and I was looking for smaller and pure cotton. Finally my friend spotted a piece of fabric used for a Balinese man’s headcloth in traditional dress. That’s the navy and white one. Not as spectacular as the fabrics with the gold, but will make a nice book cover just the same. I need a book for my next visit which I hope will be very soon.
I also bought the blue-green sarong length in ikat style. I am not sure what I will do with it, but there were so many beautiful colours I couldn’t leave without one.
The other things I bought were small items related to Balinese offerings. Decorative and unusual. I could have gone really crazy in this market. Definitely must go back.
I am off travelling again this week. I made a smallish sketchbook from one sheet of Canaletto paper divided into twelve pieces. It is about 7 inches wide by six and a half high. It had to be this size to fit the Balinese fabric I made into book-cloth. I bought it in Ubud market some years ago. I made a purple one from similar fabric for my trip to Bali 18 months ago, but I didn’t complete filling it.
Again I will be travelling with a non-sketcher. This friend has not been to Bali before, and she has only ten days, so I think we will be busy seeing the sights. But the first day, and the last week I will be alone and will get some sketching done.
Not getting much sketching done on my first trip with a non-sketcher eighteen months ago gave me a chance to see what I could do better, and I filled sketchbooks on my two Europe trips (though they were much longer). This book has only six signatures, so fewer pages to fill. I must re- read my own advice from this post about travelling with a non-sketcher. I will be starting the way I mean to go on, by sketching at the airport, and on the aircraft. It doesn’t have to be good, it doesn’t even have to be finished, it just has to be on the page.
I had enough of the Balinese book-cloth left over to make two little note-books – one each. I have already put some Balinese phone numbers in mine. I hope I can find some more of this fabric, though Ubud market is so different now. We will be at the beach at Sanur for five days before going to Ubud. I haven’t been to Sanur for many years. Our hotel is right on the sea, so it will be lovely to sit and gaze at the water (and sketch).
I have been a bit slack about blogging recently. I have been making books more than sketching. These are two recent ones I made with a friend one rainy Sunday. She had looked at my travel sketchbooks a while ago, and although she doesn’t sketch, she decided she would love to have a book to keep all her souvenirs and to write.
We took a big plastic rubbish bag up to the art shop in the rain to keep the paper dry. We bought three sheets of Canaletto paper which made two books. I bound one and she bound the other. One is for a previous trip that she has kept a lot of collage bits from, and the other is for her next trip.
She had quite a selection of papers to work with. The one that looks black is dark navy and has leafy bits in it. It has this beautiful marbled paper for the endpapers (inside the covers).
So now she is ready to roll with her travel journals.
I had house guests for Christmas. Last time they stayed, they expressed a wish to make a Reverse Piano Hinge book. We had a full program during the few days they were here, so it was Christmas Day we made the book.
The reason they wanted to make this book is that you can remove pages and replace them (or not) without damaging the book. Each signature (section of pages) is held in place by paper pins that can be removed and replaced, as shown in the second photo. The ‘pins’ go through the green concertina which enters the book block through slots cut in the pages. The paper for our sketchbooks is Fabriano Hot Press, which was obtained with great difficulty, due to a shipping container being water damaged and none available. Well, almost none.
Unfortunately I forgot to photograph my guests’ books, but here is mine. The paste paper I used for this one was made in 2010. Annie and I made a huge batch of paste papers for the artists who were demonstrators at the Matisse Open Day that year. On the day prior to the Open Day, Rosemarie Jeffers-Palmer taught them all the Reverse Piano Hinge book. Everything was supplied by Matisse Derivan. There wasn’t time for the artists to make their own papers, so Annie and I made them all, and did a quick demo on the day. You can see the finished books with the paste paper covers here.
Out of all those papers, we kept one set each, and this is mine, unused till now. But I still love the colours. The book took us most of Christmas Day to make, so we had a quick nibble for lunch, and were not allowed to open a bottle until the books were all complete about 5 – 5.30 p.m.
Not the best photography you ever saw, but a combination of low light and a helper….didn’t help.
My nephew and a friend were staying with me a couple of weeks ago. They had bought their sketching materials and stools and we hoped to get out sketching. The weather was against us. A little bit rainy, very windy and very cold.
My nephew had made a coptic book before one other rainy day when he was here, but his friend had not made a book before.
The first damp windy day we made two coptic sketchbooks. The turquoise one is covered in my paste paper, and the tan one has Nepalese paper (more masculine). They each have a little laser-cut cog clued on the front, but we painted the one for the turquoise book silver, because there is also silver in the paste paper.
This is the inside of my nephew’s book. He used pages from an old atlas for the endpapers of his previous book, so I asked him if he wanted the atlas again. He did. But instead of a map, he cut one of the index pages diagonally. Very inventive!
For the turquoise book we used two different kinds of credit card papers for the endpapers. I did that recently in a book for myself. You never look at both the back and front inside covers at once, so what does it matter if you like them.
Another cold wet afternoon we were looking at Alisa Golden’s bookmaking books, and we decided to make a circle concertina. In fact, they made it, without much input from me at all. Apart from the coptic binding structure, many of the other book structures I make are from Alisa Golden’s books. That is how I learnt. I have made a few of this one for myself, and used to glue book reviews into them. There are random stencils throughout the book also, and the inside pages are orange. It has a soft cover and all the paper is Mi-Teintes Canson paper.