Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Halloween Challenge - 2009

All BEST Members are invited to create a book for our second Halloween Challenge!

Here's how it works:
Make a book that reflects the upcoming season - whatever that means for you. Your book can celebrate any element of the pending events - Halloween, Bonfire Night, Allantide, Day of the Dead, Thanksgiving, Hop-tu-Naa, All Soul's Day, etc. Whatever inspires you.

Have your book finished, photographed, and listed in your Etsy shop by October 24th. Include the tag "ZombieAward2009" in your Etsy listing so that all the books can be found with a simple search.

The winner will be selected by popular vote here on the team blog using a poll during the last week of October - votes to be counted on October 31st. The winner will receive the "BEST Zombie Award" for 2009. The award includes: a special blog feature, unlimited bragging rights, and the right to display the Zombie Award graphics on his/her own website! Wow!

Here on the blog we will also invite all our blog readers to post comments telling us which book is their favorite and why. From these comments, we will select a random winner to receive a little surprise!

Sunday, 27 September 2009

An Abecedarian of BEST members: S part 2

This is the second selection of the “S” shops of BEST:

Stonemanorpress combines images of Florida with her own poetry in this Stillness Artist Book:

Subu’s Emily is “spot on” with her use of color and texture in her recycled notebooks. Spot On Recycled Notebook in Yellow:

Sue Bleiweiss hand painted the silk for this journal using a pole-wrapping Shibori technique. Silk journal, purple, green, blue:

SusanGreenBooks has pocketsize sketchbooks with a pamphlet stitch along the sping. Mini Sketchbook - Green and Orange Leather:

Susan Holland used her own painted paper for this notebook sewn on a single signature. Summer Swirls, Painted Notepad:

Sweet Buddha sells sets of small journals such as this Pretty in Pink Retro Flowers Journal Set:

Katy of SwirlingTree has such sweet baby scrapbooks. Handbound Yellow Baby Album/Journal/Scrapbook with French Turtle:

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Tools of the Trade: An Interview with Randy J. Arnold

Lovely ebony folders have been on my mind for the past couple of months. If you read my first post about folders, you’ve probably gathered that I am quite a fond of these useful tools. Randy J. Arnold, makes a variety of exceptionally beautiful wooden folders. I’ve been keeping an eye on his Etsy shop, and am increasingly impressed with each new product he has to offer. It doesn’t end with folders, or the custom boxes he builds for them. Randy makes a range of bookbinding tools, from those ebony folders I’ve had my eye on, to punching cradles and nipping presses.

After following a few links from his shop, I stumbled upon, MaxwellBanjo.blogspot.com. It turns out that in addition to making amazing tools, Randy is a luthier and has a blog dedicated to his craft. Naturally, I was curious about what led him from banjos to bookbinding tools and my hunch was that he must have a bookbinder in his life! Randy kindly agreed to a phone interview last week, and I’m so glad, because it was so much fun to talk to him!

Woodworking seems to run in his blood. He is self taught, but was lucky to be able to observe his grandfather and father work in the family shop, which is pictured above. His grandfather worked on household projects and his father was a talented furniture maker. Randy has come a long way since those days as a young boy watching his father and grandfather; he inherited the family home and restored the shop to working order. You can read more about his efforts here and here.

As far as having a bookbinder in his life, I’m proud to say that my hunch was right! Randy’s partner, the talented Amy LeePard of Painted Bunting Books is the reason he started making bookbinding tools. Amy, who studied with Amy Pirkle at the University of Alabama, initially used tools provided by the university, but found that she really needed her own, and was looking for a better quality than was readily available. That’s when Randy stepped in and made his first set of folders. Amy took her new handcrafted folders to a Julie Chen workshop and the Paper and Book Intensive. Other book workers saw these fine tools and couldn’t help but want their own! Interest and encouragement from these book workers prompted a few custom orders for individuals and beyond. Randy’s work is now offered through Colophon Book Arts Supply and through the Morgan Conservatory. You can also find his work at our favorite place, on Etsy!

Like any artist, Randy looks to things around him for inspiration. His main inspiration is, of course, Amy, but inspiration also strikes when he is looking into family history, hiking, or riding his bike. As he slowly pedals down the road on his bicycle he has time to think about preliminary designs and work out any technical details of current projects. Fresh air and beautiful surroundings, as seen in the photo above, can go a long way for encouragement! I'm sure his bike rides are also a great time to think about his next choice in materials. He tries to use materials that are found locally, whether it be the wood he finds from his local sources, regionally tanned leather, or spalted wood found on one of his hikes.

Buying a fine tool, should be like buying a nice piece of furniture. The tool should be well made and built to last. Randy subscribes to this philosophy, and using the same tools as his father and grandfather before him, he makes tools for bookbinders that are not only delightful to look at, but rewarding to use.

Randy is still a luthier and while he is finding a balance between the two, working on bookbinding equipment gives him an opportunity to employ techniques he wouldn't otherwise get to practice. There are so many things he’d like to make, it’s just a matter of deciding what to make first! A main priority is addressing Amy’s needs (naturally), but he’d love to hear what you might like to see available in his shop. He mentioned that he's working on a vertical plough, which I'd love to see! Feel free to get in touch with him or leave a comment below.

Thanks again Randy, for a great conversation!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Book Swap #8 - PurpleBeanBindery

Finally, from Anna of PurpleBeanBindery, this is the last flag book from our recent swap. Definitely black and white and re(a)d all over, with the black and white print on the covers and red spine, Anna has used newspaper clippings with selected text (circled in red) for her flags.

Check our Anna's work at PurpleBeanBindery.Etsy.com.

See all the flag books from this swap.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Book Swap #8 - Yatsu

Meredeth, or Yatsu (or notubóc or she probably has other names too) sent this book for our Flag Book swap. She made a window on the front cover so the flags are visible, which is nice since she handcut those fun shapes from a range of blue papers so that it is reminiscent of cartographic elevation diagrams (or maybe ocean currents, to continue with our underwater theme!).

Check out Yatsu.Etsy.com to see Meredeth's other work.

See all the flag books from this swap.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Book Swap #8 - Kurberry

Alison, known on Etsy as Kurberry, sent this book for our flag book swap. She has constructed intricate flags using a mix of bright papers in different shapes and little pieces that are all tucked into each other to make those fun patterns. Additional flags are attached to the covers as well, with ribbons on the spine for even more flare.

Visit Kurberry.Etsy.com to see more of Alison's work.

See all the flag books from this swap.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Book Swap #8 - Buechertiger

Continuing with our presentation of flag books, and also with the fish theme, this one is from Hilke, Buechertiger. Hilke's book is decorated with her own underwater colourings and fishy cutouts. The flags in this book are all circular, with the smaller circles popping through the larger ones so these fish are swimming circles around each other. Hilke included some under-the-sea-text behind the flags which is not very visible in these photos, but adds yet another dimension to this structure.

Check out Buechertiger.Etsy.com to see some of Hilke's other work.

See all the Flag Books from this swap.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Book Swap #8 - BoomBoxBindery

Monica of BoomBoxBindery has made this flag book for our swap. She used an assorment of decorative papers to make the flags, all cut from small pieces she had been saving, waiting to find the best use for them! The flags are arranged by colour in families of red, yellow, green, and blue. The cover paper is a print by Cavallini Papers. Monica said, "I had to chuckle when the adage about there being plenty of fish in the sea came to mind as I thought of the variety of papers included in this book." Even the closure has a story, using a hand painted thread from Kinglet Cottage Designs and a spare button from her favorite pants!

Visit BoomBoxBindery.Etsy.com to see Monica's work.

See all the Flag Books from this swap.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Book Swap #8 - Anticovalore

Simona, of Anticovalore. Etsy.com made this next flag book for our swap. Coming from Italy, this one is made with a variety of colourful papers. The flags are blank and ready for any imaginable content!

Visit Anticovalore on Etsy to see more of her work.

See all the Flag Books from this swap.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Book Swap #8 - Jellygnite

The next flag book is by Ali, of Jellygnite.Etsy.com. This flag book is folded up inside a standard case, so opening it is like a little surprise. Ali's book incorporates old panoramic photographs from a 1960's travel book of Auckland, New Zealand. The panoramic photos work well in this format since you can open the book and assemble the whole scene.

Visit Jellygnite on Etsy to see more of Ali's work.

See all the Flag Books from this swap.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Book Swap #8 - MyHandboundBooks

The first flag book to show from our eighth book swap, is one that I made for the swap, MyHandboundBooks! I took the theme literally, to the extreme, as you can see. I used the Canadian flag to create my pages and cut them so that the maple leaf pops through the middle of each frame. The paper on the covers is an Italian vein hand-marbled paper that I made. I used a Canada Day bookmark to create a wrapper that fits around the book to keep it closed.

Check out MyHandboundBooks.Etsy.com to see more of my work.

See all the Flag Books from this swap.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Book Swap #8 - Flag Book Preview

Thanks so much to everyone who took on the challenge of making a Flag Book for our swap. We had eight participants from five different countries! A quick look at all the books with better photos and more details to follow over the next few days:

Participants in this swap:

The next swap is being planned for the end of November. All BEST members are welcome to participate. Check the swap guidelines for more information about how it works.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

An Abecedarian of BEST members: S

There are so many “S” shops of BEST, so they will be introduced in a series of 2 selections:

Signature Handmades offers that any of their unique handmade boxes can be ordered with a companion journal or stationery set to match. I think this one is simply striking: Clam Shell Box-Satin book cloth:

In Silvery Moonbeams shop you will find this Small Journal with matching pouch:

Soma of Soma Venus uses reclaimed plexi-glass signs in some of her sketchbooks, like this small square Sketchbook Journal Upcycled Marquee Sign Letter Dollar:

Sarah of SpaceDog Studios has something for everyone in her shop, including the kitchen sink! 4x5 kitchen sink journal - Blueberry:

If you need some fruit to go with the kitchen sink, Stacy Handmade has this sweet Journal green pear:

Strawhousebooks used a secret Belgian binding for this Scratch and Sniff Handbound Journal:

Monday, 7 September 2009


See all the participating shops in the recent posts below! Today is the last day to snatch up the great deals. Happy Shopping :)

Sunday, 6 September 2009

It's time for our Second Annual Back to School Sale!

The following team members are participating in the Back to School Sale. The Sale runs from Tuesday, September 1st - Monday, September 7th. Visit the individual shops to get more information about their specific sales and special offers!

[chalkboard photo by noaha]

Friday, 4 September 2009

Featuring a few participating shops!

Here are a few more shops that are participating in the Back to School Sale.

Anticovalore is offering free world wide shipping!

Useful Books
is offering free shipping to the U.S. and Canada!

OliveArt is offering free shipping to the U.S. and Canada!

PrairiePeasant is offering 20% off!

Click here to visit a list of all participating shops!