Friday, 31 July 2009

Blog Interview: Anticovalore

Name:
Simona Inserra

Company/Etsy Site:

Website:
I’ve a website not updated; I’ve to work for it (http://anticovalore.it/)

Blog:

Location:
Catania, Italy

How long has your Etsy shop been open?
I started in April 2009

How did you get into crafting?
When i was younger I spend most of my time reading and knitting or making nice works with fabric, thread, jute, wood, mosaic and so on. My mother and my two grandmothers (I’ve spent much time with this wonderful woman) also learn me much things to do and various techniques.I was encouraged to spend my leisure time in useful ways.



How did Etsy come into your life?
By chance, walking on the web.

What was your involvement in the crafting world before stumbling upon Etsy?
Just a little involved; I make books and notebooks as gift for friends and relatives. Sometimes I was involved in Bookbinding courses as teacher.

Do you have a day job?
Yes, i’m Librarianship teacher and also I’m involved in book conservation. I work in my own Book Conservation Studio.

Tell us about your shop:Does anyone help you?
Sometimes my daughter; but usually nobody help me.

What advice would you give to newbies on Etsy or in the crafting world?
Be happy and brave!

What's the most challenging part of your crafting?
I love everything!

Do you show your work locally?
Yes to my friends and in an handmade market.

Famous last words?
I’m coming soon …

How did you get interested in bookmaking?
When I was little … with my passion for books!

How long have you been crafting? Bookmaking?
From 10 years



What is your favorite stitch/technique?
Vellum limp binding, using other and innovative materials, not only parchment

What is the one tool or supply that you couldn't live without?
Bonefolder, obviously!

Materials you use for your books?
recycled paper, vintage fabric and paper, natural materials, jute, hemp, organic cotton, garbage!

What inspires you?
Old bindings!

Who is your crafting hero?
Chris Clarkson, a fantastic conservator, not only a bookbinder!

Guilty pleasure?
No …

Virtual BBQ Starts Tomorrow!

Mmm, smell that smoke! Who doesn't enjoy a great barbecue? The food and fun are one of the best parts of summer. Well, here's your chance to enjoy some summer fun with less fuss and no calories! The Bookbinding Etsy Street Team invites you to join us for a virtual BBQ scavenger hunt this weekend. One happy player will receive a $30 gift certificate to spend in participating shops.

Here's how to play:

1. Starting tomorrow, Saturday, August 1, visit these shops and enjoy browsing through the wonderful things they have for sale:

artkitten
BadonHill
Baghy
Boomboxbindery
Buechertiger
CinderLisaDesign
flurrsprite
itsalljustmenagerie
KarleighJae
KupoKiley
Moonbindery
OliveArt
OwlEyeDesigns
paperlion
Re:Paper
Subu
UsefulBooks
Yatsu

2. While you're shopping, look for a picture of one of these BBQ items hidden within the first 10 listings of each shop. Be sure to make a note of which item you find where!

Basting Brush
BBQ Ribs
BBQ Sauce
Berry Pie
Buns
Catsup
Cheeseburger
Cucumbers
Grill
Grill Fork
Ice Cream
Iced Tea
Mosquito
Mustard
Orange Juice
Plastic Cutlery
Potato Chips
Potato Salad

3. When you've found them all, contact UsefulBooks via the Etsy contact feature or send an email to useful.books@yahoo.com and let us know which item you found in each shop. In other words, match the item to the shop. Find all 18 items, and you're entered to win!

4. You will also receive one chance to win for each item you purchase from participating shops during the event. Just include the word "BBQ" in your message to the seller when you buy.

5. Purchases and entries must be completed by midnight Eastern Standard Time on Monday, August 3, to qualify to win.

The winner will be notified on Wednesday, August 5, and announced here on the blog.

It's that easy! So throw another book on the barby, and have fun with us this weekend!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Tools of the Trade: Awls

How do we get all of those tiny holes into all of those pages? We use our trusty awls! The picture above shows my little collection of punching utensils resting inside of my binders board punching trough. Have you noticed the odd one out? That's a pin vise, and I'll talk about that after I briefly mention the other three. The great thing about the two wooden handled awls on the right is that the thickness of the metal (after the portion that does the piercing) is the same all the way down to the base - which makes for nice even holes. The metal of the awl on the left has a graduated thickness which would make it nearly impossible to make holes the same width. Even though it doesn't make nice, tidy, and tiny holes I end up using it pretty often, because the base of the metal is approximately the thickness of most screw posts used in bindings of the same name. I use it for punching holes in the board & paper for those bindings.

Okay, back to that pin vise (the brand of mine is Starrett, by the way)! This is another tool I picked up at NBSS. The operation of this sweet sophisticate is similar to that of an X-acto. The silver portion unscrews, allowing a needle to be slipped into place and secured by screwing tightly into place. The beauty of this is that your holes will be precisely the size of the needle that you'll soon be threading through them. I have maybe a third of my needle exposed, but that's just because I've been making my mini-book earrings, much more of the needle can be used, and usually should be, so the vise doesn't go too far and make an impression on the inside of your signatures.


Tools of the Trade: Olfa Blades: A Follow Up

After my last post, Mindy commented with a curiosity about my take on snap-off versus replacement blades (X-acto). I am a fan of both, and used X-actos exclusively for everything related to my graphic design degree (cutting out print collateral & foam core, mostly). Assuming a #11 blade, when I've used X-actos for anything thicker than foam core with any sort of force, the tips have broken off quite quickly. I have found the Olfa blades I use to cause less stress on my wrist and fingers. I think because of the short angle of the blade, the Olfa is more ergonomically sound for the type of cutting that I do on a daily basis. That said, when held like a pencil, the X-acto works beautifully (and better) for cutting intricate details. Summary: both good, favored for different reasons, with Olfa still on top for daily bookbinding!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Book Team Virtual BBQ Scavenger Hunt

Summer is winding down in some places and a distant hope in others, but members of the Etsy Bookbinding Street Team are ready to celebrate the hottest season by hosting a Virtual BBQ Scavenger Hunt. Next weekend starting Saturday, August 1, through Monday, August 3, browse participating shops and locate hidden photos of items associated with the venerable tradition of the summer backyard barbecue. Not sure what that means? No worries! We'll provide a list of items so you'll know exactly what you're looking for. Find them all and enter to win a $30 gift certificate good at any participating shop. AND win bonus chances to win with each item purchased from participating shops during the hunt!

Come back next Friday, July 31, for a list of participating shops and complete details. Just follow the smoke!

Friday, 17 July 2009

Blog Interview: Anagram for Ink

Name:
Niko Silvester (or sometimes Nicole or Nico or Nik)

Company/Etsy Site:
Anagram for Ink (anagramforink.etsy.com) and White Raven Arts (whiteravenarts.etsy.com/)

Website:
I have a very out of date website at http://whiteravenarts.com. It's on my list to completely revamp and update now that I have a copy of Dreamweaver. I also have a deviantArt page (http://feynico.deviantart.com) which lately is more up-to-date.

Blog:
http://nikosilvester.blogspot.com/

Location:
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

How long has your Etsy shop been open?
I only really started adding items in May this year.

How did you get into crafting?
When I was a kid, my mom was always trying out some craft or another, so I started by trying out what she did. Then I discovered that sometimes it was possible to make things you liked but couldn't buy. It wasn't really until I started making books in the 1990s, though, that I really fell in love with making things.


How did Etsy come into your life?

I don't remember exactly--it might have been on deviantArt--but I was looking at other people's work and I noticed that Etsy kept coming up. All this wonderful, talented work that I saw was also available to buy on Etsy. So when I began to think seriously again about selling my own work, it made sense to start with Etsy.



What was your involvement in the crafting world before stumbling upon Etsy?
It was very casual and haphazard until the mid-to-late 90s, when I was going to school in St John's, Newfoundland. I was studying folklore, so a lot of my classmates as well as my boyfriend at the time did craft of various kinds. It was then that I started making and selling handbound books. Then when I left Newfoundland, I didn't do much bookbinding except to make journals for myself until I started art school in 2005 and took some book arts classes.


Do you have a day job?
Sort of. I've always tried to avoid having a "real job." I'm a freelance writer, which can be a lot of work for not a lot of money, but it means I have a flexible schedule and work from home. Until recently I was also the assistant at the Dawson Printshop (http://nscad.ca/en/home/shopsandservices/dawsonprintshop.aspx), a letterpress shop at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Unfortunately, the school closed the shop due to financial difficulties. I'm still able to use the facilities to some extent, so one of the things I have been working on the past couple of months is getting my own print jobs and making hand-printed greeting cards and other items.


Tell us about your shop:
Does anyone help you? I wish I could hire someone to handle all the business aspects of my Etsy shops (and everything else, too), so I could just concentrate on designing and making. Alas, I can't afford it, so I do everything myself. My photographer/artist boyfriend gives me pointers on the photographs and descriptions if I ask, but that's about it. I have a lot more work finished that hasn't made it into my shops yet, because I'm a bit lazy about the business side of things.


What advice would you give to newbies on Etsy or in the crafting world?
First of all, make what you love. If you're making something just because it sells, you'll soon get sick of it. Second, bring your own personal vision to your work. Don't be the umpteenth person to make exactly the same thing--figure out what it is you love most about what you do and what it is that makes your work just a little different and emphasize that. And third, think carefully about your pricing. Don't price your work too low and undercut everyone else just to make more sales. We all benefit--including the customer--when work is priced at what it's worth. That said, don't overprice either. not every piece is worth hundreds, no matter how fantastic you think it is.


What's the most challenging part of your crafting?
What I find challenging is not the crafting itself, but the selling. Sometimes it's hard to let go of a favorite piece, especially if it's one of a kind. I also find it very difficult to describe my work in a way that isn't just a list of techniques and materials. Which is kind of funny, because I'm also a writer. Writing fiction is one of my passions, so you'd think it would be easy to describe things. But I have this fear of overdoing it, I guess. The hardest thing of all is craft fairs. I love craft fairs and I love being around other people showing their work. But I'm just terrible at craft fair chat. I'm really not one of those people who can just start talking to whoever happens by. I've seen other people do that, just start talking to someone who doesn't even really seem that interested and end up making a sale from it. Plus, unlike some crafts, it's difficult to explain why customers should spend a lot more money to buy a handbound book when they can get something that seems just as good for cheap from WalMart. Some crafts it's easy to see why handmade is better, but books not so much. I do think that's changing, though, as more people become aware of handmade goods in general. In a way, I think the recession has made people more aware, and even made them more willing to spend a bit more money to get something unique and well-made rather than the mass-produced goods everyone has.


Do you show your work locally?
I do. I've just started doing craft fairs again--the next one is in September, followed by Word on the Street. And I have a couple of local shops carrying my letterpress cards and books. It's part of my plan to get my work in more shops, and maybe start submitting to local art shows, too.


Famous last words?
Just one more chapter . . .


How did you get interested in bookmaking?
I've always loved books. I don't remember learning to read, so it almost seems like I was born reading. At some point, the love of reading books began to include a love of the form of books, too. I realized somewhere along the line that the pleasures of reading could be enhanced if the book was well made and/or beautiful. And when I began to keep a regular journal, I discovered that a really great blank book made me want to spend more time with it, writing and reflecting on what I had written. So I began to make books--I was entirely self-taught at first--in order to make nicer books to write in than I could find in the shops. I soon found that other people liked my books, too and realized that maybe I could sell them.


How long have you been crafting? Bookmaking?
I've been puttering with craft of one sort or another since I was a kid, but rarely very seriously. In the 1990s I taught myself how to do case binding and Japanese 4-hole stab-stitch bindings. That was pretty much all I knew how to do until the mid-2000s when I went to art school. I was lucky to meet two fantastic teachers who have both had formal European training, but who are also both interested in innovation and exploration. So I had support and encouragement for whatever I wanted to do. I'd love to be able to study in Europe myself, one day.




What is your favorite stitch/technique?
I just learned a fantastic book structure called K-118. It's a super-flexible tight-backed medieval structure that works with just about any kind of sewing. I'm totally in love with K-118, but it's too labour-intensive to use for regular store stock. I'd have to charge too much. But it's definitely my new structure of choice for special work. I tend to also make a lot of cross-structure books because they're relatively quick for a fully-sewn structure, but they're also sturdy and look great. My latest line of blank journals, the SteamBook series, is cross-structure.


What is the one tool or supply that you couldn't live without?
I've discovered it's possible to make books without any tools at all, but good tools sure do make things easier and neater. I think my minimal tool kit now would be a bone folder, a good sharp knife, a needle, a straight edge and a glue brush. And some sort of weight. But I can improvise if I have to. As for supplies, the question made me wonder if it's possible to make a paperless book. I think it is, but I love paper too much to bother to find out.


Materials you use for your books?
Depends on the book, but most of them use two or three kinds of paper (pages, endpapers and cover), linen thread and paste or pva. Bookcloth sometimes (I'm working on my own line of blockprinted cloth, which will be a lot of fun to use), or leather. The SteamBooks use recycled garment suede and wood veneer. I've wanted to use wood veneer in some way for a long time, and finally came up with a solution I'm really happy with.


What inspires you?
I find so many things inspiring. I guess nature and science are the big ones. Even if I don't get specific ideas from being in nature or reading about science, I get this intense feeling of awe that makes me want to immediately start making art.


Who is your crafting hero?
I'm not sure I have one specific hero. My book arts teacher and mentor, Joe Landry, is an important figure for me. I aspire to know as much about books as he does some day. Then there's William Morris, who revived handcraft in the 19th century and started the Arts and Crafts movement in England. He wanted to learn everything--he wrote and illustrated his own books, learned weaving to create his own textiles, designed typefaces based on medieval scripts . . . And of course there's my mom, who has always encouraged me to try new things.


Guilty pleasure?
I was going to say "reading," but I decided some time ago that I shouldn't feel guilty about reading, so I'll say "chocolate."

Sunday, 12 July 2009

An Abecedarian of BEST members: M

Introducing the “M” group of BEST.

Mary Jane of MaryJaneHenley is meticulous in her book work which focuses on historical book bindings using materials indigenous to her Sonoran Desert home in Southern Arizona. A marvellous example of this is her Mesquite and Rattlesnake Book:



EB of matchboxbook balances life as an artist and a truck driver. Here is a miniature matchbox book from his shop:



Ruth of Meowstro is moving her shop to RuthBleakley where she continues to have amazing miniatures, including this Little Golden Miniature Book:



Debb of moon23 has found a way to combine her love for metals with books, and here is a fine example in her Crow Themed Copper Journal:



Barbara of moonbindery specializes in handmade medieval-style leather journals like this Black and Yellow leather journal with its medieval replica binding:



Katie of moonlightbindery notes in her shop announcement “I can make a book out of anything“, and this LEGO Book testifies to this truth:



Anna of movetheneedle loves everything artistic and focuses on collage in this Music Principles Journal:



Alice of myartistsbooks describes herself as an artist who weaves tales by combining both words and images, as in this miniature mixed media accordion fold book, A Typical Day:



While Rhonda of MyHandboundBooks is perhaps best known for her historic book structures from the Medieval and Renaissance eras, she also makes more modern manuscripts such as this Steampunk Leather Journal with marbled endpapers.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Blog Interview: Karleigh Jae

Name:
Karleigh Jae Heywood

Company/Etsy Site:

Location:
Provo, Utah
How long has your Etsy shop been open?
Just over a year now.

How did you get into crafting?
I've always been interested in making books. Always.



How did Etsy come into your life?
An artist friend casually mentioned it to me. I'm so grateful that she did!
What was your involvement in the crafting world before stumbling upon Etsy?
I've always done fine art and I did books in my spare time. When I stumbled upon etsy I decided to turn my hobby into a business.

Do you have a day job?
Etsy is my day job (along with being a mom)

Tell us about your shop:
My shop would not be open and going unless I had a supportive husband who encourages me to make more books :) Occasionally my husband will help me cut leather or stitch a book. He also gives me feedback on EVERY book I make. Feedback is great, especially from someone who gives their honest opinion.

What advice would you give to newbies on Etsy or in the crafting world?
Find something you love to make or you'll regret having to make hundreds of them when they become popular.

What's the most challenging part of your crafting?
I currently don't have a studio space for my books or other art work. Hopefully that will change in the next few months :)

Do you show your work locally?
I have in the past but I've never really shown my books. That will change soon too.
Famous last words?
Where is my bonefolder?!

How did you get interested in bookmaking?
I was interested since I was young but become entranced when I took a book arts course in college.

How long have you been Bookmaking?
10 or so years but only the last few years have I been serious about it.


What is your favorite stitch/technique?
I really like sewing onto cords. The old feel of the leather around the cords is classic.
What is the one tool or supply that you couldn't live without?
My bonefolder (or rather bonefolderS since I seem to lose them often)

Materials you use for your books?
Leather, Binders Board, Linen Thread, PVA-Jade 403, paper

What inspires you?
Paper...especially Lokta, Florentine Prints and Japanese Papers

Who is your crafting hero?
My husband (http://danielheywood.etsy.com/) and my overly creative brother (http://ihavethreeheads.etsy.com/) Although they aren't really "crafty" I think I would put them more in the fine arts category but they're still very inspirational.

Guilty pleasure?
Brownies and Chocolate

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Tools of the Trade: Olfa Blades

Many blades and knives can be used for bookbinding, but the Olfa Knives in this post are a couple of my favorites. The smaller of the two, the Olfa Silver, is used for light duty cutting, which mostly consists of cutting through single sheets of paper and other thin materials. The black bar controls the position of the blade. The end opposite the blade can be clipped onto an apron pocket, so it will always be handy.


This larger blade is for more heavy duty use, similar to a box cutter. I use it for multiple-ply board, or binders board when small or detailed cuts are in order. The wheel on the right is the locking mechanism which screws into place. When I first used this knife, the locking and unlocking felt a bit cumbersome, but it is now a pretty swift learned action.


video
The wonderful thing about both of these knives is that the blades are easily snapped off to reveal sharp new replacements. The Silver has a built-in snapping contraption and the blades of the heavy duty knife can be safely snapped off with a pair of pliers. The short clip above demonstrates this easy process.

My number one rule with blades is to be careful! When not in use, make sure your blades are retracted, or stored in a manner that covers the blade edges.

Visit the Olfa website to learn more about their variety of cutting tools. I'm sure that they'll have all sorts of great things to say about their products, my advice is to believe every word!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Blog Interview: Nina Judin Books

Name:
Nina Judin

Company/Etsy Site:
Nina Judin Books

Website:

Blog:
within the website

Location:
Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe

How long has your Etsy shop been open?
since autumn 2006 - the shop was inactive for a length of time due to arrival of baby (the best reason of them all!)

How did you get into crafting?
I chose it as study after concluding that fine arts nor academic study were my cup of tea. Now I'm doing a bit of a mix of all three.


How did Etsy come into your life?
A friend of mine told me of a friend of hers who was pregnant at the same time as I was, we got talking and turned out she was selling on Etsy. Check out katrinakaye.etsy.com!

What was your involvement in the crafting world before stumbling upon Etsy?
Etsy is my online shop. In First Life I have a bindery here in Amsterdam, which I've run since 2002.

Do you have a day job?
Yes, my bindery, at the moment part time due to the above mentioned baby, now 2 years.

Tell us about your shop: Does anyone help you?
I do all of it... Right now I've hired someone to redo the graphics (banners, avatars etc) in my shop and if it's a success you'll find the link in my shop ; )

What advice would you give to newbies on Etsy or in the crafting world?
Mind your money. Of course it is fantastic to sell, but PLEASE pay attention to your prices. Are you going to be able to live from what you get?

What's the most challenging part of your crafting?
Keeping the balance of things. Making, creating is wonderful. Sitting behind the computer working on photos, mails, postings and research is fun too. Shopping for supplies is exciting. Working on an exhibition is a high for months. And being with the ones I love is unmissable. The only part I'm not too excited about is bookkeeping, which is why I have a super accountant that saves me from the bookkeeping stress every time. Recommended!
Do you show your work locally?
Yes, at exhibitions and at my atelier.

Famous last words?
"I will never..."

How did you get interested in bookmaking?
When seeing an exhibition of creative bookbinding in Estonia in 1995.

How long have you been crafting? Bookmaking?
Binding books since 1995.


What is your favorite stitch/technique?
Carolingian binding.

What is the one tool or supply that you couldn't live without?
My toolbox as a whole. Over the years I've collected many personalized tools that are irreplaceable!

Materials you use for your books?
Paper, leather, wood. And others.

What inspires you?
Materials.
Guilty pleasure?
Surfing the net 'till wee hours