Sunday, 31 October 2010

BlueRoofDesigns wins the BEST Zombie Award!

Congratulations to Elissa, of BlueRoofDesigns! Her accordion book, "Show me the Mummy" received the most votes in our team challenge. Elissa is hereby awarded the BEST Zombie Award for 2010, which includes unlimited bragging rights and the right to use the associated graphics on her own website and there will be a special feature here on our blog in the very near future. Way to go, Elissa!

View the final poll results below.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Vote for your Favorite to win the BEST Zombie Award for 2010

It's time for our annual challenge where we ask everyone to vote for their favorite book. The book with the most votes will be award the BEST Zombie Award for 2010. The award includes a special feature here on our blog, unlimited bragging rights, and the right to use the award graphics on his/her own website!

Click these images to see larger pictures and full descriptions then vote using the poll below. Winner will be announced on October 31st.

A. Three Blank Slates
by PurpleBeanBindery

B. Pumpkin Journal
by Moovetheneedle

C. Little Rustic Leather Books
by KarleighJae

D. Vampire Fangs Journal
by buechertiger

E. Autumn Pop-up Book
by MyHandboundBooks

F. Autumn Colors Journal Set
by mylanderbooks

G. Show Me the Mummy Accordion Book
by BlueRoofDesigns

Friday, 15 October 2010

Interview with Linda from Tortagialla

Welcome to Italy! Today I have the pleasure to introduce you to Linda Tieu of Tortagialla.
She has been an Etsy member for about a year, and joined our team in July this year. Her book for the latest swap caught my attention, if you want to have a look click here - but come back to read the interview!

Hi Linda, nice to meet you and learn more about you! Where are you located?
I live in Tuscany, Italy although I'm originally from Los Angeles. I moved here just about two years ago after quitting my job and marrying the love of my life! I was basically saved from the cubicle life and whisked away to a life of wine and pasta. I know it sounds like such a fairytale story, but it's really my life and I am totally loving it!

How did crafting and bookmaking enter you life?
My first introduction to bookmaking was years ago when a friend took a bookmaking class. I was definitely intrigued but made just a few journals for myself to use. I didn't start my Etsy shop until after moving to Italy, with more time on my hands to actually pursue the hobby. I happen to live in an area where leather is processed and was so surprised to learn that a lot of leather is either thrown away or mashed up to become a grayish looking eco-leather. Much of this "waste leather" is still perfectly good to use, just not large enough for a purse or coat perhaps. I had to save them! Many are unique colors, textures and patterns that would never be produced again since everything changes per season, per client. So I started acquiring small amounts and making little crafts…eventually settling into using leather for journals and giving them away as gifts to all my friends and family. That's how it all got started…

Do you have a day job in addition to being a bookbinder and organizing your shop?
I'm a freelance designer by day, working in graphic design and web design…although projects have been slow this year, giving me more time to pursue my crafty interests. I am self taught in design and actually went to school for Mathematics!

A mathematician, how interesting! I am a mathematician, too, and I was surprised to find out that there are quite a lot of us among book binders. What do you think is it about bookbinding that seems to attract mathematicians?
There must be something about formulas, procedure and details that makes bookbinding attractive or in-tune with those who study math. It's funny because as a child I thought math was so absolute and direct. 2 + 2 equals 4 and there's an answer to everything and a right way to do things. Then as you learn more and study higher math, you realize how loose things can be and how much room there is for interpretation. I think bookbinding is a bit like that for me. There are methods, techniques and the right way to construct books...but the more I learn the more artistic, free flowing and open it becomes. I love both subjects!

Let's talk about your shop. - What does your shopname mean?
My Etsy shop name "tortagialla" is actually two Italian words stuck together. "Torta" means cake and "gialla" means yellow - yellow cake - a nickname my husband gave me that stuck for all my creative adventures.

What kind of books do you make?
I started out by making pretty classic leather journals, but have just branched into more grungy and scrappy looking books as well as elaborating on the wrap around closures. I really love fibers, ribbons and lace as well as braiding, knotting and tying…so I'm really trying to incorporate all the things I love into my craft. I've never taken a bookmaking course before and take on a very freestyle approach to bookmaking.
Every journal I make starts with the piece of leather in hand. The journal sort of comes out of the material itself, it is never a planned out process.
I don't like measuring things, and freehand a lot as well…to me it's all about the leather and materials… the magic of pulling together raw materials into something useful and functional.

What can we expect from Tortagialla in the future? I have recently gotten into zines and created one myself! It's called Pensieri, meaning thoughts in Italian and focuses on one topic each issue. I just created the first issue in August 2010 and have learned a great deal already about indie publishing and just the logistics of duplicating something. All my leather journals are made one-by-one and unique, so the mass assembly of identical books is new to me! However, I love the idea of making a book and the content within. It is like a whole new realm. I've already learned a lot from the first issue going out and have lots of changes and new ideas for the upcoming issue, so stay tuned!

Thank you for taking your time for this interview!
If you want to know more about Linda, check out her website, and of course tortagialla on Etsy!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Interview with Eric from Backdoor Books

Welcome to the first interview here after the summer break! I have had the pleasure to speak with Eric Cannon of Backdoor Books. He is located in Wilmington, Delaware, in the USA. He has been an Etsy member since March, and you may remember his name from the last book swap in which he participated (click here to see his contribution).

Hi Eric, nice to meet you! I am curious: Is there a story behind your Etsy-Name?
I'd really like to say it was something meaningful or profound, but truth be told, a friend of mine named my shop. It was kind of random. I liked the way it sounded, and the way it looked.

How and when did crafting and bookmaking come into your life?
I come from a pretty crafty family. My parents own a bakery that did some pretty bizarre one-of-a-kind cakes. Our bakery was doing the crazy stuff long before any of the new celebrity bakers on TV today. Growing up with four siblings, and in that kind of environment, it was be creative or not be noticed. So, being the competitive lad that I was, I chose to study crafts in college. I went to a very good university in Philadelphia for a BFA in Crafts. In college we were encouraged to specialize and to experience all the different media. My specialty was Goldsmithing and Jewelry design. Working in gold is somewhat limiting. Because of the expense, you are not able to play and experiment. Everything is measured 12 times before you start. So as a bit of a relief from this I took a papermaking and bookbinding course. I figured paper was about as far away from metals and you could get. I really enjoyed bookbinding. It was so freeing but still had the structure and history that I enjoyed.

Do you have a day job different from being an Etsy seller? And how does your life outside Etsy look like?
I am currently only semi-employed. I was laid off from a job that I loved due to cut backs. Trying not to focus on how depressing that was, I poured myself into my binding and Etsy. Now I try to think of the lay off as an Artist's sabbatical. How many people actually get to take a few months off to create? I am very lucky.... poor, but lucky.

My life outside Etsy? I spend most of my waking (and non-waking) hours coming up with new book designs, and ways to promote my shop. Etsy to me is not a website to make money, but a community of artist's coming together and share their work.

Tell us a little more about your shop and your crafting: What do you make and sell?
Currently, my books are explorations in techniques and materials, and my work is a bit all over the place style-wise. And I am ravenous about discovering new techniques and binding methods. I get most excited when I am working with a new type of paper, or doing a binding method that I have never tried before. I really enjoy how old the processes are, and how these ancient techniques can be mixed with modern materials.
I want my customer to be able to discover new things on my shop. I don't want to provide what they need, but rather show them what they didn't know that they wanted.
I hope people buy my work because they are interested in coming along for the ride. I guess that's why I refer to my books as artist's journals. They are created by a creative person to contain the thoughts and ramblings of other creative people.

What do you call yourself: Book Artist, Book Maker, Book Binder - or something else?
I call myself all kinds of different things: artist, craftsman, book binder. I have given myself so many labels (some not so flattering at times... but that's another story) Mostly I refer to myself as a craftsman. The title "artist," in my mind, refers to someone who expresses themselves in media that are not utilitarian. Craftsman make art that is used, it has a functional purpose. To the masses when you say you are an artist , they picture you with a paint brush and canvas. When you say you are a craftsman, they form no mental picture and will ask questions. I really enjoy the conversations that starts.

Do you have a crafting hero?
I really do love Tim Holtz. He is a product designer, craftsman, and he gets to travel the world teaching his craft. How cool is that? He has my dream job... wait a second...actually I kind of hate him for stealing my job!

Can you give us an outlook what to expect from bookdoor books in the future?
Right now I am focusing on my blog as a selling tool for my shop. I LOVE to do tutorials and share my learning processes. I am also planning on doing a give-away in November of some non-traditional materials for Binders. It's going to be cool so please stop by!

Thank you for taking your time for this interview, and showing us around behind the scenes of backdoor books!
Thank you all for taking the time to read this. Please feel free to stop by my blog and my Etsy Shop, leave a comment. I really enjoy the dialogue and the sharing of ideas and processes!