Thursday, January 27, 2011

More Letterpress Activity

I returned to the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center today to print the second page (text) of Miller Road. What I learned: use the same composing stick throughout a project! I had to spend the better part of an hour filling in tiny gaps with brass and copper pieces in the last third of the page of text; those lines were slightly shorter than the rest.
But once I started printing I was pleased I could do it all on my own. It took some trial and error before I could print the second page of text directly behind the first, but it worked out.

I've been reading some stuff online about printing type on an etching press. Maybe I'll have the equipment to do this some day.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Making bookcloth

In the past I have used the method of making bookcloth described in the extremely helpful Handmade Books by Kathy Blake. I've had fairly good luck with it, but it is messy and time-consuming, and I've had problems with air bubbles. It occurred to me a few weeks ago that I could just use fusible web (usually thought of as a sewing notion) to bond the paper and cloth.I decided to experiment by making a piece of bookcloth with which to rebind the artist's book of The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock I attempted to bind in college. (I did okay, but have learned the right way to do it since.) For the cloth I chose a piece of 100% cotton in a red shade that matches the original piece of fabric I used. (I ran it through a wash cycle and dried it before making the bookcloth.) The paper is a sheet of kozo, a Japanese paper recommended by Kathy Blake. The fusible web I've had for years-- it's available in any fabric store.

The process is simple: sandwich the fusible web between the cloth and paper and iron the whole thing. I used a hot (cotton) setting and steam. I put the smoother side of the kozo on the inside, toward the web. And, important!-- the grain of the paper and the fabric must run in the same direction. The grain of the fabric is parallel to the selvedge, or finished edge of the cloth. The grain of the paper is the direction in which it is easiest to fold the sheet, without resistance.

I am very pleased with how this turned out; it's all very firmly fused with no bubbles. When it's time to cut it, I'll find out if any spots did not adhere, but it doesn't look like that will be a problem.

A 17" x 19" sheet of bookcloth from Daniel Smith costs $7.00; I estimate this costs half that and it's slightly bigger. The biggest advantage of homemade bookcloth, however, is in the variety of colors and patterns to choose from. I think any natural fiber woven cloth will work, probably some blends as well. So you can walk into any fabric store and think: "Bookcloth!"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Joy of Aquatint

...did not happen today. I have an amazing ventilation system. It's called Going Outside. With today's drizzling freezing rain the opportunity to use it just didn't happen. My aquatint method is what Kate Demke taught me: a fine mist of spray paint over the plate. I know there's another method using a rosin bag and a heat source and singing Kumbayah or something, but I've never done it and I don't have the equipment anyway.
Tomorrow I'll be in Grand Rapids so hopefully the weather will cooperate Thursday. It only takes a few minutes to spray some paint, then on to the next step.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Miller Road text

I spent the morning at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center printing the first page of the text for Miller Road. Many thanks to Katie Platte for helping me lock up the text and running me through the steps of using the Vandercook press. I think now I can do this by myself; I keep reviewing all the details in my mind.

This weekend I made some corrections on the etching Ponies; now I need to finish it up with some aquatint. It is the 13th etching for the book-- when it is done there is one more.

I've been thinking about homemade bookcloth. In the past I've used starch paste to glue kozo paper and fabric together. It's sloppy and I get air bubbles in the finished bookcloth. I wonder if one could use fusible web to "laminate" cloth and paper. This is my next experiment.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

First Goal, 2011

It's been taking me longer to finish Miller Road-49080 than I want to admit. Other projects keep coming in the way and displacing it . No more. Just two more etchings to finish, print the text at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center(the type is all set), print the signatures of etchings, and bind. Sounds simple, huh? And because I've never bound a multiple signature book before, I want to practice by rebinding the version of The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock I did years ago in college. At the time I had no idea what I was doing. Now it will make a nice "guinea pig" to practice on.