The Art of Book Design: My Garden in Spring

E. A. Bowles. My Garden in Spring. London: T. C. & E. C. Jack, 1914 — Source. Cover design by Katherine Cameron

I love books. Real books with real paper are a treat for the senses. I love the way they feel in my hand, the way they smell and the way they catch my eye. That last bit, the eye-catching, is what this new series is all about; the art of designing striking books that make you stop and take a closer look. My original interest in starting this series came from The Public Domain Review and I’ll be pulling from their collections and lots of other sources. Every day you’ll get a beautiful book to admire. Many will be old, but not all. There will be a lot of art nouveau because I like art nouveau, but I’ll try to change it up and keep it interesting. I’m also willing to feature any book you might want to share as long as it’s beautiful and eyecatching. Send any of your suggestions to me at affinitysubmissions@gmail.com. The address is always in the sidebar.

Our Book today is in celebration of Spring. The art nouveau design is by Katherine Cameron and together with E.A. Bowles they created a series of garden books. If you click on the link below you can also find the covers for My garden in Autumn and Winter and My garden in Summer. Together they make a beautiful set.

From: My Beautiful Book Finds

 

 

Precious Tulips

From Nightjar,

These photos were taken in the last day of winter, just before the equinox. I brought these little red tulips from my grandma’s garden after she died and I planted them in a pot to be sure I wouldn’t lose them. It turned out to be a great idea and by moving it around I was able to capture them in different light conditions.

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

In which Marcus enters uncanny territory

It’s no secret that Marcus sends parcels of wonder across the globe, but by now I think he’s a mind reader. You all know that wood and resin is about my favourite combination ever, as in my latest necklace and earrings:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

But nothing surpasses the beauty of burl in resin projects, which I have been looking for for ages without much luck. You can imagine the look on my face when yesterday a parcel arrived and instead of being my husband’s new phone battery, it was these gorgeous pieces of burl:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

How did Marcus know? I have no clue, but I’m glad he did.

Thank you very much again, Marcus.

March Light

Nightjar has sent us something special to start the week; busy little pollinators and beautiful March Light.

Spring has definitely arrived here! My opinion is that March Light is best seen when reflecting off the wings of all the busy pollinators, and that is exactly what I tried to capture this month. The weather and the insects cooperated with me. Shiny wings everywhere!

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

[Read more…]

Even More Books…

Well, one more book. I have about twenty knife and swords books in the sights for future purchases, but I am still in the middle of reading the first seven I already have purchased. The flu-like illness that has been bugging me on and off for two weeks is unfortunately not very conducive to reading, especially to reading in a foreign language.

But Marcus was so very, very kind and has sent me this beauty, which I have not seen offered anywhere here. I must say it is a lovely book on first sight and it became a cherished possession instantly.

Now I had not planned on buying a book specifically about japanese knives, because I intend leaving making japanese knives to the Japanese, but there is no denying that they have a reputation of being superb tools so it won’t hurt to know about them. Quite the opposite, I am sure there is a lot of knowledge in this book that will be beneficial to me and I am very much looking forward to reading it.

However this makes me think a little – all the knives that I have made so far and that I intend to make in the future are my own designs and represent my aesthetical preferences as well as my style of using a knife. And whenever I look at works of other knife-makers (which I do not do very often), often I see that everyone develops a distinctive style. For example Bob Loveless has been renown for drop-point small hunting knives, Walter Sorrels sells mostly very pointy and straight, tanto-style all-purpose knives, Stefan Santangelo seems to like knives which have a slight forward angle between the blade and the handle with a little kink in it etc. I have no doubt that all these knives are perfectly functional and comfortable to use. There is no single “correct” knife design.

I find it remarkable how expressive can be a piece of craft that is essentialy just a sharpened sheet of metal with a piece of wood to hold it with, even when looking at just the outline.


Incidentally you can see two things in the last picture. Firstly, my left middle finger is nearly completely healed. There is still slight swelling and an area with tickling-burning sensation when touched, but it gets constantly, albeit very slowly, better. Secondly, in case you are wondering, that is my school pencil-case, about thirty years old by now.

Mould Making

Yesterday we saw the birth of a couple of little Mermaids, today it’s two steps back in the process: mould making.

I have long wanted some more natural looking moulds and with the mermaid moulds being so frustrating I finally decided to use the materials Marcus sent me last year.

I’ll only show the process for the pebbles, but describe the squares as well.

While you can embed almost everything into silicone, if you want a mould that creates shiny resin pieces, your positive has to be smooth as a baby’s butt, so my first step was to cover some pebbles and pieces of wood in resin.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The problem with the wood was that the cut sides soaked up the resin, staying rough, so I decided to cover the whole thing again the next day. This times the sides became smooth, but the resin decided not to stick to itself on the top…

After I covered my pieces in resin I created the “mould box”. Marcus made those four pieces you can clamp to each other, allowing for variable sizes. You just need to put some putty into the cracks to seal it, something that worked well here, but not that well with the wood pieces, so I drowned my kitchen table in silicone and then had to somehow scoop it up again because I didn’t have enough to replace it.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The resin had created a flat foot on the pebbles that I worked a little with sanding paper, so i could put the flat on the surface and pour the silicone on top with little worries that they’d rise to the top…

©Giliell, all rights reserved

All poured, now wait…

©Giliell, all rights reserved

This is the mould with the pebbles still inside. They came out nice and clean and I

really like that mould. Now for trying it out…

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The green one on the right was a different mould, one where I tried to make all round pieces. Those still need some working on.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

You can see that they’re really glossy while also really pebble-irregular.

The square ones are fine for making pieces that you sand down, but due to the issues with the resin not that nice and clean. Afterwards I remembered that Marcus had once sent me a “book club” block that would have made a nice clean mould…

I also tried some small globe shaped moulds, which still need some tinkering, so the next time I need to order resin I’ll also order some more silicon.

The Plural of Mermaid is Moremaids

After the little mermaid in the last craft post, I decided to use that idea some more and insert them into landscapes.

To do that you need some larger moulds and tools to shape the result afterwards. I built my single use moulds with thin wood and popsickle sticks, lining them with tape. This worked half- well.

One came out quite nice and shiny, which was lucky, but the other one not so much, which meant sanding. To give you an idea what that means here’s a series of pics demonstarting the process:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

This is after sanding with a 120 grid to make the surface even.

[Read more…]

Harakka in Autumn: Chapter 17

It’s time to bid farewell to the island of Harakka and I’d like to thank Ice Swimmer for sharing this special place with all of us. It’s been a wonderful adventure and I’m going to miss these quiet walks filled with colour and beauty.

Chapter 17 – Sea, Sky and Farewell

This is the final part of the story of my autumnal visits to Harakka. We start with an interlude with the theme Sea and Sky.

Two Masts ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

This picture is from the western rocks.

Essential for Life©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Water is life and so are the sun and the air.

Into the Fog ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The ship to Stockholm is going into the fog.

Autumnal ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Saturday was a more autumnal day than Sunday.

After the interlude it is time to say goodbye to Harakka.

Strait ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

A view south to the strait between Särkkä and Harakka.

Call ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The semaphore is up, calling the boat to mainland. Goodbye, Harakka.

This was the story of the island Harakka in October 2018.

Harakka in Autumn: Chapter 16

Thanks again Ice Swimmer for all the time and work you put into this series. 

Harakka in Autumn: Chapter 16

It’s time to put away your worries for a while and take a walk with Ice Swimmer. Today we’re going up.

Chapter 16 – Top and Around

Odd Spruce Revisited ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The spruce is odd because it has an even number of crowns. The deciduous trees behind the spruce are hiding the wetland.

[Read more…]