Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Handmade Book

Over the past week I've had fun working on a handmade book of poems and images, and coming up with some new techniques in the process.

The starting point was this handmade book that I bought from Yucca Valley artist Tobi Taboada back in December at the 29 Palms Gallery Crafts Show. Tobi told me that she acquired the walnut-dyed cover sheet from Cave Paper in Minneapolis, a handmade paper studio that's located in, you guessed it, a cave. The inside pages are mulberry paper made by Tobi herself.

Even though the mulberry sheets are quite thin, they are strong, and I decided to try running them through my HP 600 dpi laser printer. It worked! I attached each sheet to a regular sheet of 8.5x11 paper with a glue stick applied to the leading edge. After printing, the backing sheet peeled apart easily with no sticky residue.

I also wanted to use photographic images. This required a lot of experimentation. I took some of Bill's color photos and converted them to black and white in Microsoft Photo Editor, lightening them up to avoid saturating the paper with too much toner. The slightly ghost-like effect is just what I wanted.

The typeface for the poems is Papyrus.

I have always loved the process of bookmaking and look forward to doing more projects like this. I'm taking part in a "book collaborators group" in which each person makes a book and others contribute to it in a round-robin format--this is providing lots of inspiration.

Special thanks to Tobi for restitching the book after I disassembled it for printing!

Other poetry news: my book-length manuscript, "Invoking the Salamander," was recently named a finalist in the Cider Press Review competition. Thanks to my guardian angel Carla Riedel for strongly suggesting that I enter the contest.