Some new little marbled journals are up in the shop today. These were a delight to put together – I marbled the papers, then dyed some lengths of silk with apple bark and sandalwood to match. The signatures are folded down from whole sheets in the old-fashioned manner, then cut by hand.
September 11, 2014
September 8, 2014
For the past year I have been working with the artist Janice Gordon to construct a series of triptychs and collages, which are now winging across the ocean to a gallery in Florence. Janice’s work is a captivating blend of found objects and metaphysical speculation. She finds the spirit carried within each object, and by assembling these disparate pieces of our cultural and natural history, projects an evocative and many-layered story. The stories of this body of work, titled A Cuore Aperto, are concerned with the heart and its complex physical and spiritual connotations.
Heart Sutra, Janice Gordon
Working with Janice has been a delight, as we share so many common interests and aesthetics. My contribution was the assembly of the triptychs and their mechanical action, using antique book covers almost exclusively. Janice’s collages juxtapose antique marbled book covers and pastedowns with histological slides used in contemporary medical research. The cardiovascular cell structures on these slides eerily and beautifully harmonize with the marbled patterns. Needless to say, working amidst piles of gorgeous antique papers and distressed old medical books has been dreamy!
Affinities, Janice Gordon
A Cuore Aperto will be on view at C2 Contemporanea 2 in Florence beginning this Thursday, September 11.
Janice Gordon: A Cuore Aperto
September 11 – October 10, 2014
C2 è a Firenze in via Ugo Foscolo, 6 50124 FI
From the curator, Silvia Cangioli:
“With a particular interest in the heart, Janice Gordon works in the liminal space between apparent opposites: matter and spirit, science and religion, nature and culture. In this new series A Cuore Aperto, art and science, tradition and modernity live together in work which has both great emotional impact and a delicate sensibility.
With the determination of a researcher who seeks to comprehend the heart in all its aspects, Gordon has studied the representation of the heart in art history and how the portrayal of the heart has evolved in connection with our medical understanding of how it functions; she went to Florence to peruse the antique anatomical texts in Florentine libraries and visited the extraordinary collection of anatomical waxes at the Museum of Natural History; she observed cardiovascular interventions in operating rooms; she visited medical schools and laboratories in Europe and America…
…This was the genesis of A Cuore Aperto: she began to combine magnified images of cardiovascular tissue which she had photographed in research laboratories with traditional materials and historical forms associated with Florence. Thus were born the Triptychs that the artist created using antique marbleized book covers from her collection. These works, which have the aura of sacred objects, are akin to medieval traveling altars and are also a reference to the ancient tradition of marbleized paper, for which Florence is renowned.
Gordon’s Tryptichs, however, are enigmatic, as if they were guarding a secret: an image which is a revelation of contemporary science. The marbleized doors open to a central panel revealing cardiovascular cells, and the forms created by the art of marbleization resonate to such a degree with nature’s biological structures that it is strangely difficult to discriminate between the two.”
Saint’s Companion, Janice Gordon
September 1, 2014
I’m looking to collaborate with a writer. I’d like to produce a limited edition of fiction, poetry, or nonfiction – something intriguing or gripping or beautiful, by a person I can develop an equally expressive book design with. I have many varied techniques to draw on in creating a wholly unique design, and I’m looking for a challenge. So please submit your work!
- Any type of writing, so long as it will fit in one volume.
- You will be responsible for paying for the edition. The design and edition size will be developed within your budget.
- You must possess the rights to reproduce the writing.
- A sample of your writing
- A little about yourself
- Please use the contact form here, with the subject line ‘writing submission’
Please send in submissions by October 15, 2014, and I will be touch with potential collaborators shortly thereafter!
August 26, 2014
I am delighted to be profiled in the Little Book of Book Making:Timeless Techniques and Fresh Ideas for Beautiful Handmade Books by Charlotte Rivers, just released by Potter Craft. I have just excitedly thumbed through my copy, and it is brimming with inspiring work from bookbinders, including some new even to me. This is not a beginner’s instructional guide, but rather a journey through beautiful stitches, folds, and paper treatments. Tutorials in these techniques are contributed by the profiled artists, including a guide to naturally dyeing paper with fresh plants from me!
Update: Published in the UK by Jacqui Small under the title I Love Handmade Books
August 19, 2014
I was recently interviewed by For the Makers, Brooklyn’s inspiring resource for DIY projects. This month’s Veritas collection is focused on academia and old-school techniques – as you know, right up my alley! Check it out here.
August 18, 2014
The kettle stitch, which holds the tension along each signature and acts as the change-over for many bindings, is a persnickety little stitch until you get the hang of it. When learning the coptic or sewn-to-tape bindings a common problem is an incorrect kettle stitch that does not ‘lock’ the tension, or a kettle so successful it cinches the head and tail while the center of the spine bows outward. These diagrams illustrate how I execute the kettle stitch, along with a trick for regulating the sewing tension both along the spine and between the signatures.
On reaching the head or tail of a signature, I exit the last sewing station, make certain the thread is nicely taught, then clamp down with a forefinger on the fold about 1/2″ inside the last sewing station. The thread (and tension) is held firmly by this finger, and the end of the signature pops up just a bit. That tiny bit of extra space will prevent the kettle from cinching too tightly. I hold this position until the kettle stitch is completed with my other hand, locking the thread in place.
To execute the kettle stitch while holding this posture may seem acrobatic at first, but it can be easily done using the technique recommended in Non-Adhesive Binding, Volume III by Keith Smith. Having made certain to place the sewing stations a distance from the head and tail that is shorter than the length of your needle, its point will emerge from between the signatures and can be pulled through the loop in one easy motion. To tighten the kettle stitch keeping that extra iota of space, pull the thread straight upwards. And finally, release the finger that has been clamping your signature down all this while.
Another helpful technique is the french link stitch, which regulates the tension across the spine (between the signatures) by linking each stitch spanning a tape to its neighbor. The french link stitch is an extra step, but the herringbone-like pattern it creates can be a lovely addition to an exposed spine.
August 11, 2014
Just a quick note to say that you can now find me on Instagram, where I’ll be sharing a more informal look at work in progress, workshops, and other inspirations.
And I’ll be needing to collect lots of inspiring folks to follow, so drop me a line with any suggestions!
June 11, 2014
A guest book made of linen and antique crinoline fabric, dyed with walnut, black cherry bark, and indigo. Sympathy between fibers and colors.
June 6, 2014
This year the Natural Dyeing for Book Artists workshop I’ll be teaching at the Center for Book Arts has been expanded to a 2-day long intensive! We will be dyeing a variety of samples and exploring mark- and pattern-making on both paper and fabric, while learning the fundamentals of materials, mordants, and permanence. Natural dyes have so many applications in both fine binding and artist books, and a wealth of cultural history to consider. The weekend will be full to the brim, and I hope to see you there!
May 16, 2014
Sewing Seeds will be hosting STAINED, an event of sensory experiences through natural dyes, on Thursday, May 22. This fundraiser to support Sewing Seeds programs promises to be amazing! Read more about the incredible artists participating and purchase tickets here. Sewing Seeds just keeps getting better.
The program is also accepting applications for its summer residency now!