Crochet cover

25 Oct 2011

Crochet cover notebook with found paper

We’ve had a little bit of a non-creative while as of late, but I suppose that changing location and moving all the time doesn’t help with the peace and quiet that this kind of activities require, at least for us. Gathering the materials, planning the project, realizing it… They kind of require a worry-free mind.

This notebook was made using a long roll of wrinkled recycled paper that had been used as filling for some mail package. After flattening, folding and ripping the pages I made four-page sections and stitched them together.

The cover is some light cardboard (from a detergent box), covered on the inside with a used brown envelope and on the outside with some crocheted fabric made with cotton and linen yarn that also includes a string to tie it closed and protect the pages.

On an other subject, some of our readers mentioned a little bit of confusion between the terms recovered, found and recycled paper. Usually when we talk about recovered and found paper we mean paper that was destined for or even already in the bin. This kind of paper we just use as it comes, with minimal processing: cutting, folding, and such.

On the other hand, recycled paper is the kind that has been mecanically or industrially reshaped or remade in order to bring it again to the user. We don’t do this process ourselves as of now, so whenever we mention recycled paper it is a property of the kind of paper we are using.

Nevertheless, it is possible that we’ve used these terms confusingly in the past, and we’ll try to pay more attention to our terminology in the future.

The paper was all wrinkled, but it looks really good now!

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Novel pursuits

8 Sep 2011

A book with words!

This one took us a while, a lot of head scratching and eye-straining.  A friend of ours wanted us to print a very special edition of his first, as-yet unpublished novel;  just something to hold in his hands and be able to read from a planar surface that doesn’t emit light.  Something that you can flip the pages of…  So we were honoured to print a single-copy edition of his first completed novel and perhaps set the ball rolling on his future publications.

A perfect bound soft-cover was the plan and we came out with what I like to label a faux hardcover, because of the rigid nature of the board we used to shield the pages.  We had to head out to a local shop to print the text as we’re not fully situated with the necessary equipment, but what can ya do?  Luckily, they had recycled A4 paper, which lends a very nice “paperback” quality to the paper.

Fold, Trim, Clamp, Glue.

We found some really nice grey construction paper in the scrap bin at a nearby print house which we found useful for the cover and on the morning of the edition’s completion, Zahara had the absolutely brilliant idea to screenprint the titles, so we spent an hour or so working out a design template on a piece of paper and fixed it to the frame directly, which seemed reasonable for a single print and it stood the test of our bravery.  Below you can see how it turned out; we were simultaneously blown away and relieved that our ballsiness paid off.

Clayton still has to perfect the gluing process:  the end papers suffered a bit of stickage to the cover as a result of some leak, which was more or less remedied but still lends a less than desirable wrinkle to the pages.  As it turns out, he also reversed one of the pages such that the spine was out and the page ends were glued into the spine.  Yikes!  Oh well, it will surely be one of these highly sought after first editions in only ten years time.

The dimensions of this copy are approximately 120 x 180 mm.

One lesson learned in this process is that despite the most strained and valiant efforts of perfectionism, errors still occur; that’s forgiveable but on word of honour it pays to remedy them before too long.

I la portada serigrafiada!

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Some others

7 Sep 2011

small Dos-à-dos

In a mad rush to use up all the paper we collected from various deposits around Berlin, Clayton glued together a bunch of sheets into perfect-bound blocks of various dimensions.  Thanks to his industriousness and Z’s ingenuity the world has the good fortune of more beautiful little books wandering around.  We didn’t manage to use every last scrap but we did a good job of it nonetheless.

A sad bit of news is that we lost the lovely little lino-cut stamp featuring our edicions cotton flower logo.  Now we have the sad fortune or perhaps shining opportunity of deciding to carve one anew, or digitise the old one from finished prints and send it off to a stamp-maker to laser engrave us a rubber version.  The benefit of the latter  is expediency but perhaps thereby we’d lose a bit of the artistic touch of the lino-cut.  We’ll see.

Clayton’s favourite is the fishy.  What’s yours?


A notebook covered with a poster found in the streets of BerlinFish fish (illustration by Violeta Lopiz

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26 Aug 2011

Our first hardcover book!

It’s difficult to determine when mere effort and due dilligence transcends habit and becomes passion, but it’s starting to feel extremely comfortable and even natural expressing creativity through my finger tips.  It’s easier to see that perhaps even archivists are, in a certain measure, artists: of observation of insight, collection, selection, care and analysis.  If the process of collecting materials and assembling them to render something which some consider a mere vessel can be so rewarding I’m really looking forward to the act of filling those pages

We set out to try our first hardcover notebook and the end result gives me a source of optimism for the future.

It has a really reassuring quality of strength and durability to it.  I don’t imagine I’ll be producing these for every edition but they definitely have their place in my rubric.

Important things to remember:

  •  Harvested magazine paper can be beautiful but it easily drowns and ripples when being applied with WET glues
  • Sew strong and tight and don’t give any slack.
  • Evenly space the hole/sewning marks for an equally distributed tension between the signatures
  • Puncture along the spine only marking the sewing holes
  • Score appropriately for the thickness of paper used
  • Hold on tight

I think I’ll continue to work on learning the more difficult aspects of bookbinding while commencing my own projects and ideas to fill these empty pages.

Here you can see some of its imperfections

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Time passes

24 Aug 2011

Cançoner per l'ukelele

I recently made a new friend and it seems that I’ve been in the possession of a letter, on the cover of which her name is emblazoned, a time just a hair longer than one year.  To remedy this  lamentable trespass into the realm of ignorance and malpractice I rendered her this sweet treat that is very much in line with a personal obsession for playing the ukelele.  I wonder if she’ll use it to scribe pretty little ditties and play them pluckily, wandering the narrow passages from now until tomorrow?

The nitty gritty: I recently found a postcard on the window ledge of a shop adorned with and devoted to ukeleles and their endless  accoutrements.  It was an instant association and understanding that the universe had willed me there on a magnificent day in the midst of a morose Berlin summer(weather-wise) and all I had to do thence was accept inertia’s creep and do the deed of manifesting its intent.

It’s perfect-bound with glue and I lined the postcard with kraft paper as it became the book´s interior; then I folded the card around the book block and glued it all together to set for a while.

I did have more problems with “lifting” so next time I´ll try folding the card before gluing in the lining to prevent too much distortion or crumpling.

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Hoch soll er leben!

23 Aug 2011

It's re(a)d like a strawberry

We have another sheet of this hearty wrapping paper and I wanted to cut some to use for a notebook that was intended as a gift bestown upon my best friend for his concurrent birthday.  This is the result.  Finally, my efforts have born good fruit that hangs low from the tree; gotta love them easy pickins.

As ever, we had more of this containered colour-coded paper to use up and I oriented it to trim neatly the page-bottoms.  I had the half-baked notion of trying out a japenese stab-stich to hold in the block and turned out well enough, if a bit sloppy, but I will think thrice before attempting to implement that device ever again in such a thick book, especially a perfect-bound/hard-cover hybrid as this.

As you can see, Z impressed upon me the widsom of giving it a bookmark.

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Even smaller: més petit!

22 Aug 2011

If the others were minibooks, are these microbooks?

In order to use some paper rests that were lying around I made these tiny books. It’s actually a little hard to work at this size… And even though they took so much to make, it’s not completely clear if it is humanly possible to write in them: I already tried it in one of the miniature books (which are twice the size of these ones) and it’s harder than I expected!

No worries though, at least they are useful as construction blocks.

By the way: we do have smiley keys!

Al menys serveixen per a construir castells i torres...

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Little things come in threes

15 Aug 2011

Our three first minuatures (we are making more for sure!)

We recently paid a visit to the Lilliputians and were chastised for not obeying their rigid custom of presenting a gift to our gracious and generous hosts.  Thus, we are forced to pay tribute to these micr0-men or be sentenced to endure an hour long performance of their national choir… ouch!  Imagine cats in heat times one thousand! …

It turns out the act of rendering mini-books is a joy on par with or greater than spending hours gawking at photos on cute overload.  We don’t feel quite so stupid drooling and whimpering over these sweet things, after realising that they actually serve some purpose and can be quite useful for very specific cases, such as being adorable and manifesting dementia and  strange facial contortions in otherwise sane adults.

An aspect of these that is somewhat surprising, although shouldn’t be is that they actually host a fair number of pages despite their slight stature; we’ve managed to count about 160 in the blue one.

I’d like to think that these little wonders can facilitate a manner of concision in this world of endlessly increasing meaningless streams of cheap and empty words.  Essentially, they’re the twitter of the print world…. oh no!  Let’s hope the little ones put our gifts to good use.

The straight dope: The matchbox book is sewn while the two others are simply glued.

Here we are working carefully in one of the little notebooksHere you can see the covers and the matchbox book's bookmark.

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Book of bookmaking

11 Aug 2011

It has a nice button for closing!

This is our first attempt at making a longer notebook with the recovered paper and other reused materials. It’s also the first one in which glue has a structural role (and not only for applying decoration), but we still haven’t investigated much on the subject of different glues, so we’ll see if the craft and stick glue we used are at all durable!.

I decided to use it as a handbook of bookmaking where I take notes of different techniques, tricks, etc. so that they are always at hand while I am making a book (this way I won’t have to stop to look through 3 different books every time I don’t remember a little detail…) Please make no comments about my ability to embroider: I can not be good at everything!

Also, this one has a twin brother; it will be shown when its time is due.

And  a pocket in the back to store random scraps of papers!Here's my "Llibre de fer llibres" or Book of bookmaking

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