On not making books

Finally got a chance over the weekend to sit down and make some things. Not, of course, the things I had planned to make–I pulled out some lovely sturdy paper and my box of bookmaking tools and a slim (blank) text block I stitched together a few months back, but on the way to my very lovely studio (aka the kitchen table) to combine these elements into some kind of pleasing whole, my eye lit on another box on a different shelf, and I got detoured into spending a few good hours carving stamps and doing a little printing.

First I carved a little stamp and made some prints from it–a single stamp and a row of them:

I stamped the windows on some stiff paper (one side of an old file folder) and cut them out so I could use them as a stencil for laying down a solid (or not) color block the same size as the windows (so I can do single windows or a whole set of them in a row), and began puttering with that:

I piddled with this a while, and have more plans for this shape (which, in the spirit of full disclosure, I saw somewhere a year or two ago–I think in a Japanese stamp book, though I’m not sure–and sketched into my little ideas book, forgetting, alas, to write down where I saw it).  It has distinct possibilities.

Somehow that took me back to the tea bowls I painted and painted last spring, so I carved a stamp of a single bowl and then put it in a simple setting. That reminded me of a series of sketches I did a few months ago of different kinds of tea, different kinds of tea cups and glasses, so I worked off one of those and did another, very different  tea scene to go with it.  I stamped up some copies of these two on some ivory colored scrap paper that was on the table and liked the look of them.

Then I remembered I had some tiny (the window is 3 x 2-1/2″) faux-grained wooden picture frames I bought at least 10 years ago sitting around in a drawer,  and here they are:

Two tips for cheap frugal artists:

Master Carve, which I dearly love to use because it’s so easy to carve, but which could be somewhat sturdier (the stamps tend to crumble after many uses) is also thick enough that you can carve on both sides of it. The two tea pictures above are carved on opposite sides of the same blank, and I have some pieces on which I’ve carved on 4 sides.

Second, I do an awful lot of work with shorts–sets of uniformly sized odd cuts of paper left over from projects print shops do.  My local shop shrink wraps these little sets (of usually more than 100 sheets each) and sells them for around $1, sometimes less.  It’s also a great way to recycle.  I’ve amassed quite a collection of these small nice papers in all colors, weights, sizes, and finishes, and used them for notepapers, greeting cards, printed bookmarks, origami, and even for the pages of small hand-bound books. It’s definitely worth phoning up your local printing establishment to see if they sell shorts.

(Then ask them whether they have Prince Albert in the can.)

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3 responses to “On not making books

  1. ah, that chawan (matcha bowl) is so…just perfect. i love it.

    and i like the chibbles in the rabbit print. i vote for leaving it just as it is.

  2. Thank you for your kind remarks about the matcha bowl. I sort of have tea vessels on the brain these days.

  3. Pingback: As long as the art stuff was out . . . « Floating Ink

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