Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Preparing to bind the chapbook

By request, my husband (artist James Hayes) made me a beautiful (all-powerful, almighty, awesome) awl for my birthday this year. He even made a holder for it to protect the sharp point -

and to protect me from the sharp point! I used to have an awl but it went AWOL some years ago, and last year when I did a lot of bookbinding I resolved to get another because I was fed up using pushpins! With the founding of Precariat Press in the spring of this year, I knew I'd be doing more bookbinding, so getting a new awl was mandatory. So when this gorgeous tool was made specially for me, I swooned!

Once I had decided on the concept, design, cover image & printing, the poems to be included and the layout (all of which I discussed here, here and here) the final step was to collate and bind. Collating all the pages together into booklets also required a lot of folding with my trusty bone folder.

I had a second mock-up book (from which I made corrections) and I measured out where the 3 binding holes would be placed and, after punching these holes used the individual pages as templates for the final books. I had decided early on that I would be doing a traditional 3-hole chapbook bind.

Once binding holes had been punched in all the chapbooks (it is an edition of 50), I was ready to start binding. I had picked up 6-strand cotton thread in a colour to match the cover some weeks ago. In next week's blog I will discuss the journey of the thread to bind the chapbooks.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Signal studio residency 2020

I started my third studio residency at Signal Arts Centre last week and already I feel very much at home in the space, despite arriving masked and chatting to people with coronavirus protocols in place. I had residencies in the studio in both the fall of 2018 and the fall of 2019, so being here is becoming a pleasant annual habit. I blogged about the work done (or started) in both those residencies here and here, and as with those residencies I decided beforehand what my focus would be during my time in this studio. But first things first: after a simple tidy and sweep, I rearranged and covered tables to correspond with how I intended to work. I saw that one of the previous tenants had put the long mirror horizontally behind one of the sink areas (there are two) and I thought this would be a convenient spot for my daily self-portrait, a work warm-up for me. Since I don't actually need two sinks, I simply covered this sink with a wooden board to create another surface area.

I have use of the portable press till the end of the year, so it got its own table between the larger window and the sink that I would be using. My focus this year is to be on silk-fibre papermaking - a process that I learned a few months ago in zoom workshops provided by artist Tunde Toth. I blogged about this workshop here. I planned to make some paper and use it for monoprints related to my current body of work Memory Is My Homeland, which I have blogged about here, here, here, here, here and here.

So I started work well before lunchtime. This is my first self-portrait of the week, done with watercolour pencil.

As I knew I would not be ready for printing this week, and always feel that I should do at least three different things in the studio daily, I brought materials to make collage cards. Thinking of my recent work on Aos Dara-Umha Aois Combined Symposium, which I blogged about here, here and here, I created a collage card based on my memory of the saplings and ferns at the entrance to Tomnafinnoge Wood.

By the end of the week, I had used up most of my silk fibre supplies, but happily so. I made a number of sheets that are raw in colour and I also made some sheets using dry pigments to give intense colours.

Here are some of the sheets fully drying on blotting paper. I look forward to printing on them soon!