Sunday, April 28, 2013


The Final Approach.....

I had cut the book boards out of some random cardboard that was hanging around.  It was thinner than an actual bookboard, but this was my first attempt at binding in about 15 years and my very first  attempt at the coptic stitch, courtesy of University of YouTube, so I wasn't too concerned about perfection.  I had taken a book-making class at Art Continuum many years ago and fell in love with it.  But in running a business and raising two active boys, I never made the time to tend to this art.  Gelli printing may be the kick I need to get me back to it.  I un-earthed the waxed linen thread that I had bought at the Art Continuum Marketplace and got to business!

I had gesso'd the boards yesterday and proceeded to cover them with leftover (a couple of my favorites!) Gelli prints.

Covering the boards:

Boards covered and enough Gelli print left over to cover the inside of the front and back covers as well:

Holes punched in the covers, ready for stitching:

Stitching the signatures:

And, now, the finished object!!  YAY!

Ta DA!

The spine:

Some random page spreads:
Love the blues on the stencil on the left side of the orange page here.

Ghost print goodness on the left.  And see that polka dot in the seam?  That was used to reinforce a page printed on an old dictionary page.  That paper was too thin and fragile to take the folding and punching so this was a fun and decorative solution.

A couple of two page 'centerfolds' where the stitched binding shows:
Love the colors and textures here!

Here is a shot of the inside front cover and first signature:

And here are some "model poses":

What I learned: better to use actual book boards that are more substantial and less likely to bow and bend.

What I learned: make sure your covers are carefully measured and the same size and the same size as your pages.  The back cover was slightly wider than the front and no one would notice that but me, but that little OCD piece of my personality goes crazy because I never noticed that until the covers were covered....and I made the decision that the papers I used to cover were more important than the exact sizing....that no one but me would notice

What I learned: when using dissimilar papers for the signatures, make sure the "wrapper", the outermost of the pages, is not brittle or folded against the grain such that it could "split".  I had a couple of places where that happened and it really distracts from an otherwise attractive spine.

What I learned: be careful how one pulls on the waxed linen binding thread--I ended up pulling the hole in one signature about 2 mm along the fold!  Ack!  Again, I will likely be the only one ever to notice this, but lesson learned to pull and tighten the stitch at a right angle to the fold of the signature.

What I learned: make sure the holes are punched all the way through all the layers of pages in each signature.  Much easier to do it right when first doing it than to add a punch while stitching.  Not impossible, just much easier to do it right the first time.

What I learned: I am not thrilled with the top and bottom stitching where the next signature is added on.  It seems as if that is almost a weak link.  Will see if I can figure out a way to remedy that before tackling another book like this.

What I learned: I can't decide if I want to leave this "as is" or if I want to embellish and make it into an art journal of sorts.  I have avoided doing the "art journal thing" so far...but what if I kind of walked a line in between and just did a thought a day...or embellished minimally?  For the most part, these pages are pretty heavily printed in several layers each, so sometimes it's best just to know when to stop and leave well enough alone.....never my strong suit....will have to go back to work tomorrow and so will just sit on this for a bit....

What I learned: I'm so glad I took the time to edge the pages with a black marker!  Totally worth it for the effect!

What I learned: Pinterest has a ton of inspiration!

What I learned: I think I may be doing more and more prints--this book was inspired by the one I saw on the Gelli Arts video.  Those were gorgeous prints and the book was expertly done.  I learned a ton making this book.

Now, I'm off to make my future projects list: flag book.  Pop-up book.  Greeting cards....etc...etc

Stay tuned....

PS--anyone know of a truly opaque white marker?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Bookin' it....

This is slow going....but so much fun each step of the way!

Prints from my 8x10 Gelli Plate had to be trimmed down to my chosen size of 6.5 (the height of the pages) by 9.5 (the width of a two-page spread).  These are the pile of trim pieces that were left.  I plan on using them to trim out greeting cards and to weave together...stay tuned.  (Can you tell that I was raised by a Great Depression-era mother who threw out nothing and used everything....or else saved it to be useful "someday"??)

Then I sorted the pages into color family groups and made up signatures of four pieces of paper each, scored each at the fold line and then trimmed them.
After choosing the pages to make up each signature, I trimmed the edges with the paper trimmer to even them up.

Then I took apart each signature and edged the pages with a black sharpie.  I like the way the pages look with that extra step, but it's kind of a tedious thing.  Had to wait til the signatures were trimmed in order to not be trimming off the edging, so I had to wait til all the pages were put together/trimmed before edging.

Here are some of the signatures, before the holes are punched.
Each one is four pieces, making eight pages.  I tried to get facing pages coordinating and to have a center spread that was interesting.  Some of the pages are card stock (most of them), some are deli paper, some are baking parchment. a couple are from a Crate and Barrel shopping bag, and some are pages from an old science dictionary ca. 1968.  The dictionary pages were kind of fragile so I reinforced the center, where the holes would be punched and where the fold was, with paper tape and sandwiched them between cardstock pages.

I tried to punch holes with my "pokey tool" but was frustrated with that.  So I took out my trusty Japanese screw punch and, after marking the punch spots with the signatures lined up, in order, I used a 1 mm bit and whipped through the stack.  Easy Peasy.  Love my Japanese screw punch.  I don't use it much, but when I need it, it always comes through for me!  I was so happy to find that I had a small bit that would work in this application--I had never used that bit before.

At this point, I realized that I didn't have front and back covers, so I trimmed a random piece of cardboard to size, gesso'd the front and back, found some prints to use for the covers.....and will cover them and begin stitching either tonight or tomorrow....

In the meantime, I had played with Dylusions sprays on a stencil.  Spray on, let it dry, then brayer the plate with white paint.  Place the stencil on the white paint and it activates the dry ink.  

This was the first print I pulled  after removing the stencil.

And this was the ghost print.  I am a reformed 'clean plate club' person and now am proud to be a Dirty Girl Printer.  I print dirty and you can see what happens with the remnants of previous prints on this plate.  This was just oooh & awesome....very cool.  (This is how one becomes addicted to this process! Now, showing this process to my husband, the engineer, he could care less about the colors and the textures....all he wanted to know was: what are you going to DO with that?  .....sigh....)

Stay tuned....

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Preview: GelliBook

I have been having brief  episodes of Gelli bliss interspersed with long periods of drudgery, and, sometimes even, sleep. I find that I promise myself time to pull prints "if I get all my work done"!  Alas, when is woman's work ever done.....?

But, I digress....

Last Sunday night, I pulled prints on the BACKsides of a bunch of prints I'd already made with the thought of making a book. I "YouTubed" the Coptic stitch for the binding. I stole a few minutes to cut down some of the prints for pages....still have lots to do, but here are some of the prints destined for my first GelliBook--backs and front sides of pages:

Sunday, April 21, 2013

More Gelli, please

 Decided to try the resist technique using matte medium, since I didn't have any gel medium. Tis was printed on a page from an old science dictionary. I will love this technique as I work more with it!
What to do with a Gelli page?  Overspray with dyes. Punch out circles and glue, fish-scale-wise, on a CD-sized calendar page; then add an imaged stamped on the same Gelli print. Stamp by Postmodern Design. 

Next up?  Making an art book of two-sided prints. 

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Learning lots while having lots of fun!  Learning about varying opacities of different brands of acrylic inks, printing substrates (I am really liking brown wrapping paper, but deli paper is easy and cheap and will be easy to punch, cut, tear and layer), how to think in reverse so that what you want to happen, happens, how to over-print to save a not-happy print, over-stencilling, etc.  So.  Much.  Fun.