last of winters days

March has been nice and steady with lots of good news all around. The days are getting longer and the weather warmer (although today it’s -18 C), always welcome. Halifax opens up like the flowers and people start to roam the streets with bare skin and happy faces. It’s a funny thing that I noted here in Halifax that I felt was a bit different than where I grew up in Massachusetts. It hasn’t happened here yet, but as soon as the weather gets a tiny bit warmer folks tend to really shed their clothes! I usually see people in tank tops and shorts when I’m still rocking a scarf. Maritimers are tough, I am a big cold Masshole baby.

This month I took part in the Eyelevel Gallery Printed Matter and Zine Fair. Organizer Brendan Dunlop put together a great mix of printmakers, publishers, zine makers and all round printed matter related folk for a fun afternoon of fundraising. Here’s a few shots I took with my phone:

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(Behind my table are some fine selections from the Eyelevel thrift shop)

Following the printed matter fair, I was accepted to the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council! The application process includes submitting pieces of work to be juried as well as a pretty thorough writing component. This was the first time I had really articulated in writing my processes and inspirations. I found the application alone to be really helpful just in understanding my own design aesthetic and process. The response was really thorough and constructive, and again this was the first time I have really received any kind of design or craft criticisms. I hold my work up to a pretty high standard and I feel like things are looking tighter all the time, but most of the feedback I get is from beloved friends and family who always have great things to say. Or its the general public who, if they have something critical to say, usually tend keep it to themselves.  So the feedback from the NSDCC was extra important and good! It definitely lit a fire under me and is pushing my work to a higher level of awesome. They didn’t accept one of the books I submitted, but I felt pretty alright about that because it was one of the first antique photographs I made over a year ago (which doesn’t seem like a long time but I’ve made so many books and have learned so many things between now and then).

Acceptance to the NSDCC also means two more highly attended craft shows a year which is fabulous for business and also for meeting other crafty folks around town. It’s great to meet new people who are making a living off their craft. It seems like such an impossibility at times and it’s good to stick together and share tips and recourses.

Getting the books even tighter and more detailed and refined means streamlining my process a bit better so I picked this badboy up from the Ebay…

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It’s made everything about 10 times faster so I can concentrate more on the fun things like designing and less on back breaking paper cutting.

Finally, the last of the good news this month… I got a job at a daycare and my food service days are numbered! Muahahahaha! Trying to actually imagine a world where I get paid to play with kids and spend most of my time owning and running my own business…. so soon!

OH WAIT One more thing. My partner is defending his Masters thesis in architecture tomorrow! Check out this amazing work he’s been buried in for the past… well four years here. So proud of that fella…!

feliz año nuevo/ a note on book repair!

tree down

We threw our tiny tree out last weekend and I couldn’t help but feel a little sad to see it there on the curb in the snow.  It was my first real X-mas tree and though I have honestly never had the desire to get one, I was unbelievably comforted by its smell and its presence and the tiny heads and lights that decorated it and mostly the fact that it made me feel like some kind of new tradition took place and it felt so lovely. (ruuuuuunnnn onnn sentence)

The transition to into this new year has been heavily marked with the presence of family and friends, too many movies and eating things I am allergic to, and of ice skating on the Commons here in Halifax. Although I have found it incredibly hard to get myself re- motivated as of late (which the yucky cold/cough I’ve had for the past week was not helping), my mind is always buzzing with new ideas (that I dont write down and forget immediately upon working) and plans for the year to come.

Something I feel like I have gotten away from a bit in the past few months is the repairing of books. It seems once something like a craft show comes around, everything else goes to hell and I concentrate on producing and nothing else. But really, one of my favourite things is to take an old book and make it new again. I think I have taken a unique stance on book repair in that, although I can make a book completely usable and sturdy again, I do not restore the book back to it’s original state. Here is an example:

Example Repair

This is one of many hymn books I have repaired for a friends church. The spines have mostly just started to deteriorate over time but the covers are overall in OK shape. Basically, what I try to do is to re-use as much of the old book as possible while adding in some new elements to make the book look new and unique. Generally I use the type of separated spine binding that I use a lot in my hand made books. I like this binding because you can add in a lot of different materials and it works well for what I do. It’s also a pretty unique look and adds a bit more dimension to a book. Here is the finished product:


My partner and I were talking the other day about this 19th century architect named Eugene Vilolet-le-Duc and how he viewed the process of restoration. He said “To restore a building is not to repair it, nor to do maintenance nor to rebuild, it is to reestablish it in an ultimate state that has never existed before”. This is exactly my take on book repair (*and also why I only repair books of practical use or sentimental value!). Rather than taking a broken book and making it exactly as it once was, I am adding to the history of the book, marking it’s restoration with a contemporary look and adding to the overall story of the book.

In case you were wondering 🙂

Basically what I am trying to tell you is that I want to fix all your broken books…

*why I don’t repair books worth tons of money- this kind of repair will significantly de-value the book! But it will only make your sentimental book/ practical use book even cooler