Fabric Bookmaking Workshop

I had a fabulous Sunday hanging out with some ladies and making fabric books. Patch Halifax is such a lovely place to have a workshop! The space is open and bright with a steady flow of people and good music playing in the background. If you haven’t been in yet,  definitely do.  Owner Chris Pasquet is awesome and she’s got herself a sweet little fabric shop.
Here are a few photos from the afternoon. (taken on my phone… they looked so much better on my little screen!)

 

 

 

 

 

I’m looking forward to attending a workshop myself. I have a beautiful vintage sewing machine and I don’t even really know how to use it. Check out their class list here if you haven’t already.  There are a ton of classes and more to come!

So just getting ready for Etsy’s Made in Canada pop-up shop at the end of this month… It’s going to be amazing, September 27th at the Halifax Forum… Don’t miss out, it’s a one day only show!

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Wow. So many things happening and opening and being awesome during this slow finish to the summertime …. First, a warm welcome to Patch Halifax! Patch is a much needed fabric shop and workshop spot. This beautiful space, owned by the lovely Christina Pasquet, opened its doors this August on Robie St. and now I can purchase all my fabric for book cloth locally, (finally) learn how to sew with a sewing machine and maybe even try my hand with a pattern or two (Momma will be so proud!). Even more exciting, Mule Mother Books is teaming up with Patch to host a fabric book making workshop Sept. 14th from 1-4pm. The cost is $35 and all you’ll need is some sweet fabric and some patience. Here’s a peek at what we’ll be making:

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A week or two after the fabric workshop, Mule Mother will be down at the Forum in Halifax for the Etsy Made in Canada Marketplace. I’m thinking it’s going to be pretty great and I’ll have a lot of back to school-y kinda stuff, so definitely get your arse down there if your around!

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Lastly, I just finished this lovely little custom recipe book. It’s a bachlorette gift from a group of buds who contributed all their favourite recipes. This is my favourite stuff to make for people.

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(This last one is the book being formatted and my cluttered desk…)

And it’s Monday and maybe we can all use a good kick in the pants, so I’ll leave you with a track from Tribe Called Red who we went to see for free at Aldreney Landing last night! Felt so good to shake my hips… guhh I need to dance more…

paring down

I’ve been trying to pare down the different variety of books I make in the last few months and in the process have come up with some a few new books (seems counterintuitive, I know….) and got rid of a few others…

For starters, I’ve started making some simple fabric covered perfect bound books. They are super useful and really low commitment. Nice enough that you like calling it your own, but not intimidating to use and mark up with notes. These books have Dur-O-Tone Brown Wrap Paper  from the French Paper Company for the text paper, a little darker than the standard  Dur-O-Tone Aged Newspaper that I use in most of my books. Both are wonderful 100% recycled papers that are lovely to write and draw on, but for these notebooks, I think the brown works perfect. (Also I love that paper and I’ve been wanting to use it on the regular!) So here’s those Perfect Notebooks I’ve been blabbing about…

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The next newest style of Mule Mother Book takes a bit more commitment, is a bit more serious, but is still really simple. The Two-Subject Notebook is covered in leather and keeps you organized with two separate sections to compile your notes into. The pages open flatter than any other book so it’s really comfortable to use.

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This next book I am really excited about, as I have been wanting to design one forever. Popping up this holiday season will be one of a kind 2014 Planners! I’ve been working away on the layout and I am just putting the final touches on. 2014 Planner will be available in fabric or cloth bound or leather bound. I’ve also been working on something very awesome incorporating the Two-Subject Notebook and the 2014 Planners… Stay tuned…

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The last thing, I’ve kind of just made better, it’s nothing new to Mule Mother, but it’s a crowd fave and it deserved to be better! I’ve re designed the Miniature Books ever-so-slightly and I think they’ve finally reached where they need to be… I plan on making hundreds this holiday season, so they will surely be mastered by New Years…

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So, these were just a few highlights of good things to come.  Mule Mother will be next out for the Halifax Pop Explosion Pop Expo record, zine and craft fair in late October. Here’s the poster:

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one more thing…

I am moving at the end of this week to a block away into an absolutely beautiful (really, it’s amazing… ) new apartment with my partner and cat, which also means I’ll be packing up Mule Mother for about 2 weeks or so while I move studios and re-organize. Will still be answering emails and such when I can, but will for the most part be shut down.  Will post some photos as soon as I can of the new digs!

new custom work

I’ve had the opportunity to work on some pretty fantastic custom books in the past few months. Wedding guest books and photo albums have been picking up big time which has been really great because I am finding that I am getting a lot of requests that really work with my aesthetic. And that’s always nice.

The last big custom job I did was a gift from someone I had as a customer at a cafe I used to work at. He, along with about 25 other fellows, were mentored by this one doctor (for whom the book was for) who seemed to have had a pretty profound impact on all of these peoples lives and careers. The book was comprised of pictures and stories from each of the fellows dating back to the 70’s and as recent as the late 90’s. The words and pictures in the book are really lovely and I was so honoured to have had a small part in the story of this remarkable guy.

Here’s the book finished:

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The book is covered with brown suede and linen book cloth. For the end papers I used my favourite St. Armand paper.

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I took a few photographs while I was making the book and I always mean to take more! I tend to get absorbed in what I’m doing and before I know it I missed capturing some integral step… Anywho…

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This image on the left is the suede attached to the covers before the linen cloth and spine are attached. The right image is measuring out the corner cloth and the bottom is the cover before it is used to case in the text block.

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tiny little books

The next project I have been working on is with this really awesome author I met at the Halifax Crafters Spring Fair. We’re working together to make some prototypes of tiny story books. The process has been unbelievably enjoyable as we are both in love with tiny things and just seem to click really well. Here’s a few shots of the books I have made for her so far.

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Sewn up •

2013-07-23 21.23.24 This kills me… It’s just so goddamn cute! Tiny text block with mull, spine strip and head bands.

2013-07-23 21.27.58-1All ready to be cased in while fat cat sleeps in background •

2013-07-27 19.01.33-1• And finally all done up in orange suede. Oh my. What a handsome little bugger.

I wanted to do another style of book so I printed the text out and made a miniature Japanese stab sewn binding version (below)

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from wanting a book made to getting it in the mail

binding styles• When I get a custom order for a book with printed matter, the first step is getting the material that the book will contain and formatting it on the computer. The book, depending on the type of binding style, needs to be formatted correctly so that after it’s printed, it will read in the right order.  I made this PDF (left) to send to folks who inquire about a custom book so I can get a better idea of what they have in mind.

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I use inDesign to lay out the book and I use a number of visual aids to help me format the book in the right order. Although it might seem/ look ridiculous, for books that will be sewn with signatures, I use this long scroll piece of paper (right) that I made a guide on to format the book on the computer. Since I’ve done this a few times, I’ve picked up on the formula that the pages go in, but I am very much a visual thinker and need to look at what I am working out in order for me to get it right, especially in this case…!

After I’ve formatted all the material I’ve been given, I send off a PDF version of the layout of the book. This way, you can run through it with a fine tooth comb and make any last changes. Once I get the OK, I send it off to be printed.

In terms of the colours and materials the book is covered with, I usually will ask for any favourites and with some ideas in mind, search through my ever changing material stash. If I don’t have just the right thing on me, then I hit the streets and search my go-to thrift shops, fabric spots and the leather stops and send off some pictures of the materials I’ve collected.  After that, I keep you in the loop with updates, insights and ideas until everything is finished and I send it off to you wrapped nice and spify- your own hand-bound, published work.

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Here’s a few other custom books I’ve finished up this past month:

D+T- the story of one young couples’ very long relationship. A wedding gift written by the bride to the groom.

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WHEAT- A book of poems written by one sister. A surprise gift from the other sister to the poet.

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These are custom wedding guest books, so they’re blank on the inside and sewn together with paper perfect for writing or drawing or attaching photographs.

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I am working on one more guest book for right now that is in a style I haven’t worked with a whole lot and it’s coming along really beautifully, so I’ll post that when it’s all finished.

Aside from this, I am in the midst of a really big project (probably the biggest and most involved project yet!) working with an old cook book. I am scanning each handwritten page, correcting them in Photoshop and then reprinting and binding the book. This such a huge project for Mule Mother and I am learning a ton from it. More on that later…

For now, I’ll leave you this pic of our plot in the North End community garden. Trying to soak up all that summer has left to offer but I have to admit, I did think for just a second about that cool crisp autumn air and smile just a bit… (This image is actually a few weeks old, so things are actually quite a bit more full…!)

enjoy!

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DIY book cloth

I had about 4 million yards of book cloth I wanted to make, so I thought I’d snap some photos and explain just how to make it… Or at least, how I make it.

Book cloth is the nice textured fabric material you see on lots of hard cover books. You can make your own with some wheat paste, some mulberry paper, and an iron (among other things which I will get into in a sec). Making your own book cloth is awesome because you can make any natural fiber  fabric into book cloth. DIY book cloth is also awesome because commercial book cloth is crazy expensive and you can make so much for very little money.

Making book cloth takes a bit of time (depending on how much your looking to make), is a bit messy and can be slightly frustrating. Despite all this, I find it well worth my time and once you get into the groove time just flies on by and all of the sudden you’re like “whoa, check out all this totally sweet, one of a kind book cloth I just made.”

You’ll need a few things to get started:

  • wheat flour
  • water
  • double-boiler (you can just rig one up with a big vessel to hold water and something to sit inside on top of the water)
  • mulberry paper
  • brush
  • newspaper
  • iron
  • towel
  • brayer

First you’ll have to whip up the wheat paste. I hear wheat starch makes a more archival paste, but I think wheat starch is a bit hard to find.  Wheat paste is works like a dream though and is still pretty archival as far as I know.

I made 2 cups -ish initially which was ridiculous because I ended up needing 4 times that.. :/  Thats a pretty fair amount though, so I’ll stick with that recipe. First heat up your double boiler and get ready 2 cups warm water and 1/2 cup  of wheat flour.

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Put that 1/2 cup of flour in the top part of your double boiler and add about half a cup of water. Using a whisk break up the flour and mix it together until its smooth. Sifting the flour before you add the water usually works best, but I don’t have a sifter.

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Stir in the rest of the water to the flour/water mix when the boiler starts boiling, place it over the water and stir pretty regularly with a spoon.

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Eventually it will start to thicken up and you can pull it off the boiler when it starts to stick to the sides like in the picture. When it cools, it gets a little thicker too, so keep that in mind.

And your done! Making the wheat paste…

For the book cloth you’ll need the fabric you want to use,  mulberry paper*, an iron, some newspaper, a towel, a brush, a brayer and all that fresh wheat paste you just made.

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You’ll want to pre-cut all the fabric your using sized to pieces of mulberry paper first. If the fabric is odd sized, or even if not, it’s good to trace the fabric on the mulberry paper. It will save you from glueing more than you need to.

With it laid in front of you, gently pull up half the fabric and fold it over the other half. Starting from the middle, lay the glue down horizontally with your brush all the way to bottom corners of where the fabric will be. Try to avoid bubbles on the mulberry paper but don’t freak out if you get them.

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Lay the fabric down over the glued part gently. Smooth from the middle down and out to the sides with your hands and/or a brayer.

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Now do the same thing to the other side.

Flip the cloth and mulberry paper over so the mulberry paper side is up, on top of a towel.

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Use a pretty big piece of newspaper to cover the parts you are ironing. I usually turn my iron to maximum heat and make sure there is no moisture in the little spray/steam nozzles on some irons.

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When the paper turns opaque white you know it’s dry.

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When I’ve dried the majority of the back I usually flip it over and iron the front as well. Don’t worry if it’s a bit crinkly. When you glue it onto binder’s board it will flatten out (but only if its crinkly due to thin fabric and not if there are air bubbles between the fabric and paper… I’m afraid you’re stuck with those.)

And voila! Book cloth.

Here’s all the cloth I made!

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*note on mulberry paper..

I’ve heard ‘mulberry’ paper used interchangeably with ‘rice’ paper but I believe they are different. Mulberry paper is made from the bark fibers of a paper mulberry tree but I have read of some mulberry papers being made from rice straw…? Mulberry paper is what you’re after for this project, although I’m going to do a bit more paper research and get back to this…