Tuesday, November 10, 2020

More box making with Andrew Huot


Left: tray to store small bits of collage papers, based on corrugated clamshell box. Right: one tray in place.

I am almost done with the Preservation Enclosures class with Andrew Huot. This class has been more useful than I expected. From the title I thought some enclosures would be good for librarians, and hopefully I would get some ideas for artist's book enclosures. I had seen some enclosures friends made in a class of Andrews, so I had faith it would be a good investment. Most of what we have done has turned out to be potentially very useful. In the last post about this class I mentioned that I could adapt the corrugated clamshell box to make trays for storing collage parts. I have made nine trays so far and am very pleased. In the image above on the right you can see my old funky make-shift system with one new, lovely, perfectly fitting tray in place. (click on all images to enlarge)

Insert in cigar box. I wanted to save time and try the insert without making the box.

We also made two inserts that I think will have a lot of applications. I made the first one, above, in a cigar box to save a little time. But wouldn't it be a nice way to present a small book? A nicely made box would have a lot of presence displayed in a show, and would make a good enclosure for storage. Or of course if you have a box appropriate for the book subject, an insert like this would be perfect. Small books often disappear in a show in a large room. Maybe the book could stand up on the open box somehow? 

Insert in corrugated clamshell box.

This second insert also has potential. It occurs to me that you could present an interesting object in the insert area, place it higher in the box, and leave a space below to house an artist's book. It's also faster to make, so a good choice if you want to find a safe way to store something.

Soft sided slip case - holding a set of paper sample booklets.

We also made a soft-sided slip-case. It was pretty quick and good for holding a set of paper sample books. I have stacks of them and they tend to be in a messy pile. Mine is a little funky, but you get the idea.

Next week we will make a wrapper with a hard case. I know this will be useful. Then the class is done, but in the meantime I am starting the Clamshell Box class with Andrew. I know this one will be harder, but undeniably useful.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

 I have been drawing most days for Inktober. I am also taking the Preservation Enclosures class I mentioned in my last post. Next week I will start a Clamshell box class, also with Andrew Huot. Below is a little photo essay of some of my Inktober drawings. They are all on the architect's tracing paper that I use in collage. You can see I don't keep a perfect, beautiful sketchbook. I try out ideas and experiment with things that pop into my head. I decided I needed a hard cover, that's the first photo. Because I am going to take the sketchbook apart when it's full (and use the drawings for collage)  I quickly made a temporary cover that holds the sheaf of tracing paper in place with a piece of elastic. Then I can slip another sheaf of papers in there.

sketchbook with architect's tracing paper. Judith Hoffman
Hard cover for tracing paper sketchbook made with binder's board and book tape. Judith Hoffman


sketchbook with architect's tracing paper. Judith Hoffman
Sketchbook, tests, textures. Judith Hoffman

sketchbook with architect's tracing paper. Judith Hoffman
Inktober sketchbook, patterns and doodles. Judith Hoffman

Inktober sketchbook Judith Hoffman
Inktober sketchbook, doodles, tests, patterns. Judith Hoffman

Inktober sketchbook. Judith Hoffman
Inktober sketchbook, various faces and patterns. Judith Hoffman

Inktober sketchbook, center spread showing how it was assembled. Judith Hoffman
Center spread - testing various transparent acrylics. 

Inktober sketchbook. Judith Hoffman
Inktober sketchbook, faces and patterns.

Inktober sketchbook. Judith Hoffman
Inktober sketchbook. I like the layered shadows.


Inktober sketchbook and cat. Judith Hoffman
Inktober sketchbook and cat. Everyone's a critic. 

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Box making class with Andrew Huot

I over committed this month. I am doing Inktober, and also taking an online class, Preservation Enclosures, with Andrew Huot through Book Paper Thread. The website says the class will be offered again in 2021. I'm half way through the class. To start we did two kinds of wrappers and a soft sided slip case. Below is one of the wrappers and the slipcase.

Self-closing wrapper and soft sided slipcase, from Andrew Huot's class, Preservation Enclosures

Then we did a corrugated clamshell box. This was much easier than I expected. These are mainly intended as preservation enclosures, as the class title says. But there are other applications. I can easily modify the clamshell box to be a tray for storage of collage parts. The materials are already ordered.

Corrugated clamshell box, from Andrew Huot's class, Preservation Enclosures

Andrew is a good teacher. He is clear and explains what he's doing plus there are handouts. I learn so much better when I can watch someone go through the process. I have not taken any formal book arts classes. I did do one intense workshop years ago with Shereen LaPlantz which was good. And of course I watch videos online. But everyone has different ways of working and I don't absorb everything the first time around. This time I have learned stuff about gluing and measuring, aside from the box techniques. Being able to go back and watch the video multiple times is helpful. The one good thing about Covid is that there is so much online now. Andrew has taught at FOBA, and I had planned to go out there next time he was teaching. But this is much better for me. I don't travel well and it's exhausting and stressful. 

These are hard times for everyone. I often feel stressed and anxious about the future. Having something to do that takes my mind off all that for awhile has been helpful. I hope you are finding this break from normal life productive, or at least not too stressful. I know some people are busier than ever, and others are at loose ends. Which ever it is, I send you my best wishes.

Monday, September 28, 2020

A New Plan for Inktober

 

Two Inktober sketchbooks made with 7 pound canary tracing paper.

In early August I planned to do my Inktober drawings in a sketchbook I made with old envelopes. (That post is here) Recently I have been drawing on a pamphlet stitched pad of yellow 7 pound tracing paper so I could use the drawings in collages. Tonight I made a sketchbook with the tracing paper to use instead of the envelope sketch books. The new one is about 7 x 9 inches, a size I usually prefer for sketching. It's also just a stack of papers pamphlet stitched together. When I am done I will cut the thread and coat all the drawings I like with matte medium.

Interesting layers of images may lead to a new idea.

There is an additional benefit to this paper. There are times when I get composition ideas from the layers of sketches. I am using d'Atramentis document inks in grey, dark red and a mixture of turquoise and brown that is very close to black. They are a little slow to dry but these colors are waterproof once they are dry.

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Coating collage papers with matte medium

 

Drawings on architect's tracing paper, coated with matte medium

I have been not very energetic lately, but a good way to keep busy is to clean the studio - that hasn't happened yet - or to draw on architect's tracing paper for future use in collage. I like to draw faces or patterns. This is a low- risk activity. If I don't like a face it can be tossed, or maybe cut into pieces. Drawing patterns is very meditative. I coat the tracing paper with matte medium to pre-size it and make it more translucent. 

Drawings on architect's tracing paper, coated with matte medium

It seems to work best if I coat both sides at the same time, so I have been using old seed catalogs, painting one side of the tracing paper, flipping it over immediately and painting the other side. The seed catalog page gets pretty wet with matte medium, but I just keep going. I also use this method to coat my collage papers with a mixture of PVA and water before using so they don't curl quite as much. The inks are all d'Atramentis document inks. They are pretty waterproof and permanent. I do find the red ink smears a bit if I brush over it several times. The tracing paper is not as absorbent as drawing paper, some other inks also smear. Pitt brush pens will completely dissolve the d'Atramentis inks on this tracing paper.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Preparing for Inktober I made two small sketchbooks from envelopes

 



I have been saving envelopes for a couple of years, ever since I bought a few sketchbooks made with mail from Helen Coldwell at badbooks on etsy. I used one of Helen's books for Inktober in 2018 and enjoyed it very much. She isn't making the mailed format any more, but does have mixed paper books in several sizes. I just recently bought a couple of those, they are equally fun, and I didn't have to make them.



This year I thought I should take out the big pile of envelopes and make them into something. I did add in some graph paper, some gridded paper, a few other things. But it's 90% envelopes. The cover is an old cardboard box, covered with an envelope a dear friend sent me stuff in. (Thank you Wendy!) I lined the spine with some super to make it stronger. 

This year I plan to do a very low pressure Inktober. No pressure at all actually. I will draw with ink every day, but it may just be a 5 minute doodle and I won't feel bad about that.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Solution for warping paper with collage

Blind contour drawing with collage. Judith Hoffman 2020
Blind contour drawing on collage. Judith Hoffman 2020


 In my last post I was worried about collaged papers warping. I got a number of suggestions from my book arts group and friends online. I think I have found a solution that is not perfect but will work for my method of collaging. Most of these are in my Flickr albums.

Here are my notes, which I intend to print and hang on the wall in my studio.

  • Try to have grain of substrate and major collage pieces in same direction.
  • Coat back and front of substrate with Gold matte medium. (not liquid matte medium). Coat one side, allow to dry, coat other side, allow to dry. 
  • Draw on tissue paper (yellow stuff I have been calling architect's tracing, but may not really be that. It's light yellow, in a roll.) - at least the blind contour can be drawn on, can also add hatching. Coat back and front of tissue paper with matte medium to increase transparency. Coat one side, allow to dry, coat other side, allow to dry.
  • Make the collage using PVA for the opaque papers.
  • Add the transparent papers using matte medium as the glue. The would be last or almost last to take advantage of the transparency and layers. While adding transparent papers paint the whole collage with matte medium.
  • Between all stages dry under stacks of books.
  • It is possible to draw on the collage with d'Atramentis inks at this stage. Adding small details and patterns.
  • If the collage is still too warped when it's done, wrap in a damp dish cloth (smooth texture like the black and white ones), wrap in waxed paper, leave under a few books for 15 minutes. Put between two pieces of blotter paper, leave at least overnight. First test was about 18 hours. Things are not perfectly flat but fine with me. Things can take days or a week to dry in blotters.

Blind contour drawing with collage. Judith Hoffman 2020
Looking Back, blind contour drawing with hatching and collage. Judith Hoffman 2020

Substrates that have worked:

  • Bockingford - has textured surface like cold press. 
  • Rising Bristol 2 ply - very slight texture.
  • Strathmore mixed media - also fairly smooth.
  • Fabriano Artistico 300 lb.