Saturday, July 14, 2018

TInception: or Binding a Tin into a Book

I ordered some beautiful eco-dyed silk noil from Tierney Barden last week and she sent some extra goodies along in the package. One of them was a little yellow tea tin and when I saw it I knew that I wanted to try binding it into a book. I got the idea from Andrea Matus DeMeng in her Propsero's Books class last month. When she was teaching us the coptic stitch she said she had bound a mint tin into a book. I was intrigued and wanted to try it myself.

My daughter Lila saw the first book and joked that I should bind a tin book that fits inside another larger tin and so on, hence the title of this blog and the title of the book she inspired: TInception.

I hope you like the pictures.


Mica and Tintype photo cover for my first tea tin bound book.

Coptic stitch is used to sew the signatures and tin together.

Book parts ready to be sewn.

The finished book. I actually resewed this book (not shown) as I made some adjustments on the second one that I wanted to incorporate in this one as well.

Signature on left and tin on right.

Back of the tin and the next signature.

The tin contains some bits Tierney sent me and 3 pamphlet stitched booklets.

Tin contents.

Another signature in the book. I like using vintage papers and photos to give books a sense of time and place.

More book pages/signatures.

TInception; for each book level you descend it becomes an order of magnitude harder to bind! The top level book measures 4 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches.

The bound tin (right).

Book two inside book one. This book measures 2 3/8 x 1 5/8 x 3/4 inches.

The tin bound in book two (right).

Tin book three measures 1 3/8 x 1 3/4 x 1/2 inches. I could only put on a front and back cover before running out of room in the larger tin. It was still the hardest one to bind.

All three books showing their relative sizes.

The 3 little books bound and nestled inside the final tin.

All 3 books showing the photos and mica covers.

The binding of each book.

I used mica and antique writing from autograph books or inscriptions from old books as the back covers. I love the way the natural mica has inclusions that look like ink spots.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

How to Cut and Fold a Weekend

I spent a hot and fun weekend with a wonderful group of fellow artists and my dear friend Bhavna Mehta cutting, folding and playing with paper. Bhavna is a patient teacher who always takes this everyday item to new heights with her cutting techniques. The workshop focused on cutting and folding paper which created some lovely effects. Everyone made the same cube, frame and cuff projects, but the diversity of results was stunning and inspiring. Please check her Instagram feed for pictures of other people's projects and see mine below. I am off to cut some more!

The completed planetary system cut box piece.

The cube unfolded and partly cut.

The finished cube,

Beginning to cut the ring and cuff piece.

Many erasures lead to a design I am happy with.

What remains.

The cut cuff.

Wearable art.

My framed insert so far. (Front)

All the cutting left to do. (Back)

Late day sun creating interesting shadows behind this piece.

Another view with different shadow effect.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Playing Origami Detective

I follow someone on Instagram who posted an intriguing picture the other day of a folded origami envelope/box.

URL:  (Click on the right arrow 3 times to get to the correct page.)

She asked if anyone knew how to fold it and I thought, "That's easy, it's just a twist fold but on the back side." I didn't have time to study it that day, but yesterday I decided to tackle the problem. I tried several folds that I thought would work and they didn't. Then I tried something that seemed similar, but wasn't. Then I desperately tried to find the directions online. There were none. I stared at the image and tried to unfold it in my mind and couldn't quite see it. I decided to take a break and come back to it today after finding a YouTube video that made a similar fold called the square tato.

Long story short, after much trial and error I figured out how to fold the envelope called an Ori-Sue used for holding slips of paper that have scent names written on them. This is used in the Japanese tea ceremony from what I could find out. Maybe you would like to try folding this lovely little envelope.


Crease pattern for Ori-Sue fold. Red lines are mountain folds and blue lines are valley folds.

Start with a square piece of paper. Different colors on each side make for a more dramatic final product.

Mark the center of the paper by folding in half and pinching each side. Do not crease. Then fold up one side past the center (so more than 1/4 the paper width) but less than 1/3 the paper width. For example, if your paper is 6 x 6 inches, fold up the side more than 1.5 inches but less than 2 inches.

Left sample has sides folded to 1/4 the length (in other words each side is folded to the center of the paper) and there is no center square. The middle sample has sides folded into thirds and the whole center is the twist triangles with no edges. The sample on the right is what we are trying to make and is folded between 1/4 and 1/3 the paper width.

Fold in the corners creasing very lightly to mark the square. Fold up the two sides to the point where the diagonal meets the edge of the paper. This will give you the same width as the first fold without having to measure.

If you have done things properly the two sides should overlap each other, but not meet at the folded edge.

Rotate the paper 90 degrees. Again fold the corners in lightly to meet the straight fold and mark on the paper's edge. Fold the last edge up to this diagonal mark. Now all for sides are folded. You have a square in the center of the paper and four squares at the corners. Crucially, you have rectangles between the corner squares on the four sides of the paper. 

Next you will fold each side up and fold in the left side corner to meet the vertical line as shown above. Repeat on all four sides, only folding the left corner up. Fold the corner to the back of the paper as well to make the last step easier.

Your paper should now have all of these folds (minus the red and blue lines). It's time to collapse.

To collapse the model, fold up one side then fold back along the diagonal on the right side. Fold in the corner and turn the model 90 degrees counterclockwise.

Fold up the second section the same way, folding in the side then the corner. The center square starts to take shape.

Fold in the third side the same way then open up the first side at the top left corner to tuck in the last corner mountain then valley folds.

Pinwheel the four sides overlapping them to form the final shape.

Here is the final model. You can make the square of contrasting color bigger or smaller depending on how close to 1/4 or 1/3 you fold the first side of the paper. Play around and see which size you like best.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Prospero's Books

I recently spent 5 days in Idyllwild, CA at their Art Center taking a class from Andrea Matus DeMeng , intriguingly titled Prospero's Books. We had an ambitious plan to make 4 different books and decorate a wooden box to hold them all in just 4 days! It was a busy and creative time and I didn't finish everything there. I am still not really finished, but here is my version of Prospero's Books so far.



Prospero's Books: The Book of Harsh Geometry, The Book of Mirrors, The Primer of Small Stars, and The Book of Architecture and other Music.

A different arrangement of the books.

The Book of Mirrors, coptic stitched with folded signatures and single sheets bound together.

A page spread in the Book of Mirrors.

The Canadian binding was used for the Book of Architecture and other Music.

A page spread from the same book.

The Primer of Small Stars is of course a small book bound using long stitch.

The case bound Book of Harsh Geometry resonates with me as Geometry was my most difficult class in high school. I barely passed. I also find case binding difficult so they work well together.

Page spread from Harsh Geometry.

The Book of Water, long stitch binding.

I used plastic sheets to create this book's pages as I wanted the contents to look like water.