Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘adventures in bookbinding’ Category

01_june gloom

Here in the bay area, summertime weather has been with us for the last three months or so (which is how it happens everywhere else, but not usually here.) If you’ve lived in SF for any amount of time, you’re probably missing what we San Franciscans refer to as the “June Gloom.” I mean, holy moley! It’s been warm around here.

02_fogbelt

This year has been anything but typical.

03_outgoin g mail

I’ve been whirl-winding all around the place, and I promise I’ll write more about that in a (near) future blog post. Lots of great, fantastic, amazing things have been falling into place with Red Handed Rubber Stamps (as well as a handful of my other artistic endeavors) so there’s a bunch to report from that part of the Red Letter Day-O-Sphere.

04_RHR in prog

And since I mentioned rubber stamps just now, let me tell you this juicy tidbit of info: I’ll be sponsoring a table/creation station (alongside Neenah Paper) at this weekend’s Steamroller event at SFCB! WOWZA!!!

05_neenah paper

What does that mean? Stop by the “Capricious Correspondence Zone” and seek out everything you might need for your stationery, mail art, and letter writing needs! I’ll have Red Handed Rubber Stamps available for sale at the S.O.S (“Stamp your Own Stationery”) table, complete with a selection of “try before you buy” rubber. Neenah Paper is providing envelopes and paper; the only thing needed is your creativity and enthusiasm!

06_RHR read more

Other Correspondence Zone participants include Bell’occhio, who will be bringing a treasure trove of inks and calligraphy tools…

07_bellocchio_USE

…as well as Special Guest Billy Hutchinson, who (as you may know) is a fabulous calligrapher and truly dapper gent.

08_mr billy

Perhaps you’d like to shop other book-and-paper vendors? Gutwrench Press and Picky Pockets Press will be there, as well as other faves like Savior Faire Paper and Flax! It’s a day-long block party with plenty of fun and free things to see and do — truly a celebration of book arts, printing, and the community of people who help make it happen.

All that being said: I hope to see you there! 🙂

And a final bit of surprise: I’ll be previewing new rubber stamp designs for Late Summer 2015 — YIPPEE!!!

See you at Steamroller —

–JH

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

01_biz card

So.

Two weeks ago, Miz In Cahoots and I were wandering around the Embarcadero, after a far-too-long hiatus from hanging out. Ice cream had been consumed, the bay had been viewed, and gossip had been swapped. Heading back to the subway station, I thought that life couldn’t possibly get any better.

I was wrong.

At Market and Steuart, I was stopped in my tracks by a Most Wonderful Place.

03_product

the work of Roman Madov and Angi Brzycki

Have you visited The Grand Newstand? Have you heard about this project? If not, you should, because it’s AMAZING.

02_courtney

Courtney contemplates the difficult question of “favorite zine”…

We met Courtney Riddle (one of the mistress-minds behind The Grand Newsstand kiosk) who explained to us that the newsstand stocked zines, small press editions, and the occasional artistic project (prints, broadsides, home wares) — housed in one of the vintage-ish newsstand kiosks lining Market Street. The two of us were immediately enchanted.

04_evah fan

the work of Evah Fan…

If you’re looking for gift to give a budding zine maker or an inspired per-zine to read on your daily commute…

05_newstand

…this is your kind of kiosk!! It was wonderful to see a variety of artists I know and love hanging out right there on Market Street. In a city strapped for art space and DIY culture, it was such a joy to bask in the ambiance at the Newsstand.

06_awkward ladies

the work of Awkward Ladies Club (just in time for Burning Man!!!)

So: what are you waiting for?!?! The Newsstand is (usually) open six days a week; check out their hours on tumblr. Stop by, support small press, and get an eyeful of this quintessentially San Francisco endeavour.

–JH

Read Full Post »

01_the century bindery_01

I think we can all agree that if you’re reading this blog, there are a handful of common interests we most likely share, for example: a love of postal items, sending things through the mail, and airmail stripes. It is also highly likely that you love items such as rubber stamps, all manner of paper/stationery, and books (whether old or new.)

02_ledger

Most RLD readers know that I am a biblio-nerd myself: I love book structures, sewing things together, and showing people how to make their own bookish creations. My favorite classroom moments occur when a first-time book maker completes final steps on The First Book They’ve Ever Made and you can practically see a lightbulb go off over their head. It’s incredible.

03_chairs at ABM

interior, American Bookbinder’s Museum (08.2015)

Now, imagine if you will: a museum in San Francisco that not only preserves the look and feel of a 19th C. bookbindery and print shop but in fact, invites people to skill share and interact with the museum’s equipment, so that participants can create their own “a-ha!” moments.

04_extra heavy

If that sounds interesting, then The American Bookbinder’s Museum is your kind of place! I stopped by their new SoMA space last week; I’d heard a rumor that they had a Rossback perforator nestled among the Albion hand presses and Smythe sewing machines.

Eureka! Within minutes, I had (presumptuously?) settled down to “get under the hood” of their Rossback and do a little bit of cleaning and scrubbing.

(all the while in the back of my head thinking “oh man, I hope they don’t think I’m some sort of weirdo book-gear stalker-y type…” I mean, WHO DOES THAT KIND OF THING? oh right…”nerds with a purpose”, my friend Sheree calls us…)

06_tools of the trade

pro tools…

Every Rossback I’ve ever “met” is slightly different, once you start loosening screws and cleaning off the grit. My favorite tools for Rossback repairs? A toothbrush, some WD40, a flathead screwdriver, and a pair of nippers.

05_rossback

Rossback perforator, with the top bar removed. Bottom bar (brass color) is still in place.

Folks always ask me, so here ya go: I’ll discuss some Rossback basics, as far as parts and clean up are concerned!

07_from above

looking down onto the top bar (removed from machine.) This piece is usually “shelf shaped”…

In the photo above: this is what the “top” bar of a Rossback looks like, once it’s been removed from the machine itself. See all those teeny little holes? That’s where the pins are placed! The pinheads rest atop each of those little holes.

08_pinholes_02

The Museum’s Rossback had some slight variations I’d never seen before, including the one shown above. See where the (stripped) screw is? Well that brass piece is what I call the “bottom” bar. The (top bar) pin points travel through the pinholes on the bottom bar, on their way to the holes on the base plate of the Rossback (shown as the darker colored metal in the photo.) When perforating a sheet of paper, the paper slides in between the bottom bar and the base plate; this is also where the pins first make contact with the paper and perforating happens.

Back to the museum’s Rossback: the bottom bar was divided into two brass pieces, which I’d never seen before. And that small bent up piece of wire to the left of the brass piece? That’s a pin that somehow ended up that way.

Ah – mysteries!

09_new pins in the bar

you can’t quite see the pinheads resting in place, but trust me — they’re there!

Hey look! The Museum had ordered a new set of pins from NA Graphics, so I carefully (with the help of Museum Guru Jae) placed them into the top bar…

10_pins in place

once the top bar was in position, I quickly placed a screw in one of the middle spots and attached the top bar. As you can see, I haven’t put the far left screw in place yet.

…and then was able to jimmy the top bar (by hand) into place with the bottom bar. Note: THIS IS TRICKY AND DOESN’T WORK WITH EVERY ROSSBACK. As you can see: the difficult part is aligning the top bar pins with the correct pinholes in the bottom bar. Each pin, every single hole, nothing crooked or at a slant.

If you get the top bar pins and bottom bar holes aligned correctly, everything should be fine when you press the foot pedal, moving the pins downward into the pinholes in the base of the Rossback. If you feel resistance or hear weird noises, stop what you’re doing! Either scenario usually means that there’s a crooked pin somewhere or the alignment of parts/pieces is a little off. I usually loosen some screws, triple check my work, and carefully re-apply pressure where needed.

See? TRICKY.

(side note: my Rossback at the RLD studio doesn’t play “nice” like this one; I have to hand set each and every single pin, which makes for a much longer “deep cleaning” process. That’s what I mean when I say every one of these machines is different in some way…)

11_smythe

smythe sewing machine: sew up textblocks in a jiffy!

After doing a victory dance (it IS wonderfully satisfying to have all those pins travel downward into their respective places, and not hear a single shearing noise…) I wandered around the rest of the space, taking in the various equipment on display.

14_palmer and rey

palmer and rey’s “magic cutting machine” — not it’s official name, but that’s what I call it!

One of the ABM’s goals is to have a group of docents and volunteers who are well-versed on each machine, in order to show visitors how the equipment functions while working on projects of their own. Each machine at the museum will be fully operational; all equipment has been sourced from different binderies and print shops across the country (sometimes traveling great distances to find a new “forever home” at the museum.)

13_guillotine

leftover evidence, palmer and rey…

A bit of historical perspective from the Michigan State University Library: “The early 19th century was an era of transformation for bookbinding. With the increase in the demand for books, binders turned to mechanization to meet this challenge. Publishers also began to take control of the whole book-making process, from editing to printing to binding.”

Operational 19th century gear to help you make books quickly? That’s what you’ll find at the ABM!

12_lithostone

litho stone…is that an ad for “pure rye whiskey”?!?!

Although the museum has not formally opened its doors to the public yet, interested parties are invited to stop by and say hello. Additionally: if you’re interested in learning how to operate any of the above mentioned machinery and/or volunteering at the museum, you can fill out a form online and museum staffers will get in touch. The ABM also has a monthly “volunteer meet up”; you can stop by and see the sights in person, if that’s more your style. (next meet up: tonight! Tuesday, August 18th!)

bookbindery_02

All that being said, I’m off to use the museum’s industrial stapling machine – SF Zine Fest is coming up and I’ve got a MOUNTAIN of work to do! FAST! Who wouldn’t want to staple 100 zines in approximately 20 minutes?

Whoah!

–JH

Read Full Post »

01_borch

Nicholas Yeager is a man on a mission: to show the world-at-large that beautiful handwriting is not, in fact, a thing of the past. He’s a scribe practicing what he preaches, creating beautiful calligraphic works and historic bookbindings under the moniker of Biblioforge. Nick and I have known each other for well over a decade; every conversation with him is like an entire book conservation class in and of itself.

02_scribes at work

So when Nick described his current “Motoscribendi” project to me, I couldn’t help but be fascinated. 16th C. writing manuals? Visiting prestigious libraries across the US? And making the whole trip via motorcycle?

I MUST KNOW MORE.

Luckily for me, Nick was more than happy to answer a few questions for RLD readers! Continue reading below and discover fascinating details about calligraphic cursive, creating the perfect letterform, and the history of fancy flourishes — all hot topics for fans of contemporary lettering and calligraphy!

03_letter m_USE

Jennie Hinchcliff: In general terms, can you describe for RLD readers what a writing manual is, and how it is different from other special collections books at the library?

Nick Yeager: A writing manual is an illustrated instruction manual describing how to make a specific writing style or “hand.” These books came into being early in the 16th century, with illustrations of stroke sequence being cut in wood to be printed in relief. In early writing manuals, the text was cut in wood, and no type was used. Later, the publishers would set instructions on ink making, quill-cutting and pen holding in type. By the end of the 16th century, texts and illustrations were being engraved in copper and printed intaglio rather than relief.

05_writing manual

JH: What specific “tangibles” appeal to you about writing manuals? Why are they important (historically speaking)?

NY: I am drawn to the beauty of the graphic design. Writing manuals are a very complex mixture of book and advertising design in the earliest sense. Writing masters were trying to sell their skills and appeal to an audience through these beautiful writing samples, while educating people in as clear a fashion as possible.

The books themselves are quite interesting to handle and examine. First and foremost, I’m handling something that is usually somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 years old – and sometimes as “young” as one hundred years old. I’m touching the past, connecting with artisans who used and made these books. I guess that’s intangible, but it feels concrete to me. Secondly, the paper and ink and impression are fascinating, because I am a craftsman who makes letterforms and cuts them in wood, so I want to discover how those forms were made. I learn more by handling original prints than I ever could from a reproduction.

04_hand with quill_USE

JH: What inspired the idea of touring around the US by motorcycle and stopping at different special collections libraries?

NY: I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was 13 and have always dreamed of riding across the country for an extended period of time. But just wandering around doesn’t appeal to me as there’s no structure to that. Just riding to a destination to “get there” doesn’t interest me either. I’ve been learning calligraphy, book design, and bookbinding history from writing manuals for decades. I’ve done this in libraries all over the country. Combining my love of motorcycle travel with my love of studying Renaissance (and later period) writing manuals into one effort makes sense to me. Anytime I can expand my knowledge, it’s an adventure, whether it’s on a motorcycle or in a library.

06_single page

JH: Do writing manuals have quirks of printing or binding in the same way that medieval manuscripts (or other genres of bound codices) do? Is so, what are some of those quirks?

You’d be hard pressed to find two writing manuals that are the same in terms of binding, pagination and even paper! At the time of printing and publishing a first edition of any one of these titles, there were likely a number of similar copies even if they were bound differently. But these books tended to be used and used up, leaving very few copies of any given edition. Sometimes books were printed using blocks from other books, and sometimes an engraver made a fairly accurate copy of an existing image with some minor change that isn’t easily recognizable.

07_writing manual

Also, as per your question: there’s absolutely no comparison to medieval manuscripts because they were always created one book at a time.

JH: Once you’ve returned home from your cross-country travels, what will be the next step with this project? 

NY: Looking at writing manuals will be a grand time, but that’s only the beginning! The academic side of the trip is to learn different cataloging systems of various libraries in order to make a census of where these books are located. The Seymour De Ricci census is the model I hope to use for my writing manual census. Upon my return to the SF bay area, I’ll begin compiling catalog information and making it searchable online so that researchers/designers can find the location of certain writing manuals, which will aid future study in the field.

08_letters

JH: last but not least – if RLD readers want to know more, where can they find you?

NY: Currently, I’m running an IndieGogo campaign to help pay for gas and travel expenses during my three month, cross country ride. I’ll be setting off on August 5th and from that point, readers can follow the Motoscribendi blog, where I’ll be keeping track of my thoughts and sharing stories from the road. And social media being what it is, you can find me in the following places:

Twitter – Nicholas Yeager

Instagram – Motoscribendi

Facebook – Motoscribendi.com

Well: it’s time to shake the dust off my shoes! I can hardly wait to see where Nick travels and what sorts of discoveries he makes. And who knows? Maybe somewhere, down a hidden aisle and amongst a stack of rare book gems, Nick will uncover a writing manual that has been unseen and untouched for generations – a book waiting especially for him, an exceptional treasure that all book readers (whether they know it or not) secretly long to discover.

–JH

Read Full Post »

hinchcliff_intro_01

(above: samples from the “Introduction to Bookbinding” class taught by Red Letter Day)

It always seems weird to me, every single time: in the middle of summer (or fall or winter) I’m sitting down with my datebook to plan up a storm of teaching. Any workshop instructor knows that most classes are scheduled well in advance; that means I’m already well into the planning stages for holiday 2015 classes while most folks are packing the RV and heading off to Lake Tahoe.

hinchcliff_non ad acc_02

(above: Non Adhesive Accordion Books, 09.23, SFCB)

hinchcliff_flim flam_02

(above: The Book of Flim Flam, 08.24, SFCB)

This year is no exception! If you’re here in the San Francisco bay area, I’d love to see you in one of my classes at the San Francisco Center for the Book.

hinchcliff_yesmen_01

(above: Creative Carousel Books, 10.11, SFCB)

I’ll be teaching plenty of favorites: “Faux Postage”, “Creative Carousel Books”, and “Non-Adhesive Accordion Books”…

hinchcliff_faux post_01

(above: Fabulous Faux Postage, 11.18, SFCB)

…as well as a new class or two! (“The Book of Flim Flam” and “Single Signature Hardcover Binding”)

group_shot_01 (2)

(above: student work from the Creative Carousel Books class)

Needless to say, there’s something for everyone, regardless of skill set! Just think: if you start planning now, you can give a handmade gift from the heart during the holiday season. Perhaps you’d like to design artistamps for your outgoing kringle mail; maybe Auntie Grace or a nephew would like a created-just-for-them journal. Whatever the case, I’ll be teaching a class that shows you how-to!

hinchcliff_hi res_intro to bkbndg_02

(above: “Introduction to Bookbinding” samples)

Dream it and DO it! (and I’ll see you in class!)

–JH

For more info, visit SF Center for the Book –> Workshops, and search by either “month” or “type”; my workshops fall under both “binding” and “arts”.

 

Read Full Post »

RLD photo_02

As you can see, it’s been a whirlwind of productivity at the RLD studio! Don’t let the mess frighten you; it looks far more daunting than it actually is. Underneath the above pictured “mountain of mess” is a pile of items-to-be-mailed-out, projects-which-have-been-completed, and things-in-progress. All in all: a great and fantastical situation to be in!

RLD photo_01

I’m happy to announce that I am in the process of booking up my fall teaching schedule; more on that with next week’s blog post! I have a handful of new classes that I’ll be teaching at SFCB, alongside ever popular book/mail art favorites. Photos and descriptions will be forthcoming (you’re welcome to follow my Instagram and twitter feeds [@redletterzine] to keep track of all the booky/stamp-ish details!)

Love and Postage —

–JH

Read Full Post »

01_clipboard

Well, SF Zine Fest has wrapped up for another year, believe it or not! It was an amazing weekend filled with constant inspiration and delightful surprises.

02_RHR table

(above: the view from behind the table!)

One of my favorite things about doing events like SFZF is the fact that I get to see so many friends and supporters together in one place. The amount of creativity, enthusiasm, and community support is incredible. Often, when I get home from a day of vending, it’s hard to sleep at night because of the action-packed, DIY movie that keeps looping through my head.

03_SFZF crowd

Many people made the trip to the County Fair Building to say hello: Andrea G. of SFPL’s Book Arts and Special Collections, RLD readers Tammy McK. (thanks so much for your thoughtful words) and JU13 (you are my fairy godmother!), local postal blogger Pamela G(thanks for the shout out on the C&AJ blog!), calligrapher Nick Y. (king of puns and bringer of coffee) and so many others. Tablemate Maureen Forys of Happenstance Type-O-Rama kept the good times rolling with stories and snacks.

04_jessica and michael

By incredible coincidence, Jessica M. and Mr. Michael were in town from far away (Pittsburgh!); they stopped at the table and regaled me with tales of their SF vacation wanderings. My day (no, wait — MY WEEK!) was made when Jessica graciously gifted me with one of the Mr. Zip postcards you see above. It was a swoon-worthy moment, to be sure.

I’ve been spending the last couple days resting up, as my teaching semester kicks into high gear on Friday! If you’re interested in taking a class at SFCB (or are one of my students at the Academy), get ready for a high octane autumn — there’s books to be bound and rubber to be stamped. I’ll keep you posted on any and all RLD activities; the fall line up is lookin’ FANTASTIC!

In all things postal, I remain —

–JH

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »