Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hardcover Books

Recently I made my first hardcover books!  It was an adventure into the Coptic style of binding.  Coptic binding leaves an exposed book spine and allows the book to open flat for easy drawing and writing.
The first step to making a hardcover book is creating the covers.  The base of the covers are pieces of mat board leftover from cutting windows out of mats.  After cutting the mat board down to size I chose strips of paper that overlapped the mat board by around an inch on each side.  Then, apply a thin coat of PVA glue to the front of the cover and apply the paper.  Trim the corners, apply glue to the other side of the board, and fold over the paper edges.  Then glue a piece of decorative paper over the back of the board to cover up the folded edges.  Repeat for the back cover!

The next step is punching holes in the covers.  Then fold all the pages in half and line up with the covers.  Mark the pages and punch holes that line up with the holes on the cover.  Then it is a matter of sewing the pages to each other and assembling the book.  The groups of pages (called signatures) are attached one at a time to the book, making it easy to create large books.  This site has a good tutorial on Coptic binding with lots of photographs of the sewing process.  This is one of those processes that seems very difficult when writing the instructions, but turns out to be very easy once you actually do it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mary's Necklace

Recently I was given another batch of old jewelry from a friend.  Naturally I immediately got to work reinventing some of these pieces.  This is a necklace I made using a clip-on earring that was missing its mate.  The earring had a plastic cabachon with a floral pattern.  I started by attaching a bezel on a copper disc, stamping a design around the edges, and putting loops on the top and bottom.  The final step was setting the cab in the bezel and attaching three swarovski crystal beads to the bottom in coordinating colors.

Before I could properly photograph the piece, my friend Mary bought it.  So here she is modelling her new necklace.  Work it, Mary, work it!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ring Repair

A good friend of mine had a little mishap with her favorite ring.  It went down the garbage disposal.  (Need I say more?)  So she sent it to me for repairs.

The ring is a sterling silver band shaped like a crown of thorns with black lowered areas accentuating the branches.  It was pretty beat up but made for an easy fix.  The first step was annealing the ring (heating it with a torch until glowing.)  This softened the ring enough to be able to hammer it back into shape on a ring mandrel.  After the ring was round again, it was a matter of filing away the majority of the nicks and scratches and sanding it to a smooth finish.  The last step was applying a patina to settle in the lower areas, and cleaning up the raised areas with a polishing cloth.

Repairing jewelry can be tricky.  The presence of set stones complicates the process and limits what can be done without completely re-setting the stone.  "Mystery metals" complicate things as well.  Solder can easily be applied to silver, copper, and brass.  Many other metals (like pewter) melt at a much lower temperature.  Repairing jewelry made from "mystery metal" risks melting the piece entirely.  This ring was the best case scenario when it comes to repairing jewelry.  A plain silver band that just needed some TLC.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dutch Necklace

One of my recent jewelry projects was a pair of Dutch Boy and Girl necklaces.  The necklaces were created by repurposing a pair of sterling silver clip on earrings.  The kissing Dutch boy and girl earrings were a little weird to wear as earrings, but are adorable when worn in moderation!  The earrings were old jewelry given to me by a relative, so these necklaces are two of a kind.  Get one while you still can!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Handmade Books

 The last couple weeks I have been learning how to make books as part of my internship at the Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory.  One of the most basic sewn bookbinding structures is called Japanese Stab Binding.  It involves lining up the pages and covers of the soon-to-be book, making a series of holes, and sewing along the edge of the stack.

 These books are all made using scraps of leftover and recycled paper.  The covers include handmade papers, maps from an old atlas, and an old field guide for identifying trees.

The smaller books are made using lined notebook paper, pieces of scrapbook paper leftover from making cards, and empty Kleenex boxes.