Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Our first card exchange

Card Exchange 2024

A group of our members agreed to participate in a card exchange! Everyone was asked to make an edition of 11 handmade cards so that each participant would have a full set, i.e. one card made by each participant. Folks were encouraged to make anything they fancied using their array of book and paper arts skills. The results were wonderful and wide-ranging.

As shown below, the final cards included many techniques such as origami, pop-ups, collage, flexagons, fancy folds, and lino prints. Most participants created an edition of cards that were all the same; however, some participants made 11 entirely different cards and in those cases only a few of their cards are shown here.

Emily Brown
Emily Brown
An edition of cards made using a hand-carved lino block print with added watercolour and ink.
Jessie Bruce
Jessie Bruce
A set of cards each with a unique layout featuring a combination of illustration and collage.
Larry Colwell
Larry Colwell
An edition featuring the Turkish map fold made with a hardcover case for the outer card.
Sally Crawford
Sally Crawford
A set of cards featuring original eco printed botanical papers.
Barb Dugas
Barb Dugas
A variety of cards made with combinations of collage, stamping, and folding.
Alaina Harper
Alaina Harper
An edition of cards featuring a bedazzled pop-up Christmas tree.
Heather Loney
Heather Loney
An edition of cards featuring handcut roses on the front and pop-up roses inside with origami leaves.
Rhonda Miller
Rhonda Miller
An edition of flexagon cards printed with a quote from Joni Mitchell's song The Circle Game, with gold foil lettering and rubber stamp patterns.
Odyseean Press
Odyssean Press
An edition of cards featuring 'The Magician,' an original relief print, hand-carved and printed as an edition of 11.
Marilynn Rudi
Marilynn Rudi
Origami kite cards collaged with string and cloud prints. Each card also has a coordinating envelope.
Rhynn Winstead
Rhynn Winstead
An edition of cards featuring an original daffodil lino print on handmade paper.

Friday, May 31, 2024

Postcrossing and Mail Art

Marilynn Rudi talks about Postcrossing and mail art

At our meeting this week, Marilynn Rudi gave a lovely presentation about her involvement with the Postcrossing project and how, for her, that has extended into the realm of other paper arts like mail art and collage. She explained how she got involved and how it all works and probably sparked some interest in a few of our members! Postcrossing is free and open to anyone who enjoys sending and receiving mail.

Marilynn joined Postcrossing a couple of years ago and has sent and received over 200 postcards. She has received postcards from about 40 countries. Also, Marilynn has since become further involved with other mail exchanges that include elaborate mail art featuring collage, hand lettering, painting, and other elements. Many examples of her postcards and mail art were on hand for members to admire. Thank you, Marilynn, for sharing with us!

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

"Book Club" exhibit at Hermes Gallery

For the past few weeks, the Nova Scotia Book Arts Group has been involved in its first gallery show, as part of the Book Club exhibit at Hermes Gallery in Halifax. The show included book and text themed works by several members of the gallery and NSBAG was invited to contribute a selection of handbound books to be part of the exhibition as well. The exhibit closes on April 21 at 6pm, so there are a few days left if you want to go!

Our members contributed thirteen handbound books showcasing a wide range of binding techniques and materials, as shown below. As well, we were able to publicly exhibit the Community Art Journal that we made last year so members of the public could see the finished book.

Deborah Maurer
Leather Journal
Hand-dyed and painted leather with linocut printed skull image. Bound using a crossed structure binding technique. You can find Deborah on Instagram: @debmaureroriginals.
Larry Colwell
Double Accordion
Two blank accordion books bound together with a hardcover case enclosure. Full cloth covering with debossed cover design.
Marilynn Rudi
Handbound Journal
Hardcover accordion structure with spine reinforcement and button closure. Full cloth covering and original marbled paper paste-downs inside.
Heather Loney
Hand-cut Treescape
Original artwork and paper cutting. Hardcover binding using a case binding technique. You can see more of Heather's work on Instagram: @hkeloney.
Odyssean Press
"Untitled (melancholia)"
Modified casebound album binding with letterpress poetry. These two artist books explore the wilds of the mind as if they were a stormy sea. Poetic fragments are printed on top of previous layers, obscuring or highlighting certain words to both hide from the viewer and invite closer reflection. See more on Instagram: @odysseanpress

Ariel Bissett
Handbound Journal
Hardcover journal with exposed chain stitch binding. Bookcloth spine and corners with original marbled paper. You can find Ariel on Instagram: @arielbissett
Stephanie Morley
Medieval Binding Cutaway
A cutaway binding demonstrates the book construction by exposing the binding process. This is an example of a Gothic binding sewn on raised cords with sewn endbands. Spalted beech boards shaped by hand, linen cords laced in & pegged. Spine partially covered in leather. Rawhide strap closure with hand-shaped brass clasp. Handmade paper, handspun linen cords & thread, made by the binder. Deerhide tanned by the binder. Stephanie is on Instagram: @morleyambiguous.

Charles Salmon
Artist's book exploring a non-traditional organic book shape. Cover is made using papier mâché; textblock is a concertina structure supported by a knotted spine. Clasp is a gesso-painted apple stem and paper tube. Custom 5-sided box with fall-away sides and an origami base to support the book inside. The hand-lettered text is an old English blessing for an apple.

Sally Crawford
"Marking Time"
A folded book made from original botanical eco-printed papers with multiple surfaces and hidden pockets to inspire additional content creation. You can find Sally on Facebook: SallyCrawford.Art.
Emily Doucette
Blank Journal
Handbound journal, drawn-on boards, bound in quarter leather with raised bands and hand-tooled decorations on the spine. Sewn endbands and marbled boards. You can see more work on Emily's Instagram: @awltomorrowsbindings

Rhonda Miller
"Bookbinding Materials & Techniques 1700-1920"
Handbound book, bound using a split-board library binding with sewn endbands. Quarter leather with original marbling on covers and matching fore edge marbling. You can find Rhonda on Instagram: @myhandboundbooks

NSBAG Community Art Journal
Created during Nocturne 2023. Members of the public were invited to create the pages based on the prompt, “What is your favorite thing?” You can watch our video on Youtube to see the artwork inside. The book structure is a hardcover binding with an exposed longstitch sewn on ribbon supports. Bound by Rhonda Miller.

Thank you to Frankie and Peter at Hermes Gallery for inviting us to be part of this show! This is the final week for the exhibit. The gallery is open 12pm - 6pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Monday, April 8, 2024

Workshop: Miniature Books

As part of the Book Club exhibit at Hermes Gallery in Halifax, our group held a bookbinding workshop at the gallery this past weekend. Participants each handbound their own miniature book featuring the text of The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.

The workshop was conducted by Rhonda Miller, who prepared this tiny textblock specifically for this session, and provided each participant with a little kit ready for the making.

Voila, a tiny edition of tiny books!

Saturday, March 23, 2024

The Halifax Gazette, March 23, 1752

Today is a significant date in the history of printing in Nova Scotia and Canada! It's the anniversary of the first newspaper printed in Nova Scotia, which also happens to be the first newspaper printed in what would later become the country of Canada.

On March 23rd 1752, John Bushell's print shop on Grafton Street in Halifax, printed and sold copies of the Halifax Gazette, shown below. One complete copy survives at Library & Archives Canada.

Read more about it on the NS Archives webite
Halifax Gazette March 23 1752

Monday, February 12, 2024

Down the Rabbit Hole: Pop-ups & Kirigami

By Heather Loney 

Last year I made a rather complicated tunnel book for friends, using some pop-up book techniques.


With the NSBAG challenge of creating cards for the May 2024 meeting, I decided to check out more pop-up card/book possibilities.  Let’s just say, ‘Pinterest and Google have too many interesting options’ from pop-up to kirigami. 

Simple shapes, cuts and folds are obviously easier; getting thin strips of paper to ‘curve outward’ was a little tricky. Google ‘Ullagami (the pop-up on the blue background sbove). There are several levels and it is an excellent practice piece.

Buildings can be fun, although convincing the paper to fold properly for roofs took some time. Several of the buildings came from a French site called Baud & Bui Origamic Architecture (http://baudandbui.free.fr/oa.html). The Empire building was the easiest. They give limited instructions so pay close attention to their pictures to judge your valley and mountain folds. The Pagoda and the Gift (blue & pink) (below) were challenging, especially since fold lines are not drawn out, and they are difficult to collapse into a card format. It is possible that my Pagoda may have been struck by an earthquake which caused a little structural damage. 😉


The Blue Arcs (below) looked intriguing on Pinterest --- but in spite of trying it two different ways, my results did not match their final product. These will make their way to the recycling bin.

The last one is another tricky one with curves and narrow pieces which make folding difficult, is called a ‘Carte Magique’ and can be found at: https://vivelamagie.com/. It is 3.jpg. It’s my favourite but unfortunately with so many thin strips of paper, it is also difficult to fold and collapse it into a proper card.

As the title suggests, I got lost down the ‘rabbit hole’ and have found many more challenging paper-cuts and pop-ups to play with, but missed my original goal of finding something effective and simpler to create 10 cards. These will not be part of my card package for May – but hopefully they will inspire something worthwhile!

Monday, January 29, 2024

Future Bookbinders

By Heather Loney

A year ago, a class of Grade 2s took the first steps in bookbinding. They learned to fold paper, glue paper covers on thin book board and put together an accordion book. I learned that school glue gets EVERYWHERE.

     This year, January 2024, with a class of twenty-one Grade 2/3s, we attempted accordion books again. Preparation is of key importance: 50 cover boards were cut (always a few extras for those kids who do something totally unexpected), 50 papers cut for the covers, corners trimmed and then 50 cover images drawn on the papers so kids are able to place the book board in the right spot, and 25 long strips of paper were prepared.  And then, the preparations were repeated for a smaller size of accordion book. (Book sizes were determined by a collection of off-cuts from Gaspereau Press.) Paper folding was a bit of a challenge for some; I am glad that there were extra prepared papers.

     With memories of wet glue dripping on desks, over books, and on chairs, glue sticks were used to complete the work. 22 small accordion books with cereal box covers (our prototypes) and 22 medium accordion books with proper book boards were completed!


     The following week, we attempted ‘sewing’ books. Again, preparations included cutting book board (thank you My Handbound Books for the off-cuts), paper for the signatures cut, pre-folded and pre- punched (can you imagine letting 7 and 8 year olds using a stiletto or an awl without individual supervision!), paper for covers cut, corners trimmed and drawn on to show the placement for gluing the book board, 50 end pages, along with 2 strips of book-cloth each for spines, and finally, 22 pre-threaded blunt-end needles, with a small lesson on how to pull the thread through the signature without having the needle come off the thread.  We were ready!


     Most of the class followed the directions with a 5-hole pamphlet stitch with little difficulty – a few needed one-on-one assistance (my 8 year old grand-daughter/assistant and I ran around to each group checking progress).

     We fixed the signature to the hard cover using the ‘agenda book’ method that Rhonda taught in a NS Craft class last fall: the signature is sewn with a spine-wide strip of book-cloth which is then glued to the inside of the spine book-cloth on the completed covers.  Colourful end pages were added for a finished product.

     A class of 7 and 8 year olds proudly held up their finished sewn books and then ran around showing off their work and checking out their classmate’s books.


Sunday, January 21, 2024

Making a Pop-up Octopus

Last week, our group gathered to look at some pop-up books and we made some pop-ups too! We started by making some simple cut pop-up shapes then finished with a pop-up octopus card, in many colours!

If you would like to make a simple pop-up octopus, you can follow along right here. You will need two sheets of cardstock, scissors, and glue.

I created this 3-piece octopus image that you can download here as a PDF. This is a one-page document that you can print on standard printer paper though I recommend printing it on cardstock for added strength.

Follow these steps to make your pop-up card. You can click on the photos to make them larger if necessary.

Step 1
Download the PDF, print it, and cut out the three pieces.
Print and cut out shapes

Step 2
The second sheet of cardstock should be folded in half for the base. Starting with the 4-tentacled piece of the octopus, fold it in half as shown here.
Fold pieces

Step 3
Apply some glue to the back of the 4-tentacled piece of the octopus and attach it to the base card. I pasted only the central part and left the ends of the tentacles loose, but you could glue it down entirely. Make sure the folds are aligned.

Step 4
The two other parts of the octopus need to be folded along the lines as shown in the following photograph.

Step 5
Fold as in the following photograph and cut the little corner bit off both pieces.

Step 6
On the back of these pieces, apply glue to the tabs as shown here.

Step 7
With the octopus head piece bent at an angle, as shown, attach it by sticking the tabs onto the card, overlapping the bottom half of the octopus that is already attached to the base. (The second photo here shows it from the back.) Make sure the centre folds are all aligned.

Step 8
The last piece is attached the same way, nestled in behind the head. Make sure the centre folds are all aligned.

Now when the card is closed, the octopus should fold flat, and it should pop up when the card is opened. Voila!

Card design and tutorial by Rhonda Miller