Wednesday, December 17, 2008

tooling demo, i got some response to my first items, one of them asked for a deeper explanation of the tooling process .
At work today I had to finish a book for a friend, and I took pics along the way.........
Veterans amoung you will know that an attempt to explain tooling in 1 blog post would be pure folly, but what i can offer is an explanation of what I did today, in one instance, on one book....
Its a cute little red book, palm size, so I`m going to use my 8pt edinburgh to letter, and do some simple single pallets above and below the raised bands......
First, i gotta burnish the book, its small so i can do it using hot plates in the kensol......very quick, very effective.
I paste wash the skin, and tool the lettering and lines in blind .
After glairing up the blind impressions, it is decided that i will use 2 methods for completing the gold work.......
First I will tool the lines, by picking up the gold on the brass pallet.Rub my nose, run the nose grease along the pallet, pick up a chopped line of gold, and drop it in.
I have found that this is best so far, as it avoids filling-in over the bands, and any unnecessary cleaning.
Second, applying the leaf directly to the surface for the lettering using a layer of grease.
The tooling is completed, and grease removed, leaving a simple but rich finish...
One note, you may have noticed the rather cumbersome glove I`m wearing on my left hand.
This is of course enables me to position the tool without burning my fingers(Michael Wilcox uses a thumb cover made of leather , vis , his video on gold finishing)...........but i gotta tell you about these gloves ......My mother in-law gets them for me (thank you juliet)maybe they are store-bought or available everywhere .....but she uses them for sewing thermal blankets for satellites such as cassini (orbiting saturn at the moment) , and the mars rover for Space Systems Loral .
Maybe I`m wrong about this, but as far I`m concerned i can pick up leaf like paper with these things...further experimentation could prove fruitful, but maybe any kind of cotton glove can do the same !!!!!
Either way, I love them, and I hope she keeps sending them!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

design on the fly day 4 last day

The last day, is left for the tooling to be completed . The box is removed from the press, and pressed between hotplates, burnished and pastewashed before tooling .
The first task is the title and author, handtooled in gold as per the brief in a 16pt centaur . The gold laid on, lettering tooled and cleaned off .
Next is the bit im not looking forward to, tooling the lines again in black .
This helps seal the onlays, and finish the design.
This takes the rest of the day, and my right arm is glad when its over.....perhaps i could have done fewer lines! Maybe used some gold or palladium , maybe not the used the orange!!???
In the end, it's a good effort for the short timeline...

design on the fly day three

On the third day, having a fully drawn out design on paper, I can tool over the top of it with the single line pallets, and prepare the onlays. This process is ardous and a real workout for the arms, but with determination, it is completed before lunch, and I can relax knowing I can spend the rest of the day arranging onlays on the cover, and play with the design a bit more.
The onlays are cut out and placed on one-by-one, and the design begins to take shape. I'm kind of making it up as I go, the drawing gives some indication of where the colour goes, but you can add or takeaway throughtout the process , changing the design as you change your mind.
When its done its time to turn the lights off, leave the box in the press between plates, go home and get ready for the tooling the next day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Design on the fly days 1 and 2 here i have set out to break down a common situation in the bindery.   That is, designing work on a short deadline.
I need a full leather clamshell box with a design across the cover using onlays in 4 days .
Having done this a number of times I know this can be completed, following a strict timetable ....
so here goes ......
The first 2 days should be devoted to completing the box itself, a full leather, double walled clamshell. In order to begin this I`ve first got to work out what base colour I'm going to use - the colour of bookcloth or leather for the trays, and the colour, or colours, of the skin used for the case. 
If there is artwork on the dustjacket, the brief dictates that I should make something in harmony, or that plays, borrows or expands on that of the cover. 
In this case the main body of colour from the dustjacket is a dark blue, so I'm going to go with that...
Whilst making the box, all the while I'm thinking about what I'm going to do.....
Immediately, I'm drawn to the clouds of green and orange in the bottom left corners of the jacket, and am totally ignoring the giant space turtle carrying discworld!!!!!!
Focusing on these green and orange clouds I decide the way forward is to dye some fair goat .
2 large pieces are used, 1 is dyed with a textured base of greens and blues, and the second with yellows and oranges. 
But this on its own is not interesting enough.  A simple way to transform a fairly ordinary, dyed goatskin for onlays, is to use a batik or craquele technique. A resist is used, cracked, and the piece dyed again (in this instance using dark blues and greens as a second colour).
When dry, the resist is removed to reveal the dark veining and marbling across the skin .
This is a good way to tie in the colours together .......
So, on the second day after completing the box, and casing it in, I have enough time at the end of the day to sketch out some initial ideas for designs and decide how I'm going to use the dyed goat that Nancy and I made earlier that day.  It was easy to do and too much fun!
Scribbling away a load of sketches and putting them up on a wall next to the material to be onlaid a pattern emerges .....
A quick and easy solution is to recreate the marbling and veining effect on the onlays, across the cover using sharp angular lines, with single line pallets.... I make some initial drawings, before drawing out a final design ......
I say quick and easy, but I know the tooling is going to be laborious