Alphabet Collecting 1

I have mentioned before my lifelong love of alphabets and alphabet books. It will not surprise you that I have a small collection of alphabet books. I also collect alphabets in other forms.

I collect odd pages from damaged and discarded books.

I collect old printing sets,


and newer ones (which are not nearly as much fun).


I also collect other devices for reproducing the letters of the alphabet.

Come back next Sunday and see more of the collection!

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Friday Night Flicks

This Friday I would like to share a couple of very short videos. The first is a stop motion animation about the history of the art form. The second is a music video. Both use paper, and the second shows some excellent paper cutting and used 12,000 pieces of construction paper.



I hope everyone has a fine weekend!

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Earth: an altered book

Earth was the first altered book I made that didn’t consist of turning the text block into hundreds of folded shapes as I had in Universe. It is made from another in the Life Nature Library series titled The Earth. The outer case is a shiho chitsu (Japanese four sided case) with a ribbon closure.

Much of the original book contained information about the geology of the planet earth, so I was inspired to do something a little different. 

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Friday Night Flicks

A very short video this week: a combination of pop-up and alphabet book full of clever tricks. I hope you are as delighted as I was when I first saw this. (I bought the book.)


Hope you have a happy weekend.

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Greystone Secrets: the album

I don’t often take on commissions. I have done a few custom sketchbooks, wedding albums, and guest books over the years, but the work is often boring (for me) and the remuneration rarely sufficient to pay for the time spent in finding out what the customer really wants.

Greystone Secrets was a different matter entirely.

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Friday Night Flicks

A little late, but here it is anyway!

I have noticed that in discussions of paper Mohawk Superfine is frequently mentioned. Here’s a video on how it is made.

Have a good weekend.

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How to back paper or cloth

My first book on bookbinding was Japanese Bookbinding by Kojiro Ikegami. One of the many useful things I learned from that book was how to back paper and cloth.  I learned to strengthen fragile papers and make my own book cloth.

Over the years, I have modified the process. To back paper I use either plain cooked wheat starch paste or a starch paste/PVA mix. For better adhesion when backing cloth, I use a starch paste/PVA mix, with a PVA content of about 25%.

Step One:

Lay the paper/cloth good side down on a hard smooth surface — I use my kitchen counter — and mist thoroughly with water.

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Friday Night Flicks

As a follow-up to the post on The Elephant’s Child, here’s a video about the restoration and preservation of palm leaf manuscripts in Sri Lanka.


It’s autumn here and quite lovely: I hope you are having as nice weather. If you are, go for a walk or a bike ride this weekend!

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The Elephant’s Child

Although the artist’s books produced by Byopia Press usually contain original images and/or text, occasionally I use material from other sources. The Elephant’s Child is one example of this.

One of the tales from Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, The Elephant’s Child is possibly my favourite piece of short prose. It has everything a short story (or a longer one) requires: a sympathetic protagonist, character development, conflict,  retribution, and a happily ever after ending.

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Friday Night Flicks

In my last post I talked about my fascination with maps. Maps don’t have to be about ‘real’ places: some of my favourite maps are of imaginary worlds.

Cartographers spend their working life committed to recording the details of our world. Every once in a while someone shows the same level of diligence in recording an entirely imaginary place. One of the best things about Tolkein’s books is that they come with maps, so that we can imagine ourselves in the exact location that he imagined.

Welcome to Jerry’s World.

He describes it on his website:

In the summer of 1963 I began drawing a map of an imaginary city. The work started as a doodle done in the spare time I had while working at a tedious job. I continued to add to that map through the years until, in 1983, I set it aside to put my free time to other use. The Map was stored in the attic of our home in Cold Spring, New York. It gathered dust. My son, Henry, found it one day while rummaging around. He brought it down to me and asked what it was. Seeing it then triggered me to dust it off and continue the project. It now comprises over 3100 individual eight by ten inch panels. Its execution, in acrylic, marker, colored pencil, ink, collage, and inkjet print on heavy paper, is dictated by the interplay between an elaborate set of rules and randomly generated instructions.       


I hope everyone has an excellent weekend, possibly involving maps.



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