Friday Night Flicks: 3M Rube Goldberg Machine

If you follow Friday Night Flicks, you will have noticed my fondness for stop-motion videos. I am also quite fond of Rube Goldberg machines. (If you live in the UK you might think of them as Heath Robinson machines.)

Here’s a charming advertisement for 3M products. I particularly enjoyed the floating ball at the beginning, the pendulum sequence, and the post-it note fountain.


Have a great last weekend of summer!

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CROP: a free DIY pamphlet-bound artist’s book

Due to the unexpected popularity of last Sunday’s post, Recomp, my blog received its 10,000th view sometime late Friday. In celebration of that event I am giving away another little artist’s book.

The original CROP was created in 2011 for that year’s weloveyourbooks exhibition.

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Friday Night Flicks: Fun History of Type

I probably would have called this video A Short History of Typography.  It was produced to introduce the V International Typography Congress, Valencia: beyond ink.


Enjoy this August weekend: soon it will be September!

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Back in late 2013, I wrote a piece for Book Arts/Arts du livre Canada, the magazine of the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild. The editor wanted a description/announcement rather than a critical review for Decomp, Stephen Collis/Jordan Scott, Coach House Books, Toronto, 2013.

Much about the book disappointed me, but I did manage to find some good things to say because the book was nicely produced by Coach House.

Here’s what I did with the book after writing the piece:

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Friday Night Flicks: The Bald-faced Hornet

I commented to David the other day that it is wasp season, and it most definitely is!

Today’s flick is a little time lapse video about one of nature’s great paper makers, the bald-faced hornet. It isn’t really a hornet, it’s a member of the same genus as yellow-jacket wasps. It builds amazing structures. The patterns in the nest display the history of the materials that have been collected for its construction.

I have used abandoned hornet nests for making my own paper. It is a difficult material to work with as the wasp saliva involved in the process not only makes the pulp malleable, it waterproofs it!

The reason for today’s selection will become obvious when I post on Sunday.


Here’s hoping you have a wasp-free weekend!

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Wishing Star Project Test and an Ebb and Flow update

A little while ago I posted an update on The Wishing Star Project. I wrote about filling my first storage box with 10 Imperial gallons of stars and showed you some pictures.

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Friday Night Flicks: Here It Goes Again by OK Go

This week’s video doesn’t have much to do with anything except that it is the silly season, I ended up using my treadmill this week because I wasn’t getting out on my bike enough, and I laughed out loud when I first saw this years ago. Without further preamble, here is OK Go’s music video for Here It Goes Again.


Try to get some exercise this weekend, preferably not on a treadmill.

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I could make paper out of that.

I entered the field of book arts via paper making. I thought learning to make my own paper would be interesting so I began to teach myself from books. My husband built me some basic tools and I started to make paper. I had to learn to choose plants that produced suitable raw materials. Daylily leaves, asparagus stalks, cattails, and grasses all work well. They contain enough cellulose to stand upright without support, and the fibres are difficult to tear. Other sources were less obvious: onion and garlic skins, or the leftovers from eating an artichoke. I was constantly on the lookout for new materials, and people around me began to get a little tired of the phrase “I could make paper out of that.”

One day when my husband and I went for a walk in the pasture, I looked down at the pile of aging, crumbling horse manure at my feet and said “I could make paper … ”

Plant fibres must go through a number of processes before reaching the pulp stage needed for paper-making. First they must be collected: it can take a surprisingly long time to gather enough to be useful. They must be chopped up, then rotted and/or cooked in a caustic solution. The chopping is hard on the hands, and both the rotting and cooking processes can be slow and unpleasantly smelly. The resulting pulp must be thoroughly rinsed, then beaten to separate the individual fibres.

Relatively fresh horse manure.

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Friday Night Flicks: Dot and Gulp.

Two really short stop motion videos this week: both were shot using the Nokia N8, a camera that you can apparently also use as a smartphone. The videos were directed by Sumo Science and produced by Aardman Animations, the people who brought you Wallace and Grommet, Chicken Run, and most recently, Shaun the Sheep. Here they are: Dot, the world record holder for the smallest stop motion animation, and Gulp, the world record holder for the world’s largest stop motion animation.



Since these didn’t take long, you should still have plenty of time to enjoy your weekend. Though if you have another six minutes to spare, you might want to watch Gulp. The making of.

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Conceptual Notebooks

I entered the field of book arts via paper making. It wasn’t long before I wanted to do something with my stacks of handmade paper. David gave me a copy of Kojiro Ikegami’s Japanese Bookbinding  and I began producing a variety of notebooks. My favourite structure was the multi-section binding.

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