Friday Night Flicks: Tonlé Clothing

I am always pleased to come across a good new stop motion animation. I am even more pleased when it is a promotion for a good cause. Today’s video made me happy on both counts.


Tonlé is a zero-waste, ethical garment manufacturer based in Cambodia. You can learn more about them on their website.

Have a happy weekend!




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Making Paste Papers

My mother was trained as a teacher. When I was a child, school boards would not hire married women. (Shocked gasp from younger female readers.) The idea was that married women were supported by their husbands and should not be competing with men —possibly married— in the job market. Since my mother specialized in teaching the lower grades, and loved teaching art and music, I had some real advantages over my peers. My sister and I got to do lots of things at home that would otherwise have been restricted to the art room at school. One of those things was making paste paper. Well, my mother called it “finger painting”, but the principals and materials were the same.

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Friday Night Flicks: Paper Marbling

I have never marbled paper, though I long ago helped my grandmother marble old glass jars and bottles using a water-filled bucket and odds and ends of oil-based house paint. (They were a big hit at the church bazaar.) I have always been fascinated by the process, and since I will be posting about another paper decorating technique —paste paper— on Sunday I thought some marbling videos would do nicely for today.

The first video is about the production of marbled papers for the Folio Society. It’s only two and a half minutes so you probably have time for it even if your life is quite busy.


If you have a little more time, the second video (just under thirteen minutes) describes marbling as done at Douglas Cockerell and Son in 1970.


Have a lovely weekend.

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Ecology: an altered book

Ecology is one of the altered books I produced from the Life Nature Library series. I used the entire text block, which I cut into strips and rolled into beads. The beads were sorted into colour groups and sewn free-hand into random shapes. These were then assembled into a long scroll. The work is housed in a clamshell box (25.5 x 10 x 10 cm/10 x 3 7/8 x 3 7/8 in. closed) covered in Japanese hemp paper.

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Friday Night Flicks: A St. Patrick’s Day Porcupine

It’s a very short video again this week (just over a minute) but it comes with a bit of a preamble.

David and I have mixed feelings about porcupines: they are rather sweet in an incredibly dim sort of way, but they have the distressing habit of doing irreparable damage by chewing the bark off our 100 year old Scotch pines. In an attempt to deal with the problem, David has become a porcupine hunter. This involves his arming himself with a long stick and a plastic garbage pail. Ideally, the hunt takes place when there is plenty of snow on the ground, and when there has been a fresh snowfall so that the porcupine is easy to track. When located, the porcupine is prodded off a tree branch (if it can be reached) or out from under a brush pile and scooped up in the garbage pail.

The captured porcupine is then deported to a local nature preserve, where the staff are thrilled to get them. They take student groups out for nature walks and not only are porcupines easy to track, there’s a good chance of actually finding one without having to go too far.

Here’s a picture of a friend releasing one of David’s recent catches.

Here’s a picture of the pointy part.

And here’s a picture of a baby one David captured a couple of summers ago. (Mom was already occupying the garbage pail, so the baby had to make do with a small cardboard box.)

All this is an introduction to tonight’s video. St. Patrick’s Day is coming, when apparently everyone is a little bit Irish: even porcupines.


May your glass be ever full.

May the roof over your head be always strong.

And may you be in heaven

half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.

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A Nag Hammadi binding

I have mentioned before that I like the challenge of making work for themed exhibitions. I also like participating in themed book swaps. Sometimes, like the current one I have signed up for with CBBAGSask, the theme is a concept. Sometimes, as in the swap that resulted in my producing today’s book, the theme is a binding style. In December 1945, some farmers from the town of Nag Hammadi, located on the west bank of the Nile about 80 kilometres north-west of Luxor, found a cache of 15 papyrus codices together with some loose pages in a sealed clay jar. The writings date back to the 2nd century AD. They are mostly Gnostic treatises, written in Coptic, and include the only complete copy of the Gospel of Thomas. The mother of one of the farmers burned one of the books and parts of a second (cooking his supper perhaps?) so only the loose pages and 12 books remain. The codices are bound in a style that is known as the Nag Hammadi binding. I could find no credit other than “a biblical scholar” for the preceding photo. Continue reading

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Friday Night Flicks: Revolution (Life Cycle of a Drop of Water)

Tonight’s film by Chris Turner, Helen Friel, and Jess Deacon is under two minutes long, but through a clever combination of pop-ups and stop motion animation manages to tell the complete story of the life cycle of a drop of water.

  Enjoy your weekend! It’s actually thawing here today. ; ]

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Seashell Alphabets

Ideas for books come from many different places. In the case of the two books described in today’s post, the inspiration comes from the seashore and from alphabet books. Both works were made early in my career as a book artist.

A Beach Comber’s Molluscalphabet was made as a gift for a friend who collects seashells. Unlike those of us who just pick up pretty things on the beach, she is serious about it and can identify a shell with its Latin name and probable source location.

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Friday Night Flicks: The Art of Bookbinding

This old black and white mini-documentary was posted about a month ago on YouTube by iBookBinding. I am presenting it here in case you haven’t seen it yet. In about 10 minutes it gives a quick survey of book repair and the production of new books and other print materials.

Happy weekend everyone.


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Grid Road Poems

The paper-cutting piece that I am currently working on is map based, so I thought I would discuss a previous map based artist’s book. Grid Road Poems consists of six loose card stock pages in a matching sleeve. The pages are slotted like the dividers in boxes of canning jars or wine bottles, and can be assembled in a number of grid-like arrangements. Continue reading

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