Project update

As you know, I am working through the process of displaying my work and I’ve pretty much landed on handmade books and boxes. One of the things that I have discovered along the way, that has been quite interesting, is other people’s reactions to these items. The images that get put in the boxes really need to be either all landscape or all portrait. I am not a fan of a horizontal images on a vertical piece of paper, and I’ve noticed people ‘fumble’ with images that are of a different orientation as they flip thru the stack. This is true for books; all images the same direction. The problem with my books, however, is different; I have completely neglected to identify the front of the book! I have figured out printing, covering, binding. Everything but the cover. This results in people, 9 times out of 10, starting upside down and backwards. Sigh.

My instructor, Russell Phillips and I brainstormed a bit about this last night. He had a couple of ideas of which this one is the one I am going with….emboss the cover. This means cutting out a square on the cover of the book and peeling out the cardboard layer within it. This leaves a small indention that, once covered with paper, looks really nice. Russell thought it might be cool to make the square about an inch big and put a stamp sized image in it. Below is a scrap piece of cardboard where I cut out the cardboard and covered with paper. Looks pretty cool!

As for the class assignment; I am half way done. The box and images for the box are completed. I do need to trim down the sheets so that they are all the same size. The image order for the book is just about done. I need to swap out one image (or add one) to break up all the architecture images. I should be able to get all of this completed within the next three weeks – just in time for a portfolio review with Mary Virginia Swanson.


Teaching my self to bind…

…books!    Not only am I making boxes to present my images, I am attempting another binding method.   As you might remember, I have done Japanese Stab binding and Accordion binding.  I am now trying Coptic binding.   This is a binding that allows a number of signatures and a front and back cover but no spine.  Here’s a link to the tutorial I followed:

It’s very easy to do.  I struggled a bit with a straight needle on my prototype so a curved needle for a larger attempt would make this much, much easier.   What’s really nice about this type of binding is the fact that it lays flat – something that is important when displaying my work.

Another class, another cool project

I started a portfolio class at the beginning of january.  the goal of the class is to end up with an appropriate portfolio of my work for gallerys, or publication, or something.    Everyone in the class is to come up with their own plan and strategy for accomplishing what they want to do with their work.

I am in a position where I am taking these photography classes for fun.  I am not looking for a job after I ‘graduate’ – I am simply looking to learn and have fun.  My goal for this course is to do two different portfolio presentations;  print a larger set of column images in a  bound book, and to print loose images presented in a hand made box.

I learned a lot while doing the extended project last semester.  The accordion books turned out great, but the stab bound book covers have a tendency to snap off.  I needed to figure out a better way to bind.  I am going to attempt to do a post bound book.    I made one as a prototype.   This kit book has about 24 pre-cut pages, book board for the cover, and posts to hold it all together.  It’s a much more sturdy book than my prior attempts.

My second project will be to create larger images of my trips to Italy.  These will probably be 5×7 images in a hand made box.  I have made two sample boxes; a Japanese folding box and a drop spine box.

The Japanese folding box was fun – and took most of the day.  I found a kit of pre-cut cut board and instructions at Blick’s.  The paper I made – well,  I bought some nice paper, a gold ink pad, and a stamp of writing.  The inside has blue book cloth.  What’s cool about this type of box is that it opens up flat.

This box design does need a little tweaking in both the size of the pieces and the construction since it doesn’t quite fit together all that well.  I’ll be working on both over the next week or so.

The drop spine box, while very nice and has it’s uses, is probably not appropriate for what I want to do.  This is a good box for storing small items, but it would be somewhat clumsy for storing flat prints and presenting them.

Still working…

Semester is over and I did complete ALL the books I set out to do.  15 total book, 5 of each series.   It was a LOT of work.  And I learned a lot about printing and book making:

my Japanese Stab bound books had way too many pages and the covers I used were way too heavy.  A number of the covers have already broken.   My mom, who is a quilter and has dreams on how to fix things, has come up with a number of alternatives to the cover that I used.

the accordion books, which is a much easier binding, needs to be more carefully constructed.  Because my images were not all on one sheet of paper, I had to glue 6 sheet together to make the final book.  If I continue to do this type of binding (which is highly likely) I’ll need to put together some sort of frame to keep the entire strip of images even and straight.   I wasn’t that careful on my original accordions so that some of them have a strange ‘twist’ to them.

Practice makes perfect.  My next class is Portfolio Presentation.  Starts on Wednesday.

Time Marches On

Time marches on and I am making really good progress on my project.  Two books are about 90% done.  I made the ‘mistake’ of running them by my friend Jeff and he suggested adding a colophon.  Not knowing what that was he explained it to me… Each book will now have this as the last page.    Here is what the text on this page will look like:
ColophonAll images are contact printed from digital
negatives using the kallitype process and
gold toned on 310gsm Arches Platine paper.
Images have been coated with Renaissance

Cover Font: Zapfino
Colophon Font: Zapfino and Cochin

Binding:  Accordion, book board with
Batik Floating Flowers on Black Fine Paper

Images, printing, and binding:
Amanda Dussault 2011

Book 1 of 3
Edition:    /5

For those that are keeping track, yes, I am committing myself to making 5 editions of these books.  5 X 3 = 15 total books.  Could it be that some of you will get some super cool Christmas presents??
My instructor, Gayle, also took a look and commented on both my choice of images and the ordering and made some really good suggestions.
What all this means is I need to reprint the accordion book of columns to add an additional page and rework the ordering just a bit.  Because the accordion can be looked at two ways – as a book or as one long string of images – I need to make sure that image order works for both.
The Japanese Stab bound book of trees will also get a colophon added as well as having one or two images replaced and the ordering tinkered with.
I have a lot of work ahead of me…

Decisions made…

This could very well be my last prototyping session…

The book making class taught me a binding process that won’t really work for my photography project.  It did,  however, teach me enough to be dangerous and able to apply what I learned to a book that will work.

My friend, Deb Ingebretsen, suggested this: Japanese Stab Binding   I tried it and it turned out beautifully.   The hardest part of this (besides threading the needle!) was pulling the needle thru the thickness of the book.   Using a drill to make the holes could make this a bit easier.  This binding will allow me to print images on the pages that will be the book which is something that I really want to do.

The accordion book I made a few weeks ago ended up being deconstructed.  🙂  I took the accordion portion of the book and added a hard cover to it.  It’s much nicer than the plain paper cover.  Figuring out a closure for this is next on the list; I have some time to figure that out.

My next posting will include some of the images I am thinking about using as content for these books.  Till then…

Post book making class

The book making class I took was fun – it’s a gluey sticky messy process and it would be easier if I had four arms…..

I made a book and a box (see pictures).  The pages of the book were pre-bound; PaperSource (where I took the class) sells these in kits.  All I did was put a hard cover on it.   There is quite a selection of papers to use and the combinations are endless.

Applying this process to my images is going to be a lot of work.  First of all, I would need to continue taking classes since the size I want to make the book isn’t standard.  I would need to learn how to bind the pages together (glue or stitching).  I am not sure I really have time for that right now seeing I have about 10 weeks left in the semester and a boat load of images to print.

I talked to the women teaching the class (how nice it is to be the only student today!) and she gave me another idea for my books that might actually work.     There is a machine that will punch holes and you bind the book with a wire (similar to how a calendar is bound; see this link:  machine).  I would print the images on the pages, make the front and back covers, then wire them together – or use ribbon, twine, whatever.

Now, guess what everyone is getting for Christmas presents this year?

Instructor meeting

I had my first individual meeting with Gayle last night to go over the progress I have made on my project.  She seemed pleased with what I have done so far (picked most of the images for the column series, prototyping accordion books, thinking of different ways to present the images, figuring out templates, and taking classes).
Gayle also gave me some suggestions for images in the accordion book (‘tip’ them in so that they are hinged mounted at the page folds, try Jeff’s suggestion to have the print the page,  wax the images to protect them from fingerprints and drips, expand the project!)
You heard me.  She agreed with Jeff that doing three different small books was a fabulous idea and she wants to see this at the end of the semester.  Her idea ( and I have to admit I love it) is to do one accordion book with images on both sides (see image) then do two bound books.  Her vision was to have the books almost be an ‘installation’; bound books upright on the end with the accordion upright and open in between.

Another idea for my book project

My friend Jeff Curto took a look at my accordion prototypes last week.  He wasn’t all that hip to my idea of making the book, separately printing the images, cutting out the images, then taping into the book.  His idea was to make the image the page.  Print my images on the paper that will ultimately make the pages of my book.

So, I spent a few days figuring out how to do just that.  Printing all sixteen images on a single piece of paper was not going to work.  I just don’t have the equipment to be able to manage this length of paper.  So, how was I going to do this?  Smaller strips, of course.  The template above is what I came up with.

The length is 15″ long and 4″ high.  One page will require tabs on both ends and the balance of pages will require tabs on one end.  The black lines represent two things; the full template for the actual page and the location of the folds.  The yellow lines represent two things as well; the placement of the images and the folds.  The idea being, I would add my images, turn off the yellow layer, invert the image, then print the negative on Pictorico.  This will then give me a nice digital negative that will not only have my images, but provide me direction on where to cut and fold the paper after I make a kallitype print.

A second direction I am thinking about going with this is creating a hand made bound book.  (Again, another suggestion from Jeff)  I am taking a course this weekend.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

I just can’t keep things simple.

Projects and more projects

I have signed up to take an extended projects class.  I spoke to my instructor, S Gayle Stevens, at the end of last semester for things I could do prior to the start of class.  Her reply;  Figure out a project.

That is easier said than done…..

I have spent all summer thinking that I would use my 4×5 camera for this.  I have since changed my mind.  I have decided to use iPhone photos that I take for fun, and for posting on Instagram, and print 3×3 kallitypes of them.  I will present them in accordion books using old book bindings as the cover.  After spending a few hours culling thru all my iPhone images, I narrowed down my selections into three different themes; trees, columns, and buildings.   I shared my ideas with the wonderful photographer Jeff Curto and he asked Why not do all three?  Oh, and you ARE going to make more than one copy of each book, like maybe 3 or 4 copies?

So, it looks like I have mywork cut out for me this semester.

If you are interested, the Kallitype process can be found here:  Kallitype process
Instructions on different types of accordion books can be found here: Different Styles
Basic Accordion book instructions:  Basic instruction: