Friday, May 22, 2009

Local on the 8s

Got a nice surprise when I picked up my mail today. My cousin, Jeff, had sent me a box of cds! These aren't just any CDs, these are copies of Local on the 8s first EP, called Low Pressure. Local on the 8s is a band whose members work for Newschannel 5 in Nashville. You'll find Mike Rose on drums, Nathan Sharkey on bass, Bob Stinnett on guitar, and Jeff Tang with vocals and piano.

Back in December Jeff wrote to us, on behalf of the band, about designing the album artwork. They were hoping for a retro theme that would include old TVs, and weather related imagery. Josh came up with the cover and I pulled from his artwork to finish the rest of the design. I was a bit out of practice with Photoshop, since I've been focusing on bookbinding for the past couple of years, but I enjoyed the project and it is really fun to have the final copy in my hands. I must say, what really makes this cover are the awesome photos taken by their co-worker, Eric Yutzy.

The very best part about getting this CD is getting to hear my cousin's voice coming out of my boombox in the bindery! It's nice to know the face behind the voice. I highly recommend it, by the way. If you can't pick a CD up in Nashville, Low Pressure is available on iTunes, and you can also visit their Myspace page. Learn more about Jeff, here, and be sure to check out some of his stories while you're at it. He's a great reporter, Tennessee's best in fact. No, seriously!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Book from the Attic

Josh and I drove up to Northern Georgia last month to be with his family for Easter and my birthday weekend. During our trip we got to spend a bit of time in the attic looking through his childhood, and high school belongings, as well as boxes that we had both stored there after college. I was excited to find a few gift books that I made for Josh during our dating years!

The book in these photos is the first one I made for him. The image on the front was xerox copy of an image printed in reverse. I used a transfer marker to "print" it on the front cover.

A lovely title page made with my treasured label gun. So treasured because of the fond memories I have using one for the first time with my Grandpa Houston in his tidy garage.

The pages are all pieces of evidence from our time spent together! Pictured here, the Kodak proof page from a day on Tybee Island, a piece of paper bag from a music store, a ticket to a Sand Gnats baseball game.

Although still in working order, the box needs to be handled gently. I had yet to learn about different paper strengths.

An interesting and sturdy binding that I'm not likely to repeat! The pages (copy paper, cardstock, handmade paper, napkins, brochures, tickets, & thin plastic film) were all cut to the same size and then sewn in a straight line up the side of the pages. Similar to a Japanese stab binding without any oversewing. I cut a piece of board to match the height and thickness of the book to form a spine which was adhered to a wide strip of paper. That wide strip was then glued to the first and last pages, which is what holds the whole thing together! You can also see in the photo that the spine is glued into the cover which performs a very minor function in the binding.

The sewing stations can be seen in this closeup of a Russell Crotty spread. We saw his globes at the Miami Art Museum during our 2004 Alternative Spring Break trip.

I am reminded of a paper I once wrote on the importance of the book in Roman Art and Architecture. I'm thinking less about how the books (scrolls, or substrates) were a representation of knowledge and power, and more about how they were a constant theme that manifested in different forms throughout the history of the Roman Empire. Now, I'm not saying that our relationship is at all like the Roman Empire . . . but Josh and I have certainly placed importance in books throughout our time together.

The second book in these photos is a beautiful book that Josh collaborated on with my friend and fellow NBSS alumna, Wendy Withrow. You can see other shots of Josh's proposal book on her website, here. Note the differences in craftsmanship. The pairing of the two is so pleasing, because, although I didn't make the second book, I shared training with the woman who did, and it is a clear snapshot of my personal bookbinding history. It's a pretty good snapshot of J & M history too, but I'll stick to the books on this blog.