18 November 2011

November Giveaway: Do You Love Books?

Eep! I didn't realize how late I was getting this posted. But here is the prize for this month's giveaway:

It's 9 by 19 inches, letterpress printed from wood type and a linocut in two colours. By me. And if it hasn't sold, I'll throw in the last copy of this card (which I will eventually reprint, should you wish to buy one):

It can't remember the size off the top of my head, but it's about 4 by 6 inches or somewhere in that vicinity. Also letterpress printed, from hand-set metal type and an old printer's cut. (Little trivia aside: the quote is actually, "So many books, so little time." I couldn't find a period in the typecase, so I had to change it to use a comma instead.)

And finally, the winner gets a digital copy of either The Coming of the Fairies or Milk Sister, both of which have books as important items in their stories (and so does the novel I'm working on now, come to think of it).

Leave a comment to enter, and make sure I'll be able to contact you.

10 November 2011

October Winner

So the winner of October's giveaway is (as decided by Random.org):


Yaaaaay! Shoot me an email with your mailing address and I'll see if I can get your prize in the mail in a more timely manner than I got this giveaway wrapped up.

And stay tuned for November's giveaway. 

05 November 2011

My Week in Books (October 30-November 05)

My headlong reading spree has been checked somewhat by my considerably increased writing output (not just for NaNoWriMo--I've been building toward this for a couple of months anyway), so there aren't quite as many books on this week's list.

New Books in the House
I've taken on another freelance gig (yes, another one) reviewing indie-published books for Self-Publishing Review, and got my first review book this week.

  • Unexpected Destiny by Ariana N. Dickey (available from Lulu)
Currently Reading

  • The Man Who Found the Missing Link: Eugene Dubois and His Lifelong Quest to Prove Darwin Right by Pat Shipman (non-fiction)
  • The Art and Craft of Handmade Paper by Vance Studley (non-fiction)
  • Unexpected Destiny by Ariana N. Dickey
Recently Finished

  • The Eerie Book edited by Margaret Armour (fiction anthology)
    This was my Hallowe'en reading. It's a 1980s reprint (or facsimile, really, because the type and everything appears to be the same and illustrations are intact) of an 1880s (I think; I don't have the book to hand) anthology of eerie stories. There was (of course) some Poe, a lengthy extract from Frankenstein, traditional ghost stories, and various other spooky tales. It was the perfect book for All Souls' and would only have been better if it was the original edition.

02 November 2011

Experiments in Papermaking: Goldenrod

So after several years of not making much paper, a request from a client got me working on it again. I ended up making a big batch of recycled paper from 100% cotton rag printmaking paper--mostly proofs and misprints, with a stack of book pages I had done and then decided not to use to round it off. The result was a lovely, soft, speckled-grey paper then took letterpress printing beautifully. I know I've already showed this photo, but here's the result of the job I did for the client.

But I decided that if I'm going to start papermaking again, I want to do some real papermaking, starting with raw plant materials and ending with paper. So I looked around my property and decided we had plenty of goldenrod and tall grasses in the back field. Goldenrod is also a dye-plant, and Nova Scotia has 19 native species. I think I had two different species in what I harvested. I've showed this photo before, too, but here's what I had after an hour or two of cutting plants.

The next step, once the plants are thoroughly dry, is to cut them into pieces, about an inch long or so. When I was done, this blue plastic bin was just about full (for size comparison, it's about half the size of the big bins in the previous photograph). You may notice that even dry, goldenrod stays green.

Then comes boiling. Lots of boiling. I boiled even longer than my book recommended, as the plants just didn't seem to be breaking down at all. Then I rinsed--lots of lovely golden brown water that I'd do something with if I knew anything about dyeing (an experiment for a later date maybe: hand-dyed bookcloth). Then a shorter boil. Then I drained the plants until I'd have time to blend them.

Still quite green, you'll see. And for those curious about the results of my canning-pot quest, I found this one at Value Village. It's even bigger than the one my mom always used (and still uses) for preserves.

Then comes blending. I didn't take a picture of either that or the resulting pulp. But it stayed very green. Dark, lovely, grey-green. Something to do for next time, perhaps, is to file the blades of my blender so they beat rather than cut the pulp.

I tested out the pulp when I did the demo for the awards gala. I mixed it half and half with my recycled rag paper pulp, because I hadn't had time to blend all of what I had boiled, and I wasn't sure how quickly I'd go through it.

Even mixed with the other pulp, the goldenrod still looked very dark when formed into a sheet, so I was glad I hadn't used it for the menus. However, by the time it dried, it became much lighter, and much less green. it's hard to tell from the photo, but the final paper is a greenish grey with straw coloured inclusions (mostly stem pieces) and darker speckles (the larger, greyer ones are from the recycled pulp and the smaller, darker ones are goldenrod).

I still have half a bin of dried goldenrod, plus a pot full of boiled waiting to be pulped, so next I'll try pure goldenrod pulp. At some point, too, I'm going to try boiling with a little bit of lye, to see if it breaks down better and eliminates more of the stem chunks. I'll be making a new postbound book to keep track of my experiments, with a sheet of the resulting paper and a plain sheet with notes on what I did. It'll probably be nicer than this sample book I made sometime in the late 90s.

The next thing I'm going to do, is make a two-colour linocut of goldenrod to print on this paper to make greeting cards. I just have to decide if I'll print directly on the paper, or print on a separate sheet and tip the illustration on. More experiments, I guess.