This week I attended Pocosin Arts School of Fine Craft to study again with Daniel Essig. This class was a second repeat of a class that I’ve taken with him before about wooden covers and mica pages. Every class has been a bit different though, with different tools available. I always learn new information. Too much information!
I’m going to post photos of my works in progress here, but later when the weather is not calling me to go outside (it is a rare cool breezy morning here) I will post photos of the finished books and some of the pages inside. Maybe a video if I can get it set up correctly.
Columbia is a tiny, beautiful little riverside town on the banks of the Scuppornong River, which empties into the nearby Albemarle Sound. If you keep going a little farther east on Highway 64 it will take you to Manteo and then the Outer Banks. It is home to the headquarters of the Pocosin Lakes Wildlife Refuge and a red wolf reintroduction and education center. There were at least two bear sightings while I was there and one was on the boardwalk that I walked on my first evening there on Sunday.
Monday morning we began class and we were able to use several power tools and hand tools in Pocosin’s wood shop. I pushed myself to get past the fear of the power tools, although I am pretty comfortable with a drill. I was more nervous about getting the diagonal angle on the spine edge of the wooden covers right. Turned out that I was pretty good at it after a little bit of practice. We also had access to some great woodburning tips that Dan brought with him. Dan provided milk paint in ten different colors, and we painted over our distressed and burned covers with layers of milk paint, then sanded and polished them.
Much of the class was spent on preparing the mica covered pages, but I concentrated more on getting some other wood covers that I had bought from Dan in the past beveled on the sander and drilled. My mica covered pages were pretty simple affairs, and I will photograph them best I can later for the blog. They are shiny.
My work area did not stay this neat:
Pretty papers to choose from:
Covers before binding, and spine bound before the endbands were added.
The original idea was that I would nail the mica windows down with tiny nails. It makes a really elegant finish and I was excited about it. However, when I tapped in the last nail at the top of the window, the board cracked. Dan repaired it for me with wood glue, but it meant no more hammering on the cover. So I changed the mica window to a thicker piece at his advice, and anchored it down with double-sided tape and blue Lofta paper. I will probably rework this cover because I have some other ideas now. I did get the end bands on it, although I need more practice.
The first book we made was paperback with a small concertina fold to sew and glue the pages onto. Later we attached light wooden covers.
When I had spare moments, I worked on the covers for the next book, which I am pretty excited about. I didn’t really have a plan for it except that I knew that I wanted to sew this piece of dried greenbriar vine to it. On the back in a mica window is half of either a hickory nut or a butternut that I found washed up on the shore of Lake Waccamaw. My plan is to leaf print handmade paper pages for this one, but I’m also tempted to make some mica encased page blocks that are thick enough to hold some of the tiny treasures that I collect at the lake. I could do both.
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These books are gorgeous!