A box for Pembral Forgets

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A horrible but predictable insurrection happened in the US last week. My book shaped box to hold the original artwork for Pembral Forgets was at the needs-to-dry stage the day before, so Wednesday, January 6, 2021, the day of the attempted coup, I nervously read a lot of news. And thought of how a seditious insurrection was the inevitable outcome of the right-wing rhetoric of the last several weeks, months, years. But I don’t want to blog on that…. after time spent on the news Wednesday I drew in my sketchbook and read fiction to give myself a mental space from the violent seditious insurrection, to calm down and think.

So on to a more pleasant topic: here’s a few photos of the printed and bound version of Pembral Forgets – you can see more on my portfolio page. The print book is available on Blurb here.

The printed book is slightly different from the original artist book. Same content just a different presentation and minor differences in the book-info pages and, most obviously, the cover. There’s several reasons for this: an original artist book can only be enjoyed in person. And we’re in a pandemic so going to galleries isn’t an option for most people. Multiple printed books can be mailed directly to someone and can be enjoyed by many.

Yet when I create a book to be printed and widely enjoyed I still end up with a physical one-of-a-kind set of paintings. Since I’m a fine artist first and foremost I gravitate towards making things that can be hung on walls or displayed on stands/shelves. But see aforementioned pandemic which has made the use of other means of art production and distribution i.e. Blurb.com or Zazzle.com or Society6.com or Spoonflower.com on-demand shops helpful.

Even so I love making handmade boxes and used to regularly make them for the artist Deloss McGraw and others. So I look for excuses to make boxes…and am loving this box for Pembral Forgets!

Below is a series of photos of the box for Pembral Forgets that you saw a bit of in my last post. In this first photo I have laid the naked box on the handmade hand stenciled paper that I’ll use to cover the box. I lay the box on the paper and try to position it so the paper will be placed well when I glue it on.

I “mark” my choice of placement by creasing the paper slightly. Pencil marks would show through this delicate paper.

Glue is applied to the paper within the crease “marks”, the open box is laid onto the glue, then the box now loosely covered with glue-y paper is gently closed. I use a roller to press the paper firmly in place, wiping away any excess glue. Next, as in the photo below, I add glue to the flaps of paper and fold them around the edges of the box using a bone folder to get the creases smooth.

Then after carefully gluing all edges I turned the box over to check the paper placement.

Inserting wax paper allows me to close the just glued box without accidentally gluing the box shut.

At this point, Tuesday evening, I let the book box dry for a few days. It will be dry to the touch within hours but I have learned the hard way that too much handling too soon can cause the paper to slip.

Then the next day saw the news of the insurrection…

Here’s the fiction book I read as a spirit restorative…

The beverage in the picture is Clancy’s Special Chocolate and here’s the sketchbook drawing I did about how to make it. Whenever I feel stressed it helps to draw whatever is in front of me.

In case you wonder: I get my archival glue and other book-box-making supplies from Twinrocker.com

A helpful technique book about making boxes by hand is by Franz Zeier titled Books, Boxes and Portfolios; binding, construction and design step by step.

There’s still more to do on this project. So I hope to see you here next Monday after, hopefully, a more quiet week – but I know it’s not likely to be quiet here in the US – but no matter what kind of week it is I wish you some calm creative moments.

13 thoughts on “A box for Pembral Forgets

  1. That paper for the book cover is stunning. I love the translucency of the paper and the shimmer and glow of the painted leaves. I am really enjoying seeing this book box come together as it is not something I have ever tackled.

    Like you, I spent Wednesday glued to the news and struggling to process all my thoughts and feelings in response to the unfolding events. I totally understand your impulse to find something that distracts and decompresses you from such things.. That evening, we watched ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ as a soothing balm.

    1. I will have to look up “My Neighbor Totoro”! More soothing balms are nerded! We watched “Mid August Lunch” recently and that was soothing…
      I’m so glad to hear you like the paper and this project. It’s lots of fun in a Sodoku puzzle sortof way. The hardest part for me is being patient and letting it dry completely before doing the next steps! Lol!

  2. While we were watching the Wednesday insanity unfold, my husband was looking at real estate in Nova Scotia on his phone.

    I was loving the book box–and then I saw that mug of whip creamy goodness. Oh, my . . .

    1. Hi Liz, Just noticed your comment. Canada is not free of crazies – we have a vibrant anti-vax and anti-mask community doing its best to foment unrest. As well, there are Canadian links to the extremists in America. I can’t recall if I saw an article about this in the Washington Post or the Wall Street Journal but for sure I read it in my local press. To my horror, I learned that 2 Canadian nurses were present at the riot! The most significant cultural difference between Canada and the US is that the general population here is not armed to the teeth because of our gun laws. Anyway, hope you find peace either at home or elsewhere. Take care.

      1. Susanne I, too, was appalled to hear that some Canadians had come to participate in the Jan 6 coup attempt. No country is free from crazies unfortunately. However I do envy Canadian’s reasonable gun laws and general sensibleness re healthcare and …. oh so many things. Thank you so much for sharing your perspectives. It does my heart good to hear from you!
        Let us, together, keep and encourage peace and sanity…

    2. Oh I hear you Liz! Just about any calmer country with fewer crazies and sane national plans re healthcare and Covid sound appealing. But I’m not sure any place in the world is completely free of crazies…I would settle for fewer.

      Glad you’re loving the book box!! And I hope you’ll have your own mug of creamy goodness! We all need a little comfort…I send virtual hugs. ❤

      1. I accept the virtual hugs gladly, thank you! (And you’re right. No place in the world is completely free of crazies. But, as Jake Barnes said at the end of The Sun Also Rises, “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”)

  3. I so admire your ability to focus when surrounded by insanity. I have found my well nearly dry since the start of the pandemic, despite employing a variety of coping strategies. In truth, the best one, for me, is to stay away from screens and block out the world. However, last week’s events were too compelling and horrifying to ignore. So here I am, again, in front of a screen. I’ve also given up alcohol as it was rapidly becoming a crutch that I leaned on too much every day. Mostly now I write poetry, off screen, to satisfy the creative urge. Stay well, Sue. Keep inspiring.

    1. I am so very glad you’re keeping up the poetry! I too try to stay away from screens… and focus on paint, paper, scissors and glue…this is why sometimes days go by before I respond to comments. Similarly to you I have curtailed my alcohol intake and try to eat more fruits and veg and exercise.

      Messing about with art supplies is a solace. Even so, like you, i find the current events are very hard to ignore.

      Are you familiar with the historian/writer Dr. Heather Cox Richardson? She has a daily letter that I find helpful in summing up the current events and putting them in historical perspective. I’ve read Dr. Richardson’s letters and been better able, after reading, to do something creative and share it.

      And reading the classics has helped too. I recently read The Three Musketeers by Dumas and practiced a leaf drawing with a quote from the book…posted that on social media.

      Just muddling along. Thank you so much for your comments! I will look forward to seeing your poetry whenever you share it – I do love your writings.

Thank you for reading and sharing encouragements!