The Unconventional Book
Slate, bird feathers, scrap metal, seaweed, locks of hair, antique nails, grave rubbings, my Grandmother's tatting from the early 1900s – these are some of the many materials I've incorporated into my own handmade books. What we are drawn to, embrace, and respond to – colors, themes, shapes, materials, image, and patterns – is what makes our work unique. Using what we bring, make, find, and trade, we'll explore a new book structure each day. Demonstrations and hands-on guided studio time will introduce the basics of traditional bindings. The emphasis in the studio will be on encouraging participants to work with what they are most fond of to create unique, personal works. Everyone will finish the week with five or more books and the knowledge and inspiration to make dozens more without any unusual equipment. All levels of experience welcome.
*Exacto knife or Olfa Snap Blade (these are great knives, get a metal handled one if you’re picking one up - not plastic)
*A heavier cutting blade such as a linoleum knife or utility knife
*An awl or a tool for poking small holes
*Bone folder (also called a folding bone - most art/craft stores carry them)
*Variety of needles - "darners" are a good length and thickness, and you'll need a curved needle as well
*T-square or triangle (preferably metal)
*Glue brush (an inexpensive bristle brush - about 1 in inch wide - a wider one will also come in very handy)
*Glue (Elmer's or Sobo - bring one of the medium sized 7 oz bottles)
*Container to put glue in - any small container will do - preferably resealable
*Straight edge (ruler, preferably metal)
*Cutting mat - you can also just use a piece of scrap cardboard
*A handful of heavy rubber bands
*A handful of large paper clips
*2 "bulldog" or binders clips
*Small piece of sand paper
*Small pair of pliers, preferably needle-nose but any will do
*Note: tools with an asterisk are available in the Shakerag store.
*Ball of crocheting cotton - “Size 10” is a great medium-weight thread for books (available at any fabric store and many crafts shops) - you may want to get a couple of colors
*Few yards of 3/8" (9mm) Grosgrain ribbon or 1/2 inch “Seam Binding” (also available at any fabric store and many crafts shops)
*Variety of threads, strings, ribbons, old stuff/new stuff/found stuff
*Book Board - also called binder's board, chip board, Davey board. A medium weight will be best; make sure it’s a weight that you’ll be comfortable cutting by hand; illustration or mat board will also work fine.
*Note: materials with an asterisk are available in the Shakerag store.
Bring a wide variety, different weights, plain and decorated (patterned, marbled, printed etc.), new and old, found and bought. Plan on bringing a lot of paper - it’s very helpful to have a wide palette to choose from during the week..Be sure to include at least two full, large (at least 30 inch wide) sheets of a good quality, medium-weight printmaking or drawing paper (Rives, Fabriano, Somerset, Arches - make sure it's not too brittle and likes to be folded). I’d also strongly suggest picking up a couple of packs of a good quality 8.5 x 11 paper to use for book pages. Most stationary stores sell beautiful papers for copiers and printers, pre cut, ready to go.
*Note: a wide variety of papers is available in the Shakerag store.
Rubber stamps and/or stencils for decorating and doing text
Decorative edge scissors (like pinking shears only more fun- Fiskar makes a wide variety)
Beads and trinkets to use as embellishments
8-10 related images that you are fond of
Fabric scraps (great for book covers)
FINALLY- bring along any media and materials you are comfortable working with that you may like to use in making a book. Pen and ink, watercolor, collage materials, old prints, found text and images - a book can be made out of anything!Artist's Biography
Peter Madden has taught book arts and alternative photography processes for almost two decades at Boston's School of The Museum of Fine Arts and Massachusetts College of Art. He has lectured and conducted workshops for The Guild of Bookworkers, The Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, The Decordova Museum, The Center for Book Arts in New York and in San Francisco, Brigham Young University, Brandeis University, Wellesley College, and Harvard University. His one- of-a-kind books have received numerous awards and are included in dozens of books on bookmaking including The Penland Book of Handmade Books, Keith Smith's Structure of the Visual Book and Non-Adhesive Binding, Lark Publications 500 Handmade Books, Shereen LaPlantz' The Art and Craft of Handmade Books, and Laura Blacklow's New Dimensions in Photo Imaging to name a few. His work has been shown and collected by Harvard University, Bowdoin College, The New York Center for Book Arts, Fidelity Investments, The Addison Gallery of American Art, and Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art. Born and raised in Greenwich Village, he is now restoring an 1850's Italianate mansion in Portland, Maine, with 1 partner, 2 miniature Dachshunds and 6 cats.Artist's Statement: "A Place for Everything"
Assembling a recent exhibition of my pieces initiated an exciting turn in a new direction for my work. The inclusion of raw materials, by-products, first and second steps, collections, and inspirations has proven to be a valuable key in presenting an accurate picture of what my work is about.
Choosing from pieces that span more than two decades, consistent themes of collecting, travel, love, loss, history, biography, reminiscing, storytelling, and everyday life have emerged. Joining these, hand in hand, are the materials I’ve always been drawn to: rusted metal, weathered wood, a tin ceiling, paper bags, found and salvaged objects, stones, and worn fabrics.
A forty-foot-long shelf of 150 jars was an important element of the exhibition for me. Although some jars are merely storage for the raw materials I use for prints and paper making, others act as museum vitrines displaying and protecting beloved or delicate objects, glass caskets where things are laid to rest, time capsules reminding me of a specific moment in time, three-dimensional pages, each containing a story or image. All of them serve the purpose of postponing the inevitable loss of people, places, and things.
My recent show Homework is an ongoing series of prints and “negatives” that I began five years ago while renovating the 100-year-old carriage house that would be my home. Without much time in my studio, the detritus of everyday life caught my eye – what remained after cooking or teaching a class, what was found while cleaning or doing construction: bits of string, 35mm film, gum wrappers, scraps of ribbon, used ties from baggies, bobby pins, pieces of masking tape, bits of my cats’ scratching post, common pins, fruit stickers, wine labels, linoleum, cherry stems, used staples, rusted bottle caps, worn shoes laces, crushed peat moss, ash, old candles, discarded furniture and slate roof tiles, sea stones, price tags, old clothes, bottle corks, rusted nails, dried roses, texture rubbings - all served a purpose.
Among my books, boxes, wall hangings, prints, and jars I always find a home and a place for everything.