Jeansbooks Work in Progress Continued or Cutting Jig II


Putting together signatures for the small jeansbooks

Hello once more. I just wanted to show you today’s progress on the jeansbooks. I started this morning with putting together the signatures for the small books. For the bigger ones I put each block together individually, and choosing colours and papers was a long process. This time I just decided to use one sheet of Clairfontaine, two sheets of sketching paper and two sheets of drawing paper. Working through my piles was therefor quite stragithforward, and I was done in about an hour. And it only took me this long because I had to cut some more drawing and sketching paper in size, too.


Done! All the folded signatures for the smaller Jeansbooks

I did not cut them to size yet, so they will need two cuts tomorrow: one to adjust height and one to adjust width.

The larger signatures already had the right height and now just need to be trimmed on the foreedge. I do this before binding them because I do not want to trim the bound textblock, and I find it works best with trimming them before.

So again I set up a jig, just like yesterday. This time, however, I needed to use two pieces of cardboard on top of each other for the markers, because the signatures are of course thicker and one or two sheets of paper. The markers need to be higher than the piece you want to cut. So that, when putting a signature down to cut, it is easier to side it against the first set of markers without it sliding over. And then, after putting down the ruler, you want to be able to just slide it against the markers, not having to see whether everything is in the right position.

Below you can see how this looked like. – I hope you can. Unfortunately the photo turned out rather blurry.


Using the jig

This time I took some photos of the signatures and covers:


The brightest book block


Book from above, here the paste down can be seen.

I am looking forward to binding the book above. From the four I put together today I think it is my favorite because I like this paste down so much. This is a paste paper that I received as a gift from Christine from Buntpapierfabrik.


The second book, unfortunately you can only see the paste down and first signature. – The picture with the spine has too much motion blur. – A little mystery has to remain, I guess :-)

Above you see the book whose book block consists (will consist) entirely of Clairefontaine drawing paper. Below book number three.


Book number three and its book block. – The colours here are rather tame

I had almost finished with cutting the pages above, when the telephone rang, and the display told me it was my kid’s school. Yikes! I feared something had happened. Fortunately after a couple of polite sentences and explications she told me: “Your kids both are fine.” – Thank you! Couldn’t you have said so immediately?! She just wanted me to bring over spare clothes. – The pleasures of motherhood, never really off duty…


Book number 4 (or number one, I worked in the opposite order yesterday)

The book above is the only one that doesn’t have any Clairefontaine paper. Instead it has a mix of creme and brown sketching paper.

All in all I spent another full workday just with cutting and folding paper, and I hope to begin binding soon. For now I have this big pile of cut offs.


Cut-offs. A little less than 800.

Their size would be perfect for a bookmark, and I need new business cards. Mhm… Except my printer wouldn’t take them because they are not at least 10cm wide. So do I really want to print them by hand? Mhm…


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How to Make and Use a Cutting Jig or Jeansbook Work in Progress

Work in Progress - Making Jeansbooks

Step 1: Placing the first two pieces of cardboard to the cutting mat.

Hello. I hope I am back: Today was my first pain free day in five weeks. I am still taking some medication but less and less, and I have mostly come free of those that made me dizzy and confused. (Well, I do have some withdrawel symptoms, but they are bearable. Mostly I just feel like I am craving cigarettes although it has been seven years or more since I smoked). Anyway, I thought it was time to write about book binding again. And since that is what I did today, I thought I show you how I set up and use a cutting jig.

As you know I made a couple of covers to make some jeansbooks (like this one for example). My intention was to make L, M and S sizes, but for now I ended up with four in what I imagined would be size M and three in size S. The M-sized books have a format of 23cm x 21cm which is not a power-of-two-fraction of my paper sheets (like half or fourth, or eigth…), and thus cannot be cut by doubling the paper and cutting through the fold. But cutting the pages for four thick books individually by measuring would drive anyone crazy. Those who are lucky enough to have a paper guillotine are off easy. But everyone else would want to set up a cutting jig like I did this morning.

Step 0: Cut a couple of cardboard pieces with straight edges. I find an even width very helpful but that is not strictly necessary. You can see them lying in the middle of my worktable in the photo above. Next determine Paper grain. My paper was long grain (except the brown sketching paper but that is another story) which helped a lot. I’ll remark further down how I dealt with the short grained paper.

Step 1: First I put my ruler down vertically on my cutting mat on the very left like you can see in the photo above. (I guess if you are left handed, you want to put it to the right) such that the edge matches with one of the lines of the grid.  Next I put down two pieces of the cardboard right to the edge of the ruler (as snug as possible without moving anything). A piece of masking tape on the outer side holds it in place while the ruler is removed, then I put a thick piece of tape over the whole thing, making sure to smooth down the right edge very well, so that the paper can be pushed right up to these markers.
You want them quite far apart, but of course their distance must be small than the width of the paper.

Work in Progress - Making Jeansbooks

This is how a sheet of paper is put down when everything is in place.

Step 2: Do the same for the place where you want to cut, but this time, be sure to space them further apart than the width of the paper: Put down a ruler where it will lie when you are cutting the paper. On either the cutting edge or the other side, put down the cardboard markers like you did before. (I put them on the cutting side which has the disadvantage that the cardboard pieces can be in the way of the cutting knife, and the tape holding it down gets hurt while cutting. Still I found this easier to use than the other method which I used for the short grained paper. I guess it is a matter of preference.)

Work in Progress - Making Jeansbooks

Step 3: Cutting

Step 3: Place a sheet of paper on the table such that it comes to lie right up to the first set of cardboard marker. Then put the ruler down at the second pair of markers. Then cut. Repeat.




And an hour later I had this:

Work in Progress - Making Jeansbooks

A pile of coloured paper, destined to end up as pages of a couple of books.

Now, for the pages I am going to use a mix of different papers, and one of those I am going to use was short grained. However, I couldn’t fit the sheet in my jig the other way around, so I had to make another cut first, which brought the paper to a little more than twice the width if the book. But in principle I just built anothe rig, reusing the first set of cardboard markers.

And so, about another hour later, I had this:

Work in Progress - Making Jeansbooks

Ready for building signatures! (Collating)

On the lower edge here you can see the second marker I made to cut the brown paper a little shorter before cutting to height.

So this is the end of my little cutting jig tutorial. I continued my work a little.

Work in Progress - Making Jeansbooks

My prepared covers.

Next I built signatures. I decided on one book using just sketching paper in creme and brown. Two have a mix of white and coloured drawing paper and sketching paper. And one comes solely with beautiful Clairefontained coloured drawing paper. The sheets are 160g/sm which sound quite thick, but a rag content of 30% makes sure the pages don’t get stiff. Very beautiful paper. I thought I had made a photo of the built up books and unbound signatures, but it turns out I havn’t. I did snap a shot at the first one, though:

Work in Progress - Making Jeansbooks

The first book with unbound pages, using alternatingly creme and brown sketching paper, with 7 sheets per signature this let to alternating colours on the spine.

Right now the pages for the four larger books are resting under weights. Next I’ll have to cut the signatures to size, and I’ll probably use a similar jig again.

Work in Progress - Making Jeansbooks

These signatures need to be cut to size

I still have to cut and collate signatures for the smaller books. Unfortunately they differ a little in size ( the jeans are from four years). I hope to finish them some time soon, or at least bind those M-sized books some time this week. – But you know how I sometimes suddely can’t find the time to proceed with one thing. So wish me luck with this!

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Pain and Sourdough

Book with Leather Jacket

A journal I made in 2009

Above you see a journal I made in 2009. It was one of the first I made in a coptic stitch. When I made it I had not heard yet about 2-needle bindings, and thus this one here has a simple 1-needle stitch. But on the other had I added a fly leaf. – Before learning Coptic bindings I had been making case bindings, and making a book without a fly leaf just didn’t seem prudent. Now that I rediscovered the construction in this book, I think I ought to introduce that in my current work as well. As you can see it is a rather plain design. That is because I had added a leather cover. At the time I thought was a clever idea, but it turned out not so very beautiful after all, and I couldn’t sell it. And I rather dislike any book covers. (I tend to remove all dust jackets from commercial books as well.)

Maxi Book

I used the red journal as a size comparison for other books I made at the same time in this photo here: my oversized sketchbook, a smiley oracle and a teeny tiny mini book.

So this book entered my “to do” pile in my studio. I inteded to give it a new finish by adding a lino print on the front cover, thus making it easier to hold it the right way up when picking it up, as well as making it more interesting. It sat in that pile, and sat, and sat, and never anything happened with it. I moved it from here to there, moved it from my to do pile in Bonn to my to do pile in Nottingham, but somehow it always seemed more convenient to start over completely rather than decorate this older binding.

Now let me take a break here, I’ll come back to that later, first I need to change the subject.

346 wip

346 scroll: all paper printed and sitting on one of the dowels

Pain is not a nice topic to write or read about, at least when referring to the English word, rather than the French. You can see it in my title line nevertheless, – I hope that putting it beside the word sourdough didn’t make your cringe and turn away on the spot, and since you are reading this, I was successful it seems. You’re still with me? – Thanks. So, I have been in pain for four weeks now, suffering from really bad lower back pain. It doesn’t seem to be the average lumbago since it started off easy and then slowly got worse. And it is bad: I have difficulties with personal care like dressing and washing myself, but I don’t want to go into too much detail here. I am on pain medication now, which makes it quite bearable, really. But the pills also make me dizzy, and let me do crazy things like putting dirty socks in the fridge instead of in the washing machine, and generally they don’t let me think straight. – They puts me in a happy but neither very dependable, nor very productive stupor. And so I am trying to balance being happy and relatively pain free with being there for my children and getting some work done. – And surprisingly I did get some work done: Those who followed me on facebook saw the “346” scroll getting thicker and thicker until it was finished. I am currently editing it – though this takes a lot of time currently due to the forementioned stupor I am in most of the day.

jeansbooks wi kleiner

Three pairs of jeansbook covers finished

And I also finished three pairs of jeansbook journal covers, all “size M” (the books not the pants), and more in other sizes are planned.

My work was about that far progressed some time in the middle of last week, when the pain got worse, I needed more medication, and I saw myself unable to stand and work without medication, or concentrate enough to work with medication.

And so, being unable to bind books or edit 346, I started something new (because I just can’t do nothing. What do you do when you do nothing?): Baking, making bread. (Not French bread though, it would have been nice to say I turned pain into pain.)

Sourdough Starter

Two different sourdough starters dubbed Paul (left) and Herbert (right), different recipes and therefore different levels, the lefts wants me to toss half each time it is fed during the first stages, the right is being added to constantly, when done I will have about the same amount of sourdough from both recipes.

And since the first couple of experiments using fast action instant dried yeast were pleasant but not totally satisfying, I started to read about how to make sourdough bread. And it sounds easy enough, and so interesting: the chemistry behind it, the history, experiences of other amateur bakers… M. asked me this morning to please stop talking about sourdough. Apparently not everyone finds it as interesting as I do. I understand won’t bore you with more details. But, and now I am back on track, I felt I needed a journal for the dough and my experiments, so that if something goes wrong, I can track back my mistake.

sourdough diary kleiner

decorated cover, already with sourdough smudge

And so I took one of the books from my pile. – It happend to be this red journal I talked about in the beginning. I briefly thought about it, but cutting a stamp just seemed over the top, and so I just gave a ballpoint pen a try to decorate the cover, and it worked! I am rather happy with the result. Now, this open weave book fabric might not be the best to use in the kitchen. It can’t be wiped and dough and other dirt tends to stick between the fibres. I certainly wouldn’t advertise it for kitchen use were I to sell it. But for my personal use it is good enough. Actually I am really happy with it. – Well, my pain medication make me really happy about anything at the moment :-) I hope to get more meaningful work done soon, and then show off my first complete 346 copy, or a pile of jeansbooks.

On the way to there I’ll probably need help to eat all the bread I will have to bake soon. If you are near you are welcome to come over, try some and possible take some home!

I am wishing you all a happy and productive week


A loaf of whole wheat bread I made the other day – not a sourdough bread yet, but those should be soon to follow after


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Making of “346” – Part 1b


attaching piece 2: The tail of the first piece is folded over for glueing up, piece 2 marked. I am going to sew once the glue is dry, and then trim (and possible glue once more) the overlap.

Just showing that I am now working towards finishing the scroll… I’ll probably post a pic of the day on Facebook and then write a wrap-up later here (maybe). So if you want to follow the further making of step by step, please have a look at

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Making of “346” – Part 1

Making of

The first of 12 pieces attached to the dowel

So here it goes. I cut two dowels into shape and attached the first of 12 pieces. You can see it is already quite thick. And it does have some spring to it, but when it has been held in shape for a while, it should settle and not spring open that much. Actually this effect could be observed pretty much right away.

Making of

held in place by paper

I attached it to the dowel with the help of some staples and glue. To make sure it stays in place while the glue settles, and to let the Tyvek adjust to being rolled up tightly, I wrapped more paper around and closed it off with some tape.

Next up is attaching the next piece.

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Back in the Saddle – Hopefully for a while


Jeans waiting im my studio to be turned into books.

“Now I try to take it a bit more slowly, but it’s not easy. Being in the studio to get work done is actually the most relaxing I can do at the moment. But I have been sick too many times in a row now, I really should find a way to wind down a little. It is surprisingly hard to do, …”

That is a quote from myself from the last blogpost almost four weeks ago.

Well, it looks like my body was not quite satisfied with my attempts. I had a lot of plans for the time between our holidays and half term in October (when the children won’t be in school for 2 weeks): Of course I would like to finally finish 346. While tidying up my desk I found a quote from a printing service for an instructional book that I thought almost finished in Febuary, and wanted to pick up these loose threads (but I can’t find the draft, will have to look once more, could it really be it existed only in my head – oh, please no!). I also thought I’d go into journal making mode again, for old time’s sake, to use up a lot of torn jeans of all sizes (should be fun, families of books…), and to revive my Studio & Press Etsy Shop, and of course for some financial gain for and from the Christmas season. And of course there are prints to be made, stories to be told…

But, just when I wanted to get started, about three weeks ago, a back ache set in. At first I hardly paid attention to it. – It was just a slight back ache like you get it sometimes. But it grew worse every day. I started to find it hard to bend down or lift things. I found it harder and harder to sleep at night. Next I found myself unable to bend down, or lift things. Next day I could hardly walk. I started to have cramps in my back muscles, and apart from that hurting a lot, they pulled me into uncomfortable positions which resulted in more back ache in different muscles. The cramps often start when I am trying to relax. The best way to keep them at bay is to keep moving. – Slowly of course, because my back ache is so bad, I can hardly lift my feet off the ground. And so, for the last week or so, I have been pacing the house restlessly. I often woke up at night, so much in pain, that all I could do is try to get up and start walking again, trying to cry and moan as silently as possible to not wake up my children and sleeping husband. M. essentially had to look after the children all the time anyway, bringing them to school, picking them up, getting up for them at night time (which we still have to do surprisingly often, usually several times per night), and so I didn’t want to disturb his sleep more than necessary. Being up on your feet all day and most of your nights is rather exhausting – and gave me yet another type of back ache (and foot ache and overall ache).

Invisible Rope Walkers, Big and Small

“Invisible Rope Walkers” a photo I took for an assignment a couple of years ago, showing incidentally, two of the jeans in my pile in comparison.

So yesterday I decided this was enough and went to see a doctor. I now am taking a couple of different pills with long lists of unpleasant side effects – but I can finally move again! The last night was the first in a while I stayed in bed. I am not pain free, but it seems managable again. [insert big sigh of relief here]

So, time to get working again, eh?


Cutting Tyvek

I am of course still – and again – working on 346. The text is almost done, at least I hope so, I keep working over my draft. I have a first drafted layout without graphics, just with empty boxes where they are supposed to end up. Hopefully it won’t take too long to add the pictures. It looks like a 3 hour job to me, so probably I will need about three weeks (I just hope they won’t end up as three months!)

Being almost ready for a first printout, I started looking again at material to use for the scroll itself again. My choice fell on Tyvek for now.


Tyvek prepared for printing (and some previous trials)

It turns out, Tyvek is not Tyvek. It comes in a lot of different weights and textures but not all of them seem to be available on rolls. I was only able to find really thick and heavy Tyvek (apparently used a lot for outdoor banners), or rather thin Tyvek “fabric” which has a texture I am not completely happy with. If you know of a source for Tyvek on rolls with a weight of less than 100g per square meters, please do let me know.

The one I am currently working with (and which can be seen in the pictures) has 105g and is a little too thick, I think. But it feels and looks wonderful and I want to try and see how much I need of it, and how thick the rolls will turn out. I also ordered some of the Tyvek fabric and will have a trial run with that once it reaches me.

The problem of how exactly and from what material to construct the box to hold the scroll is still unsolved and troubles me in sleepless nights. But I am trying to take one step at a time, and decided to not think about this too much at this time. I’ll find a way when the scroll is finished, I hope.

Message in A Bottle No. 79

New Message in a Bottle

Some things worked out in the last weeks: I made a couple of “miniature world” bottles, with miniatures in them which I hugely enjoyed. (And I still have a couple in my sketchbook which I would like to make.) You can see them on my other blog along with some nice finder stories from the summer dispatches. If you just want to see the bottles, you can also have a look at this album on ipernity.
I am rather proud of them and happy with how they turned out. I would like to do something special for them for their dispatch, but have not come up with something concrete yet.Well, as outlined above, I have some more projects on the line and three and a half weeks to go until half term. – But I don’t want to jinx it by putting anything on a timeline now. I just hope I’ll manage to finish some things before the next disabling illness catches up with me!

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bookmarks the whole lot
You probably remember me making my edition of 100 bookmarks for the Booksmarks XIII project by Sarah Bodman. In the meantime my full set with one bookmark for every participating artist reached me.

bookmark melanie alexandrou

bookmark by Melanie Alexandrou

bookmark lesley crawley

bookmark by Lesley Crawley

bookmark Kathleen Furey

bookmark by Kathleen Furey

bookmark sumi perera

bookmark by Sumi Perera

Sarah already mailed us a list of participating venues, which lists places in the UK, USA, and Australia. She said the webpage will be up and live soon. Unfortunately at this moment I don’t have anything to link to. So I decided to just snap some images myself; above you can see some of my favourites, though it was really hard to choose: So many beautiful bookmarks!

with child

“With Child”, by H. Kurzke, paper size A4

And while I am showing off images, I thought I’d also show you the print I made for the competition in Japan. As you might remember, I was fretting out about this one. Well, I still won’t comment too much on it now. It is a print made from 4 different plates, the first is a stamp of a heart, barely visible in the finished print, the second a kitchen litho print with pairs of eyes surounding the main image, third is a lino cut of a female skelleton, and the third a monoprint, where I put the paper onto an inked up plate and then pressed the paper onto the plate with a pencil. Due to the monoprint in the end, each print is quite different from the others. Here is a detail:

with child detail

“with child” by H. Kurzke, detail of print, print size approximately 10cm square

These are of course all old news in a way, but in the past 2 weeks I didn’t get much work done.

[Imagine a photo of a nice English garden party here, please. I was so busy, I failed to take a single photo the whole day.]

Last Saturday, a week ago, we had a big celebration here in our house (or rather the garde) with all our family from Germany invited, and many indeed visiting. In a fit of madness -which I thoughtwas a particularly clever phase until living through the result- I had arranged with my sister to start on a joint, brief vacation on Sunday. Yep, the day right after the celebration. I had everything planned out: A marquee (I keep thinking “tent”, but learned quickly that I shouldn’t say so, unless I want to spread happiness and laughter among our hired personal for the day) was put up on Friday and put down on Sunday early in the morning. I not only hired a caterer to make and serve all the food, I also hired the complete porcelain and cutlery we needed, so that everything would just be taken away and we could leave.

All this indeed worked but was a lot more work and required more effort than I first anticipated. I had made sure that the marquee would be taken down on Sunday at 9 so that we could leave soon, but only on that morning realized that I had to get up really early to take down all decorations before that. And that is just one details where I was completely ignorant of how much work would go into that until I had it on my plate. Already the week before the event I essentially stopped working, and instead went into party-preparation mode. Although food fortuately wasn’t my task anymore, a plethora of things needed to be arranged.

I think despite various things not working out as planned, it was a fairly good party. At least I hope it was. I can hardly remember now, and everything seems to melt to a blur when I think back. After having all family come by on Sunday once more, saying good bye’s for a couple of hours, then packing our suitcases (we thought we would have plenty of time on Sunday morning, and in all fairness, I forgot only a few things which we could easily buy at a Morrisons), I sat down in the car beside DH, kids in the back, excited to go on a beach vacation with their cousins, heaved a big sigh of relief, and felt ready for vacation indeed. Half an our later, I said to M. “I think, my hangover is finally kicking in.” It didn’t occur to me that it could be anything else, and didn’t seem the slightest bit strange to me that I had not felt it in the morning.

When we arrived, I told the same to my sister who was already there. She was surprised “I didn’t think you drank that much yesterday.” “Well, I must have”, I replied. I didn’t count what I drank, but I had a glass in my hand pretty much the whole time, having had a drink with most of our guests. It still seemed perfectly reasonable to me that this was a hangover. I drove with my sister to a supermarket in the next village, by now shaking violently, while picking items from the cooled shelves. When we came home again, I announced that I felt a bit sick by now, to be honest, and needed a little lie-down. I took my temperature, and was surprised to see it raise until very little shy of 40 degrees. I could hardly believe it. I didn’t seem to have any other symptoms: a hangover with fever? – unlikely. Too much stress? – maybe. I took some ibuprofen, went to bed early, and really expected to be all fine in the morning.

Far from it, unfortunately. During the night, as I became more and more aware of a pain and swelling in the throad, it became clear to me that it must be a tonsillitis. Which a nurse who agreed to see me pretty much right away confirmed. She asked whether I maybe have had too much stress recently? – Apparently it was a rather bad case and did look like I have had it for a longer time, apparently without really noticing / showing due to high stress levels.

When is a good time to be sick? My sister and her husband pittied me for getting sick just when I was to go on vacation, but I didn’t feel too bad about that. I guess that is the difference between being self-employed and being eligible to fully paid sick days. Anyway, I was aware of my body telling me to take it more slowly, – but how?

I was determined to get better soon. The rest of the family went to the beach and tossed in two bottles for me and my project message in a bottle while I stayed a day in bed.

On Wednesday I was feeling well enough to go to the beach myself, free of fever thanks to ibuprofen (and no additional paracetamol which I took, too the past 2 days), and I was beginning to feel much better. The weather was beautiful, too, and we spent the day at the beach and I tossed in some bottles, too, that day. I hope they will have a good journey!

And the next day we already drove back, the first day I was without fever without medication. Now I try to take it a bit more slowly, but it’s not easy. Being in the studio to get work done is actually the most relaxing I can do at the moment. But I have been sick too many times in a row now, I really should find a way to wind down a little. It is surprisingly hard to do, since the moment I step out of my room, I have two (heavy by now) children literally clinging on to me, asking me to do this and that. When I lie down, I have two kids jumping around on me. But they have been surprisingly tender and caring while I had a fever. They kept feeling my head for temperature, remarking acurately “you are very hot”, “you are warm, but not as much as yesterday”, … it was really heart warming. On Friday they had their graduation ceremony from preschool, a little more than a week and they will go to school. I am rather proud of how far they have come!

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Corner Chomper

corner chomper

my new toy

I bought this corner chomper recently and it reached me today. I have no real sane reason for buying it. I have been wanting one for a long time, but I don’t really know what I will be using it on. Of course I immediately tried it, and it is amazing, it does not even take force. I imagined I would have to lean on the hande to cut through the notebook, but actually none at all.

excercise book

exercise book I made a couple of years ago and still had lying around.

two corners chomped

two front corners chomped

four corners chomped

all four corners chomped

I quite like it :-)

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Been making things

My apologies for being so silent and not having posted anything in the past couple of months (edit: weeks. It feels like months, but it actually was just a couple of weeks.). As you might have expected, I have been quite busy. And I actually made a couple of things, too. As intended I turned from printmaking back to making books, well, slowly.

So, let me see, what have I done since the last blogpost…

miniature suitcase by H. Kurzke

I made a miniature suitcase, making the buckle was the hardest thing!

I made a couple more bottles for my project message in a bottle. The one I like best is the one you can see here, I named it “Small World – The Suitcase”.

miniature book by H. Kurzke

Here you can see (among other things) the miniature book that I also made to go with the suitcase. Of course it has some content which I will keep secret until someone finds the bottle.

mini book in bottle by H. Kurzke

The bottle just before sealing it.

Then I travelled to Ulm to visit my sister and get a glimpse at my youngest nephew.

baby foot, photo by H. Kurzke

aw, baby foot

And of course I used the chance to dispatch a bottle into a new river. It ended up to be the river Blau which discharges into the Danube. The day was just too hot to go far with the little baby.


Throwing a bottle into the river Blau in Blaubeuren, near Ulm.

When I came back, I made three gigantic boxes. In the picture they don’t look so big, but the basis has a format of about 45cm square, and it turned out I had to use a mix of papers to cover them, because I just didn’t have enough of the same paper to cover or line even one of them. They are now sitting in an what used to be a shelf and is now a chest of drawers boxes in the kid’s room.


big boxes and my foot for comparison

And back to making books:

pamphlet by H. Kurzke

1-quire tacket binding with an embroidered design on the cover. (I should have taken a thinner thread for the embroidery…)

I have also been making a variety of pamphlets in preparation of a bookbinding workshop I am going to give in December, above you see just one of many I made to try out different designs. I am rather exited about this opportunity at the Nottingham Writers’ Studio, and have since been investigating and perfecting some ideas for variations of the pamphlet stitch that I thought would be interesting to writers. Here is a link to the booking page and workshop description. Non-members are welcome, too.

Last weekend I then travelled to the coast in Lincolnshire, Mablethorpe, to be precise. Of course I out some bottles into the sea there. You can read more about the dispatch on the other blog.

Throwing Messages in Bottles into the Sea in Mablethorpe

Throwing Messages in Bottles into the Sea in Mablethorpe.

When I entered my studio today, I pulled out the sewing frame. It is about time that I used it again, it had literally gathered some dust. I mentioned before that I have bought some jute twine to try for supports, and now was the time.

setting up photo by H. Kurzke

setting up

I usually just made kettle stitches at the head and tail when binding on raised support, but wanted to try something new today. So I pulled out the K. Smith book. I very much like the Herringbone stitch, and Smith combines it with packed souble cords for changeover, so I decided to give that a try.

Working on the frame was familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. – It really HAS been too long! I enjoyed the familiar pull of thread in my hands, and the repetitiveness of stitching up a book. – I have no covers prepared (or in mind) yet, I’ll still have to find out what to make with this textblock. As you can see in the photo, the packing didn’t work so well. I am used to packing on the middle signatures, but since you only get a chance to pack every second signature for the changeover, I found it rather hard to get them to spread evenly, therefore I guess I will end up coverering them.

textblock and photo by H. Kurzke

bound textblock, herringbone stitch with packing on double cords as changeover

The twine worked beautifully so far, by the way. I am looking forward to using it again.

Have you really read through this long blogpost until here? Thank you a lot for your interest, and I wish you a wonderful and creative next week!

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A Book for a Change

Message in a Bottle No. 72 (Take 2)
I made a teeny tiny book today to put into one of my bottles. It measures about 4mm x 5mm and has handwritten text in it.
Making a book, even if it was just a small one, was a welcome change from a lot of printmaking recently. Since I have been complaining so much about it, I probably owe you a status update: I finished a print by now, and send it off to Japan yesterday. I am not sure whether it is my best yet or total crap. Maybe I’ll talk about it another time, for now I am just happy to leave that experience behind me…

And I guess, I might make some books in the weeks (days?) to come. Of course I am also still working on 346, the book about my hospital stay in 2011. I am currently rewriting and re-formatting the text since I decided after the second draft that I need to radically change its form. Instead of a series of postcards, it is now going to be a scroll that sits in a box and has to be cranked forward and back to be read. I really hope to finish that book soon! I am eager to show it off and let people read it. But it has to be ready first.

Have a nice week, you all!

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