Making of “346” Part 2

Making of

making of the 346 scoll – first part attached to the rod

Since I have not written about the 346 project in a while, here a brief summary of what happened so far: In spring/early summer 2011 I spent 7 weeks in a hospital bed in room number 346, giving birth to twins as slowly as possible – which meant no getting up and walking, which made the hospital stay especially boring and the story, hopefully, more interesting. – I suppose you are all buring to know how to wash your hair while staying flat (with raised pelvis) in a hospital bed.
I set out to make a book about this experience about a year ago, and decided to give it the form of a box filled with postcards, one for each day. This was mainly because I always have wanted to make a book in the form of a box filled with postcards, and it looked to me like the subject was fitting, since I kept a visual diary in that time, so I thought, one picture on the front, a little text on the back – that should do nicely. I worked on that idea for about 8 or so month, until it turned out that it didn’t work well this way: I did not have a picture for each day, after all, there had been days when it was just impossible for me to do it, and the retelling of events for this days were even too much to fit on two sides of a postcard. But I especially disliked that the reader can see the pile getting smaller and smaller, and thus, when he reached the bottom of the pile, it is pretty clear that the twins will be born soon, but in the text and images, I still ramble about the difficult perspective of staying in this bed for another 6 or more weeks.

test reading device

So, I had the new idea to make it into a scroll wich would be hidden from the user (first idea and sketch can be found here). Thus hiding how much there is still left to go through. I made a first test piece, starting in September (blog post making of 346) and finished the scroll about two weeks later. I also made a little device that I called a “test reader” which simulated the top of the box in which I planned to hide the scroll. I wanted to see how large a window I want to provide for the reader. And whether the layout with the images worked for the size I had decided on.

test reader for the 346 scroll  by Hilke Kurzke

test reader for my scroll

Luckily I did! It not only showed that I wanted a larger window for the reader, and demonstrated that the rolling of the scroll and pulling it through those slits is pretty annoying, tedious work, I also noticed a major problem: seams. I knew I would have to work on those, but did not anticipate the magnitude of the problem. There seems just no good way of doing it. I tried several different styles of forming a seam for this first scroll, pretty much I tried everything I could think of. But there is just no way to avoid it being bulky at the seam. And this makes the scroll catch in the slits. Making the slits larger is of course the first approach. But there is just no way of ensuring it doesn’t get stuck even with a larger slit. With this test scroll it was just annoying, fiddly work to get it going again each time a seam got stuck, but with the whole mechanism hidden from a potential reader, I don’t see how they could make out the difference between reaching the end of the scroll (which means: do not pull further, just roll back, please) and the scroll catching on the slit (pull, pull, PULL! – but gently).
Another slight problem was that I had found out that such a box would need to be quite complicated, with tension rods and maybe blocks against it curling back and all that. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to make, but no idea how, and from which material I would make these toothed wheels an all that.

Those of you who are subscribed to the Book Arts List probably noticed that I asked about scrolls there last week. (If you are not subscribed to the list, you should head over to philobiblon and subscribe right away. There is really no excuse for not subscribing.) I figured that there might be knowledge out there that already addresses that problem. It is weird how much more literature there seems about codices compared to scrolls. The suggestions for literature I got are interesting (I am still trying to get a hold on some of the sources mentioned), but most suggestions either treat Asian type (hanging) scrolls or focus on the usage and storage of scrolls. No-one could name a source where the craft of making (Hebraic) scolls is described. Since they are actively made and used all the time, I wonder whether it is considered a craft or maybe even a (semi-)religious secret.

"Megillah", esther scroll, cast and engraved silver and silver gilt case, (8605734851)

An Esther scroll. Image by Tilemahos Efthimiadis from Athens, Greece [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

But Anne Tomalak answered my question. She is a conservator at the British Library in London and worked on the Hebraic scolls digitalization project. She provided me with some insight into how and why scrolls she had seen failed, how the seams were made, and how the scrolls are attached to the rollers. This has been so very useful! Also she made me aware of Esther scrolls. The book of Esther is comparably short, and Esther scrolls are usually made with just one roller, which can be hidden in an encasement like seen in the photo above.

That was an eye opener. I actually think that pulling out the text would be even more fitting than hiding both parts. Thus the reader has a very visual reminder of how much time passed, but still the definite ending of the story would be hidden. And it puts an end to all the difficult mechanical questions involved with a cranked box. I immediately made a mock-up, which was pleasingly easy and straight forward. Here are some images:

Making of

The 346 scroll sitting on my desk.

Making of

starting to read the 346 scroll

Making of

abotut 1/3 into reading the book

Making of

end of story

Making of

And then of course it needs to be rewound.

The seams still catch a little on the slit, but I have some ideas how to make it better. Also now the reader can see what is happening while rewinding, so I really only have to worry about one direction which makes it less than half the trouble.  According to the time stamp between the last two images, it took me 4 minutes to get all the paper back into the box. However, I was also trimming some seams, so I guess 3 minutes should suffice. Or maybe even just 2.

Now what is left to do is more editing of the text and some general reworkings I want to do. And then designing the containers. I am so happy to have been shown this construction. But I feel very much like I should have through of that. Ah, well. – Back to work!

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Knowledge is a message in a bottle

knowledge little booklet

“Knowledge”, small book by H. Kurzke

Through my project message in a bottle I now have a bit of contact to other people who write or collect messages in bottles. Yes, there really are people who collect them. Who would have thought that possible? – Certainly not me. One of those people is James Ismael Kuck aka Peter Stein. Peter has advanced in recent years to the expert in messages in bottles in Germany. In recent years he has met an author wanted to interview him for a book he is writing, artist Anne Berlit has sought his advice for her art project involving messages in bottles, one of the big regional TV stations, and now one of the two publicly funded German TV stations is going to speak with him about the topic. As before on such occasions, Peter asked his friends and acquaintances for contributions, and so I quickly whipped up a little something to go into the bottles: Knowledge.

The text is one I used before for a little pamphlet, but now there are new images. You might remember that I was making these beach finding sketches, well, I am still doing them. I am getting quicker and I think I am also getting better, too. It really is all a matter of practise. I am especially delighted by this, because I grew up thinking, I couldn’t draw. But I am learning…

knowledge - first page

Knowledge, a book by H. Kurzke, first spread

knowledge - second page

Knowledge, a book by H. Kurzke, second spread

What I really ought to be doing is to finally get a grip on 346 and finish that project. In a way I really want to. And in some way I don’t. The text turned out much more private, than I first thought it would be. Of course I wanted to put my experiences into this book. But I throught I would make up part of it, put in some discussions about general topics, too. But now it turned out pretty much just a report on what was happening. The way how I decide to put it, what to tell, and what to leave out is connected with some of the broader topics I initially wanted to touch, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is very personal. I am not so much afraid of the exposure here. I am not going to print an edition of thousands anyway. But that is the najor question: Should I edition at all? I sort of want to, but I am not sure that anyone would be interested in such a personal – diary really. Some of the diary is visual. I am going to add some visuals now, but most were done back then, while I was living it. And it is hard to put new stuff in without changing the style.

Furthermore is is currently half-term, and the kids don’t go to school. So I can’t work much anyway.



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Jeansbooks final post – Making of and Listing

kleine jeansbucher wip 01

sorting and assembling the pages for the remaining three small books

I have been blogging in great detail about the making of seven Jeansbooks in the past week. If you missed it, you can find Part I here, and Part II here. I stopped at the point where I had cut and assembled all pages for the four larger books, and had assembled, but not yet cut the pages for the three smaller books. That was the situation on Wednesday the 7th. On Thursday my studio time was quite limited, as I spend a huge chunk of time in school talking. In the remaining time I sorted through the colourful signatures I had assembled the day before and pressed over night.

kleine jeansbucher wip 02

different books with their assigned signatures

At first I used up all the signatures I had. – But then decided that there is such a thing as a too chunky book. – And I am still left with a good selection of what could become exercise books. – I’ll see what I do with them later.

Then I cut the pages to size. The jeans for the smaller books were worn by my children in an earlier life and range from size 2T to 3-4 years, and thus the books are not the same size. So I had to set up a jig like explained in the last post six times. – So nothing else on that particular day.

jeansbucher wip 03

scraps – these are the kind of things I find hard to toss

When I had to collect the kids, I threw away a handful of small paper strips (you can see them above). I guess this is extremely silly, but this it the kind of thing that I find so very hard to toss. These cut-offs looked to neat, and I wish I had had a brilliant idea to make something from them. I pondered weaving and all such, but they are quite short. In the end I took a deep breath and tossed them.

jeansbooks wip

covers and pages, all ready to be bound

This is where the promised procastination started. Up until here I really made the best of the time I had, but the next day, Friday the 9th, was pretty much completely wasted. I started off with all the covers and pages neatly arranged on my worktable, ready to be bound.

Of course now my studio needd tidying up. It really did. Every hour or so, I thought now would be a good time to decide, how and where to place the stitches on the book’s spine, to pre-punch holes in the quires and covers. – And then I found something else to tidy up. Punching holes is something that requires an effort from me. – It can’t be undone, it is the most irreversible step other than the very first cutting of material. But the cutting is the first step. If I make mistakes now, I have wasted so much time and effort. Before I do it, I’ll rather quickly check Facebook…

jeansbooks wip

four hours into the Friday

And thus it took me four hours on Friday to get to this stage: The covers and pages for the first book pre-punched. Ready to start binding.

jeansbook wip 2

One and a half hours later

The time stamps on my photos tell me, the photo above was taken about 90 minutes later – what progress! And it was time to pick up the kids from school.

Jeansbooks Work in Progress

The first three on Saturday

But the next day then worked like a breeze. Once I get started, I am actually quite quick. Just the sewing of a large book takes me about 30 minutes, 20 minutes for the small jeansbook. Punching holes maybe takes another 30 minutes, so that I can finish a book in a little less than an hour, once work so so far prepared as it was. And so, although I only worked half a day, I finished the first three books on Saturday.

Sunday is a family day (established since the kids entered school) and we spent the day as a family with neither of us working. On Monday I was really busy with thread, but on Tuesday morning I then bound two more books and pre-punched the remaining two. Which were bound on Wednesday morning:

jeansbook blog

All seven books bound

Next up: Photographing and listing on Etsy. Which involves pricing. You observed now first hand how long it took me to bind the books. How do you price them? Well, I do want to sell them. I hope to earn me some Christmas money from them, and so put them at a price that I hope is fair for both me and the buyer. I’d be happy if you visited my Etsy shop to have a look, and maybe buy or share.

I really enjoyed binding books once more. I should do it more often. Actually I decided to do it more often. It is a shame that I didn’t make any journals in the past two years or so (outside commissions).

Unfortunately the gallery function doesn’t work with images that are not stored on this site (and due to a software glitch I cannot load images to this site anymore) So here are more photos embedded in large. If you go to ipernity (or Etsy of course) you’ll find more images to look at.

washed out colourful jeansbook

The Colourful. One of the larger books.

washed out colourful jeansbook 03-etsy 2

The colourful. Wonderful paste down made from a paste paper from Christine of Buntpapierfabrik

snapbutton jeansbook 05 kleiner

The snapbutton – one of the smaller books.

jeansbuch levis 03

Levis Jeansbooks. This is the only one that doesn’t have Clairefontaine pages, just brown and creme sketch paper.

denim jeansbook klein 01 kleiner

One of the smaller books. – It isn’t that small, by the way, quite close to my usual journal size.

buntes jeansbuch 01 kleiner

One of the larger books – this one has all Clairefontaine paper

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Jeansbooks Update and Website Update and Exhibition Announcement

Jeansbooks Work in Progress

Jeansbooks, first three done

Hello, I am just briefly logging in to let you know what is the current state of affairs: I actually found some time to bind some of the prepared jeansbooks. More about that and about procastinating in a next post, I guess, when I have better photos of the finished books.

I think I failed to let you know that a couple of my books will be included in a small exhibition in November in Bath: Accordingly … Text + Art, AD44, Bath, 3rd to 8th November 2015. So if you are near, you might want to take a look! I might even be around for the private view on the 7th, I am still trying to arrange everything so that it might work.

kurzke screenshot

Screenshot of the entry page of my new homepage

AND I have been working secretly on a new website for a couple of months now. As things are over here, progress has been slow, but I decided to go public for now, you can find the new page here: The page still needs adding to in the artist book section, links section and prints section. Once this is done (and this will take time), I’ll also transfer the blog to there. For now I’ll keep blogging here. Also I am planning to keep the domain name and set up redirects, so that all links keep on working. But I’ll keep you updated about that, and whether and when you should update your bookmarks. – Please apologize if the transfer to the new site should get a little bumpy. But at least it will be slow :-)

So, now I am off to pick up the kids…

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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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