Saturday, 17 December 2011


I will be teaching bookbinding and creative book art courses throughout the winter and spring.  Here is the current line-up: 


TUESDAYS:  January 31 to February 28, 2012 - 5 weeks -  15 hours
Time:          6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Where:      St. Nicholas High School West, 893 Admiral Avenue, Ottawa, ON

Course Number: 13038 Introduction to Book Arts  (Part A)
Cost:  $99
Registration:  Forms available online at or call 613-228-3338.

Course Content: 
  • Interwoven Slit Concertina
  • Single Signature Book
  • Framed Hard Cover Concertina
  • Button Hole Book
  • 2 Signature Tunnel Book
  • Paste Paper and Book Cloth

WEDNESDAYS: February 15 to April 4, 2012  - 8 weeks - 24 hours
Time:       6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Where:    Ottawa School of Art, 35 George Street, Ottawa, ON

Course Number:  W12D042
Cost: $200
Course registration:  - Winter registration is now open

Course Content:  See blog post for Bookbinding Course, pictures included


MONDAYS:  April 16 to June 18 - 8 weeks, 20 hours
Time:             1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where:           Soloway Jewish Community Centre
                       21 Nadolny Sachs Private, Ottawa, ON 

Course Number:  Available in 2012
Cost:  TBC
Registration: or 613-798-9818

Course Content:  
  • Introduction to Tools and Books
  • Single Signature Book
  • Book within a Book
  • Artist Trading Cards
  • Multiple Flag Book
  • Japanese Stab Bound Book
  • Soft Cover Coptic Bound Book
  • Button Hole Book
  • Paste Paper
  • Codex with Paste Paper Cover
TUESDAYS:  April 24 to May 22, 2012, 5 weeks - 15 hours
Time:     6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Where:  St. Nicholas Adult High School, 893 Admiral Avenue, Ottawa, ON

Course Number:   23038  (Part B)
Cost: $99
Registration:  Forms available online at or call 613-228-3338.

Course Content:
  • Single Signature Book
  • Book within a Book
  • Flag Book
  • Hanging Concertina
  • Japanese Stab Bound Book
Tool, supply and supplier lists will be provided at the time of registration for all courses. 

Monday, 12 December 2011


Hello There:  It is December 12, 2011 and the sun is shining and the grass is green and the temperature is like a cool fall day.  I have my windows open and a soft breeze is flowing through the apartment.  This weather is amazing and I am loving it.  This past weekend I created three drawings.  On Sunday I completed the three drawings by adding colour to them.  They are being submitted to a gallery in a Naturopathic Medical Centre for a possible exhibit.  Once  they were completed, I decided it was time to make some paste paper. 

Paste paper is very simple to make and requires flour and water, a squirt bottle to wet the paper and some acrylic paints to add colour.  Some things I used to create the designs with were a fork, a cheese grater, and the serrated edge of a knife.  I also added pieces of decorative papers to enhance the paste paper. 

These are three of the colours I used, copper, turquoise and the top one is an iridescent gold. 

These are the other two colours, red and black.  The black acrylic paint I used is micaceous iron oxide which has a sandy texture to it and a little sparkle.  

I blended the red and black on one half of this cotton rag paper and then followed through to the other half with just the red.  I added decorative papers and used a large, heavy bristle paint brush to create the designs. 

This piece was very experimental.  I used a smoothe 100 pound, acid free bristol paper.  I wasn't sure how it would respond to being wet and then the added moisture of the paste.  I am happy to report it responded very well to the treatment.  I used the same large paint brush to create the border and the serrated edge of a knife for the small lines on the inner part of the design. 

I used the gold iridescent paint on this denim paper.  When wet, the paper was very soft and pleasing to the touch.  You can just see a hint of the gold in this picture.  I added a piece of decorative paper with gold in it. 

These are three smaller pieces of paste paper that I will use for my Endearment books.  I used a fork and a paintbrush to create the different designs in these papers. 

I used my fingers to create the design in the top cotton rag paper.  I blended the copper and turquoise paints to get a subtle shade of earthy green.  On the lower piece, a brown flax paper, I blended the red and turquoise. The colours are variegated, moving from turquoise to brown to red.  The pieces of flax fibre appear as little shiny pieces in the paint.  I added a decorative piece of paper with beige, brown, taupe and yellow in it. 

These two pieces of red paste paper were done on a cotton rag paper.  I used a fork and my hands to create the designs and added cut outs from a greeting card for enhancement. 

This is my simulated snakeskin paper.  I used a wood rasp, meant to shape wood.  I usually use it to grate cheese.  Yesterday I found a new purpose for it.  The design worked well with the paste paper.  I blended the black and red together.  This will make a great book cover with leather and mother of pearl enhancements. 

This is another piece of brown flax paper.  I used the copper paste on this one.  The flax particles in and on the paper create the design in the paste.  When held at certain angles in the light, this paper has a beautiful copper shimmer.  I added some decorative papers to enhance the look. 

I had a great deal of fun expressing my creativity through the drawings and making of paste paper this weekend.  I am really looking forward to teaching this in the new year. 

Thursday, 8 December 2011


I will be teaching an eight week Introductory Bookbinding and Book Arts course: 

When:               February 15, 2012 to April 4, 2012 - Wednesday evenings
Time:                 6:30 p.m to 9:30 p.m. (18h30 to 21h30)
Where:              Ottawa School of Art, downtown campus: 35 George Street
Cost:                 $200
Course ID:       W12D042
Registration:  through the Ottawa School of Art, 35 George Street, Ottawa, ON  
Tools and Supplies:  A tool and supply list will be provided upon registration

 Participants will learn:
  • Introduction to Tools and Books
  • Accordion (Concertina) Book
  • Single Signature Book
  • Book within a Book
  • Artist Trading Cards
  • Multiple Flag Book using Artist Trading Cards
  • Japanese Stab Stitch Book
  • Soft Cover Coptic Bound Book
  • Button Hole Book
  • Girdle Book
  • Decorated Letter
  • Paste Paper
  • Codex using the Paste Paper for the Cover and including the Decorated letter in the book block
This course will be of interest to people who are:  book enthusiasts, hand crafters, paper makers, scrapbookers, and anyone else interested in learning a new set of hand crafting skills.  It makes a great Christmas gift for that special crafty person in one's life.  If you have any questions about the course, please feel free to contact me at:

Accordion or Concertina Book

Book within a Book

Single Signature Book

Artist Trading Card

Japanese Stab Stitch Book

Soft Cover Coptic Bound Book

Button Hole Book

Medieval Girdle Book

Paste Paper Covered Codex


I was off to Toronto on the first weekend of December for the Ontario College of Arts and Design Book Arts Fair which is now in it's 27th year.  It is an opportunity for bookbinders, book artists, printmakers,  zine and small press publishers to showcase their work to the public.  I really enjoy this show because I get to look at the creative work of others.  I get to talk to students who are taking bookbinding courses at the college and to people who are interested in books.  I like hearing their questions and comments about my work.  This is my second season for attending the fair and once again it has been a great success.  One gentleman came by three times to look at my work and ask questions.  He took home one of the Writer's Primer journal; some of my greeting cards went to Buffalo, New York.

Books set-up for the book arts fair.

I had a great selection of journals with original drawings.  They are quite popular.

I had a couple of books in suede leather: replicas of ancient and medieval books.  The circular green suede book, with the coloured threads and satin rosette, received a great deal of attention from the public.  It's a book that includes drawings, paintings, photography and poetry on friendship.  The cover is soft and supple and  invites touching.  I had calendars this year with  my photographs and original drawings on the covers.  Above the calendars were a number of hand embroidered book bags.  There was a lot of appreciation for the embroidery on these bags.  It takes me approximately six to seven, four hour evenings to complete one grouping of flowers for these bags.  On some others I embroidered only the leaf border around the flowers.  These take approximately two to three, four hour evenings to complete.  Embroidery is a winter activity for me.  I have embroidered some book covers, making them a very different tactile experience. 

I created a sign for the table that explained the Endearment Books.  People really liked the concept and the miniature books.  I used a number of different mediums to create these books: leather with mother of pearl closures, glass, feathers, and recycled earrings and art prints.  Some had soft covers while others were hard covered. 


While in Toronto, I always enjoy walking down Queen Street, West.  I find this area of the city very eclectic and the sights feed my creativity.  As I ventured along I noticed an interesting sign in one of the windows:

I had a great chuckle and was tempted to go in and ask how much they cost, but Queen Street kept calling for me to continue with my discovery.   Unfortunately I didn't quite make it to the  paper stores, but I did get to see some fabulous shoe stores.  I also noticed a sign in another one of the windows inviting artists to bring their work in to be considered for an exhibit.  I went in and inquired.  I was able to show a small sample of my art work on my books, to the creative director. 


This summer when I was attending a photographic exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Nature.  I started talking with a lady who was a member of The Ottawa Book Collectors group.  That discussion resulted in an opportunity for me to give a brief presentation to the group on the history of the book and to show the members how to make a simple, single signature book.  I was well received and the group members were very enthusiastic learners.  Great fun was had by all. 

The Ottawa Book Collectors group was founded in 1980.  It is a forum where book lovers get together to share their enthusiasm for book-related matters.  They meet monthly between September and June and at times have tours to view special books.  If you are a book enthusiast have a look at their website:


At the Book Arts Fair in Toronto, this past weekend, a gentleman was looking at the Endearment Books.  We started talking and he mentioned he was going to propose to his girlfriend and wondered how this little book could be used.  A discussion ensued and I suggested I create a book that would hold the ring.  He liked the idea and said he would send me the words he wanted to put in the book.  This was a new and exciting challenge for me.  The book contained seven pages plus the ring receptacle, which was at the end of the book.  Each page had written words and drawings. 

I had to get a circular cutter to cut the hole for the ring.  I used three layers of bookboard to accommodate the ring. 

Once the cutting and gluing of the bookboard were complete, I covered it with this beautiful fuschia and silver paper.  I lined the edge of the hole with a soft red leather, attached red and gold ribbon to hold the ring in place and backed it with a soft suede leather.  This was the last page of the book.

I started playing with a couple of different pieces of leather and what evolved was an assymetrical red leather pouch that held the book.  There are three different textures to this case: 1) a smooth red leather,  2) a soft supple red suede leather, and 3) a gold textured simulated snake skin covered with the red and gold ribbon closure.  A recycled sterling silver earring with zircons is part of the closure.  When opened the book pouch is lined with a supple forest green leather and a smooth red leather.  The book measures 3 inches X 3 3/4 inches.  The pouch measures approximately 4 inches X 4 3/4 inches. 

The red and gold wired ribbon, passed through the silver earring makes up the closure.

The back view shows the assymetry of the suede leather and how it is attached to the smooth leather.  

I am happy to report this beautiful book is now on it's way to the gentleman. 


A special thanks to a number of people:

Bernadette Walker and Marilyn McLennan of The Ottawa Book Collectors group for inviting me to speak and share my bookbinding skills.  I had a great deal of fun.

George Walker, Professor, wood engraver, book artist, ilustrator and educator.  A special thanks for organizing the Book Arts Fair and for the invitation to participate.  Always a productive time for me.