Monday, June 18, 2012

Farewell, and thanks!

This year has been transformative and wonderful, and I'm so grateful to Gavin for contributing to so many aspects of said transformation and wonderful-ness. The new apprentice Alaska seems nothing short of fabulous and I'm excited to follow her progress, and I know only great things are going to happen at Paper Dragon Books this year. I've moved on in ways both small and dramatic - I drove across the country with my brand new fiance and our cat (his cat? my step-cat?) and we're thrilled to be newly-minted Californians. I can't wait to begin the MFA Book Arts and Creative Writing program at Mills College but in the mean time, I'm happy to exist in that in-between phase where my biggest task of the day is deciding whether or not to put on shoes. Tunes? Of course. But shoes are a big one these days.

I thank you sincerely for following my progress. The page views and comments have meant so much to me, and I wish I had shared more with y'all! Feel free to dip into this next life phase at a blog I've put together mainly to stop my dad from pestering me: Tony Oakland. I hope to share more bookbinding adventures in the future but I confess that it currently consists mostly of Instagram photos of food and the cat. Consider yourself warned.

Yours truly,


Monday, March 12, 2012

Five Millionth Time is the Charm

It's not the process of having to redo something over and over and over that I find frustrating, it's the fact that the process is necessary. Come on brain! Hang on to something! There are three other attempts at this orange tray buried under these other two in the trash, and by this day's end, I still haven't completed a frigging clamshell box. It better happen soon or I'm going to go bananas.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


This is my favorite part of day, when the big glass blocks that make up the window catch the light and turn to gold.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Buried in salt

I'm super-psyched with how this salt and ink technique worked out. I've been playing around with some techniques of making endpapers for an upcoming competition book, but I think I may save these and cut them up and put them in weird, tiny frames, because I'd be happy getting to look at it more often than if it were the first page of a book. Is that heretical? That if you think a piece of paper is lovely and enchanting and you want to hang out with it a bit, that it would be better suited to be not in a book? I am suddenly feeling guilty!

This technique produces an effect that really looks a lot weirder and more microbial and organic than the pictures indicate. I did these using watercolor, though I think it can be done successfully with inks or diluted acrylic paints as well. I pre-treated the paper using gelatin and then after it had dried, brushed the surface with an even coating of the watercolor. Then sprinkle salt, about a half tsp. per page. After five minutes, it starts to look magical, and once it's dried, you just sweep the salt off. Ta da! Love it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Living With Artists

Means having to share shelf space with things like this:

He bought it on ebay and it is very much real. It used to belong on a Chinese lady's head. He's used it quite a lot! Sometimes it makes me particularly uncomfortable.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Oh Vanity

In my past life as a magazine editor, while I was still on the scruffier end of the style spectrum, I definitely took a lot more care in my appearance than I do currently. I'm pretty sure we had a dress code and I totally wore daily make up, but let me tell you: it's difficult to have luscious-looking lashes, for example, when mascara seems to attract and adhere to the godforsaken leather dust that proliferates during leather paring. This phenomenon is even more disgusting than you'd imagine ( but you should imagine it, just for a second. It's like having horrible moths that hate you on your eyes!) Anyway, the above pics are before work and after of an awesome Sally Hansen nail decal manicure that was is basically the greatest thing I've ever put on my fingertips. It just didn't stand up to the rigors that are washing out glue brushes, I'm afraid. And cleaning ink pots. And anxious biting from waiting to see if I ruined something in the press. Also, that last photo is after I scrubbed my very skin with Ajax. Dang dye just won't come off! It's worse when it gets on my face.

Friday, December 23, 2011


This project is basically the most successful happy-making book, if I do say so myself. A good friend of mine is doing one of those "lets only make each other presents" holiday kind of thing with her boyfriend, and they broadened the criteria to include bartered gifts as well. I helped her bind up an adorable little book she wrote about why she loves him (aww) and her end of the bargain included gin and tonics and several hours of delightful conversation. She is totally rad.

It's my third leather project but my number one favorite. I even got to gold stamp it! I used some paper I had marbled from the class at Center for Book Arts with Lauren Rowland (which is happening again!) to up the pizzazz level. She was super-pleased and I must say that I am as well.  And she reports that he just loved it! As he should.