Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Not Your Mama's Print Class

It's that time again! Molly Chism and I are offering our relief printmaking class at the Maitland Art Center. We have been trying to get this class off the ground for a little while now, but we haven't had enough students sign up yet- we need three in order to teach the class. The Maitland Art Center was founded by a printmaker, Andre Smith, and has a rich printmaking history. Unfortunately it's scary to sign up for something that your unfamiliar with, and not many people know what printmaking is all about. Even if you've never done art before, you can picture yourself in a painting class- brushes, paint, apron, french beret. But printmaking? They could be pulling teeth in that class for all I know! Alas, it is a tough act to sell, even though this class is so awesome.

So stop by the website and sign up! We won't be pulling teeth. We'll be carving, inking, and printing- on my brand new Richeson Baby Etching Press no less! The class starts this Saturday the 28th and meets 1:30 - 4:30 every Saturday for 9 weeks.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

I will be showing my book, I Used to Wear Diapers, at the juried art show entitled Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow at the UCF Art Gallery. The shows runs from January 26th to February 26th and the opening reception is January 26th from 6pm-8pm. The opening reception sounds like it will be a blast: free admission, free food, music by Joseph Keebler, and performances by Hemisphere Dance Company.

1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons will be awarded as well as a Director's Purchase Award and a Provost's Purchase Award (both of which I have opted out of because I am not ready to sell my book). I assume the awards will be given out at the opening reception. The only thing I've seen for the show so far are the sneak peek images on the website, but if those are any indication of the quality of work this is going to be a classy show! If you feel like coming out it looks like there will be a multitude of fantastic art. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Removing... *sigh* Chocolate

 What's that on this book? Is it a crayon? Is it poop?! No! It's CHOCOLATE! Because who doesn't love a sweet treat when perusing some Dolce and Gabbana fashion. This is a rare instance where I fixed up a book from our general, circulating collection - hence the chocolate. Just a bit of careful scraping with the micro-spatula and a final pass with a soft eraser.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Carry Me

"Carry me out of the host, for I am wounded."
This is the Adorable Wood Engraving of the Day! While removing the library stickers from some of our new arrivals at Special Collections I found this little guy. He's from the book Infelicia by Adah Isaacs Menken published in 1868. What makes this especially adorable is the caption underneath him reading "Carry me out of the host, for I am wounded." Now I can't see the frog's out stretched arm without imagining him crying "Enh! Carry me!" I think I may submit this to Cute Overload.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


You may or may not be aware of my day job as the Book Conservator for the Special Collections and University Archives for the University of Central Florida Libraries. I also do private book repair and after all the horrible do-it-yourself fixes I've seen I feel the need to present this post as a public service announcement about not using staples or tape on your books.

We have a large amount of pamphlets held together by rusty staples that need removing, but I thought these (this?) little pamphlets were in need of documentation because of the... unique way they have been joined together. It is (they are?) three stapled pamphlets that have been stapled to each other and then taped together with some specialty bookbinding tape which is more like electrical tape than anything that should come in contact with a book.

The first order of business is to remove the the horrid red tape that is acting as a spine in this Frankenstien creation....

Heat is applied to the tape with a tacking iron. Heat will usually reactivate the adhesive of the tape, or if you would like to use proper terminology it reactivates the gooiness. However there are cases where heat will just cause the tape to dig its nasty little claws in deeper, so one should always test the waters carefully before removing tape with a tacking iron.

Using a metal micro spatula dipped in rubbing alcohol the tape is slowly lifted

Look at that progress!

Now that the tape is removed you can see where the three pamphlets have been stapled together. The two staples near the spine only go through a pamphlet and a half. There is another set of staples on the back side leaving these helpless pamphlets in a carnivorous jaw of four ruthless staples.

The tape may be gone but some of the tackiness has remained. To remove the sticky I use a soft white eraser, specifically MagicRub, and gently rub the surface. This rolls up all the tape goo in with the eraser poop (ask your mom if you don't understand) and the leavings can be easily brushed away. Once the sticky spine was returned to a satin finish I removed the four staples that held the pamphlets together. This proved to be a Chinese finger trap of sorts since I could not get at the end of the front staples until the back ones were removed and vice versa. After some contorting however, the pamphlets were free for the first time since... probably the 70s.

Now on to the two staples for each individual pamphlet.
The two photos below illustrate how harmful staples can be. The left shows the rusty staple and the effect it has had on the paper. To the right is the page next to the staple showing how deep the rust has permeated the paper. 

The micro spatula returns, this time sans alcohol, to lift the staple prongs on the inside and then carefully wiggle the staple out the back.

Once the staples are removed new "cloth staples" need to be sewn in to hold the pamphlet together. Here I am using some safe linen thread. The pictures below show the substitution- the pamphlets will never know the difference!

Here they are- separated and free of their rusty shackles. After some paper work they were let loose in the stacks where they now graze freely with their fellow pamphlets; a new and happy life.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Richeson Baby Etching Press

 My foray into the personal etching press world continues. Some updates since last time: I sent back the school etching press from Jerry's Artarama and although I thought the press was poor quality the customer service was excellent. After receiving some birthday money I decided to go for the press that I've seen all the wonderful reviews on and bought this lovely piece of equipment- The Richeson 11" Baby Press. The sheer weight of it tells you it's quality! I especially love the pressure markings on either side and the fact that it doesn't need to be mounted.

I was first able to use my brand new press for some cards I carved and printed for my first Christmas with my husband. It performed beautifully. I still have to get used to using such a tiny little thing, but our future together is looking bright.


It's found the perfect home on top of the little cabinet in my little dining room at my little apartment.... making little prints!

Even though it was supposed to be a birthday present, this press sure did make my Christmas.

Merry Christmas! There is still one more day!