Monday, November 23, 2015

November NORBAG workshop - The French Stitch

The November workshop was presented by Michele Kamprath. She taught the French Stitch binding for use on a 10 signature journal that was 4 ¼ inches by 5 ½ inches. The covers were also paper (8 ½ by 5 ½ inches folded in half). 

Generally, the French Stitch is used when sewing onto tapes in a traditional case binding. This gives the book a little more structure, but isn’t usually visible as it is hidden under the spine. Today book artists have integrated it into exposed bindings. We used the French Stitch with a kettle stitch at the end of each signature to give the book stability.

Michele Kamprath brought several samples for us.

We started by folding our covers and signatures. Then, using the sewing cradle and a jig, we put holes in the covers and signatures.

We used a kettle stitch at the end of each signature and did the French stitch between.

This is how the interior of each signature looked.
Michele helped as needed.
After finishing the signatures, we sewed through the cover and tied off our stitches.
Here are samples of the covers and a peek at the French stitch on the exposed spine.

Wow! That's more than a few French stitched spines.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Santa Fe Book Art Celebration

Last month I had an opportunity to visit Santa Fe, New Mexico and see a wonderful book art exhibition at the Capitol Rotunda put on by the Santa Fe Book Arts Group (BAG). Included below are some photos from the exhibit, but if you have the chance to visit in person I certainly recommend it. You can also see photographs of all of the entries at this website:!2015-rotunda-show/c1zeu.  Congratulations to two NORBAG members, Barbara Macks and Beverly Wilson, who are also BAG members and have books in the exhibit.

Running from September 4 through December 11, the exhibit features a wide range of events and activities open to the public.  All of the 65 artists represented in the exhibit are members of BAG. According to the website, "they all use a wide range of materials, designs, and techniques to create original works of sculptural or multi-dimensional book art. Dr. Cynthia Sanchez, Executive Director of the Capitol Art Foundation, is the curator and juror. This is the sixth time that the New Mexico Capitol Art Foundation has invited Santa Fe BAG to exhibit. The exhibit is open to the public, weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm.” For more information about BAG visit their website at:

Two books by NORBAG member Barbara Macks, Aunt Sylvia's Dress on the left and Off...Into the Night on the right

The Journey Within by Pamela MacKellar

What If? by NORBAG member Beverly Wilson

Something Fishy by Margy O'Brien

The Four Seasons by Brooke Remmert

Garden of Unearthly Delights by NORBAG member Beverly Wilson

Lily Carousel by Moira Garcia

Dangerous Divas of the Desert by Gary Shallcross

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

FRENCH STITCH BOUND JOURNAL taught by Michele Kamprath

Come join us Saturday November 14 to make a small journal or blank book that is bound together with the lovely French Stitch binding. Your completed book size will be: 5 1/2 x 4 1/4 inches. You will need to cut your paper ahead of time. 

Detail of Michele's lovely French Stitch bindings

Materials to bring:
For the cover:

  • Cut two pieces 8 1/2" wide by 5 1/2" tall, grain short. Choose decorative cardstock, watercolor paper, or other heavier weight paper. (Note: Michele has also put photographs on the front and back covers mounted on folded cardstock.)
For the signatures:

  • 20 text-weight pieces of paper 8 1/2" wide by 11" tall, cut in half. (Note: you should end up with a total of 40 pieces of paper that will then be folded into 10 signatures--four sheets per signature. Each piece will measure 8 1/2" wide by 5 1/2" tall, grain short when done. We will fold these to make our signatures at the workshop. The folded signatures will measure 4 1/4" wide by 5 1/2" tall. Or if you prefer, 10 signatures made of heavier watercolor-like paper. Each piece would measure 8 1/2" wide by 5 1/2" tall, grain short.)
Other materials needed:

  • Needle
  • Waxed linen thread, perle cotton size 5, or embroidery floss
  • Bees wax if using unwaxed thread (Michele will have some to borrow if you do not have any)
  • Piercing tool
  • Piercing cradle - extras available if needed
  • Pencil
  • Paper clip
  • Bone folder
  • Glue Stick
Materials Supplied:

  • Instructions
  • Jig paper
  • Tape for cover (if needed)
November Meeting Details:

When:      Saturday, November 14 at 12 noon
Where:     Eureka Methodist Church at Del Norte & F Streets
RSVP:       YES! by Nov. 9 to Michele, 
                 (her contact information is in the newsletter)
Cost:         50 cents
Materials:  Check above list

Thursday, October 22, 2015

October 2015 NORBAG workshop - Zentangle

Judy Rishel lead us in the exploration of Zentangle. Judy's first exposure to Zentangle was at a 2013 NORBAG Zentangle workshop by Peggy Marrs. Later, Judy saw a Zentangle event at a conference she attended and was so interested that she took several classes. She feels it is "an art form that has exploded because you don't have to be an artist to do it! And there are no mistakes when doing Zentangle." No erasers, no rulers. Just a pen, a small 3.5-inch square of paper and and a pencil for shading.

Zentangle is different from doodling. Doodling is random. It can be almost anything. Zentangle is abstract and uses repetitive patterns made up of one or more of the following strokes: a circle, a curved line (like a C), a reversed curse (like an S) a straight line or a dot. A pattern is formed and then repeated. The object is to lose yourself in the drawing (Zen) without concern for the outcome.

Judy provided us with a delightful materials kit. We had an instruction sheet with patterns to use, white and black tiles to draw on, pre-drawn shapes to fill in with Zentangle patterns and even a template for a box that we could decorate and use to store our tiles.

For reference, Judy brought commercial instruction books, and a number of her own notebooks demonstrating ways to keep your own finished pieces, works in progress and pattern samples and practice.

Judy started the day with a white board. She drew three wavy lines (called a string) that we used to divide the Zentangle tile. Then she suggested four different patterns to use within those lines.

 And look at the variety of tiles that resulted.

Color, black and white and pencil. And each one is unique. 

 Judy's last words to us: "Remember, there are no mistakes, and don't forget to breathe." And then we did what we always do. We laughed and played and made tiles.

Black paper using white jelly roll pen

Using a pre-drawn shape

Using one of the commercial Zentangle books as inspiration
Using a gold metallic gel pen on both white and black surfaces

Creating letters with one of the commercial books as inspiration

Our October Book Exchange theme was "Falling Leaves" or "Autumn Colors." You can tap the Flickr Photos button on the left to see them in color.

Watch for the next workshop that will be shown here around the beginning of the month.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


What happened when two former local NORBAG members discovered that they moved to the same county in Washington State?  First they met for a play date, and later found a couple more like-minded book artists and voila, NORBAG NORTH was born.

Robyn Teske joined NORBAG in 1997 and Bonnie Julien in 2004. During a class taught by Randi Parkhurst at Focus On Book Arts in 2013, Bonnie met Carol Stallard who, like Randi, lived in the Puget Sound area (coincidentally, some years earlier, Carol had even taken some of Shereen LaPlantz’s book art classes in Humboldt County). Carol and Randi joined NORBAG and they discovered that they all lived about 45 minutes from each other and would like to get together for periodic play dates. Randi’s mother, Nikki, is an artist who also dabbles in book arts so she often joins them. The group also has an honorary member, Vivienne Bruce, who lives in Victoria, B.C. While Vivienne does not join the group for play dates, she does participate in spirit and with ideas.

The group does not have a set schedule for their get-togethers, but tend to meet every couple of months. Usually one person will plan a project to work on. Sometimes they’ve even done the same workshop as the main NORBAG group. They’ve greatly benefited from Randi’s expertise in making boxes and beads. One project planned by Carol was for each person to use the same size and style of boards to make their own book. She provided the boards and gave several months to complete the project that culminated with a book reveal and clam feed at her home.

The following photos are from some of the NORBAG NORTH play dates. 

Nikki, Carol, Randi, Bonnie

Nikki, Carol, Randi, Robyn

Boxes taught by Randi

We made birthday books similar to the main NORBAG group

Carol's project with the original prototype on the far left

Books were made by Robyn, Bonnie, Dolores (guest participant), Carol & Vivienne

Randi makes paper beads...lots of beads

Play date beads by Randi, Carol & Bonnie

If you are one of the many NORBAG out-of-town members and are looking for ways to set up a similar play date group here are some suggestions on how to meet people in your area:
  • See if your local library has a secure display case and would be interested in having you put up a display of your books. Add bookmarks with your email address and NORBAG's website and blog address for people to take and have a way to contact you.
  • Look for book art classes that might be taught in your area...sometimes colleges have extension or other adult classes where you could either take or teach a class. A wonderful example of this is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Humboldt State University ( Several NORBAG members have taught classes there.
  • Ask at art stores, galleries, libraries or museums to see if they would let you teach a beginning book art class.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

ZENTANGLE FUN at the October Workshop!

Judy Rishel invites everyone to join her for an afternoon of Zen calm while learning the art of tangling. She explains her workshop as an "art form that has exploded because you don't have to be an artist to do it! I will share the classic form on a tile showing some designs that you build up one line at a time. You will receive some handouts with more in-depth information about this method along with forms to build your own Zentangle pattern. In your kit will be other materials to tangle on like bookmarks, flowers, mandalas, a ready-made picture, and cards to make. After some practice patterns you can explore on your own and 'play' with the many materials available like Zentangle pattern books, finished samples, string suggestions, letters, and stencils to use to draw your own Zentangle. Come and enjoy!"

Samples of Judy's fun Zentangles

What to bring:

  • Micron pens in various sizes - thin .02, medium .05, thick .08
  • Small sharp scissors
  • White gel pens

What will be provided:

  • Handouts with in-depth information
  • Materials for making bookmarks, flowers, cards and more

When:  Saturday October 10 at 12 noon
Where: Eureka Methodist Church at Del Norte & F Streets
Cost:    A Smile!
RSVP    YES! by Oct. 8. 
             See Judy's contact information in the newsletter

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Double Needle Coptic Stitch Workshop

At the September 12th workshop we had a second chance to make an exchange book from a previous theme or book structure that we missed making during the year. Or we could try something new. We had quite a collection of books including NORBAG 20th anniversary cards, different structures and alphabets.

Exchange books

Dolores G. taught the workshop on double needle Coptic stitching. Since it is our twentieth anniversary, she brought book covers in the shape of candles and we had ten signatures to sew onto those book covers. The overall size of the book was approximately 2" x 2 1/4" (not counting the flame of the candle on the covers). It was a tiny little book.

We started by folding ten signatures.

Then Laura used a jig to make the sewing stations (only two holes for this tiny book). 

We stitched the first signature to the cover and then sewed on the other signatures. We used what is called a sewing station that consisted of two holes. We had one long thread with a needle at each end and sewed back and forth between the two holes.

We ended by sewing the back cover to the rest of the book. (Sorry that you can't see what is being done very clearly.)

We all ended up with this little tiny book in any one of several colors.

Dolores also showed us how to make larger books using the double needle Coptic stitch. In our little books, we used one station (consisting of two holes, a single strand of thread and two needles). In larger books like this one, she had 3 stations to sew simultaneously.

We had about 20 people laughing and talking while working on our books.