Sunday, April 15, 2018


Our very busy and creative member from York, England, Margaret Beech, recently led a mini workshop for some Syrian refugees. Here is how she described the event.

"A friend who is part of a group that supports refugees in York asked if I could do something creative for the small social group of Syrian ladies that live in York and are encouraged to get together weekly on a social basis. Not having much English they must feel very isolated.
This week only three turned up but they very much enjoyed making origami boxes and talking. We even managed a small concertina book to fit inside the box too.  Touchingly they wrote the names of their children on the pages. Their children seem to be scattered in camps all over the middle east. With the paper squares that were left I showed them how to make a self sealing envelope. They had very little English so I had to work through an interpreter.

I gave each of them one of my little boxes full of love for themselves but they each said they would give it to their favourite child – no idea whether that would be a small or an adult child. I was so keen for them to have one of their own I gave them each another just for them.
I promised that I would go again and show them some other simple paper folds and also take some of my books for them to enjoy.  Even though we couldn’t communicate with a common language there were lots of smiles."

What a wonderful experience this seems to have been...for both Margaret and the women who participated. It will be very interesting to hear if the women begin to get more involved with book art. 

Thank you Margaret for sharing this experience with us.

Sunday, April 1, 2018


Have you had trouble finding just the right stamp to use for a project? If so, the April NORBAG workshop is one you won't want to miss. Judy Rishel will show us how to carve a small printing block. She will cover how to transfer a design to the printing block and carving techniques using different tools. 

Judy will also share information about her Letterboxing hobby and show us some of her many journals filled with stamps from around the country. Letterboxers often choose to carve/print an image that represents themselves...such as a flower for a gardener, a bird for a birdwatcher, a musical instrument for a musician, a camera for a photographer, etc., so keep that in mind when you're thinking up an image to carve into your own block. If you would like, bring a small booklet to the workshop so that you can stamp your block and other members' blocks to start your own collection.

What to bring:

  • A few or a set of carving blades
  • A small block of carving material (2 1/2" x 2 1/2" or a size of your choice) pink Speedball or the softer white MOO Carve
  • A simple image you'd like to carve that will fit on your block, best if this is drawn ahead of time in soft pencil on tracing paper. Any text will appear reversed on a block; but that problem is solved when you rub your drawing onto the block, at which time it will automatically reverse. If you're uncertain, Judy can assess your image in advance of carving to make sure it's not too difficult.
  • An inked stamp pad with a raised pad for rubbing onto the carved block
  • Soft lead pencil
  • Eraser
  • Scrap paper for practice stamping
  • Optional: a small empty booklet to stamp each others' blocks into

Judy will provide:

  • Handouts on stamp carving and Letterboxing
  • Small leftover pink carving pieces for practice
  • Veterinarian needles for intricate carving (to try and/or purchase at $1 each)
  • Large sheets of construction paper to lay over your work area
  • Letterboxing examples

   Saturday, April 14 at 12 noon

Where:  Eureka Methodist Church at Del Norte and F Streets
Bring:    See above list
Cost:     $.50
RSVP:    YES, by April 13 to Judy (contact information in the newsletter)

Sunday, March 18, 2018


On display this month in the kiosk at the Humboldt County Library are books created by North Redwoods Book Arts Guild members that celebrate Earth Day 2018. Materials used include handmade paper, eco-dyed and paste papers, book covers made of tree bark, sea shells, and recycled bits and pieces. Art forms include stab binding, long stitch, twig skewed binding, shape book, maze, floating pictures, flag book, herringbone, Coptic, pivoting art, scroll, and dimensional folding. Also on display is an 1850's recipe for marbled paper with a jar of dried sea weed from Ireland named “Irish Moss,” a required ingredient. Book content includes many fine poems, nature descriptions, and this quotation from William Shakespeare: One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.


Book Arts Guild members created these books that celebrate our earth. We hope you join us in honoring Earth Day 2018. Earth Day is a global event. Each year more than one billion people in 192 countries take part, making this the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.

Thank you Dianne Byington for arranging this display.

Monday, March 12, 2018

March Workshop Wrap-Up - Everyday Journal

Ordinarily there are pictures at the end of the blog. When possible, they demonstrate the general steps taken during the workshop. Not this month. We had nineteen books in our exchange and then during the actual workshop, we were so involved with sewing, gluing, folding and talking that we forgot to take pictures.

The workshop was inspired by a blog entry (Hand Made Books, June 17, 2016) by Alisa Golden noting that she taught journal making workshops that resulted in books "too nice" to use for every day purposes. She demonstrated in her blog how to make a "grunge" journal that was quick and easy and that became the inspiration for our workshop.

Bobbie Hayes lead the workshop emphasizing a lot of tips that she has learned in NORBAG and more about how this simple structure can be modified easily to make bowtie or French stitched or sewn on tape journals. With the basic sewn text block made, we could add different covers from simple self covers, paper covers, exposed spines and case bound books.

Members shared how they do things. We always talk about bringing your piercing cradle (frequently called a sewing cradle) and what to do when you don't have one (use the square edge of a box keeping the papers nestled together and in place) or simply a phone book or cardboard pad. We talked about why we use waxed thread (strengthens the thread and lubricates it through the book). We also talked about the need to use your bone folder on the spine at the end of each signature after checking the tension and before making the kettle stitch (it flattens the thread so it lays closer to the pages and helps maintain the tension).

As usual, the materials list called for simple, readily available materials. And so we ended up with every type of paper in a dizzying array of colors and patterns. Yes, that is the way NORBAG workshops are. Delightful!

Next month, you will see a lot of pictures. We will be carving stamps and there should be plenty of samples of the process and the resulting unique product.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


At the March workshop Bobbie Hayes will lead us in making an "everyday journal". This will be a quick and easy sewn journal with a paper cover. Alisa Golden made mention on her blog that when she would teach a journal making class no one wanted to use them because they were too nice. So she suggested making a small basic journal that students would actually use. Hopefully this will be that journal that will be used on a daily basis, and it could also be the start of many variations for future journals.

At the beginning of the class Bobbie will show us how to make a simple journal. The second part of the workshop will cover ways that we can vary this little journal and end up with some great books using bow tie, French stitch, exposed spine, case bound, or self covers.

Materials to bring:
  • 16 sheets measuring 8 1/2" x 5 1/2" (grain short) text weight paper. The most economical way to do this is to use 8 sheets of text weight paper and cut them in half.
  • 2 sheets of cardstock or heavier scrapbook paper measuring 8 1/2" x 5 1/2" (grain short)
  • 1 sheet of paper 5 3/4" x 12" to act as a cover. Mi Teintes, Fabriano, or heavier 12" x 12" scrapbook paper would be appropriate.
  • 40" of waxed linen binding thread, perle cotton or embroidery floss that hasn't been split. (If you use perle cotton or embroidery floss, it should be well waxed. Bobbie will bring wax if you don't have any.)
  • 1 piece of cardstock (scrap) that is 2" x 5 1/2" long, folded in half long wise.
Tools and supplies:
  • 1 sewing needle (Bobbie's suggestion is a Tapestry needle #18-22. They have an eye large enough for these thicker threads and are already somewhat dull.)
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Bone Folder
  • Small cutting mat (if you don't have one, an old telephone book will work)
  • Cradle or something to punch the signature holes on
  • Awl, probe or t-pin (t-pin is least desirable because of fineness
  • Adhesive - double-sided tape, glue stick and/or pva
When:    Saturday March 10 at 12 noon
Where:   Eureka Methodist Church at Del Norte & F Streets
Bring:     Check above list
Cost:      $1.00
RSVP:     Yes, by March 4 to Bobbie, her contact information is in the newsletter

Monday, February 19, 2018


From February 13 to 15 ancient Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia, according to the tale of St. Valentine. He wrote his inamorata (female sweetheart or lover) a note signed “from your Valentine”, which is considered the first Valentine's greeting. Valentine greetings were popular in the Middle Ages when lovers said or sang their Valentines.  According to information from, written Valentines began to appear after 1400.  The oldest written Valentine in existence was a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans while imprisoned in the Tower of London.

Not a heart nor a bit of red to be seen in the Duke's written Valentine.

In a much more modern style, NORBAG members got together for our February meeting to make Valentine cards. Lorraine Miller-Wolf takes our cards to Senior Nutrition home delivered meals and senior lunch sites, to dialysis patients and to our local convalescent homes. Hopefully you will enjoy the pictures as much as we enjoyed the day.

Lorraine doesn't hesitate for a moment. She used stamps
 and stamp pads, decorative scissors and cutters. 

Miriam is busy too. She makes her Holiday cards out of reused holiday cards.
 I wonder if her material is from recycled cards.

Edge's card for the exchange had three hearts with paper lace.
 She also loves pop-ups. Look closely, you can see them at the bottom of the picture.

The tables were covered with red, white, and pink papers!

We started with some very pretty ones.

Pretty pinks and reds with paper lace and a very bold black, white and red.

Lots of lovely paper lace!

Anytime we get together, it's always fun to see how we have such different aesthetics.

I love that this little elephant has hearts raining from under the umbrella.

Is this a play on words or slightly slushy speech?

We are so happy that we have filled the box.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Valentine themed cards and books made by North Redwoods Book Arts Guild members, past and present, are on display in the Humboldt County Library kiosk near the book check-out & returns area.  Art forms include concertina fold, collage, skewer binding, tunnel book, case binding, pop-up cards, Jacob’s Ladder, origami, and an array of card styles. Colorful papers and fabrics were used along with a variety of design techniques, embellishments, poetry, art, printing, and calligraphy to create these “made with love” Valentines.

Thank you Dianne Byington for arranging this display.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


It's valentine making time! Once again Lorraine Miller-Wolf will lead February's workshop to make valentines to distribute to senior lunch sites, kidney dialysis patients, people living in local convalescent and board and care homes, and participants in the Senior Nutrition home delivered meals program. This is her 13th year spearheading this very worthy project so let's help her make it a lucky 13 and surpass last year's contribution of nearly 600 valentines, many made by NORBAG members. If you can't come to the meeting/workshop, but would like to donate your original valentines, just contact Lorraine. Her contact information will be in the newsletter.

Materials to bring:
  • Miscellaneous papers suitable for valentines
  • Paper doilies
  • Ribbon, lace and other adornments
  • Bone folder
  • Scissors
  • PVA glue or glue stick
  • X-acto knife and cutting mat
  • Stamps & stamp pads

When:    Saturday, February 10 at noon

Where:   Eureka Methodist Church at Del Norte & F Streets
Contact: Lorraine Miller-Wolf for any additional information
Cost:      None

Friday, January 19, 2018

January Workshop - Cord, Ribbon, & Stick closure

On Saturday, January 13, we had a great meeting and workshop. We had 24 members attending and 16 books in the exchange. During the business part of the meeting we found out that Michele O. and Sandy V. are both giving classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Humboldt State this spring. We welcomed two new members, Roz K., who submitted her first book for the monthly exchange and Marie B.

Dolores G. led the workshop demonstrating a "Cord, Ribbon, & Stick" closure book. Dolores learned the closure in a workshop in the UK taught by Lori Sauer. The signatures were bound with a Keith Smith binding called “Parallel Bars”.

We brought our own cover paper and Dolores supplied all of the cording, ribbons, sticks, and linen thread.

First we chose the ribbon, cord and thread for our books.

We started by scoring the cover. It allowed for a spine and and other folds.

We made three slits on one side of the front cover to put the ribbons through. 
They will form a loop that will hold the bamboo stick.

We adjusted the ribbons so that they were the right size to hold the bamboo stick for the closure. We taped the ends of the ribbons to the inside of the cover.

Next we measured and punctured the cover for the decorative cord,
 and used tacking to connect the cord to the cover.

Once the tacks were over (not through) the cording and the thread tied down,
we made the final adjustments aesthetically.

The sewing of the signatures was relatively simple. The stitching came through
 the cover to form three horizontal bars that mirrored the spacing of the closure.

The tacking of the cord to the surface of the cover demonstrates a technique that can be used for other applications-- whether it is a closure, a decoration, or even a binding. The folding of the cover also lends itself to various other sizes as well as materials. Because the signatures will be sewn through the cover spine, this lends itself to many different sewing patterns.

All of us made the same book with a solid cover. Look at each picture-- there are quite a few differences. Some members used high contrast colors, or unusual color combinations.

This book has a cord color that disappears into the cover,
 but the tacking stitches look almost like little jewels.

This is another book with neutral colors. Underneath the book 
you can see the instructions with lots of diagrams for "next time".

Don't forget, toward the end of the month, the exchange books will be on Flickr. You can see them by tapping Flickr Gallery in the column on the left.

Sunday, January 14, 2018


The Humboldt County Library Kiosk has a new display featuring books about dogs. 2018 begins the Chinese zodiac Year of the Dog, so we celebrate our "best friends" with this display. The Dog symbol is 11th in the 12 year cycle of animals in the Chinese calendar. According to information from Wikipedia, the Dog is the symbol of loyalty and honesty. People born in the Year of the Dog possess the best traits of human nature. They are honest, friendly, faithful, loyal, smart, straightforward, venerable and have a strong sense of responsibility. Dog is man's good friend who can understand the human's spirit and obey its master, whether he is wealthy or not. The Chinese regard it as an auspicious animal. If a dog happens to come to a house, it symbolizes the coming of fortune. The invincible God Erlang in Chinese legend used a loyal wolfhound to help him capture monsters.

The Years of the Dog include: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030. The Year of the dog runs from February 16, 2018 - February 4, 2019.

Many thanks to Lynne G for her time spent decorating the kiosk. Since she will now be working on the newsletter, Dianne B will take over the kiosk position.