North Redwoods Book Arts Guild

If you are interested in more info or joining, please email to

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2012 Holiday Card Exchange

This event is a favorite for so many members. There were twenty-seven cards exchanged this year with nine of the cards from out-of-town members. Members signed up for the exchange in October and once the count was known, each participant made enough of the same cards for each member in the group. It's a wonderful way to collect a large number of very creative "cards". See all of the cards/books/ornaments at: NORBAG Flickr

Some of us were SO eager for the exchange to begin!

The collections starts to take shape.

 A special non-holiday card for our enjoyment—sent by Becky L.  She purchased this in Vietnam  because she is a book artist who loves laundry hanging on clotheslines. 

Of course, we love our finger foods too. 
Won't you think about joining this special exchange next year! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Humboldt County Library Kiosk

It's Not Too Late for Holiday Card Inspiration!

Every year North Redwoods Book Arts Guild members create a large number of Holiday cards. The kiosk is filled with some of these gems so head down to the library and be inspired to create some of your own. Thanks Becky M. for the great displays and Dolores G. for the photos.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Holiday Get-Together and Card Exchange

Deck the halls and all be jolly! Sure...easy for you to say! Well, for at least one
afternoon you need not fret—you’ll be amongst friends who understand the
stresses and tribulations of the season and will put it all aside for a gathering
full of camaraderie and good food and cheer. Once again, Sandy V. has graciously offered her home for our NORBAG holiday card exchange festivities and remember:

  • Date: Saturday, December 8, 12 noon. See newsletter for directions to Sandy's home.
  • You do not have to be in the card exchange to join in! 
  • Everyone is invited and asked to bring a goody to share (please, nothing too gooey. Finger foods are requested).
  • We will not have the library with us at this gathering, but there will be a box so you can return any books you may have checked out
  • No RSVP required.

    Photo Credit:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November Workshop: Blizzard Books

Structures by Dolores Guffey

Blizzard Books with Dolores Guffey: 

In this workshop we will play with variations of the Hedi Kyle "Blizzard Book" structure. The "Blizzard Book" is so named because one day Hedi couldn't get to work due to a blizzard and used that time to play with paper by doing experimental folds. This is that structure, and hence its name. The beauty of this structure is its versatility; it can be used as a spine, a hidden surprise fold, a book on its own, or a series of pockets in which content can be arranged, removed, or replaced at will. No sewing is involved – this book is made by creative folding of a single sheet of paper. We will make at least 4 variations, each one a prototype.

RSVP – PLEASE so that I can have enough paper cut ahead of time. Please
email or phone no later than Wednesday, November 7. Cost $1.00. See newsletter for contact information.

Materials to bring:
• Ruler
• Pencil
• Scissors
• Decorative papers (scraps at least 5" x 5")
• Rubber stamps and stamp pads
• Corner punch*
(* = optional; bring if you have)

Materials that will be provided:
• Pre-cut paper for structures

When, Where?
Saturday November 10, noon, usual place! See you there.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Library Kiosk featuring books by Michele Olsen

Becky has assembled another set of books from a NORBAG member—Michele Olsen. Becky described handling the books as a "tactile" experience because the books are often made of fabric, wood, or leather. While viewing them through a glass kiosk won't provide you with the same experience, you will see a wide array of structures created by Michele during her 10+ years as a NORBAG member. Enjoy and thanks to Dolores for the photos.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Creation of the Perfect Box

Photo and Boxes by Sandy Vrem
Boxes for presents, boxes for candies, boxes for trinkets, and boxes for BOOKS. Everyone loves them and everyone can make them. Our October Workshop showed us that they can be made with precision and even better, they can be covered with decorative paper in such a way that there are no overlaps or gaps. Perfect. Sandy, thanks for another great workshop and thanks to Beth M. for the photos.

Let the box begin. School paper cutters are great for cutting bookboard.
Everything matches up and is glued.
The paper template is the secret to a great cover.
One side covered.
Two sides done—two to go.
Over the sides.
Ta Da! Perfect.

Monday, October 8, 2012

October Workshop: Boxes

Making and Covering Boxes: the Basics
taught by Sandy Vrem

At our October workshop we will learn the basics of box making. Boxes can be used as part of our bookmaking process either to hold a book or as part of a book. In the workshop you will learn how to make a box and then how to cover the box with decorative paper. We will also learn how to make two different types of lid that will fit our boxes. I will provide a ready-made box for you to cover and pre-cut bookboard for making a second box and lids.

Materials to bring:
♦ Light weight, flexible paper for covering boxes and lids (you will want paper that will bend around corners easily)
♦ 1 piece 12 in. by 12 in. for the box you will make
♦ 1 piece 12 in. by 12 in. for lid of same box (you might want the same or different paper)
♦ 1 piece 9 in. by 9 in. for the pre-made box
♦ Some scraps of decorative paper for embellishments and the inside bottom of the boxes

Supplies to bring:
♦ PVA glue and glue brush
♦ A piece of wax paper about 12 inches long
♦ Scrap paper for gluing
♦ Scissors
♦ Craft knife
♦ Ruler
♦ Cutting mat
♦ Pencil

When: Saturday, October 13, 12 noon
Where: Our usual place
RSVP required (see newsletter)
$2.00 fee

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Library Kiosk featuring books of Peggy Marrs

Our Humboldt County Library has been featuring the wonderful books of Peggy Marrs. Do go by and see these, in the kiosk behind the checkout desk. Peggy's books display her great book art skills, imagination, and humor. Her watercolors are delightful. Click on the photo to see a larger version.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

September's Workshop

Double Needle Coptic Binding

with Dolores Guffey
Saturday, September 8, 12 noon. Materials Fee $1. RSVP Dolores.

Dolores' lovely Coptic Binding
Coptic binding refers to methods of bookbinding developed by early Christians, the Copts, in Egypt and used from as early as the 2nd century AD to the 11th century. The exposed spine highlights the sewing. There are two types of Coptic binding: single needle and double needle. We will be learning the double needle variation for this workshop. My philosophy in teaching workshops is to provide instruction and guidance for the creation of a prototype of the structure. With this model in hand you will be ready produce a beautiful end product at any time.

Materials to bring:
♦ 8 Signatures: please cut and fold signatures prior to the workshop:
16 pieces of 8 ½" x 11" text weight paper cut in half to 5 ½" x 8 ½"
Fold 4 sheets of 5 ½" x 8 ½" in half for a finished signature measuring
5 ½" x 4 ¼"
♦ 2 Cover Boards: 5-5/8" x 4-3/8" grain long (grain runs along the spine edge)
Note: you have the option of sewing on plain boards (mat board or illustration board) or, if you wish, you can cover your boards ahead of time. Please make sure that the grain of your decorative paper matches the grain of your boards. You will need to cover both sides of the boards and they should be done prior to the workshop and put under weights overnight.
♦ Piercing Cradle: if you have one, otherwise extra cradles will be available at the workshop.
♦ Thread: You can supply your own thread, or use what will be available at the workshop. Please see information about types of thread at the end of this article.

Supplies to bring:
♦ Cutting mat (or magazine on which to pierce signatures)
♦ Piercing tool (extras will be available to borrow if you don't have one)
♦ Bone folder
♦ Scissors
♦ Ruler
♦ Pencil & Eraser
♦ Bees wax (extra will be available to borrow)
♦ Desk lamp (optional) – there are outlets at each seat to plug in lamp for extra lighting at work station

Note on Needles: For this workshop, we will be using 4 needles per book, which will be provided as part of your workshop fee. They will be blunted, bent and ready to use. If you came to the July workshop, you received a needle box, please bring it with you to store these needles. If you weren't at July's meeting, boxes will be provided. Curved needles will also be available for you to try as an alternative to the bent needles.

Note on Thread: Because this is an exposed spine, colored thread shows off the binding to its advantage. I prefer DMC Cotton Perle #5, available in numerous colors both at JoAnns and Michaels (around $1.60/skein). You may purchase your own (to match or complement your covers) or use what I will be bringing. I suggest a lighter rather than a darker shade to best show off the Coptic stitch. You can also use 6-strand embroidery thread, carpet thread, buttonhole thread, or waxed linen.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

August's Workshop

Board Books Galore (plus one Bored Book)

Ellen Golla's impressive collection of board books! Felt like kids again.
Board books created during the workshop turned out to be much more than "child's play". Instructor Ellen Golla demonstrated that the structure is ideal for creating carved pages, providing two page layouts, or for opening flat. 
Accuracy counts. Improvised square for assembling.

Two boards at a time are glued to decorative paper.
Triming the oversized backing.
Cindy with her sister and mother joining in the fun.
Ellen demonstrating her spiffy corner punch.
Some results!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

August Workshop

Board Book with Drop Spine
Taught by Ellen G.

Saturday, August 11 at 12pm, in our usual meeting place. Materials fee: $1

This versatile structure is essentially the same as that of most commercial children’s board books. It provides page spreads that lie flat with no stitching, and the books have a satisfying weight and bulk. Ours will include a drop spine, a common feature in commercial board books, which allows the book to have a tight fitting cover yet still have room for the pages to open flat. For those of you who like to alter board books, consider making your own from scratch! Examples, both handmade and commercial, will be brought to give ideas of what can be done with board books. 

Some board book examples made by the instructor.
Materials to bring:
  • 6 boards5 x 4", grain long, plus an extra scrap to use as a spacer. These can be 4-ply museum board, illustration board or mat board.
  • 5 pieces of card stock or similar weight papers for page spreads: 5½ x 8½", grain short. 
  • 1 piece of card stock or similar for the cover: 5½ x 10", grain short. 

Note: The more straight and squared your boards are, the better your book will look. Cut carefully. It also never hurts to bring a few extra pieces of board or paper in case of unforeseen disasters. The Art Center in Arcata and Ellis in Eureka are good places to check for museum or illustration board. NORBAG members get 10% off at Ellis. If you are new at this or still unsure how to determine grain, search online for "paper grain." Most how-to bookbinding books also have an explanation of this.

Supplies to bring:
  • PVA glue
  • Glue brush
  • Water jar for brush
  • Scrap papers for gluing on 
  • Craft knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Your preferred scoring tool
  • Ruler or straight edge. See note below.*
  • Pencil 
  • Bone folder

  • Drafting or artists' tape
  • Weights to put on top of your boards as they dry
  • A flat metal carpenter's square: a 12 x 8" square can be found at local hardware stores for under $10. (In general, these are handy for lining up book covers and very handy if you make boxes—it's a tool you'll use again.)

Provided: Written instructions and extra glue and drafting tape. A heavy-duty corner rounder will be available if you want to add that finishing touch.

*Note on straight edge
If you don't have a metal square, you'll need another other kind of straight edge or ruler. You can use a quilting ruler, a plain (not cork-backed) ruler, or even a plain, narrow piece of metal around 8" long will do. Another alternative is to glue a straight piece of book board about 9" x 1" onto the bottom of a larger piece of book board to use as a jig:

A diagram of a jig made from book board

Please don't use a cork-backed ruler. We're going to be using our straight edge to align our boards. The boards will slip under a cork-backed ruler, but if you turn over the ruler to avoid that problem, the cork might be damaged by the tape we'll be using.

Most of all, plan to have fun. Board books are addictive!

Please note: This was originally posted with incorrect dimensions for papers and boards. It has now been updated to show the same dimensions as is in the newsletter. If you've already cut your boards and paper with the previous measurements that were shown here, go ahead and bring them--they will still work fine. Sorry for the confusion!

Monday, July 23, 2012

July's Workshop

We had a great time at our last workshop learning the secrets of Long Stitch Binding. 

Carefully listening to our expert and patient instructor.

We got to admire lots of nice waxed linen. We like waxed linen.

Stitching happily away.

Some brought some interesting covers.

Another example with a decorative cover.

And another with a decorative inside cover.

Feeling a bit wild, perhaps?

Another green theme.

Discussing the finer points of Long Stitch technique.

Ta-da! A finished book.