North Redwoods Book Arts Guild

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Saturday, November 23, 2019


Edge Gerring led the November workshop for making faux leather papers. She showed us three slightly different methods using either shoe polish, liquid ink or stamp pads.

The materials list was simple: a spray bottle of a 1:6 ratio of glycerin* to water, paste shoe polish (usually wax based), and ink pads that are either dye based or pigment inks, and liquid inks. Edge supplied us with three sample papers that were all a paper bag color for textured product and an envelope for a smooth finish leather look. We also had a lightweight craft paper, card stock, and an actual paper bag to see how each handled the colors and the wrinkling.

We started with the shoe polish technique by spraying the papers with glycerin, then crumpling and drying the papers. The glycerin spray makes the paper soft and supple (like leather). Then we applied shoe polish lightly at first over the entire paper surface (optional to do color on the back)  and then changing or deepening colors. When the polish was dry, we buffed with soft cloths.

When using a stamp pad, we used a slightly different technique. We started by applying the stamp pad ink to the unwrinkled paper resulting in a single color or with multiple colors, then spraying with the glycerin which caused dispersion of the stamp pad ink, followed by rubbing and wrinkling the paper. We continued with the stamp, spray, rub, crumple until we were happy with the results using multiple colors at each iteration. When done with color, drying followed. Using either technique, we could then apply stamp pad ink to the textured paper to color the high places. (Note: without the crinkling, you will have the appearance of smooth leather.)

As usually happens with our workshops, Edge gave us hints about how we could use this paper in our projects using backings or collage pastes and glues to strengthen the papers.

Edge Gerring

Edge brought samples of all of the materials and shared them with us. In this photo you can see the paste shoe polish, liquid spray paints, glycerin, Mod Podge and Collage Pauge. Also forms of paper that can be used.

Each of us brought a spray bottle with 3/4 cup of plain water to be mixed with 1 oz of glycerin.

Edge brought papers for all three results and a complete set of instructions.

One of the fun things about this kind of surface design is that it lends itself to lots of variation. The samples that Edge brought each had a "colophon" showing the papers, colors and technique used on the samples. If you enlarge each of these pictures, you can read her notes and see the variations.

This is a photo of the smooth result made by pouring on a liquid ink and no crinkling. 
It actually has the feel and look of a thin leather.

Everyone put on their gloves and started playing. This was an interesting workshop because people were busily working and also walking around to see what others were doing.

Using paste polish on the wrinkled paper

Drying paper

While there is a can of paste wax open, the process our member is using is actually the smooth leather preparation. A liquid ink is put on paper, then glycerin is applied and the ink is dispersed over the entire paper.

The following photos show samples of our work. We started with relatively simple single color examples, some with little color and others with more full coverage. Toward the end of the afternoon, we were using a wide color range.

The bottom right sheet shows how a stamp pad can be used
 to emphasize the raised portions of the wrinkles.

Note: This paper is folded over to show that a single sheet 
might have a different color on front and back.

 Show and Tell table

Each month we have a show and tell table that might include newsletter project page projects, both current and future; works in progress; or samples of the next workshop. 
The open book pictured above and this book are from Peter and Donna Thomas' Wandering Book Artists workshop.

*You may see glycerine, glycerol and glycerin as spellings for our material. Glycerol is the molecular compound that is undiluted. Glycerin is used interchangeably. When you see glycerin, you are usually using a commercially available mixture that is not molecularly "pure." All can be used with these techniques. 

Saturday, November 16, 2019


Peter and Donna Thomas are book artists from Santa Cruz, CA. Since 1977 they have worked both collaboratively and individually on letterpress printing, hand-lettering and illustrated texts, making paper, and hand binding both fine press and artists' books. From 2010-2019 they have traveled around the USA in their gypsy caravan as the "Wandering Book Artists" giving talks, workshops and demonstrations to both academic and community based audiences. This fall was the farewell tour with their caravan. After 9 years of road trips and over 90,000 miles they are retiring from travels, but not from their book making. Details of their journeys can be found at:

This fall they started in Idaho, continued to Seattle, Portland, Eugene, and finally found their way to Eureka to give a workshop for NORBAG. Peter taught us the "Nested Pop-Up Accordion Book" and the "Dowel Spine Stick Folder". 

Here are some photos of the books that Peter and Donna brought as examples.

The workshop participants got busy making their own books.

Charline C's book

Edge G.'s book

Kathy W.'s book

Front of Linda S.'s book

Back of Linda S.'s book

While we were making our books Peter serenaded us with his ukulele book – it is both a book AND a playable instrument.

Peter also made a book using an accordion. Viewing only, no playing with this "instrument" book.

Peter and Donna Thomas

It was a fantastic workshop, and we were so fortunate that Peter & Donna were able to come by on their way home.

Sunday, November 10, 2019


North Redwoods Book Arts Guild is proud to feature books made by our long time local member, Peggy Marrs. Peggy uses her original watercolor art, calligraphy, photographs, computer skills, imaginative text and historical research to create interesting and artful books. Currently on display at the Humboldt County Main Library in Eureka are her delightful stories: Kitty Litter-ture and The Story of a Mystery Story along with an original ABC book for coffee lovers: Java Alphabet.

Peggy researches interesting content and then creates art or photos to enhance her books. Bindings include hand-colored leather embellished with linen thread; Coptic; French link; painted sticks woven with satin ribbons; and linen thread woven with wood beads. Structures include accordion fold, pivot panels, flag books, and more.

Grasses, is an accordion fold book made with delicately hand-painted watercolor paper with steel nib calligraphy to quote a speech given in 1872 by Kansas Senator John J. Ingalls. Other featured books include: San Francisco’s famed Sutro Baths 1896-1966; Norbag Goes Gocco; and a piano shaped book about the music of numbers.

We invite you to visit this collection now on display in the kiosk at the library.