Artists Books, Projects, Uncategorized

Xylotheque #8


Making a spine compartment means that I need to cut some more wood. This is 3mm thick stuff from the craft shop that can be cut with a knife and just needs a little sanding to bring it to life…


The side pieces were glued into place using spacers made from paper laminate in order to allow the covers to close properly. Had I thought about this earlier on I probably would wave designed something a little more elegant, but I’m liking the general aesthetic of the ‘cobbled together’ approach…


Meanwhile, I set about making some sort of knob using the same paper laminating technique used for the closure peg, but this time wrapping it tightly around a leather thong.


and cutting it down to size when dry. Again, a little sanding brings it to a more satisfying shape.


I also cut a couple of top pieces to frame the lid and got on with shaping and dressing the knob.


In order to secure the leather thong I cut a groove on the back so that I could glue it into a recess…


Whilst the glue was drying on the thong I mixed up another batch of black goo and gave all the new pieces a good slop. I did the same to the lid shortly afterwards, and sanded everything back to match the overall ‘patina.’


And there it is. I’m still deciding on the contents and still need to finish the runes on the front, so there will be more to come…

Artists Books, Projects

Xylotheque #7

My last comment on this project was ‘now for some fun on the outside’ so I had better make good on this…


I had already thought about adding an inscription to the front and originally was going with an asemic theme, but after thinking about the overall aesthetics of the piece, I decided to go with a runic message. After researching a number of runic forms on the web, I translated a suitable passage, sketched it out in pencil and then roughly carved it out:


The idea was to create a less polished object, something perhaps made during moments of enforced calm like a warrior on route to combat.


In order to pick out the characters further I mixed up some more paint and powder filler to make a sloppy paste:


This was then carefully slathered over each cut and left to dry…

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Next came a vigorous sanding to remove all the surface pigment…


and a good clean with a damp cloth to reveal the now crimson runes…


They have got much lighter now that everything has dried, so I may need to come back to this, but I’m hoping I can restore this level of colour (not too bright and apparently pale with age?) with some waxing later.


Now to go back inside. If you recall the first post about xylotheques, you may have noticed the compartment built into the spine:


That’s my next step…

Artists Books, Projects

Xylotheque #6


Now that the three parts are bound together, my thoughts have turned to keeping it closed. I had toyed with a variety of wooden latches, some simple and others quite elaborate, but never settled upon any of them as ‘the one.’ I think that some other materials might add something that the wooden solutions were lacking.

I decided to fashion a peg and loop closure using leather and a laminated paper block. Having made my measurements I trimmed some thickish black leather I had in my ‘this stuff might be useful one day’ box and measured out my fitting stations on the outer edges. Using a variety of knives and gouges, I carved out two recesses about 5mm deep (apologies for the crap photo!):


I glued together several pages from an old book that I have been recycling for some years and left them under pressure overnight. This stack was the thickness of the leather so that I could slice it and use it to sandwich the leather strip – the image below shows one strip on the top and bottom, and another split to fill in the gaps above and below. Again, this was compressed and left to dry:


Once dry, I set upon it with a scalpel and some sandpaper…


and again, after some final measuring, I glued in the peg and a loop of leather on the other side, just lower than the peg:


Box closed. now for some fun on the outside…

Artists Books, Projects

Xylotheque #5

Its time to make this a little more functional. Up until now the covers parts have only been connected to the spine through friction. So now I’m going to secure the cords with glue and cover them:


A quick marking out helps me to create some infill pieces from corrugated card:


The cords are then trimmed and glued down, compressing them as flat as possible using a bonefolder. (I first made sure that they were the right length!)


And then covered with another layer of card to neatly hide the cords. The spine section will also be covered, but not in the same way… Now they must dry.


Artists Books, Projects

Xylotheque #4

Not much to say at this stage, except that now that it is sanded it’s beginning to look a little more distressed and weathered…LESTARET-xylotheque-20 LESTARET-xylotheque-21 LESTARET-xylotheque-22 LESTARET-xylotheque-23 LESTARET-xylotheque-24 LESTARET-xylotheque-25 LESTARET-xylotheque-26
I am still thinking about the next stage, but as always I will keep you informed…

Artists Books, Projects

Xylotheque #3

This is where I left off last time. I do not have a clear idea of what direction I want to take this in yet, but I am inclined towards distressing it in some way. Also, the Jenga blocks are all round edged and leave these grooves:LESTARET-xylotheque-14
I decided to put some ordinary filler into the grooves, and then had the idea to begin the distressing process at this stage too, so I mixed my filler with black poster paint…LESTARET-xylotheque-15
and slathered it on. Great word, slathered.LESTARET-xylotheque-16 LESTARET-xylotheque-17LESTARET-xylotheque-18
I covered the entire outside surfaces and filled in all the grooves too. Once this is dry I will do a little sanding…

Artists Books, Projects

Xylotheque #2

I got a little carried away and got this far without photographing it in progress! All made from odds and ends; bits of plywood offcuts and discarded Jenga blocks!LESTARET-xylotheque-2
Three sections simply glued together for now, but then subjected to a fair bit of sanding, measuring and drilling…

I decided to secure the sections using cords sewn through the spine. in order to settle everything down I cut grooves for the cords to sit in…LESTARET-xylotheque-5LESTARET-xylotheque-7
And whilst this looks quite elegant, the insides are much less so for now…LESTARET-xylotheque-8 LESTARET-xylotheque-9
Now I just need to think a little more about what I want to do next.