• Ashley Margaret Waterman

Handmade Books

Every week, you get the "cake" part of Type & Cakes. When I tell people the name of my blog, they generally disregard the "type" part all together. After taking a week off from blogging to celebrate Christmas with my family in New York, I decided to remind my readers, and educate new readers, about what "type" is. In graduate school, I learned how to handset type in The Harry Smith Print Shop at Naropa University. There's some sort of magic that happens in the print shop. Setting each letter individually and inking the press is a contemplative art form. It takes patience and precision, and you often find yourself hitting road blocks along the way to creation. Everyone experiences knocking over a project, or running out of a letter, and having to start over. I spent my first week as a Naropa graduate student in the Summer Writing Program learning the basics of printing. As I continued the MFA program, I worked on a student publication that went by the name of the Semicolon Collaborative. Although we couldn't set the interior of our publication in the print shop--our books were at least fifty pages each semester--we printed the book title on the front cover with an original image and the contributor's list on the back. We taught each other new techniques and our hand bound books are some of the most beautiful books in my library (though I may be a bit biased). Because of my experience with Semicolon, I sought books about making books. I began researching binding techniques. That's when I found Purgatory Pie Press and started teaching myself with the help of their book How to Make Books. My favorite book to make is made out of food boxes; I call these box books. When I began making box books, I kept the boxes simple. Cake, pasta, and other boxed food notebooks were assembled. After teaching a class at the Boulder Public Library, I realized there might be more appeal for box books if they appeared to be something other than an empty food box. That's when I began collaging and covering the cardboard boxes with designer papers and images. Occasionally, I sell box books at small craft events. This past December, I sold notebooks at the Louisville United Methodist Church Holiday Craft Fair (pictured above).

Making box books is a way for me to create. Like baking, creating a notebook is an enjoyable activity. Different designs demand more time and sometimes I spend hours cutting paper or punching holes, but in the end, I have a physical object to share with others.

You can order box books via my etsy store, but I'll be honest and tell you upfront that my store is lacking. It's not nearly as good as the product your getting and needs to be updated. Instead, I suggest that you email me with a custom order and we go from there.

I have two different box book designs: Create & Carry and Original Box Books.

The Create & Carry books are made from six pack boxes and have a handle so you can take your notebook with you wherever you go. The Original Box books are made from food boxes and can either show the product it had, or get covered to become something completely new. Box books start at $10 and prices vary depending on the size and design.

#createandcarry #boxbooks #notebooks #journals #handmade #handbound #craftfair #TypeCakes #books #NaropaUniversity #HarrySmithPrintShop


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