Archive for June, 2008

Where I Buy Decorative Paper
June 13th, 2008 | Link

A lot of people ask me where I get the papers I use to cover books. I get them from a few different sources, both online and off, but most of them come from the following resources online:

  • Paper Mojo
    Paper Mojo carries a good selection of Japanese prints and will also order any style you wish from the Japanese Paper Place in Toronto (which does not do online retail) with a three-sheet minimum. I also like the Whimsy Press papers and the Pasticcio prints (although I’ve had mixed success using them for covers—they bubble).
  • Paper Source
    Paper source has a nice selection of Japanese prints and a limited selection of Lokta bark solids. They also carry a number of Italian text blocks, including a few sizes of photo albums with black pages. Text blocks are sold with cover boards that are already cut to the proper size, which can be a bonus if you can’t cut a 90° corner to save your life.
  • Paper Studio
    I just received my first order from Paper Studio today, and I will be ordering more from this store. They have a good selection of Chiyogami and Lokta bark. They also ship USPS Priority Mail, so the order I placed Tuesday arrived in time for the weekend, a fact that I appreciate.
  • Hollanders
    I mostly buy text blocks from Hollander’s, although you have to do some comparison shopping on their prices: the graph paper block, for example, is $1.50 cheaper from Paper Source, and Paper Source includes pre-cut cover boards. I do buy Brookfield Letterpress papers here, and Lokta bark papers. Sometimes I buy Chiyogami paper here as well, though their new online store setup makes browsing difficult—it’s too broken up, and displaying two of each paper design means you have to go through twice as many pages.
  • Talas Online
    Talas has a very limited selection of Chiyogami paper. They have a great selection of book cloth, and their prices for book cloth are better than Hollander’s. I buy all my book board here, a lot of my page papers, and most of my other bookbinding supplies and tools.

There are also a couple of stores in San Francisco that I visit on occasion:

  • Paper Source
    I usually order online from Paper Source, but sometimes if I need something in a hurry or I’m in the neighborhood, I’ll go to their store on Fillmore.
  • Kozo Arts
    Kozo Arts does not sell paper online, but they have a lovely selection of Japanese papers in their store on Union Street, and this is where I buy the monkey paper—when they have it in stock. They had a store in the Westfield Mall downtown for a while, but it’s closed now.
  • Flax
    Flax is a large art supply store at Market and Valencia in San Francisco. They have a huge paper room with an overwhelming amount of decorative paper from all over the world. I sometimes buy novelty papers here (this is where I found the Italian dog print) or Chiyogami, but I usually only go when I need some other art supplies.

Alphabet Book
June 11th, 2008 | Link

Black gate-fold book fastened closed with bone clasp

Because I haven’t been busy enough lately, I decided to take a graphic design course this summer through UC Berkeley’s extension program. I’ve actually been wanting to do this for several years, but my last company didn’t have a tuition reimbursement program, and my current employer does. Yay!

Our first assignment was an alphabet book (really a scrapbook, though I somehow glossed over that part in my head when I was thinking about the assignment), in which we were supposed to work with images that visually resonated with us. In my case, I decided that the things that resonate with me are (1) book structures (duh), (2) typography, (3) paper, especially the Japanese papers, and (4) the color red.

Book with front covers opened to display first pages of each enclosed book

I decided on a gatefold book structure because I thought it would be cool to have the upper and lower case letters facing each other in their own book. Each letter is cut from a different Chiyogami/Yuzen paper, with the upper- and lower-cases matching. As a bonus, if you’re kinda geeky, you can create the entire periodic table of the elements: Fe, He, etc. The typeface is Helvetica Neue Bold, chosen mainly for its uniformly wide strokes which were easy to glue, and also because I figured I would have lost a finger for sure if I had to cut serifs with an Exacto knife!

The paper is Mohawk Superfine 100lb text. Each side is a single section of 13 sheets, pamphlet-sewn into the spine. My measurement for the front and back cover boards did not take into account the hinging and additional width of the spine piece (since I sewed the sections into 5/16" wide spine boards with 1/4″ for the hinges), and as a consequence the sections are slightly too far apart: I would have preferred them to be almost flush. But on the whole I like the way it turned out.

(I dropped the color red from the mix. I have a stunning silk-like red book cloth that I almost covered the book with, but I decided it would detract from the Japanese papers, and I went with black instead. It was a smart decision.)



My name is Shannon Hale. This blog is on indefinite hiatus, but it contains archives of the last 10 years of posts about bookbinding, knitting, sewing. and other random things in my life.


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