Monthly Archives: August 2011

Piano Hinge Books and Summer Business

It’s been a great summer for the weather, warm and sunny.  We are waiting for what will remain of Hurricane Irene.  With any weather event there’s always the worry of damage to our property.  It’s been so expensive and time consuming to keep up on the gallery and studio buildings, let alone our house and my Mother’s house.  We’re making a plan to re-do the roofs of the business, this time in metal.  I can’t believe we’re coming up on 16 years that the new gallery has been there.  We have been in business a total of 28 years, we had 12 years in the little gallery, that is now an office.

Gallery business is so different.  People are spending less and there are less tourists around.  Thank goodness we have 28 years of business with us, because we have so many great customers who regularly shop here for themselves or for gifts.

Sue and I had but one customer today, she was visiting with a long time customer of ours and she made our day.  We have seen over the years that the final week of August really gets quiet as people return home and to school.  We don’t expect much this weekend because of the coming weather.

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I’ve been prepping my hard cover piano hinge books.  I’m making 40 of them, so I need a lot of binders boards and stained skewer sticks.



I decorate my own paper using my paste paint recipe.  It’s very simple.

Boil 10 parts water to one part corn starch, to a pudding consistency.  Add 2 to 3 parts acrylic paint and 2 parts modge podge glue.  That’s it, and it’s very durable.

I will get four covers from this sheet, enough for two books




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I use a template to cut my paper, glue the board in place, then glue and fold the edges.
For the piano hinge, since I’m using a hard cover I have to have a hollow spine, so I only glue the tip and fold the unglued part over.

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Eventually this hollow spine will be sectioned by a series of cuts that will allow it to be woven into the body of the book






Here’s what 60 book covers for 30 books looks like.

Tomorrow will be a good day to finish the remaining 10 books.  Next week I’m hoping to meet up with my apprentices and get the pages cut to and ready to be woven.

Fresh Kilns and calling for an Apprentice

Sue didn’t do a Farmers Market last week because she needed the time to make pottery, and she just finished a large and small kiln.
8_16_lrgkilnHere are the contents of the large kiln.  Sue has developed a new blue and black glaze as well as some new designs.


The small kiln doesn’t usually get fired to a glaze temperature, Sue uses it mostly to bisque the pottery.  It does a nice job when it does go to full temperature, both kilns are within three years old and both are run by digital systems.  They have been very acurate, but we’ve already replaced two relays in the smaller kiln.  It’s not expensive or hard to do, but it puts the kiln out of work for a couple of weeks till the part arrives.

I haven’t been writing because it’s been busy in the gallery and busy in our lives.  We’ve taken advantage of the cultural scene in the Adirondacks, having gone to several plays and concerts.

But now I’m gearing up to make some books.  In September we are part of the Studio Tour created by the Artists Guild in Saranac Lake.  It isn’t nearly as good as the tour we use to put on for the artists in Jay, but we’re hoping that over the years it will build into a very profitable weekend.  This will be our third year and there are more participants in Jay this time and that should make it more worth peoples time to come here.  I think the first year it was just us and the Jay Craft Center and then next year it was four and now I think we have six located in Jay and more in Wilmington.

On Sunday of the tour I’m doing a book binding demo, of the Piano Hinge binding.  I want to have examples of the book in each stage of creation and then I want to have plenty of books to sell, because I will offer them at half price for that day.

There is so much cutting to do with this book, that I sent the word out, via Jay Community News, requesting an apprentice.  I received 12 requests and decided to choose two because there were so many.  The apprentices will cut the notches out of the paper for several hours.  I will go over the whole book making process with them and they will weave together two books for themselves as well.

If this works well, I have other books that need lots of cutting.
8_16_bookprepSo today I cut some boards and papers and glued some test pieces to make sure I’ve got it right and the glue is good and it’s a go.