West Elm Maker Market returns Saturday, Dec. 21

>> Monday, December 16, 2013



If you are still looking for last-minute gifts — especially handmade goods — then the West Elm Holiday Maker Market has arrived just in time.

Conveniently scheduled for Saturday the 21st, just a few days before Christmas, this Maker Market will welcome independent artists into the West Elm furniture and home goods store at the H.G. Hill Center in Green Hills for the fourth time.

This cool partnership allows artists to display their work on, in, and around West Elm's hip furnishings. You can count on seeing handmade jewelry, custom furniture, printmaking, and artisanal foods.

I showcased my work inside the store for the first time this fall. My husband and I already own quite a few pieces from West Elm, so it was a cool opportunity to arrange my books on one of their chic desks. All of the artists find ways to play off the store's design sensibilities, making for a unique event.

West Elm Maker Market
When: Saturday, Dec. 21, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Where: West Elm, 4019 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville



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A global wedding captured in a map book

>> Friday, December 13, 2013

world map handmade book

A couple living in Australia. The bride from the U.K. And a wedding in Bali, Indonesia. If ever there was a wedding guest book fit for a map design, this was the one.

For this international destination wedding, I ultimately decided to use a map print paper from Paper Source for their book. It has a vintage map feel that Laura liked. And I made sure to include all of this couple's important places across the covers.

wedding in Indonesia
map book for international wedding
wedding book for destination wedding
map globe bookbinding

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Learn to bind a book during Maker's Month

>> Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Skillery is planning to kick off the new year with a full schedule of creative classes. As part of their mission to shine a spotlight on Nashville’s creative entrepreneurs and the brands they’re building, The Skillery is designating January as Makers' Month. 

You can take a look at the class offerings here, and you'll be sure to spot some gems. Teaching artist extraordinaire Allison Jarrett of Precious America will be teaching an Intro to Hand Embroidery class. Chris Cheney and Nieves Uhl of Sawtooth Printhouse will be teaching a Letterpress Poster class.  I took a screenprinting class taught by Chris earlier this year and had a blast, so I'm sure the letterpress class is a can't-miss experience.  I will be leading a bookbinding workshop as part of Makers' Month, I'm thrilled to be teaching alongside such a talented bunch of Nashville creatives. 

 Bookbinding workshop taught by Katie Gonzalez

Learn to create a handbound journal

When: Saturday January 25, 2014; 5 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Where: Dandelion Salon, 1117 Porter Road, Nashville, TN 37206
Cost: $38 (or $30 for Skillery members)

Description: Start your new year with a creative project: learn the basics of bookbinding while creating a one-of-a-kind handbound blank book. Then use your book this year as a practical day planner to get organized, or as a sketchbook to stoke your creativity. We'll be making a book bound with the French link stitch. The stitching will be exposed on the spine of the book, allowing you to see and show off your handiwork. This class is appropriate for all skill levels, including beginners. Katie Gonzalez, a professional book artist who has taught bookbinding to more than 200 students, will guide you through the process in this one-night workshop. You will leave the class with one completed journal, and the skills to create more books in the future. The class will also include an introduction to the world of handmade books, and the opportunity to handle a collection of professionally made examples.

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Porter Flea is back with Holiday Market

>> Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Porter Flea Holiday Market 2013

Just look at that poster. You know you can't wait for Nashville's best holiday market, Porter Flea! If you recall from a year ago, just about everyone seemed to show up for the last holiday market. I tried to capture the excitement in a write-up at the time.

The show is on the move again this season, setting up at Track 1, just south of downtown at the corner of Chestnut and 4th Avenue South.

This Porter Flea begins with a ticketed preview party on Friday, Dec. 6. Limited tickets are still available at Grimey's on 8th Ave and Hey Rooster General Store in East Nashville, so if you want to get first dibs on the handmade goods and beat the crowds, pick up your tickets soon. On Saturday, Dec. 7, the market is free and open to all ages from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  I hope to see you there! 

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Spring book arts and graphic design classes

>> Monday, December 2, 2013

Registration opened today for spring community education classes at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film. I will be teaching two nine-week courses (one will be an introduction to book arts, and the other is an introduction to graphic design), and I will also be teaching a one-day leather bookbinding workshop.

In addition to the classes I'm teaching, Watkins Community Education has a full schedule of courses on everything from sewing to welding. View the entire course catalog here, and if you'd like to sign up for a class you can register online or call 615-383-4848.



Introduction to Book Arts

When: Tuesdays, February 4 – April 1; 6 – 9 p.m.
Where: Watkins College, 2298 Rosa Parks Blvd., Nashville
Cost: $210, plus $40 materials fee

Learn the basics of bookmaking, and more than a dozen binding styles, in this 9-week introductory class. Students will become familiar with the materials, tools, techniques, and vocabulary of handmade books. Students will create their own books each week, starting with simple folded structures and building toward intricate and exciting books that can be used as journals, sketchbooks, photo albums, and sculptural displays. Students will explore the essentials of paper grain, folded signatures, hardcover and softcover books, and binding by hand. You’ll leave this class with an assortment of your own handbound books, and the skills and resources to continue binding at home. All tools and supplies included in the materials fee.




Traditional Leather Bookbinding with a Contemporary Twist

When: Saturday, March 8; 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: Watkins College, 2298 Rosa Parks Blvd., Nashville
Cost: $80, plus $25 materials fee

Learn to bind a soft-cover leather book that can be used as a journal, a sketchbook, or a photo album. Using the Italian Longstitch style, a historical binding that dates to 14th Century Europe, each student will create a book with a leather cover that features exposed, decorative stitching on its spine and pages that lay completely flat when open. Students will use leather for the book cover and have the option to include interesting contemporary papers inside. You’ll leave this class with a completed handmade book, and the skills and resources to continue binding at home. No previous bookbinding experience is required. All tools and supplies included in the materials fee.




Introduction to Graphic Design and Typography

When: Thursdays, February 6 – April 10 (no class Feb. 13); 6 – 9 p.m.
Where: Watkins College, 2298 Rosa Parks Blvd., Nashville
Cost: $210, plus $20 lab fee

Learn the fundamentals of graphic design including composition, the grid system and color theory. In particular, the course will cover the expressive and conceptual use of type in design. You’ll become familiar with Adobe InDesign, an essential program for designers, while working on projects such as calendars, posters and business cards. Through projects, hands-on use of the software program and critiques, participants will leave with a thorough understanding of design and how they can incorporate it into their own lives. Basic experience using Mac computers is required, and students should bring their own external storage device.

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A wedding book with mad lib messages

>> Saturday, November 30, 2013

stab binding mad libs book

wedding mad libs
Mad libs aren't just for road trip amusement anymore. I love how this couple pulled off this idea, asking their guests to fill in mad lib sentences about their marriage. They asked me to bind the mad libs together in a book.

To preserve each card, I knew the Japanese stab binding stitch would be the best. I added tabs of matching paper to the top of each mad lib sheet, allowing me to complete the binding by sewing through those added tabs instead of piercing through any of the text. This type of binding is also best for binding single sheets of paper together (rather than folded signatures of paper). And as you can see below, the binding allows for easy flipping through all of the writings. I was happy to take this couple's cues to create this expressive wedding guest book.

Japanese stab binding thread close up
wedding book Japanese binding

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For the book lovers on your holiday shopping list

>> Thursday, November 28, 2013

handmade holiday gift books

As you begin your holiday shopping, don't forget all the great handmade goods available on Etsy. If you're looking for a journal, sketchbook, or photo album for someone on your list, visit my Etsy shop to view the one-of-kind books I've made this year.

And if you live in Nashville, you can also find my books in person at Parnassus Books in Green Hills and at PULP in East Nashville.

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A wedding book that's a little different

>> Wednesday, November 27, 2013



For this wedding guest book, Chloe and Matthew had specific hopes for how their guests would share in the memories of the day. I hadn't bound one quite like it.

For this book, the couple anticipated about 100 guests, a group made up mostly of couples. They wanted a book to hold a photo of each couple. On that page, the guests would write their message to the newlyweds.

I bound this book with fewer pages than normal, just 32, and included spacers in the binding to accommodate the later addition of photos. I also chose to bind the book with a single signature (grouping) of pages, with a simple pamphlet stitch. It's a hardcover book, with one of my most popular paper patterns, a mums print.

handmade book cover with inset
handmade wedding memory book
handbound wedding guest book

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Scavenger hunt in Louisville

>> Sunday, November 24, 2013


For more than a year, we kept the Louisville news clippings on our refrigerator. Their maps and recommendations touted the best ways to spend a weekend in the city just 3 hours north of Nashville. Before we finally made the drive for my birthday, we prepared two handmade books to help capture the road trip.

In my sketchbook, I would write and draw, and eventually tape in a green leaf. And in a small booklet my husband kept in his pocket, we created a self-imposed scavenger hunt for the city, embracing a bit of eavesdropping on strangers, looking for things "decidedly southern" and "unequivocally northern" in the sort of in-between city, and leaving space for the kinds of scraps that accumulate on the road.

One of our scavenger hunt challenges was to find a handmade sign. Of course, we found a few. Perhaps the most intriguing was a series all around the "NuLu" district, where some mischief-maker posted small "This is art" signs to be discovered. 

sidewalk art Louisville

Kizito CookiesJerry's Junk, Louisville, Ky.

We like to think we've got a knack for really exploring cities. Part of that comes from my husband's obsession with maps. But we also share in a love of wandering. We spent a lot of time along Bardstown Road, where highlights included our visit into a long-running leather shop, Leatherheads, where the owners were quite friendly. We also got some jumbo cookies from Kizito Cookies (above) and examined the amazing hodge podge that makes up Jerry's Junk (our second Roadside America recommendation).

The first overheard conversation that amused my husband went:

"Call me."
"You call me."
"That means no one calls anyone."

Later, when I bought a handful of non-serrated antique knives — which I hunt for to use for tearing paper — he jotted down what the clerk said at the register: "Now you can butter your bread."

Katie Gonzalez sketchbook 

Louisville's food scene lived up to expectations, and led us to what would be the strangest discovery of the weekend.

We started with a lunch at Lilly's, where my gnocchi was my single favorite dish of the trip. My husband is obsessed with a dive restaurant called Hammerheads, where the fried mac and cheese balls and the garlic fries stole the show. We also overheard another favorite quip there, when a man asked about the taste of the elk burger. "It's not very gamey," the waiter replied, "you're not going to taste the forest or anything."

Later that night, we happened across the name of a place that would prove to be a wise adventure. The Vernon Club is a practically ancient bowling alley where we must have rolled about five games. Along the way, we befriended a bartender in a three-cornered hat. He asked if we liked beer, then gave us the ultimate local's recommendation. Go down the block, he advised, and find Sergio's (World of Beers). He seemed serious, even offering to walk us over there. We declined the escort. As we walked outside, I wasn't sure we would follow through, but something said we should.

When we crossed through the next intersection, we came to a storefront with slivers of light peeking out from the edges of a large Brazil flag that obscured the front picture window. After a triple-take, my husband spotted the funniest business sign. There, just above the handle of a standard door, was a small printout from a label maker. Sergio's. Inside, we found a cozy crowd and sampled from what has been ranked among America's best beer bar menus.

Ohio River view from Galt House HotelCamille Utterback installation at 21C

Despite our relatively short notice before traveling, we found a place to stay at the Galt House, an historic hotel on the Ohio River. Of course, the most well-known hotel in town is the 21C, which doubles as a modern art gallery. The gallery houses a responsive video installation by Camille Utterback. We used the self-timer to capture some rambunctious photos (above).

Somewhat lesser known, although just as visually entertaining, was the Kentucky Science Center, which is just across the street from 21C. Although the center was closed on that Sunday, we were able to play around in the reflective dome that greets people out front.

Then, before heading back south, I collected some leaves from Main Street for my sketchbook, a reminder of our travels.

science museum reflection Louisville


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Mini movie about my bookbinding

>> Thursday, November 21, 2013


linenlaid&felt: A Story about Bookbinding by Brent Nelson.

I'm excited to share this profile video shot last year in my bookbinding studio. Local film student Brent Nelson, who is now at the Art Institute of Seattle, sought me out as part of a series featuring local artists and musicians.

Although I'm now in my new studio, this provides a window into my work space and captures some of my thoughts about bookbinding. The soundtrack is "Easy Lemon," by Kevin MacLeod.

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