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UGA alumni connections

>> Sunday, July 14, 2013

I've recently had a few opportunities to reconnect with my alma mater, the University of Georgia, where I first took bookbinding classes, both on campus and while studying abroad in Cortona, Italy.

And, to my surprise, two brand new UGA connections that I've had, thanks to the UGA Alumni Association, prompted little blog posts about my work!

A couple weeks ago, I went to an alumni event at South, a restaurant owned by a UGA grad. I hit it off with Daryan, an energetic alum in the middle of a cross-country road trip. Having dabbled in bookbinding one time himself (while pursuing a girl) he took a lot of interest in my work. Later, he blogged about my work and Nashville, and you can read his post here.

This week, the alumni association followed up with a post too. Although I know other study abroad students have gone on to art careers, I don't know if many students or alumni know much about the Cortona program, so I'm always happy to talk about the impact it had on me.


I'm in! Artclectic 2013 art show at University School of Nashville, Oct. 24-27

>> Friday, July 12, 2013

Book artist Katie Gonzalez at Artclectic
Good news! I've recently learned that I've been accepted into the Artclectic art show, Oct. 24 - 27, at the University School of Nashville. This unique four-day show begins with preview parties the first two nights, and then general admission showings over a weekend.

I participated last year for the first time, and I found every aspect of the experience rewarding. Because the show is hosted at a K-12 school, organizers emphasize art education. Last fall, I taught a bookbinding workshop to a class. And then I answered many questions from inquisitive students when they got their advanced showing of the entire show.

As you can see below, the show has an interesting look and feel. Every artist gets assistance from carpenters to build hanging displays. I'd never shown my work in quite this way.

linenlaid&felt Artclectic art show

I'll share more information about Artclectic as the show approaches. In the meantime, you can learn about the show at these two sites: on the web and on Facebook.

And I want to share photos from last fall. I was just too busy to get them posted at the time, but three favorites follow below, and you can find dozens more at this Facebook album: Artclectic 2012 Photos

Genie Maples paintings
Genie Maples | website
Melodie Grace pottery artist birds
Melodie Grace | website
Lesley Patterson Marx artist ephemera printmaker
Lesley Patterson-Marx | website


Instagram photo albums — they're leather and they fit Polaroids too!

>> Monday, July 8, 2013

Instagram photo album
Are you on Instagram? Of course. Do you ever print your 'grams? I bet not.

But you should.

And I'm here to help. I've hinted at it recently, but now it's official: my leather Instagram photo albums are in my Etsy shop, and I know from personal experience how rewarding it has been to make prints of Instagrams and to preserve and display them in albums.

After researching the most common sizes for square prints, I settled on two standard sizes for my leather albums. Both hold 48 images. The larger fits 6 x 6 prints (as well as traditional 4 x 6 photos and Polaroids) and the smaller fits 2.5 x 2.5 images. No matter the size, the photos are easily mounted in with photo corners, scrapbooking adhesive, or double-sided tape. And the pages are made of an especially thick and sturdy watercolor paper.

I'd love to hear what you think about these albums. If you have any questions at all, please let me know. And to learn more about them and see more photos, please follow these links:

Facebook: Photo album

I've mentioned often how I put my own handmade books to use, and these Instagram albums have been no exception. I've already made one for my husband and one for myself and plan to create more in the future.


From sketching to screenprinting: A unique Coptic bookbinding project

>> Sunday, July 7, 2013

handmade books screenprinted by Katie Gonzalez
It's no secret that I'm enamored with decorative and handmade papers. After all, the name of my studio, linenlaid&felt, is all about paper textures: linen, which is embossed with distinctive weaves; laid, which features impressed lines; and felt, with its mottled texture.

However, even with all of the gorgeous papers that are available, some patterns do surface often in bookbinding. That's why I'm so excited to share one of my recent projects.

I wanted to create something really unique, that no other book artist would have. I wanted to create my own patterned papers. This would allow me to bind books with all of the materials purposefully chosen, right down to patterns that I illustrated and printed by hand.

Inspired by a recent exhibit at The Frist Center in Nashville, I completed a series of sketches, followed by inked illustrations, then screenprinting onto papers and leathers, and finally books bound with those materials. A handful of these unique books are now available in my Etsy shop.

Here's a look at the process, step by step.

Aztec pattern sketch from Frist Center
Step One: Sketching
Inspiration first struck during a visit to the Frist's Art of the Ancient Americas exhibit. I think I've always enjoyed ancient art more than most friends my age, perhaps because of the incredible collection that I grew up visiting at the Art Institute of Chicago.

After seeing the exhibit and a guided tour one time, I returned with my sketchbook (yes, one that I made by hand) and got to work on some sketches. I captured some shapes from Peru, took interest in a ceramic llama, and took a few turns drawing some Mexican homes. Ultimately, an Aztec pottery pattern was among many inspirations blended into patterns.

ancient patterns by bookbinder Katie Gonzalez
Step Two: Ink illustrations
On the day I pulled out my India Ink it didn't take long for every surface in my studio to become filled with illustrations that needed to dry. For some, I worked meticulously with a pencil grid, but for others, I worked very quickly, making slashes, dotted and dashed lines, and vaguely organic shapes.

screenprinted handmade papers
Step Three: Screenprinting
If you've never screenprinted before, I can briefly describe the process. First, I turned my inked illustrations into transparencies using a photocopier. The transparency is then placed onto one of the fine mesh screens used by printers, which has been treated with light-sensitive emulsion. The screen is then exposed to light, which burns the pattern into the screen. When it comes time to print, ink can only pass through the areas you've chosen based on your pattern.

I took care to mix my own inks in colors to coordinate with all of the handmade Lokta papers that I brought into the print studio for this project.

I printed nearly 100 sheets and also dabbled with screenprinting onto leather.

screenprinted handmade journal by Katie Gonzalez
Step Four: Binding
Once I had all of these materials at hand, I had a lot of momentum to begin binding. I also used this as an opportunity to sift through my paper collection to explore color combinations. I also decided to use the four-needle Coptic binding style, which allows for two thread colors along the spine, and a chance to go even further with color schemes while quite literally bringing everything together.

I'm excited to use these screenprinted papers in the future. For now, I've bound four Coptic books with the screenprinted papers, and four with screenprinted leather covers. I hope you'll take a look at each one in the shop and share them with friends!


A video glimpse of my latest books

>> Saturday, July 6, 2013

Vimeo video: linenlaid&felt at Porter Flea AirCraft in Nashville

One of the best parts of attending art shows is having a reason to reflect on all the work that goes into each one, and to get to see all of my newest books in one place. Inevitably, I stay busy in the weeks before a show, and the recent Porter Flea was no different.

What was unique, as captured in the brief behind-the-scenes video above, was how many completely new styles of books I got to debut at the show. I'll be sharing more about those in the coming days here on the blog, as well as posting more books in my Etsy shop.

Until then, please let me know, in the comments, what you think about this video. It's a little different for the blog, I know, but my husband and I couldn't resist capturing some images at the show!


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