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A wedding book with mad lib messages

>> Saturday, November 30, 2013

stab binding mad libs book by Katie Gonzalez of linenlaid&felt

wedding mad libs book by Katie Gonzalez of linenlaid&felt
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 picture from linenlaid&felt
wedding book Japanese binding by book artist Katie Gonzalez


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.


A wedding book that's a little different

>> Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wedding guest book handbound by Katie Gonzalez

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 by linenlaid&felt
handmade wedding memory book by Katie Gonzalez
handbound wedding guest book by linenlaid&felt


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


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.


PULP paper goods shop opens in East Nashville

>> Sunday, November 17, 2013

PULP paper store Nashville

When your awesome new store brings out all your friends and a bunch of local book artists and printmakers for an opening night party and your store is 200 square feet it makes for a shoulder-to-shoulder party where almost everyone knows everybody's name.

That's how Jessica Maloan opened PULP on Friday, the first paper goods, prints, cards, and handmade books shop in East Nashville. Jessica, who prints as Pine Street Makery and helps organize Porter Flea shows, has become a close friend. Her knew store, about a mile from my home, shows her eclectic tastes and curator's eye. The opening is the latest good news for the neighborhood, and a nice complement to other new openings nearby, like Hey Rooster General Store.

Leading up to the opening, my own excitement grew as I shuttled some of my books, prints, and paper scrap packs to Jessica during the week. I got to see the final touches come together. Bright paint on the wall, followed by prints hung with care. There's great work here by Little Things Studio (recent transplant to Nashville), Camp Nevernice, and Sawtooth Printhouse.

For PULP updates, visit the shop on Facebook and then stop by at 729 Porter Road.

PULP paper store East Nashville
PULP store Nashville
PULP paper cards prints Nashville


The Sketchbook Collective at Watkins College

>> Saturday, November 16, 2013

girl drawing in interactive sketchbook at Watkins College

Nashville's one and only festival for the book arts keeps on evolving. In its third year, I was proud to participate in the Handmade & Bound artists' market, and to take part in a bigger way in its annual gallery show.

The gallery show went in a fresh direction this year, showcasing the sketchbooks of local artists, architects, fashion designers, puppeteers, and children. I was also among local book artists who created interactive sketchbooks that attendees responded to, filling in with writings and drawings. Here's a look at some of the dozens of sketchbooks in the show, and you can see another 200 photos in an event photo album here.

Katie Gonzalez handmade book at Sketchbook Collective

Sketchbook Collective Watkins College 2013

The show, The Sketchbook Collective, actually got underway a few months in advance of its opening, with a series of art workshops all across Nashville.

With a mission of bringing art to underserved communities, myself and other book artists led classes teaching simple book structures and encouraging participants to fill them as sketchbooks and memory books. We taught children, senior citizens, and recent immigrants to Nashville. Our goal was to bring art to those who don't have access to art materials or the chance to explore the arts in their daily lives.

I taught several classes, including for children in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and at the Looby Center in North Nashville.

In another class, at Casa Azafran, we got to know a few mostly Spanish-speaking families from the center's parenting and English classes. (My husband got to test out his Spanish, including creating a cheat sheet of bookbinding terms.) Together, we bound simple, two-signature pamphlet stitch books. The covers of the books were made with watercolor paper, and students got to personalize their books, inside and out. The families took them home to fill them with personal stories, photographs, and other clippings that I think really helped them to stand out in the gallery.

Casa Azafran bookbinding workshop

Casa Azafran handmade book

On the night of the opening, I loved the chance to see workshop participants standing proudly near their books. One senior citizen set up shop in a chair near hers and spoke with most every passer-by.
Hundreds came through the gallery during the weekend, including quite a few who invested real time and effort into the interactive sketchbooks that called for their participation. Those four books, arranged on pedestals, called for all sorts of expressions.

In my book, "A Collection of Lines," I encouraged people to experiment with line drawings and patterns, as well as trying blind contour drawings of their friends. Another book asked them to share childhood memories, another invited collage work with provided magazine and newspaper clippings. I noticed one couple dedicate more than 20 minutes to doodling in the book I had bound!

interactive sketchbook Watkins College

Hanmade & Bound and the Sketchbook Collective


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