Hand-bound book

Opportunity doesn’t knock, it breaks down your door

For the past few months, I’ve been planning and plotting and getting myself excited about the prospect of another big trip. Those who know me are well aware of my fondness for travel, and I haven’t gone anywhere interesting (Ottawa doesn’t count) for some time. I had big plans (South America, Death Valley, Mexico) that never materialized, for one reason or another, and I was sure that this was the one I’d be able to do.

As it turns out, it’s not. Due to a variety of factors, I’m staying home. While this was a little crushing at first to realize (I was so excited!), I am choosing instead to approach it as an opportunity to enjoy the nice Halifax weather that’s been happening lately (must be a cosmic fluke and/or the universe conspiring to send me thousands of tiny little signs that I should abandon my plans of abandonment) and to spend more time doing fun projects, which I almost invariably wouldn’t be doing if I were on the road.

For starters, I’m finally going to invest the time and floorspace into setting up a proper workspace for myself, rather than just lounging on the couch all the time–I do miss having creative space (why oh why did I sell my drafting table at a yard sale for $15?) and things stuck all over my walls, and sometimes the entire upstairs of my apartment looks like it’s been hit by a cyclone that carries nothing but paper scraps, bottles of ink, and empty cans of energy drinks.

At the beginning of the year, I made a list of things I’d like to learn and try and experiment with. I’ve lost steam a little bit of late, but I’ve already starting playing with a good number of these things: I took a screenprinting class; I learned calligraphy basics and produced a series of Valentines’ cards; I learned how to make books (although I still need to refine the process a touch before I’m genuinely happy with the results). I’ve also started on a number of new projects that are exciting and interesting, which is keeping me feeling fulfilled.

Hand-bound book
My first (imperfect) hand-bound book. They'll be better next round--I'm planning to use matboard en lieu of old corrugated card from shoe boxes, and using a more complex spine design, and I need to work out a better way of punching holes (a drill leaves rather eaten-up edges.)

What I’d like to add to the list: more new and exciting projects, of course, and more self-directed work. I’d like to make an actual book–Candide will probably be my first candidate (hardy har)–which I’m rather excited about. I’d like to start designing some patterns again (I rather like designing my own damask) and applying them to fabrics/stationary products. I’d like to start doing regular typography assignments, just because I like playing with type. I’d like to work more with screenprinting and various hands-on methods of making stuff, and I’m looking into building my own letterpress, which I’ve wanted to do for ages. Ultimately, spending time doing the sort of work that doesn’t necessarily generate money, but keeps me feeling creatively stimulated, will lead to me doing better work down the line.

So, while I was a touch crushed when I realized I wouldn’t be able to go, I’m determined to turn it into a positive event in my life.

Spain, Morocco, and Iceland will probably still be there in the fall (right?). And in the meantime, perhaps I’ll treat myself to a nice pair of shoes.

Like these bad boys. Only $650! (That's half off, and still far, far too expensive for my tastes. So, probably not THIS nice pair of shoes. But they're pretty!)
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