Yes. Yes. Yes. This. 

Such a savvy company, to align themselves with artists and artisans both globally and hyper-locally.

I'm obsessed with books and everything within six degrees of all things books. That's no secret. I just can't believe it took me over 30 years of life to get around to making my own book, like binding it and designing a cover and everything. Well, thanks to Craft Lake City and West Elm, that's done and done. Last month I attended a jewelry making workshop with dreamcatcher artist Malinda Fisher. This month's artist was Shirley Jackson, a printmaking student at Weber State University.

Artist Shirley Jackson shows us her work and orients us to our task for the evening. 

Come early and you have your pick of paper patterns. My nerdy little heart just sings. 

The bookmaker's crafty mise en place, as it were. 

Shirley was very organized. To save time, she had pre-cut and pre-punched the paper. We took over at the point of stitching the clusters of pages ("signatures") together. A signature is two pieces of paper that have been folded together and will be stitched into the book as one element. A single page marks the center of the book.

To prepare the binding thread you first coat it in beeswax.

Sew the pages together from left to right, then right to left,
in an alternating pattern with "the big thread line" inside then outside then inside...

Once the binding is stitched, and you ignore any weird loopy mistake things (ahem), you clamp the pages
together and coat the binding with glue. Using the end of your paintbrush, rub the glued binding until it lays flat. 

The photo I didn't take was the step in which you cover your binding with fabric.That fabric folds over and helps provide something other than paper onto which the cover can be glued. I actually think if I had crafted a more appealing binding stitch, I may have left it exposed. As it were, the brown fabric saved the day on this rookie bookmaking attempt.

Glue your decorative "fly pages" to the sewn "text block" pages, then glue your cover to the fly pages. Shirley wrapped all of our chipboard covers in canvas so we could paint our own design on them. 

The colors selected for my cover art are unintentionally the colors of my master bedroom
(peacock blue walls and yellow linen accents). Well, you like what you like. 

Thank you, West Elm, for letting me snag my inspiration off your shelves.

Ta-da! I made a book!

This DIY workshop series is already starting to build a micro-community. Malinda Fisher was there, as was Trina, who I met at Malinda's dreamcatcher workshop. We laughed our way through the experience and discussed our dreamcatcher PTSD. This bookmaking craft was definitely easier than the jewelry, but still just as fun. I have stacks and stacks of journals that it will take a lifetime to fill; but now, on top of that stack, is one that means more to me than all the rest. That's the beauty of getting your hands dirty.

Craft Lake City hasn't announced their next workshop yet, but when they do, I'm all over it.

Like cooking meth, only it smells better.

Whimsical tunes for your weekend