Monday, December 14, 2009

Book of the Moment

Royal Bison and Make It both went extremely well! As a result, my Etsy shop is rather empty. But here's a new book to start filling it up again...

Cute, quirky, and ideal for sketch artists. This book features recycled graph paper inside, and has green and gold beads sewn into the spine. I'm finding that book lovers who appreciate graph paper are rare. I think it's neato, but most of my customers seem to prefer straightforward blank or lined. Ah well -- if you're one of the few who like reclaimed/recycled papers, this book was made just for you.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Make It Show!

The only craft show (I know of) with live DJs and a wine bar. Check it out this weekend at the Alberta Aviation Museum (Kingsway area). I'll have a pile of new books to show off!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Royal Bison next weekend

Royal Bison is happening next Saturday and Sunday, 10-5 on both days! Most of what I earn there will probably be spent on other vendors' stuff. This is an excellent show.

This Christmas I decided to shop local as much as possible for gifts! And then went out and bought an iTunes gift card, because some people are just difficult. But. I do have my eye on various locally-made wines and chocolates, so when this holiday is over I think I will get a B+ on the attempt.

In other news, my vines/birds "book of the moment" is now in my Etsy shop with much better pictures -- go check it out!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Book of the Moment

Brought to you by Sunday afternoon, enjoy more birds with this 5x7 coptic journal. This one has some handpainted gold beads sewn along the spine. It's not on Etsy yet, but it'll be at the Royal Bison along with a whole bunch of brand new books -- I've been super busy gearing up for two big Christmas shows!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Forays into Perfect Binding

I've been experimenting with with making perfect bound books (meaning the pages are held together with glue...I don't know why it's called "perfect"). These have paper covers like you'd see in paperback book -- because sometimes a simple notebook is all you need. I saw piles of fabulous notebooks in Urban Outfitters and resolved to figure out how to make them. It's tricky when you don't have the pro cutting and binding machines that a print shop would have! And glue, cursed glue. My struggle with finding the best glue for books is ongoing and hell on my Ikea furniture.

Anyway, I eventually came up with a few samples and they're working out well! Speaking of Ikea, the covers on the frontmost book are two Ikea postcards. The books behind also have postcard covers. I'm going to make a bunch more and hopefully have them for sale at the Royal Bison this month. They'll be cheaper than my coptic books, ideal if you're just looking for something unique but simple.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Book of the Moment

This one's for the exhibitionists among you. It's from the UV glitter lineup, probably the "loudest" of the bunch. It's a 5 x 7 sketchbook. Visit Etsy for more specs if you like!

Update: I will be at Orange Hall for November 7 Handmade Mafia! Remember, no cover this time!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Handmade Mafia

Saturday, November 7, Sushi will be at Handmade Mafia. Specific location TBA -- it's either Savoy or Orange Hall. And some good news: admission is now free!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sushi's First Swag

Tiny books are fun, and hopefully dancer-friendly too. On the weekend of Oct 16-18, I'll be putting some pocket-sized notebooks out into the world of swing dancing -- more specifically, the Lindy Harvest weekend workshop hosted by the ubiquitous Sugar Swing Dance Club. These books are will be for sale at the dance venues on Friday and Saturday night, and are intended to be fun and useful mementoes for the dancers attending. Useful because hardcore lindy-hoppers often take notes during a class, like any good student. Happily, these books are small enough to jam into your back pocket when it's time to get swingin' again.


Almost all components of these books are recycled bits, from the thick cover stock to the patterned paper. In fact, the decorative paper comes from the offcuts of my larger books, and so does the text paper. The insides of the books have vinyl Sugar Swing stickers with contact info. All books are about 4" x 4", so not they're hard to write in but still nice and compact.

If you crave a tiny notebook but don't want to pose as a swinger for a weekend, you can look for similar ones, sans Sugar Swing propaganda, in my Etsy store or at upcoming craft shows.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Back from NOLA

I'm back from New Orleans; what a fun town.

And now it's time to show you new books! Starting today, I'll be adding items to my Etsy shop over the course of the month. These will also be available ay my upcoming craft shows. Check back often to see the latest fall/winter stuff!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fall/winter lineup sneak preview, hooray!

Here's a preview of supercool books to come this fall and winter! I went nuts last weekend and made a whole bunch in prep for some Christmas shows.

This lineup features some really interesting papers. One batch uses this paper that feels like a painter's canvas, and is made of 70% recycled paper. Another batch features fancy UV glitter -- and it is glorious. I'm not usually the glitter type, whether it comes on clothes or chapstick or otherwise, but in this case it looks fantastic and festive. And the glorious part I mentioned: the glitter doesn't come off and shed on everything! Nope, after working with UV glitter paper for hours making books, I can truthfully say these sparkles (tiny bits of mylar, apparently) are stuck in place. I was hoping to locate some detailed info about chemistry of this stuff, for the sake of my nerdy peers in print design, but couldn't find.

These books will be launched officially in the second week of October. I'd do it

sooner but I'm leaving next week for New Orleans, so there's no point in putting a bunch of new stuff in my shop and then going on vacation. I'f you like more sneak peek photos, check out the Sushi Papercraft Facebook fan page -- there's a new album there. Feel welcome to leave any comments or questions!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Talking to Vendors

When I stepped into Edmonton's craft scene, I learned two things: 1) craft show vendors are rather nice people, and 2) craft show vendors have wisdom to share.

Last week I was at Handmade Mafia. I found it's really worthwhile getting to know other vendors; not only do you meet cool and creative people, but you also learn useful things about the handmade business. While spending time with the Family, I picked up some neato tips and insights on the scene. I'ma share a few of them:

  • Research your audience before signing up for a big-bucks craft show; your sculptures or exquisite jewelry may not be a good fit for certain events, like fairs and festivals, where shoppers are mostly there for the mini donuts and not so much the art.
  • Check out and plan your supply shopping trips accordingly for great deals.
  • Consider spreading out appearances at a certain venue. If you're in the same place every week for months on end, you'll be exposed to the same group of shoppers who frequent that venue. They'll buy from you once or twice, and then probably won't come back to you for quite a while. Some time apart between visits will keep you fresh and interesting.
  • Try a Twitter account or Facebook fan page to market your stuff, and follow the 50/50 rule: 50% content about your business, 50% content about other people/things.
  • Bring snacks to a craft show and save your dollars.

All for now! Thanks much to these super vendors for making the Handmade Mafia show a good time: Paz Y Flamenco, Crystal Cradle, Urban Goddess, and BFlirty.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Unconventional Paper

I'm trying to use different types of papers for books, besides your basic white stuff. I've used grid paper as book pages in the past; thought this was killer but nobody else seems to like it (at least not enough to buy the book it comes in). My latest adventure with paper is this Japanese-themed sketchbook. The signatures are made of this velvety-black art paper normally intended for chalk or pastel drawings. It gives a very luxurious effect. And it was just lying around before.

Also lying around doing nothing was a stack of premium cardstock I used for printing my wedding invites. So it made a fabulous mini scrapbook! Can't wait to make paper discoveries, especially if they mean less goes to waste.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Handmade Mafia and Creepy-in-a-good-way Orange Hall

Sushi's now part of The Family, along with some other talented Edmonton crafters. This Saturday is the Handmade Mafia show, a craft sale that happens once a month, usually in the Whyte Ave area. This show features handmade items from local artists who have made Edmonton's craft scene so cool. This month's event is at both Orange Hall and Savoy in the Strathcona area. I'll be at Orange Hall.

On a side note, I've been to Orange Hall venue many, many times -- and it's a neato place. This little white building is probably a hundred years old, and looks like an olden-days church or town hall. I'm there for it's famous Sugar Swing sugar foot stomps, but I've heard it's also popular for salsa and vampire role-playing (makes sense, as the building has a slightly creepy Salem village feel to it). You should check out the Mafia just to see this historical place!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Books made out of maps, and the Reuse Centre

Here are some books I made from old maps. One is a map of Montreal and the other is a map of Rome, circa 1988. It even has the Colosseum on it, ha ha!
The trickiest thing with making these map books is ensuring that everything reads correctly; like the content isn't upside down when I sew the book together. Still working with the homemade glue, too.

Man, I love using stuff for what it's not intended for. And I love Edmonton's Reuse Centre; it's where I found the maps. Hot tip for anyone who works in theatre/with children/or collects junk: the Reuse Centre will save you lots of money! Remember when you had that pressing need for hundreds of popsicle sticks? Or swatches of fabric? The Reuse Centre is like this storage room full of crap that you normally don't need until right after you've given it away -- cardboard boxes and 3-ring binders and yarn etc. It's like Staples for crafty people, only you pay $4 per visit and take as much as you want. This is a lifesaver if you have to plan crafts for kids, or design a theatre set on a budget. I'm sure there are many more scenarios, but those are the two that immediately come to mind. See for yourself.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Online Store!

Sushi Papercraft now has an online store! If you can't make it to a craft sale, order a book through my Etsy shop -- click anywhere in that box on the right. A lot of the books here won't be available at markets; they've been specially set aside for you online shoppers. There aren't a whole bunch listed yet, but I'll be adding more items in the future.

To order a book, all you need is a credit card. The purchase is put through PayPal, a secure and reputable payment method. You don't need a Paypal account to use Paypal.

If you're from Edmonton, do send me an email before you order. You can save on shipping and currency conversion if we meet up instead!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Clearance Sale

School supplies or otherwise, it's time to stock up on sketchbooks and journals! On Saturday, August 29 I'm having a clearance sale to find homes for my summer line of journals. Not to say I'm selling all summer-themed items, like a Winners trying to get rid of bikinis; I've just had these books for a while and would like to start with a fresh batch of books for the fall. So! There are lots of one-of-a-kind book designs fit for artists, writers, and dreamers – they also make fabulous gifts if you don't need one for yourself. Oh, and some items are up to 60% off, holy smokers. Find them in Axis Cafe’s stall at Edmonton’s City Market: Jasper Ave and 104th Street, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In other news, Handmade Mafia rescheduled their September show. It's now being held on Saturday, September 12.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cool Guys

I love watching husbands/boyfriends helping their best girls succeed in the Makin' Stuff business. I'm honing in on the helpful dudes because most of the crafters I've met, or am stationed by at the market, are women. (I'm sure there are helpful wives/girlfriends too.)

At every event I see partners set up displays, deliver lunches, and even help run the business. One vendor told me her boyfriend quit his job to help with her full-time craft gig. Another lady's husband shows up at 7:30 a.m. on market days to assemble her booth, and again at 3 to take it down. Even if they're just picking up cornstarch for a certain glue recipe, I think it's fantastic how these guys support their partners' endeavors. Three cheers for you, cool guys.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Homemade Glue

I made my own glue a few days ago, something I never planned on doing in life...turns out it's not only possible, but kind of important if you want your books to survive in a nasty world.

So this first batch looks like porridge. I don't know what it's supposed to look like. It was hard to find a glue recipe online; I thought the internet could help you make anything, geez. Anyway, I did some experiments, and the paste worked surprisingly well! Impressive stuff, really -- and it's only cornstarch and water. Crazy! You could eat it if you wanted to.

So why bother, you ask? Because all the other kinds of glue I've tried can't take much abuse. Abuse from the weather that is -- humidity is hell on paper/glue combos and causes book covers to ripple and bubble. Not that people keep their journals outside, but I want to make the books as durable as possible. Then someone told me that ripples and such don't happen when you have just the right paste, and you can make it yourself. Plus it's difficult to acquire...not many places sell "bookbinder's glue". Fabulous thing is, homemade glue is really cheap and really green -- no chemicals here. The books smell like potatoes, fancy that.

But I'd love to hear from someone who knows what they're doing. Got any tips -- better yet, recipes? Seriously, is it supposed to look like that?

A Note About Vinyl
A reader asked me about the vinyl books I made, whether the vinyl contains PVC -- a normally very toxic chemical compound. Here's an update: the vinyl is a PVC product, but it's a biodegradable version that, when decomposing, does not release any VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). And bonus: the inks used are an eco-friendly, corn solvent-based product.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Make It + Handmade Nation

Of all the ways to Stick It to The Man, makin' your own stuff is my favourite one.

This Saturday the 18th there's the Make It craft show at the TransAlta Arts Barn -- and there's a reason behind this event besides the selling of crafts. Make It celebrates the premiere of Handmade Nation, a documentary about the growing popularity of buying and selling handmade goods (or the Makin' Stuff Movement, as I've just now decided to call it). Here's a blurb I found about the film:

"Faythe Levine traveled 19,000 miles to document what has emerged as a marriage between historical technique, punk culture, and the D.I.Y. ethos...Participants in this community share ideas and encourage ment through websites, blogs, boutiques, galleries, and craft fairs. Together they have forged a new economy and lifestyle based on creativity, determination, and networking."

As for the Make It sale, it's "not your granny's craft show," as a the website puts it. The Make It sale boasts a live band, a wine bar, and trendy/quirky crafts that especially appeal to hipsters and artsy folk. You'll definitely find cool, original stuff here! Show up between 10 and 5, and later at 8 for the movie. Visit their cool-looking website for more info:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I'm trying a new thing, which is vinyl book covers. This is instead of paper, which usually decorate Sushi's handmade books. The designs on the covers are done by me, and this particular line of books is on the quirky side. The pages inside are still 32lb text with a smooth finish. However, the pages are lined and have design elements the reflect the cover. The books measure 5"x 7", nice and compact.

The vinyl is quickly growing on me because it's so durable -- I don't have to stress so much about spilling on or scratching the cover. These can take a lot more abuse than the paper ones, which is ideal when you can't leave your home without jamming a few notebooks in your bag like a writerly klepto. Plus, doing my own designs is an interesting break from using paper swatches designed by other people. They boast some really rich colours, thanks to some expert printing.

If you'd like to meet one, come see me at Edmonton's downtown farmer's market on Saturday, July 11, or at the Make It sale on Saturday, July 18. (More about that cool event later!)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Kids Making Books!

I'm normally about as comfortable around kids as a birthday pinata. Then my friend asked me to teach some of them a craft, as kids camp activity. Scary as that sounded, I agreed to build some character (mine) and teach them how to make books. Because that's what I know! What I didn't know is that these particular kids are extremely capable with scissors and fun to hang out with. Here's what tomfoolery occurred.

To be specific, we made made "chapbooks", which are small books with just one signature (one folded stack of pages). The pages and cover are held together with a really simple stitch. Anyway, after presenting the kids with a mess of offcuts and oddball-sized papers, I had them go to town decorating the book covers. We had quite an age range, from tots to preteens, but they all held their own, even the small ones! I only helped with stitching, really. And word spellings. The result was some neato books, some with their destiny already chosen; one kid announced that his book was for "jokes and feelings." Awesome.

Time flew by -- pretty much incident-free, no less! Many thanks to my husband, who was my designated helper. Without him being around to supervise I'm pretty sure somebody would have lost an eye/caught fire. Not really, but he did fetch extra supplies and make the kids laugh. Thanks baby!

I brought the stuff, but these guys brought the fun. Oh, but I did not bring snacks, as the little girl with the tiara pointed out. Oops, next time. Because I might actually do something like this again! Maybe.

Have you guys ever done a craft with kids? Any tips for smooth crafting?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sushi Anatomy: How I Make My Books

Completely by hand, and it's no quick process my darlings. Good news is that I enjoy it! This post tells you a bit about Sushi books and how they're made. What's in these things, anyway? I take a couple of boards -- whatever material would make a suitable book cover -- drill some holes in them, and put together a unique design using fancy papers. These papers are usually high-end scrapbook swatches, but I've been known to recycle found print designs and use the paper from there. One of my books came from a city bus map. As long as the product looks cool and functions well enough, I love using recycled components.

The inside stacks of paper, called signatures, come from 24-32lb stock (this might vary as I venture into other new and unusual projects). It's FSC-certified, which means it comes from a responsibly-managed forest, and contains recycled content. Sandwich these signatures between two-of-a-kind book covers, and we're ready to sew it all together!

A million Egyptians can't be wrong

Sushi books are sewn together using the Coptic stitch, a near 2000-year-old bookbinding method. This style was developed by the Copts, a sect of native Egyptian Christians that popped up in the first century AD. Coptic-bound books were a heluva lot more convenient to port around than scrolls, being compact enough to tuck into one's priestly robes. This method stuck around (and so have the Copts, for that matter), and is mostly used by craftspeople for making specialty journals and books. Not only is the exposed stitching attractive, but the books can open 360 degrees (depending on how you embellish them). And it's entirely functional too! I sometimes get questions about whether the book will hold together; yes indeed, those Egyptians made a clever stitch and your book will not unravel.

When you buy a Sushi book, it's guaranteed to have been hand-sewn by me and that I stabbed myself with a sewing needle at least once.

Sounds time-consuming. Why you do this?

A lot of work goes into these babies, but its good times. I've always loved books for reading, writing in, and just plain having around. Also, as a graphic designer by day, I'm always on the computer. Bookbinding is a way I can ditch the mouse and monitor and be creative with other tools.

Your name is ridiculous.

I know. Around the time I decided to label this little venture, I was not up for pouring lot of thought into a brilliant, meaningful name or logo. I do that all day at my job, you see. Really, I was just going for fun and easy. And I had this cool octopus graphic I made sitting around. Apologies if you came here looking for instructions on how to make origami models of sushi; that what I found when I Googled Sushi Papercraft. While you're being disappointed, please check out the gallery.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Welcome to the Sushi Papercraft blog! Visit often to learn about Sushi's handmade books and how to get 'em. You'll also find posts about crafting, design, and anything else artsy.

For starters, here's where you can get your hot little mittens on a handmade journal or sketchbook:

July 4:
Downtown Farmer's Market
Jasper Ave and 104th Street

July 11:
Downtown Farmer's Market
Jasper Ave and 104th Street

July 18:
Handmade Nation screening & Make It sale
Trans Alta Arts Barn

Monday, June 22, 2009

This is a test!