Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sigh :)

from Briar Press (much thanks!)

After feeling vaguely antisocial for a number of days, I just found my groove again after some girl-time with fellow Scrippsie Kim. She works for a local magazine and gets to do regular review dinners (lucky girl!), and treated me to dinner at Strada. Really, it could have been beans on toast (with wine) and I would have enjoyed it as much...I think I needed some time to talk about boyfriends, sappy novels, and work. Feeling much nicer.

Plus...the weather is warm again! Although people here seem to be unable to handle it :). The whole shut-up-the-house-in-the-day-open-it-all-up-as-soon-as-it-cools concept is definitely new. I love it the weather, although it's much muggier than home (ugh).

Also, I got to wear my new headband! Thank you to Heart of Light for the tutorial...I actually made something people stopped me in the street to complement! Pictures when tomorrow or when I can steal Dean's camera...

Plus, I am seriously, seriously planning to buy the printing press. Had more practical discussions today, and have decided that perhaps in the next two or three months (I need job confirmation first!), I will get myself a used Adana and begin the journey...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cute Stuff. Really Cute Stuff.

This is part of a series of photos in which you see the one on the left eat more and more of his brother.
All photos from IBKC blog (see below for link)

If you haven't seen it, you have to. Even Dean went all "Awwww" over these pictures. AND, they do amazing things in the Tacoma area with abandoned kittens. Saving kittens and making a cute blog about it? Brilliant.

Here are some of my favorite pics:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Alice in Wonderland

Beautiful or strange and scary? Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland is being released next year, but the photos are coming out already. Alice lends itself to the strange -- it's more than just a kid's book on so many levels, and Burton isn't the first to take it on artistically. Arthur Rackham, for example (one of my favourite illustrators), and even Salvador Dali (not only are they two of my favourites, but they're part of my job right now! I'm working on a collection of Rackham books, and we've got the Dali Alice illustrations ready for Oxford's Alice Day. I love my work).

Lewis Carroll was an interesting man...but he wrote some gooooood stuff.

PS. If you're interested, he was also a pretty brilliant mathematician and logician. He came up with some formulas still in use today, was a fantastic and ground-breaking photographer, and designed a voting system that would have shaken up UK politics quite a bit. He also wrote some fantastic logic lessons for kids. Check some of his logic games out here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

This Summer I Will:

via Suzanne at Suzyville

After seeing Suzanne's journal on You Are My Fave, I've decided that I too need some summer vows -- something to make sure I don't just get home from work/dance and crash every day. So:

This summer, my plans MUST include:

Buying berries and flowers
Going for morning runs on sunny days
Eating dinner outside
Dragging Dean to Iffley on a lovely Sunday
Visiting the beach (I miss Portland and it's beach accessibility -- also the farm and the river!)
More dates with Dean
Making another book
Calling friends and family to chat
Visiting another part of England (preferably Cornwall or the Lake District)

I'm sure I will add more, but these are things that I've been wishing for...

He. Showers. With. His. Squirrel.

A builder and his...squirrel?


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekend Fun

Sigh...Sunday evening. I always feel like Sunday evening will go on forever...like I can stay up as late as I like because it's still the weekend...and then I remember I have to go to work in the morning. Luckily I like my job, and tomorrow is going to be a lovely day full of Arthur Rackham followed by an evening teaching kids, watching Hable con Ella, and chilling on the couch with Dean.

It's been a fairly productive weekend. Rest? Check. Nice run in the sun? Check. Talk to friends from home? Check. Barbecue? Boot sale? Baking? Check, check, and check.

My friend Rachael came over on Friday night, and we sprawled out in front of a movie with caramel popcorn and M&Ms. We watched Perfume, which was possibly one of the strangest films I have ever seen. I enjoyed it, but it was downright creepy. It's directed by Tom Twyker, of Lola Rennt and The Princess and the Warrior. I would recommend if you're in the mood for disturbing but beautiful...

Also included in my weekend: a barbecue Saturday night, baking these White Chocolate and Lime Cookies, watching Friends (our fallback show when we just want to conk out), and going to the boot sale (on a lovely sunny morning, I might add) and acquiring this pretty table for £7!

Isn't it sweet?

Friday, June 12, 2009

"An Artful Craft" and "Bound for Success": Bindings at the Bod

I love my job. Although I popped in at the end of it and so only really got to help cart empty boxes back and forth, I get to be a part of things like the new bindings exhibits. We've hauled out all of our best bindings, ranging from early Islamic and Armenian works to 20th century Arts and Crafts, Dove Press, and Kelmscott bindings. We're also featuring a shortlist of entrants in the Designer Bookbinders International Competition (read more here). And they're so beautiful! If you get a chance to look at or buy either of these catalogues (wait a bit for the Artful Craft one; it's not written yet), do!

If you're in Oxford, the exhibit is free! Check out the Bod's website here for more details.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Kristen Davis' living room, via Design Sponge

After trying to explain to Dean what I meant about turquoise and red in the living room, a perfect example...

I love this.

My New Life Calling: Bibliotherapy

I work in a library. I spend a great deal of my time, therefore, recommending books, helping people find books, shelving books, touching books, reading about books...you get the picture. And although I am living on my salary, it's never going to be huge if I stay in the library (unless I get the job I really really want. Or one that's related to libraries but not in a library. Or maybe in a museum. Or a law firm library).

So. When I learned that someone, somewhere, is making reading lists for people based on their interested and getting paid 35 pounds a half hour, I actually started spluttering (Dean and Alice will attest). All I could do was point and splutter. Clearly, I have missed my true path in life. I am going to start marketing myself. Any takers? I will do what the School of Life does as a part of their Bibliotherapy service:

"Make an appointment to meet one of our therapists – either in person or by phone or email – and you can discuss any area that you would like some books to shed light on. Perhaps you are looking for a set of books to help you think about your career options, or you’d like to fathom an aspect of a relationship. Maybe you want to spend six months reading history books or you have a demanding five-year-old for whom you’d like to put together a small library for the year ahead." (from School of Life)

This is what I do. Daily.

I will only charge 20 pounds for an initial consultation and a substantial starting list. Seriously. I grew up with the biggest home library I have ever seen, I take books as seriously as food, I work as a librarian in Oxford, and I did a graduate degree in literature. I can take you places your brain didn't even know were there. Even the Guardian now writes about it here.....

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Livre d'artistes and Beautiful, Wonderful Things

This is all a bit delayed; last weekend was my birthday, and the celebrations kept me tired for pretty much the whole week (plus various other events that tagged along...an extended two night going away party, a lecture/dinner that stretched past midnight, etc etc). But I'm here! And I'm going to tell you about an exceptional Society of Bibliophiles lecture last Thursday (argh, 10 days ago now...)!

I've been a bit lapse about going to the Bibliophiles events over the past term, mostly because they just happened to be at inconvenient times for me. I had contacted an intern at the Taylorian, however, about some work she was doing with livre d'artistes, and somehow got passed along the chain until the librarian at St. John's College Library dropped me an email to suggest I come see their collections (I didn't even know they had them! And I did a whole essay on them! And I work at the library! Do you see how hard it can be to find things out in Oxford?). It just so happened that they were showing them at a Bibliophiles event last week, so of course I joined :).

Let me just start by pointing out one of the things that bothered me about the presentation. Although the terms can theoretically overlap in some situations, and neither one is particularly well defined, artists' books are generally not considered the same thing as livre d'artistes, although they were presented interchangeably. Works are usually considered livre d'artistes when they represent the efforts of a talented and often famous artist to illustrate a work -- however, they usually work with the author to illustrate the work, rather than doing it independently. In this way, the art and text should represent a more unified whole. There are some really impressive early examples of this sort of thing by artists such as Picasso and Joan Miro.

Then there are artist's books. Stephen Mallarme's Un coup de des is a perfect example. It's widely available to look at online because it's out of copyright (at least some copies). Here's a bit of it from Wikimedia commons:
The poem, while not illustrated, has been cited as representative in the shift towards typography as art, a trend which continued to develop into what is now considered the artist's book. Rather than an illustrated book that unites that artist and the author in a discussion over illustration, an artist's book tends to be (sorry for the vagueness, but it can cover so many sorts of things) a work in which the book itself represents or helps to represent the text in some way. In certain cases, this means a more traditional format that plays with design, typography, or art. In other cases, it can be more extreme -- Colin Hall's Book in a Jar is a particularly unpretty example. Often, however, the books are strikingly beautiful. For some really interesting browsing, the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum has some truly amazing pieces. Check out their collections and find background information here.

So. After all that, what we were looking at the other night were livres d'artistes -- beautifully illustrated books in which the artist and the author worked closely together to develop illustration that represented the text and the impression that was to be conveyed. Now that I've delivered my lecture, I'll show you some of the beautiful artists we looked at. St. John's has collected quite a few pieces, both by being lucky enough to have a librarian interested in them, and then, as the collection grew, by becoming known as a good place for artist's to send the works. The former librarian and collector/lover of the books pulled out quite a variety for us, displaying them and then letting us peruse them on our own. We also learned quite a lot about engraving techniques.

My favorite artist was Hector Saunier:

Corbeau. From Galeria Exodo

Beeeeeaaaautiful, no?

Also worth checking out: Atelier 17, where many of the artists we looked at were trained.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Beautiful Things to Win!

Many many lovely things from a lovely blog!

For instance...sigh...