Monday, February 12, 2007

My Special Book Place

Above is my latest photography book, filled with pictures of a spectacular home. I discovered my affinity for photographing homes years ago when I made my first home photo album as a Christmas present for my employer, a real estate investor. He liked the photos so much he hired me to photograph his buildings. I've since given photo books as Christmas gifts several times and people come back later and tell me how much they mean to them. As a wood sculptor and bibliophile it was only a matter of time before I began carving my own book covers and figuring out how to make them work. This book is carved out of mahogany, 8" x 12", with a jasper cabuchon in the center. I used a set of tiny old brass beads to hold the (coptic) binding together and accent the wood. I carved the year on the back cover so that it would lie flat. The pages are acid free and I painted both sides with green and gold paint, before cutting them down to size. I bound everything together and glued the photos inside. I spent less than two hours photographing this off-the-grid house in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but came away with over 100 beautiful shots. Here are some of the pages.

For years before I made my first book I'd been collecting information. I learned how to make paper and read everything I could about the process of bookbinding. As a photographer, writer and sculptor what better medium for my work could I find? "Manifestations" is a compilation of 17 short stories about a four and half year trip I took in the mid 1970's from Australia to Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North Africa. This is the first book in the series. Carved from spalted maple, the pages were photocopied by the best copy machine I could find at that time. I've always admired Medieval books so this series is heavily influenced by that and the collection of amulets, charms and stones that I had accumulated on my travels. The silver is from Afghanistan and my story about my adventures in that country is inside, along with other strange tales. The Buddha was to mourn Bamayan, bombed out of existence by the Taliban.

"Manifestations", Cherry, approximately 9" x 12", onyx cross, geod slab and stamped metal. Owned by the Mudd Library, Special Collections Department, Oberlin College.

"Manifestations", spalted maple with silver milagros, approx. 9" x 11"

"Manifestations", spalted mapple with carved bone, approx. 9" x 11"

"Manifestations", black walnut with white coral, 9" x 11", story about picking the coral up from the beach on the Red Sea inside. Private collection.

"Maggie's Journal", spalted maple and a copper fly, approx. 9" x 11". My friend Maggie has been keeping a garden journal for 19 years. She wanted a special book in which to put her poetry, photos, sketches and notes about the animals and plants in her garden.

"Being Human", cherry, two amanite hematites and a scarab, approx 7" x 9", 105 black and white photographs of people. Private collection.

Goddess Book, black walnut and bone with red suede used to stabalize the binding. Blank pages. Private colelction.

Cross Book, cherry with red suede bindings, approx 9" x 12", with blank pages.

Carol's Book, spalted maple and beads, approx. 8" x 11", with blank pages. Private collection.

"Morocco and Ireland", black walnut slabs and brass, photo collages alternated with hand written stories about Morocco and Ireland. Below are photos of a few of the pages.

"Being Human", cherry, approx 7" x 9". 105 of my favorite black and white photographs of people. Purchased by the Cincinnati Public Library, Special Collections Department.

"Being Human", black walnut, approx. 7" x 9". 105 of my favorite black and white photographs of people.

"Being Human", black walnut, approx 7" x 9". 105 of my favorite black and white photographs of people.

"Being Human", maple, approx 9" x 11". 105 of my favorite black and white photographs of people.

"Magical, Mystical Jewelry", cedar covered with charms and amulets, approx. 10" x 12". Photographs and the history behind many "good luck" charms and beads.

"The Bird Sanctuary", wormy cedar, approx. 8" x 10". 100 color photographs of a bird sanctuary in Southern Ohio. I thought cedar was impervious to bugs, but evidently not.

Bark Book, poplar, approx. 8" x 10", blank pages. I began creating books with textured covers after I dropped a log on my right wrist and fractured it.

Cedar Book, cedar, approx 8" x 10", blank pages. Also created as part of the texture series.

"Owen's Barn", 150 year old Hemlock barn siding from my friend Owen's barn, approx. 7" x 9", filled with 100 color photographs of his barn which he uses as an art studio. Below are some of the open pages.

Barnsiding Journal, approx. 7" x 9", blank pages.

Celtic Book, cherry, approx. 7" x 9", blank pages.

"Believe", spalted maple, aprox. 8" x 10", blank pages - journal commissioned by a friend.

"The Red Sex Pants", spalted maple, approx. 6" x 10". painted red - blank pages to be made into a book of poetry.

Laura's Flower Book, mahagony, 9" x 11", pages to be printed out by Laura - of her flower photographs - then bound into the book.


pk said...

Wow! They're fantastic. Thanks so much for sharing.

Val said...

What wonderful objects! How long must they take you to create. I shall tell all my friends (librarians, your fellow book creators and others!) about them. Many thanks.

Jonathan said...

I love these! Are any for sale?

ricklibrarian said...

You should do some displays at libraries.

museumgeek1 said...

Hi there. I found your work via a blog entry on (I think provided by pk?) and your work is really beautiful. I just posted a n item about you on my blog I loved the work you did in Ireland and the face carvings you made into trees while at Grailville. Are you working on any other projects with parks now?
Best, Suzanne (aka museumgeek1)

Hans Persson said...

Those are really nice books, though I hate to think of how difficult they would be to put in a normal book shelf. ;-)

Cuidado said...

Oh my goodness. I'm enthralled with these beautiful works of art. Congratulations on creating these wonderful books.

Quiltmuse said...

These are wonderful and definitely different. I'm sending your site to my art quilting buddies -- we love everything off the beaten track!

.Ophelia. said...

Beautiful creations you have. I want to buy some!

Gi said...

What a beautiful work you have here. Thank you for sharing.
Good luck and good night

gillian said...

hello! these are beyond exquisite!

i'm actually finishing up a series of books with wooden covers myself right now - i've burned designs & set stones in them. They are thank-you gifts for all the musicians who helped me finish a record recently.

just wondering...if you feel inclined to did you decide to bind these? i'm thinking brass hinges and glued signature block right now, but if you have a more elegant way i would love to know!

thanks so much.

butlimous said...

Thanks for the nice post!

Free PS3

Book Calendar said...

Those are really beautiful. Both the wooden covers and the paper are very beautiful.

Fast Growing Trees said...

Your blog is interesting.we are a tree related blogs.

Sunnie said...

Hi Barbara,
My reader liked your work so much.. and few of them want to place some orders too..
has got 106584 views till now and increasing :).


Mary said...

Wow, my love for wood is proven by your work!
I love your sensuality of expression in the wood!

nonu said...

mam i am appaled by ur creation its been more than an year i ve been lookin 4 sm person who cud make a wooden cover 4 my scrap book i searched on the net n woiyela i found ur blog now i can easily make ppl understand how to do the stuff u r a creative genious continue with ur work mam
lakshya india

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Amber said...

can i buy one?

Anonymous said...
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iListen said...

where did you get the binder thing to hold all the papers together? I'm doing a project and I need that. Can you email your response to me at It's the email I use. Why is it that? I'm a freshman going to highschool. LOL

Ps. Love your work!

iListen said...

where did you get the binder thing to hold all the papers together? I'm doing a project and I need that. Can you email your response to me at It's the email I use. Why is it that? I'm a freshman going to highschool. LOL

Ps. Love your work!

Roman said...

Your work is really cool! Very inspiring! Do you make book covers too?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...



erilaumor éon de l' étoile said...

vos livres me parlent très belles réalisations en attente d" en decouvrir plus au plaisir.
erilaumor éon de l' étoile

Tempest said...

I have never of thought of such a thing:} I think they are amazing. I work with wood quite a bit and was wondering how you bind the books? or do you just fit in a previous made book?

Jessica said...

I love these books!! they are fantastic. I am wondering if you sell these at all. I am the art director for the Onion News Network and am looking for a prop just like this. Let me know! thanks!!

Kathy said...

The book covers are absolutely exquisite. High on the WOW factor!!

jindi said...

Book cover are so nice Livres Gratuits ......