Wednesday, September 15, 2010

In the summer of '09 I was lucky enough to take a workshop on Box Making through the Southwestern Ontario Chapter of CBBAG.  The workshop was held at the Labatt's Visual Arts Centre at the University of Western Ontario and the instructor was Don Taylor

We spent a morning making paste papers from wheat starch paste (it's used in bookbinding) and various dyes and pigments for colouring.  The print making room we were working in had large drying racks that could store the paste paper while we began the task of cutting the Davey board (a heavy cardboard) to the sized that we would need for the box that we were going to make.

Our goal was to make a box that looked like a book with a rounded leather spine over raised cords.  When you open the front cover of the book, you would be opening the lid of the box.  We were then given the option of making a tray to fit into the box, making it a two layer box.

We used a strong PVA glue to hold the pieces of the box together and wheat starch paste to cover the box with the paper and leather (the same procedure we would use when covering a book).

Here are pictures of my effort:

You can see in the first picture that a gold lined paper was used to simulate the pages of text in a book.  It gives the impression that the pages have gilded edges.

I used an orange leather to match an orange/gold paste paper that I had made earlier in the workshop.  The paper had a soft sheen to it and the colour seemed to be a gradient from gold to orange.

The box has a leather hinge and dividers in the bottom tray.  The interior is lined with a soft brown embossed paper. 

I was unsure about a tray so I made one anyway that could be covered if I decided to use it.

During this process I found that a small set square was invaluable for making sure that my corners and box walls were 90 degrees.  Square metal weights were also useful to hold the walls in place while the were drying to make sure that they dried perpendicular to the base.  We used screw set dividers to replicate measurements so that we could be sure of accuracy.  Accurate measurements were very important in each step. 

It was a very interesting exercise and I'm sure that it gets faster with repetition.  Don seemed to have no trouble at all putting his box together.  I seemed to be all thumbs.

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