Sunday, 26 February 2017
Making New Mini-Concertina Sketchbooks
I am starting my new Dementia research-sketching job next week! It's not blocks of time, like last year's residency: it's odd days dotted around randomly, but the first one is on Monday. So I need sketchbooks to draw in...
All the concertinas that I made for the residency got used up, so I had to make a new batch. Also a new cover, as the residency one was used almost to destruction. The 2m long concertinas I created previously had to be made from a big roll, and that was a bit of a performance. Plus I won't need so many this time, so I decided to make shorter ones, using regular sheets. I thought you might like to know the details, in case you fancy making some for yourself.
I bought full imperial sheets of Bockingford paper, which are 30 x 22inches. I started with the 300gm, but it felt overkill for the shorter length books, so I started using the 190gm instead, which is much easier to fold.
I got 3 books out of each sheet. From the 22 inch, short side of the sheet, I measured for three strips (3 x 7.4 inches), for the height of each concertina. Then I measured down the longer edge, for the folds. Allowing for each facet to be 5 inches, you get 6 facets per book.
The trick is to score and fold the whole sheet at once, before cutting it into strips. This saves a lot of time. You only score every other fold by the way, because the folds are going to go in opposite directions. You can easily hand-fold the ones going the other way, once you've folded the scored ones. Make sense?
Then you flatten out the sheet again and use a long ruler to cut it into the 3 strips. They are only short, but will still work fine.
I made my cover the same way as before, but with the little embellishment of a decorative fabric strip you can see in the top picture, plus another more important modification: I extended the back cover by 1.5 inches, so that I could clip on a water container. It's actually designed for oil painting, for oil and turps, but the two little tubs will be perfect for dirty and clean water and mean I can paint more easily in awkward places where I need to stand.
They have a clip on the back which fits just right on the board - good and tight.
While I was in sketchbook-making mode, I played with some different sizes. I cut the paper differently and got different shaped books. Out of the same imperial sheet, I got two books of 6 inches x 9 inches, plus one diddy, landscape-format book from the waste, which measures 4 inches x 6 inches.
I had to make covers to fit them too. I did the water-extension for the big one, but decided to keep the little one more compact, for slipping in a rucksack when we go out walking.
The great thing about this system is that you can use the cover over and over - you just pop in a new strip of paper. You can use an elastic band to hold the book shut when you're not using it. I did away with the fancy Velcro tab I used before: I quickly lost the tab!
You are supposed to use book board to make the covers, but I ran out, so I used regular mount board, which worked fine except for a very slight warping, which I put right by clipping the cover shut while it was drying (using a couple of bits of scrap card to protect it from getting dints from the clip):
The other thing I didn't bother with was the card insert on the back cover, for sliding the concertina paper into. I found that I generally wanted to fold the paper in different ways as I was working, so I could paint on more than 2 facets at once, which meant I stopped using the insert. It works perfectly well just tucked in loose.