All posts in Paper

Staples are killing your document

notebooksI suspected staples had a dark side when I found two of them in a restaurant taco in 1991. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized librarians and zine archivists reflexively remove these and other rusting metal fasteners from documents, as this fascinating article from the US Govt National Archives explains. As a (lapsed) zinester, I used staples in both of my typewriter zines Silent Type I and Silent Type 2, but am currently looking into other methods for my odd habit of making pocket notebooks out of random paper dregs (see photo).

Pamphlet stitching, it would appear, is the archivist-approved way to bind a document, and so I’ll be dragging out my forgotten paper sewing skills for the next round of notebooks– somehow, like Origami and knitting, this seems to be a skill that has no cognitive sticking power, like knitting and origami, and although I understood it well enough to write a tutorial on it years ago, I’ve completely forgotten how to do it once again.

2 Years of Writer’s Block


California Typewriter & handmade notebooks

So I’ve up and moved to California and decided that a visit to California Typewriter is in my near future. Have you been? See the thing is, all my typewriters are in storage, along with everything I own except two shirts and a pen. Must rectify this.

Unrelatedly, I’ve taken up a new hobby of making notebooks, most recently constructed entirely of paper grocery bags, Scotch tape, and cardboard packaging, owing to my lack of personal effects. Behold, a gallery.

So, a new colleague of mine (correction, I am the new one) brought two pristine Olympia typewriters to the office the other day, a Craigslist find, along with a box of accessories I’ve only read about, typewriter oil and ribbon tins, this sort of thing. I was working at my desk and heard typing, this is how I found out about it. Trying to talk her into starting a typewriter club at [my latest tech employer about which You Probably Have a Strong Opinion]. Which has, unexpectedly, an Analog Research Lab full o screenprinting equipment.

That is all.

Paper typewriter

No, I didn’t yet secure the typewriter shack of my dreams due to budgetary constraints. But in the mean time, my kids can enjoy this:

Collage: untitled (Mod Podge experiment)

Until just now I thought Mod Podge was called Modge Podge, you know, like hodge podge. ANYway, it is a sort of crafter’s varnish that you might paint over any manner of paper-y art things, like tacky collages. Behold:

Silent Type 3, and bonus wall collages

It will be a small zine, smaller than the last one perhaps, dimension-wise, so there’s going to be some serious restrictions about the content submissions. Got to think this one out more. Nothing happening yet, just thought I’d throw that traffic jam vision out there… but that said, who’s in? Can I get a witness?

Here are some crappy photos (why don’t I ever take pictures during the considerable part of the day where there is natural light in the room?) of two wall thingies in my office, one of them a cork board collage, and the other a shadow-box, of things typospherian. Surely some of you mail art types have something similar, yet vastly superior, to share.


Was fooling around with collage in the last day or so, as I am trying to make a banner for a personal/professional-type site (which is nowhere near complete, I feel compelled to mention. Making such a site was recommended by my graduate program, personal branding and all, oh boy. Please resist the urge to make a sarcastic remark…)

Back to the collage. Lately I’ve been interested in mixing art/ephemera and text, which I believe is known as art journaling. Probably there are a whole mess of people out there who art journal in blog form (must avoid browsing internet for this likely phenomenon and falling into 10-hour digital detour…)

This was more or less the idea I had for Silent Type 2, because generally I think, with the glut of content out there, that words need pictures to get noticed, but less cynically, that images enhance information. I’ve been doing loads of research on using visuals in information, and feel that hand-drawn art and ephemera in particular are compelling due to their rarity and personal meaning. Here is a mail artist I admire who does this kind of thing well.

Any further issues of Silent Type I might do, or other zines, would probably further look into this idea, although not anytime soon, oh heavens no.

I dare you to try collage in one of your typecasts.

PS, I totally love masking tape. It is my favorite art supply. What’s yours?

Type-in prize: sketchbook (and a side note about copic markers)

Thanks to the Lambs of Snohomish, charming folks indeed, for another fun type-in today.

Since Little Flower Petals was not in attendance, I actually had a shot at the typing speed contest victory, prize of which you’ll see below.

Uppercase books sells these altered-book notebooks, which I recommend as excellent sketchbooks because of the binder rings and hard backs (unless you feel that eviscerating old books in this way is tantamount to key chopping, which I don’t, due to their overwhelming abundance).

I used my prize today to practice drawing with a few copic markers that I picked up on the advice of the visual designer Eva Lotta-Lamm in this excellent presentation on visual note taking, or graphic recording, which is something I’ve been posting about recently.

Copic markers have one end with a tapering, flexible tip, like a paintbrush, and the other end squared off, like a white board marker. They are good for adding drop-shadows and color accents to black and white drawings, and they are as expensive as hell. (Side note, the art shop where I bought mine told me they’d had $2k worth of the markers stolen earlier that week).

They are lots of fun for coloring in doodles and such, and price aside, I highly recommend them.

Random drawing for prizes: Apica notebook!

So, you lost Magic Margin’s drawing for Rhodia notebooks. Dammit!

Well, hold on just one minute, now. Don’t go getting your knickers in a twist. Seems that Uwajimaya opened a new location ’round these parts, so you’re in luck.

What? What does that have to do with notebooks, you ask? Well, Uwajimaya, an insanely great Asian grocery store, tends to carry imported stationery and whatnot (and even has a bookstore in its downtown Seattle location). I was ambling through the store’s latest new location the other day, and found, in a display of Sumi-e painting supplies, various sizes of the highly-regarded Apica notebook.

Now, one doesn’t tend to find Apica notebooks lying about any old where; I’ve only been able to buy them from eBay importers in the past. So I consider this a good thing.

One of the most appealing qualities of the Apica notebook, you will undoubtedly agree, is its cryptic cover phrase.

I grabbed two red ones of the 5″ x 7″-ish size, and would like to share one with you. Leave a comment about your favorite notebook brand and I’ll pick a winner this Friday, April 1st.

Myndology disc punch: mail art notebook

So I got myself a Myndology disc punch. A disc punch, if you were not aware, is a thingy that allows you to perforate paper so that you can place discs in the preforations and either create notebooks, or add random papers to existing ones.

Some of you Getting Things Done types have one of these from Rollabind/Circa, and use it to create fabulously organized and scheduled lives in notebooks with sober black covers. I, however, am a practitioner of another system called Starting Things, But Never Finishing Them. This consists of entertaining half-cooked ideas, getting out a bunch of paper supplies, making a big old mess, taking a coffee break, and then realizing, dozens of distractions later, that you have a bunch of stuff to clean up.

One such project included trying desperately to organize my letter writing stuff, after reading the following Clickthing post. Now, trying to live up to the inventions of Mike Clemens is a losing game, my friend. The man has a gift. But the fact remains that I have a disorganized snarl of paper that includes letters to which I would like to track and respond. What to do?

Enter the Myndology disc punch. I began madly punching letters and envelopes, and binding them with discs. I learned that anything covered in tape or made of thin vintage paper is a poor candidate for punching, but all other items are fair game. When finished, I grabbed two stray sheets from the teetering pile of school art projects generated by my older child, called them covers, and that was that.

I now have a bound book of letters to read through (although I’m not any closer to writing replies). Perhaps I will clean up this mess tomorrow…