Communion Of Dreams


Forward, into the past.

I sewed up a book yesterday.

* * *

It’s been a rough year.

Oh, a good one, in many ways. The delightful trip to Wales was certainly wonderful. And I was pleased to finally wrap up our two-year work on the brick walkway; I recently used it, and it was nice to see how it has settled solidly after a couple of months weather. There have been other highlights, time spent with those I love, sharing & caring.

But it’s been a rough year. Mostly, because back in early spring I started my slow bipolar descent, and then got stuck stumbling along the bottom of my personal trough for the last six weeks or so. And, while I haven’t talked about it (or anything else) much here, the political situation has been extraordinarily depressing. It’s been a weird combination of things I have long dreaded and things I was writing to warn people about in St Cybi’s Well, and after significant effort to re-write the draft of that book to reflect the new political reality I found myself without the energy or inclination to continue. I felt paralyzed.

* * *

But, as these things go if you are lucky, the wheel continued to turn.

Even if the progress is steady, and consistent with my previous personal experience, it’ll be some 4 – 6 months before I completely climb out of the depressive part of my bipolar cycle.

But I sewed up a book yesterday. This one, for the first time in at least a year and a half:

Yeah, it’s one of the premium leather bindings of Communion of Dreams.

Finally.

For whatever reason, completing those books got mixed up emotionally with completing the writing of St Cybi’s Well. I think I understand it, but I don’t think that I can explain it. Well, I understand it now. At least part of it.

That’s how you solve art, sometimes. And how you walk out of depression: one part at a time, one step at a time.

The writing wants to start again.

In the meantime, I sew books.

Happy New Year.

 

Jim Downey

 

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Making an impression.

My, how time flies …

I’m a little startled to discover that it’s been three years since I last posted about doing the leather bindings for the custom edition of Communion of Dreams. No, I know it’s been a while — but I have been giving this binding a lot of thought, so it seems like it was still a recent ‘pending’ project. I liked the idea of using the sewing structure to incorporate classic raised leather cords on the spine of the book, but I just didn’t like the sparseness of the rest of the cover design. The initial tests were OK, but the more I thought about them, the less satisfied I was with what the final product would be. The problem was that while the cords under leather gave a nice tactile effect, there wasn’t enough detail possible.

So I kept trying to figure out how to keep the relief I liked but to get more definition. I won’t go through all the different iterations of ideas I considered, but there were a lot, mostly along the lines of trying different ways of mounting different weights of cord/string or molding/engraving the board under the leather. But each approach failed to give me the definition I wanted. Worse, each one felt further and further removed from the image of the “Williamson Oak” by Peter Haigh I had used for the paperback/printed hardcover/website.

Then recently another bookbinding project got me to thinking about using something like a woodcut as a way to make an impression on a leather cover, and I realized that I had gotten so set on the idea of using the raised cords of the sewing structure as the basis for the rest of the cover texture I hadn’t considered the possibility of impressing the leather rather than trying to raise it. What would be required would be to make a plate which would press down most of the leather, leaving the design I wanted alone so that it would stand up (and out).

So that what I tried today. Here’s how I did a quick test:

20160529_160407

That’s my high-tech, fancy “polymer plate” … also known as a plastic cutting board. I did a quick sketch on it with a marker, then carved into it using a couple of different cutting heads on a Dremel tool.

Then I mounted a piece of goatskin and a piece of calfskin onto some bookboard, got it good and damp, and then pressed it quickly in one of my book presses. Here are the results:

20160529_160343 20160529_160355

This was just a trial to see if my press would generate sufficient pressure, and if the plate would hold up to it. I am very happy with how well they turned out, and I learned what I need to change for the final version (such as smoothing out the surface of the plate, adding more detail and title, and — oh, yeah — reversing the image).

So, progress! Hey, it only took three years for me to get past my perceptual bias … 😉

 

Jim Downey



Mmmm … leather.

Time for the drawing for the last nearly-perfect hand-bound cloth copy of Communion of Dreams.

But I want to sweeten the pot. So I’m also going to draw for a single full leather hand-bound copy.  Leather color and type (whether calf or goatskin) to be *MY* choice. That’ll mostly depend on which one I feel like doing when I am in the process of doing the other copies which have already been ordered or are one of the Kickstarter rewards. Either way, it will be one of the leather bindings, worth up to $350. For reasons to be discussed in a subsequent blog post I’ve been a bit delayed in getting to doing these, but you can see a bit of what they will look like here.

So, how do you get your name in for this drawing?

Easy: just link to a review you have written of Communion of Dreams, which is posted on Amazon’s website.

It doesn’t have to be a long review. It doesn’t have to be a positive review.  You don’t have to say anything nice about me, or the book. Just to have read it, and posted a review on Amazon. If you’ve posted a review elsewhere — on your blog, or Goodreads, or anyplace else — feel free to just copy and paste that review to Amazon’s site. Then post a link here as a comment. Please note: if you have already written a review on Amazon, you don’t need to write another one — just post a comment to this blog entry with a link.

To make this even easier, I’ve scheduled promotional days for the Kindle edition for the next four Mondays (8/5, 8/12, 8/19, and 8/26) when you can download the novel for FREE. So you don’t even have to buy the book — just get it (if you haven’t already), review it, and post a link here.

The deadline for posting an entry (that means a link here) is Midnight CDT on August 31, 2013. Anything time-stamped after that will not be included.

One last thing — there will be two winners. One will receive the leather binding, and one the cloth. If for any reason you would rather not receive the leather binding, please say so in your comment, and you will not be entered into that drawing.

So, get writing.

 

Jim Downey

PS: I mean it about that “positive” review. It’s not necessary. I’m going to ask a neutral 3rd party to be the one to do the drawings. So either the quality of the review or the ranking given in it will not be a factor in my decision at all … since it won’t actually be my decision.