I do not make book recommendations lightly. The first one of these gems I came across was when I was meandering through a book store killing time. I was struck by the title Show Your Work. Aside from the very bare bones but effective design, I liked the idea that it was not a “how to” book. I am not a fan of “how to” books because they often present themselves with the assumption that everyone is approaching a problem from the same situation, which is never the case.
These books can either function for the reader as a pep talk or a giant kick in the ass, depending on the reader’s frame of mind and immediate needs. They are extremely short (an average reader can probably complete any of the three in one evening) but I choose to savor them and only read a chapter or two a day. When I really enjoy a book, I want it to last awhile. They books are full of great quotes, fun and relevant artwork, and lots of common sense suggestions.
I had taken all three out of my local library but I have decided the information they contain will be useful at other points in my life and I will want to pick them up and page through them, if not read them again entirely. So I am purchasing all three books. For anyone who knows me and knows I am not a person who purchases things lightly, this is a testament for how essential I feel these books are for any practicing artist.
If you have ever had the experience of seeing a really old document, you may notice that the edges look kind of ragged. This is what is called a deckled edge. It is called that because the uneven edge of the paper is formed by the part of the paper mould called the deckle, which is the frame like structure in the photo above.
In my post on making the book Bedtime Story, I had mentioned using a beautiful handmade paper I purchase several years ago. The paper measures approximately 6″ x 8″ but I also needed a few pieces that were about 3″ x 6″. If I were to get out scissors or an Exacto knife, I could easily make a smaller piece of paper but it would like sort of odd with three deckled edges and one straight edge. So how do you go about getting a false decked edge? It is pretty simple but first a bit about paper.
The piece pictured above is western handmade paper. What that means is that the paper has very short fibers. If is also a relatively weak paper compared to Eastern style papers (often misnamed ‘rice’ paper) that are long fiber papers. So the technique I am about to describe works best with western style papers because the short fibers break apart easily when wet.
After measuring where you want the edge to be, you take a soft brush soaked with water and brush it along the ruler edge. If the paper is very thick (which was the case with this paper) you need to do this several times until the water soaks through. Then you pick up the paper and very slowly and carefully start to tear from top to bottom. The result is a false deckle that should serve your purpose.