Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Ultimate Publication: My Own Books!

For several years now, I've been saying I wanted to use the new on-line technologies to produce a book of my work. I remember the old days, when I printed out glossy photos of my quilts on my home printer, fussing and fuming, and then took the results off to be bound at a local print shop. Have things ever changed!! Now we can all have professionally printed books that look like they were mass produced, but we can order just a few...or even only one.

When my friend, Judy Perez, who is a graphic artist by original profession, announced her book of art quilts, I thought "I have to get this done!" Knowing that she was a pro and had probably really researched the technologies available and selected the best, I decided to follow her lead and use blurb. blurb makes it very easy to design your own book. Your download their software, then either use their provided layouts or make your own with text and photo boxes. The most time required was to search back through stored photo files to find originals, so I could have nice high resolution graphics.

The first book I designed is Birdwatching: a metal clay adventure, which details my series of bird-themed jewelry made of silver or bronze combined with gemstones, painted glass, enamel, resin and faux bone. I decided to intersperse some selections from my collection of quotations, those that were related to birds. Then I got carried away using my bird drawings to illustrate the pages. I'm quite happy with this impromptu book and thinking perhaps I should actually PLAN a book and see where that goes.

That first book was so fun and easy that I quickly started a second book titled Copper On, Copper Off: an electroforming adventure, which refines and expands upon my online electroforming tutorial, which has been extremely popular. This book has more text, as it details the background, theory, equipment, design, operation and finishing of electroformed glass beads. Extras in the book are a page of sources and a troubleshooting guide, as well as dozens of photos of my electroformed beads. I also describe my carved copper electroforming technique.

Both books can be previewed at the blurb site, where you can also order them in softback or hardback editions. I still need to do some tweaking to the cover image to be able to off the image wrap edition in the future. I purchased one copy each of the soft and hard covers to compare and proof, then made a few corrections/additions before releasing them both to the world at large.

I've ordered a stack of books for Christmas gifts this year, and I plan to offer them for sale in my classes and at the Bead & Button Show next year. And even more book ideas are percolating in my head. Can you believe that blurb offers a service to easily convert your blog archives to a book??? BlogSlurper will take your Blogger, TypePad or WordPress blog and convert it for you. Imagine the possibilities!