Sunday, April 5, 2015

Travel Journals by Janet Fredericks

I was up at Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital visiting a friend in the oncology unit. During a lunch break I came across an exhibit of this wonderful Travel Journals by Janet Fredericks. They were absolution enchanting . . . so personal . . . so unique . . . so transpiring . . .

Janet is teaching a class in Middlebury, VT this May 2015. It is an evening class for 4 Wednesdays in May (6-27, 2015) at the Middlebury Studio School (
“Keeping a Travel Journal” for a fun documentation of your adventures . . . learn to draw, collage and paint to capture your travels. No experience necessary. We will construct a small book in which to collect our creations. Bring photos from a previous trip, images from magazines of a place you’d like to go…your dream vacation…all other materials will be provided"

Contact Janet for classes or instruction:

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Echizen Papermaking Song!

My friend Allison who is a Japanese translator sent me this link!

How sweet is this!

Thanks Allison!

suku 【· 
  • godan く verb → conjugation:
    1. to make something (i.e. paper) from wet, pulpy material by spreading it thin and drying it

The Echizen Papermaking Song
You can listen to it on YouTube:

五箇に生まれて紙漉き習うて 横座弁慶で人廻す

Born in Goka, learn papermaking , now managing a paper studio.

(Goka is another name when people call this paper village. Go means five. The village is composed of the five towns. )

神の授けをそのまま継いで 親も子も漉く 孫も漉く

Taking after what God gave, parents and children make paper, grandchildren make paper.

(God here means Paper goddess worshipped by people since 719 )

七つ八つから紙漉き習うて ネリの合加減 まだ知らぬ

Having learned papermaking since age seven or eight, still don't know how to mix neri very well.

(Neri is how we called `the mediation aid` to mix materials well in water.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Book Packing In McLeod Ganj

Julie is one of the wonderful yoga teachers I studied with in Florida, when I was living down there for four months during the winter of 2013. Julie went to India to study yoga and needed to ship 27 books back to the USA . . . and so needed a "book bag" to send them in . . . I just love this post! Enjoy!

This article is from Julie's blog Yogaressa . . .

Book Packing In McLeod Ganj

How can FedEx compete against this charming setup?
Yes, that’s Book Packing in McLeod Ganj, not Backpacking. The latter being a travel adventure for those exploring the Himalayas in (most likely) scruffy-baggy-unisex trousers and cotton rasta-colored friendship bracelets; seeking budget accommodation, ethnic meals and meaningful inter-cultural connections with locals and likeminded international explorers. The former being an adventure of a different sort – involving 27 books and a cheerful chappy armed with calico, a big sewing needle and red candle wax.
I had somehow amassed 27 books during my yoga teacher training: some of them part of the Kailash Tribal School of Yoga curriculum and some of them literary treats I just couldn’t resist.
  • Happy circumstance: Snapping up inexpensive and interesting yoga books
  • Problem: Lugging them home in an already-bulging suitcase
  • Solution: Aforesaid cheerful chappy with his tailoring skills
Sewing the calico cover

Shipping things home will never be the same again.
No boring FedEx or UPS box required. Instead, you take your books to a tailor, who takes a break from sewing his colorful Tibetan wall hangings to create a custom-sewn, cloth-covered, neatly packaged bundle, ready for its voyage home. All of this done while laughing and smiling as he works speedily on his little Sagar sewing machine, weaving his tailor mastery around your precious yoga books.
Red wax seal to add a special touch

He finishes off the final seam by hand, with a big needle and thick thread. When he holds a red stick over a flame and drips hot wax along the seam, evoking the nostalgia of a bygone era, it makes you want to press a Downton Abbey signet ring into it, to seal the deal. Seriously.

Signed, sealed and ready for mailing
You’ve Got Mail.
Two weeks later at home, when my parcel of books arrive, the cream calico material now dirty and scuffed but books intact, I’m immediately transported back to Jogiwara Road, McLeod Ganj, to visions of nimble sewing fingers making an art form out of mailing things home.

For McLeod Ganj Travelers – How to send parcels from McLeod Ganj, with minimum fuss:
Left to right, on Jogiwara Rd : tailor with parcel packing, Tibet Quality Bakery, post office.
It’s an art form in itself, but it can also be a bit frustrating if you don’t know the ropes. In the event that other travelers hit the search button on how to send their books or other items home from McLeod Ganj, here’s the scoop:
  1. Pick up a customs form (one form per parcel) from the internet services place, up the stairs just past the post office on Jogiwara Road. Also ask them to make two copies of your passport per parcel.
  2. Fill out the forms ahead of time and make sure you state the books are personal and used.
  3. Take your books (or clothing, or souvenirs) to the happy guy at the store that makes Tibetan wall hangings a few doors down from the post office, just past the Tibet Quality Bakery (see photo). You can’t miss him, as the storefront is filled with hanging pieces of colorful Tibetan material. Look for “Parcel Packing Here” sign.
  4. Watch, in awe, as he speedily sews a cloth parcel around your books, and seals it with red candle wax. The price for the parcel wrapping service was nominal – I think I paid less than 200 rupees.
  5. Write your address and the sender’s address (your hotel or someone you know in McLeod Ganj) in big letters on the parcel. Friendly tailor loaned me his permanent marker pen.
  6. Take your parcel, customs form and passport copies to the post office BEFORE NOON – when I was there, I was told they only do international parcels in the morning, even though they are open in the afternoon. This part was fairly expensive – I paid $60 to ship 27 books home, but excess luggage on a domestic flight would have cost a lot more.
  7. IMPORTANT! Take CASH with you to the post office. I didn’t have enough money and hot-tailed it down the road to the ATM, to find it was offline, then to the bank to cash money, and ran back to the post office, huffing and panting, with just minutes to spare. (And then I left my raincoat poncho behind and had to go back later to fetch it. Much deep yoga breathing required to remain calm!)
  8. The books arrived safely, and took just over 2 weeks to reach me in the US.
Happy Book Packing and Safe Travels!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Turners Falls Rotation Book Project

Just got this update from Pam Allan who has been coordinating the rotation book project in Turners Falls, MA.
Go to this link to check out the amazing entries:

What fun!

Here are a few of the entries you will see

Theme: Was I Dreaming?
Gina Vernava, August 2014

Theme: As Time Goes By
Trish Crapo, July 2014

Theme: Duality
Pam Allan, June 2014

I am game to start a new rotation project . . .
So contact me if you are interested in partaking in 2015!

Eloise Twilight

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Turners Falls Rotation Book Project . . .

My friend Pam Allan has an organized a rotation book project in her "neighborhood" of Turners Falls, MA. Originally was a member of one of my rotation book projects. 

Pam took the idea of the exchange and decided to run the project to meet her neighbors after she moved to Tuners Falls a few years ago. The group meets once a month at a local restaurant, they spread the books out on the pool table, and then look at all the new additions. It is a great way to meet local artists & book enthusiasts, and see the creative energy where you live. 

Here is the latest on her blog . . .

My entry for "Mandalas" March 2014

I am stepping in to finish the rotation for a gentleman who is moving and felt he needed to scale back on other projects, so I am doing entries for the last six months of the rotation. I am enjoying it . . .
And will soon start up another rotation. Let me know if you are interested in partaking in the new rotation which will probably start the end of the summer 2014.

My entry for "Learning/Discovery" April 2014


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Still Water Bindery is now on AirBnB

Come to Vermont and do a studio workshop of your choice!

Winter Hill Farm / Still Water Bindery  
is now listed on AirBnB!

Tell your friends or anyone traveling to southern Vermont.

There is always so much to do here . . . culture, art, outdoors, great food, and beautiful scenery!
See you soon!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Blog Interview about Radha!

Bookbinding Etsy Street Team

An article was written about Radha Pandey by the creative team and authors of the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team! Every day of the week, pretty much, there is an interesting article that is posted, and once a week, an interview of one the members. Radha was lucky enough to be the privileged one.

You can read the interview here, or visit

Friday, April 30, 2010

Blog Interview: Paperspirit

If our people map is not failing me, I have today the pleasure to introduce you to our only team mate from India. Radha Pandey lives in New Delhi, and you know her - maybe under her Etsy-name paperspirit - because she already wrote a post on this blog about an amazing book object she found. You can also find her at and
Hi, Radha, nice to meet you and to have a chance to learn more about you! Let's get right into the matter: How did crafting and bookmaking come to your life?
My family, including my grandparents, were and are into art and craft in some form or the other. I grew up in an environment that fostered the appreciation for all things hand crafted. Book-binding in particular came into my life not too long ago - and is a long story.

Ever since I was a child, I've been fascinated by paper. I remember when my mother came back from a trip to Japan she brought back with her the most exquisite paper and boxes I had ever seen and touched. That same fascination has stayed with me all these years, and I try to incorporate paper, texture, and craft into all my work as much as I can.

I was offered a fellowship to Haystack mountain school of craft in 2005 when I was still a student. I took the Japanese Paper making course there and met and worked with an amazing group of people. One of them was a book-binder. (Patricia Johnson). I was inspired by her work and her attention to detail. In my final year of college, I apprenticed in the Auroville Paper Press in Auroville, Pondicherry in South India. There I worked with paper, paper products of all kinds and even made some of my first books. That sparked my interest and inspired me to contact Patricia.
I worked hard and saved for over a year, and then decided to apprentice with her for 6 six weeks in Vermont. That was two years ago.
I've been making books and conducting workshops ever since.

Auroville, amazing! For how long have you lived there? Any intention of going back, or settling there finally?
For my internship I was there for 7 months, in and out, since it is so close to Bangalore. Now that I'm in Delhi I make it a point to visit at least twice a year, sometimes for work, sometimes to visit old friends. I would love to settle there, but its not an easy process, I am told!
Do you have a day job different from being an Etsy seller? What is it?
I am a graphic designer by day. I was trained in Visual Communication Design for 5 years in a design school in Bangalore, S. India.
My final thesis project ended up being a stop motion animation film I made using wire frames embedded in handmade banana and cotton papers.

I now have my own company (Studio Chalk) with two other friends, and we take on all kinds of work, from graphic design, film, animation, to t-shirt design. We're leaning more towards creating funky products these days. You can check out our website at :

Do you like about splitting your worklife between Studio Chalk and Etsy, or what do you like about it?
Well, its a bit of a juggle - but I make sure I find time to do what I really love doing - working with my hands. The best part of it is, saving enough money to make more books, and travel to places I haven't been before to learn something new. I recently went to the Philippines for a course on Pineapple fiber and natural dyes.

Ah, you travel! Do you have a favorite place somewhere in the world? 
I love to travel! It's my main incentive for work! Every place has its own unique smell, flavour, experience. I can't say which is my favourite. But if I had to choose, I would say, Auroville, Paris, Zanskar valley, Mussoorie to name a few.

What is there a place you still would like to explore?
I would love to go to Turkey, Greece, Moscow and Berlin. And if I can combine Bookbinding or papermaking in any way in these places - I don't think I would ever leave!

Tell us a little more about your shop: What do you make and sell?
The market in India is still at a nascent stage, and its very hard to sell handmade books/products here. In fact, I have to create a market. And that's basically what led me to trying out Etsy.
My shop is fairly new. I started only 4 months ago. I haven't had any sales, and I am partly to blame as I don't find the time to maintain and update my shop as often as I would like. I have made a few custom-made books though, which I really enjoyed.

I love making Coptic bound journals and accordions with decorative covers and handmade papers. I just love finding the perfect ribbon, paper, thread and wood blocks for printing. A book can take me very long to make, because I like to wait until I find just the perfect ingredients.

Where is the source of your inspiration? Do you have a special way or place to get ideas?
The world around me, beautiful paper, cloth, an interesting piece of ribbon or button that I find on the road. Usually it's the materials that inspire the final book.
When I was in Vermont, the beautiful trees inspired me to make a journal to document them. For it, I made paper out of Gampi fiber and put it together in an accordion form. I made the covers from Banana paper from the Auroville press and found the perfect twigs for the closure.

What's the most challenging part of your crafting?
I would say the most challenging part of bookbinding in India is having to explain to everyone what that actually means. I mean we have hand-bound books here - but it isn't considered a craft, let alone art. No one understands how much time and effort something like this takes. As a result there is no market, no interest, and no understanding or knowledge. It's extremely frustrating and also lonely.
There are no special tools or thread or good quality board that is locally available. I have to get my tools custom made, ask someone coming from abroad to get me good waxed linen... Its hard.

Do you have special plans for your crafting and your shop for the future? New skills you would like to acquire, new techniques to learn, new materials to use, new ways for marketing and promotion to go?
Well, this summer I'm going to be traveling to the US, back to Haystack to do a course in Paper by Beatrice Coron thanks to the work-study scholarship I applied for. I am also planning to intern at Cave Paper in Minneapolis.
I would definitely like to expand my binding skills. While I am there, I hope to find people interested in taking on interns in their binderies.
As for the shop, I plan to add boxes, and precious stacks of deckle edge handmade paper from all the fiber I've been sourcing.

Thank you, Radha for taking your time talking with me. 
Thank you for this amazing opportunity!

If you want to see more of her books, click here to be brought directly to her Etsy-Shop.


Doel said...
Wow! This interview was very inspiring. Makes me want to start making things with my hands almost immediately!
Sarah Richardson said...
What an amazing interview! Your animation was lovely, as are your books.

And thanks for speaking about the difficulty in getting supplies. I hadn't realized that could be another obstacle in making things you really love.
KarleighJae said...
Your film was amazing! It must have taken quite a long time to design and put it all together. Beautiful work Radha!