Monday, 30 July 2012

Thing 5: Reflective Practice

Am I becoming more aware of the means and methods of current awareness? Is this almost too meta a query? Certainly because I follow so many blogs I know about more information than say the person sitting next to me which depending on where I'm sitting could be one person or another. That said, that person will most definitely know more about other things than I would so knowledge about current awareness technologies might not be useful if you want to go tango dancing or if you want to fix a motorbike. Sure I could look it up or I could just ask someone. Sometimes old school methods work!

How do I become a reflective practitioner? Without a doubt one of the main difficulties is time, not just time to write about things but time to think about things. The other big difficulty is 'how to switch off.' Am I too connected? This is why when I go on holidays I like to not check in on the off chance that I'm missing something. Sure I'll check email and facebook but not as often as when I'm not on holidays. I need to find myself in the right place for thinking and fortunately holidays lend themselves very well to this: the train. On a plane there are noisy children and noisier adults but on the train if you're lucky you can get the silent carriage and all the peace in the world to let your mind drift and ponder. Sadly I just don't get the opportunity to go on trains that often. Recently I heard about a travel writer who instead of stressing about getting to the airport 90 minutes before a flight gets there now three hours before the flight and concentrates on getting the work done without being distracted by other things.

So note to self: To reflect more you must travel more but only by train and planes!

Thing 4: Current Awareness with Twitter, RSS and Storify

I have a twitter account: #walkerabroad. I don't use it very much. Well that used to be true. While I was on holidays I made a decision I would use twitter more. Now being that my starting point was zero, more could constitute checking in once a day. So a month later it stands at twice a day!! Oh it's non-stop go like the sales after Christmas!! 

I have found twitter etiquette useful. I wouldn't have used hashtags before and even now I don't use them every post, mostly because I forget! I am getting better though. I try not to retweet too much but when you follow Lorcan Dempsey it's pretty inevitable that you do! My three favourite tweeters for finding out about library world are Lorcan Dempsey (@lorcanD), Hack Library School  (@hacklibschool) and Deirdre Beecher (@biondairlandese). My three favourite tweeters for everything else: Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself), Steve Wheeler (@timbuckteeth) and Centre for Book Arts (@center4bookarts). I do use twitter mostly for library related items but some things are seasonal such as in January I follow some  Sherlock related twitter accounts and in September I follow Downton Abbey related sites.

I like the saved search facility. I read a lot and I mean a lot of blogs. Ironically perhaps this is why I haven't kept up a much with my own blog...too busy reading all the others! Anyway from the blogs I learn of events that will occur and so save the search so I'll remember to rerun it later. The days of remembering to do things without having them written down are sadly long gone. Sidebar: I remember being able to remember everbody's email address in my head. I didn't even use the contacts facility in my email! This was back in the late 90s when everyone had only one email. Now I have to check four that I use on a regular basis!! 

As mentioned already I read a lot of blogs. I've used Google Reader for the last four years or so and I subscribe to a variety of blogs covering all the areas of interest I have professionally and personally. These range from food: Bibliocook or Eating With Grace; design: Design Sponge or Designing Better Libraries, fiction: Earth and Other Unlikely Worlds or Scandinavian Crime Fiction, and information: The Centered Librarian and Stephen's Lighthouse. Last count I subscribed to over 130 blogs. I could cut back but then not everyone posts as often as Stephen Abram so mostly do ok!

Storify is a new one on me. I joined storify via Twitter as I'm trying to consolidate my professional profile with one email address. Naturally just as I started to do work on Storify I found Scoop It! I could join both but realistically keeping one more going would be a challenge. So bye bye Storify. I've started using Scoop It! for personal interests so at the present it hosts science fiction related material.

While I've Been Away...

I've been away for some time from the blog. It's hard to get back into it once you're off doing other things but with so much else in life you have to get back to it. You just can't put everything on the backburner for all time.

At least I know that I've been doing some useful things and I had fun too (very important!).

A friend got married and her hen party and the wedding were in the same week!!! So that was a busy time! She's now moved to Texas so it was great to get the opportunity to spend some time with her.

I went on holidays to England and visited London and Bath. Bath is such a pretty city and has gorgeous architecture. I went on a day trip to Avebury. I don't know but there's something about stone circles. I'd visited Stonehenge as a child and I was on Orkney last year and visited the Ring of Brodgar but a village that's inside a stone circle??? How is that not cool! And yet I must have been one of the few people under 40 and unaccompanied by a small child.

Wisdom of the East
Popup Map
Over the  last year I've become really interested in bookcrafts. At Christmas I got a book (The Repurposed Library) about how to take books apart and what to do once you've accomplished that! So far I've done one project but I've done it a few times and in different ways. I've made biographical bracelets by using sheets from a a Wisdom of the East phrase-a-day calendar and from a popup map of Seattle. You start by cutting strips from your chosen paper. These are made long enough to wrap around the bracelet. They're glued on and more glue is placed over the strips. Then a light coat of acrylic paint is put on so that the text can still be seen. I used a light yellow for the Wisdom of the East and a light blue for the popup map. The next step was individual word strips. These are words that are in keeping with the text strips which are cut out and individually glued to the outside rim of the bracelet. This worked fine for the Wisdom of the East bracelet; however the popup map bracelet had no outside edge to speak of but instead had a flat top and bottom so the individual words were stuck on there for that one. Lastly a final coating of glue is placed on the outside or top and bottom of the braclets.

Also during my holidays I attended an introductory bookbinding course in London. This was run in Shepherd Falkiners. They run a number of different courses such as boxmaking or linocutting. I've tried to find similar courses in Cork but to no avail. This course was run over two days and we covered sewing a single section notebook, sewing a multi signature book, learning about different covering techniques for traditional binding and how to create a box structure to protect and present books. I found this last very useful as we made a phase box and I use them at work. The longer the course went on the more the room filled with tension. For the multi signature book if something were glued the wrong way, well it's an awful lot of work to mess up. Fortunately our teacher told us that he'd accidentally glued in a textblock upside down once and if we had any mistakes then we could just say that it was 'handmade.' That took the pressure off alright!
Single Section Notebook

We learned how to cut, how to fold paper and cut it, about grain direction and glueing technqiues for the single section notebook. The paper on the single section notebook is French marbled paper. It's quarter bound in a blue buckram. Buckram is the most traditional of book cloths, used in library and utility bindings. It is an acrylic filled material meaning that it is tough, waterproof and very easy to use. 

Headband on Multi Signature Book
Then for the multi signature book we did everything to the spine that we could do to a spine. So the headbands which would not necessarily be on every book were placed on the top and the bottom of this notebook. I was lucky in that my pattern could go either way on the vertical but some of the others in the class had to be careful not to place their paper upside down. The paper that's used on the multi signature book is chiyogami which is a Japanese decorative paper. Chiyogami is beautiful hand screen printed paper from Japan. The designs were originally based on the bright kimono textiles which the papermakers from the countryside saw on the fashionable wealthier ladies in the larger cities. To create a single completed sheet of Chiyogami, each base sheet is silkscreened with as many colours as there are in that particular pattern - in most cases, four or five colours. 

Phase Box with Multi Signature Book
The phase box is cut precisely for this book and the colour was chosen to match the pattern on the front of the book. The paper used is part of the Colourplan range. Phasebox paper and indeed chiyogami and marbled paper are usually heavier than the paper used in the text block. The folds on the phase box are created by first placing a metal ruler next to the pencil drawn line and then scoring the drawn line either with the tip of a bone folder or a ballpoint pen which is used up. The advantage to using the pen is nearly everyone has a pen which no longer works. If the bone folder is used then you need to practice so that the line scored is actually the pencil line and not 2mm to the right. Once the scoring is done the paper is bent back over a metal ruler and then the metal ruler is removed and a teflon folder used to press the paper down. A teflon folder is used over a bone folder for pressing as if a bone folder is used then it burnishes the paper, whereas the teflon folder simply presses it down.

I'm pretty happy with my handmade products and now that I've stocked up on supplies I'll be busy, that is when I'm not doing Things: Bright & Shiny!