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[BKARTS] reporting back - Don Rash Worshop - Inlay/Onlay



I spent this past weekend at Don Rash's studio for a workshop on Inlay and
Onlay.

I feel as though I have learned so much.  He is very good at explaining
technique in a way that makes sense to me.  For example, in a previous
class I took with him, I was trying to figure out how to use a paring
knife - once I mentioned the terms in which I thought of the angles (pitch
& yaw) he was able to use my background to make the technique clear.  Also
he started out with having me read "On Inlaying Techniques" by Jeff
Clements to explain the basics of the technique.

So we made plaquettes of board covered in leather (some without turn-ins
to save time and some with because he says you can never practice corners
enough) and started with inlay.  I started with a simple geometric design
and then moved on to trying curves.  Now I am on a quest of tools to make
cutting curves with an even 45 degree angle easier!

Then we did onlay.  I perused his library and pulled out Owen Jones'
_Grammar of Ornament_ and decided that the simplest thing would be to make
leaves. Hah!  Well, it was and it wasn't.  He kindly stopped me from
trying to copy the drawings by pulling out tracing paper and showing me
the carbon transfer technique.  From there, I had to cut out lots of itsy
bitsy corners... and then PARE all the little edges.  The genius of my
plan bore out nonetheless, though, because even when I inevitable ripped
off some of the tiny points, they still looked like very authentic leaves.
By the end, I was also feeling rather comfortable with even fairly ticky
paring. Then we back pared with a spokeshave - and it turned out gorgeous
(I say modestly).

In the midst of all that, he was kind and flexible enough to let me do a
side project I had brought with me because he has equipment I don't
normally have access to.  That meant there was also time spent making a
title to be onlayed once I got home.  So I also did a spot of typesetting,
rigorously spaced the title evenly (well it certainly felt rigorous to
me!), used a composing stick to get the type left aligned rather than
centered, and hot stamped it with a Kensol. We had examples of how the
edges of the impression tended to be deeper than the middle (with a
particularly tricky A), but he quoted Michael Wilcox by saying that he
took just as long cleaning up the text as setting and tooling it.

As for the physical location?  The studio was easy to find from the
Pennsylvania Turnpike's northeast extension.  The workspace has amazing
windows looking out over a valley and a mountain with just beautiful
light. Furthermore, there was a whole private apartment (complete with
three mischievous cats) behind the studio - don't worry, there's also
another building with cat-free bedrooms as well.  He has a well-stocked
library that I spent Saturday morning (we started at 9, but I was over in
the studio at 7:30) reading through.

He was very generous with his time and resources, and I hope to be able to
catch more of his workshops at his studio in the future.

 - Rachael Schechter
   University of Pennsylvania

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         The Bonefolder, Vol. 3, No. 1, Fall 2006 Now Online at
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Guild of Book Workers' 100th Anniversary Exhibition Online - Catalog Available
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