Thursday, February 12, 2015

Max Gunawan and the Lumio Book Light

If there is a hero of the modern blook, it's Max Gunawan, inventor of the Lumio book light and Mini Lumio+. It would be hard to imagine a more elegant blook or a more engaging man. Lumio is a rechargeable LED light with about a long-lasting battery. Its covers are wood and magnets are embedded in the covers so that the 'book' can be attached to metal surfaces. The interior 'pages' are made of Tyvek. The Lumio book light is in octavo format. I asked Max why he made it that size and he said, it just felt right. That's bookness for you. Soon, the mini-Lumio book light will be out. It's a pocket-sized version modeled on a Moleskin notebook, which is a book that Max is familiar with and has enjoyed using.  The Mini+has a removable, magnetized spine that hides a convenient phone charger. You can read all about Max and the lamps on the Hellolumio website

Max has had an interesting and inspiring journey and it's been a great success. It wasn't long ago that Max quit his job in an architect's office to follow his dream of designing and manufacturing useful, simple and beautiful objects for us all to enjoy. Since then he has had  a successful Kickstarter campaign, created TED talks, gotten financing through appearing on the TV show Shark Tank, and is selling the lamps in many Museum shops. I recently contacted Max to ask if he would consider contributing a lamp so that I could show it with it's historical precedents in my upcoming exhibition. He generously agreed and came in person to deliver and demonstrate it to the delight of the book conservation staff. If you want to read more about his journey, follow the links in this post.

Here's a few links about Max and Lumio:

Max's TED talk:

Shark Tank video:

Interview with Max:

Monday, February 9, 2015

Loving Blookish Valentines Day Thoughts

Dear Readers, 
I think that you are my Valentines this year. Love to YOU! 

Maybe these blookish Valentine's Day cards will inspire you to make Valentine cards or artist's books in time for the big day.

There are book-shaped greeting cards for many occasions, but since we are on the brink of Valentine's Day it's appropriate to show a variety of images of vintage cards that I found over the last year and encourage you to explore love and the book. 

The foredge clasp makes Love to My Teacher appear to be a diary with a strangely narrow spine. I can see having given this to my first grade teacher Miss Alice Schill, who was very loving. I don't think I ever got in trouble for talking too much in her class. She always remembered me, even through high school. It makes me think of her now. 

Next is a blook Valentine that is a Telephone Directory for the Loveland-Heart Disrict, in two binding variants. I like the straight-forwardness of it, with a twist of humility, and also the sub-district list of intense emotions. The promise of bliss is tempting. I might have left out hate, freeze, despair and jealous on a Valentine card. It's not very poetic and it might put the recipient in kind of a spot. 

Here it is in another binding variant. 

I like the cards that show people and objects hidden inside the book and peeping or tumbling out. His heart may be an open book, but it looks like she's got hers pretty heavily defended. I guess he has to captivate her and get her to come out of that book. 

All genres of books appear on Valentine's Day cards. I like the use of a secret code book in the one above. I'm all for clarity. 

A traditional southern belle featured on a set of romantic novels (I assume from the heards and lace), waiting for her beau to arrive. 

I Want You For My Valentine. Love can be tricky and it's best to go slowly, or know how to run fast. Watch out for predators, no matter how fuzzy or handsome they appear. I don't feel comfortable knowing that they hide in books! Does this mean the cat is smart but the mouse is notThis looks like a reference book, I hope the mouse can read.

Your Face is Like a Book postcard, by Fox. Hmn?

"Leaf" Me Be Your Valentine might be a stretch, I don't think it means anything, just a silly play on words. This indicates an unfocused or confused lover.

My Heart's An Open Book is a common sentiment or metaphor found on many blooks. Much more sincere than the fox or cat cards. I would like to be this kitty's Valentine.
 Booked to Be My Valentine feels very organized, a sign of a dependable or committed lover, it's in print after all. 

 The Sweetest Story Ever Told; You're My Valentine. Very sweet indeed. This title, or variants of it is common to blooks -- A Spicy Story, A Sweet Story and similar titles are on many Christmas candy boxes and spice sets.