Car-stalk: verb. Not quite driving, more like letting your wheels free-roll at a close/awkward distance from someone that has the look that says, “I’m gonna give up my clutch parking spot!”
Success. Walking home, near the corner of 22nd and Dolores, I saw a store and within this store I saw books and after the books I saw a lovely lady and the lovely lady waved and smiled and from there I didn’t need any other cajoling. She had one of those smiles, the kind that transcends boundaries between one person and another and belongs to a general someone that brings comfort. Her name is Paulina Nassar.
The store is Press: Works on Paper. The books range from small press
indie gems to rare art books. The store is small but the space has been
utilized to its fullest potential, obviously the work of an adept
curator. Upon entering there is a large selection of
stationery that is displayed alongside wrapping paper with exquisite
patterns. I, for one, would rather frame this paper than in any way
alter it with my poor wrapping, sullying pretty.
If you’re looking for the secret stuff, the print-on-demand books you will be hard-pressed to find in other bookstores, look no further than the middle table. Ask for recommendations and this is what you shall receive. Are you looking for a stapler in the shape of a clown? They have it. A book of William Eggleston’s photography? Or perhaps the work of Wingate Paine accompanied by text from Fellini? These, too, they will have. A poster book of quilts, you say? Check.
The merchandise and books change often. I should know. I go around twice a week. I’ve given Paulina Nassar and Nick Sarno, the couple that owns the store, quite a bit of money that probably should have gone toward rent or food or other life necessities. But, really, who needs food when you have Kenneth Patchen, Jesse Ball, Noah Cicero, and Rimbaud?
The first time I bought a book from Press: Works on Paper, I was asked
if I would like it wrapped. A roll of brown paper was on the counter as
well as a spool of twine.
“Oh, yes, please, please do wrap it up!” I said/shouted this.
Few bookstores still take the time to wrap books. If you read and buy books and have ever had your book (not a gift book, a book for you) wrapped in brown paper, you know exactly what I am talking about. If you do not know, consider this an assignment: Go to Press. Buy a book. Have said book wrapped in brown paper and tied with twine. Now, do something cute with it like put it in a straw bag with a bouquet of flowers, a loaf of French bread, and a wheel of cheese and go to a park. You should, perhaps, have a dog in tow. Unwrap your new books slowly. Hark! You’ll hear an angel sing!
It came as no surprise to learn that there was something else Nick and
Paulina did to make Press: Works on Paper completely badass. They host
bookbinding classes. A perfect accompaniment to my wrapped books would,
naturally, be a hand bound journal. So, I signed up. For a mere 75
dollars you are provided with binding materials and a new skill. I did a
little shopping around, and in comparison to other classes, this is a
bargain! In addition, it is a small commitment – just one evening.
I made the familiar walk to Press for the 7 p.m. class on a Wednesday. I was greeted with cookies and beer. First thoughts: Don’t mind if I do/So far, so good/BEER AND BOOKS. I immediately entered into conversation with Nick (the owner) and the evening’s instructor, Jennie Hinchcliff, about ideas for future events in the store. There was a palpable energy behind Nick’s ambitions. The store is new. His ideas are fresh. Good things, interesting things are brewing. Stay tuned.
Jennie is a bookbinding teacher at the Academy of Art University. She is in possession of one of those infectious effervescent personalities. She is lively, but without that tinge of ingratiating chipper. You know what I mean, I am certain. She had an abundance of jokes and witticisms. There were moments during the class in which I found myself a bit lost. It took little more than my looking up at Jennie, eyes wide, little pleas of HELP. Jennie would swoop in, undo my sloppy stitch and guide this lost lamb back to the herd.
I sat at a long table, engaging in conversation with interesting people. I was across from a graphic designer who already had bookbinding knowledge. The girl had skills. I found out about all of the paper stores around town. There are many. I now know where to find neat stamps, stickers from Japan, and Scandinavian stationery. Crafting sages surrounded me. I also learned about a type of high quality paper that is called Foxy. It’s the good, expensive stuff and it’s made in Italy, which makes it sound that much better.
When folding the paper of your journal to create signatures (the individual sections of your notebook, all sewn together to create the whole) it is most desired to not have the edges uneven. You must fold slowly, tucking in the paper, to make that even edge. This is called “eliminating the creep.” This is something that I do every time I ride Bart. Despite difficulties in other book binding departments, I can, certainly, eliminate the creep.
The class came to a close. It was supposed to end at 10 p.m., but we all seemed to not want to leave. Jennie graciously provided us with extra materials for more at-home journal making. I will admit I think I need Jennie when I’m making journals. My kettle knots are all off and I ripped part of my signature when I tried to replicate my journal made in class. Alas, I do have one piece of bragging material, my Jennie-aided journal.
I am writing in it in a microscopic print in hopes that I can make this journal last. After all, I do need it when jotting down notes from my brown-papered books, while sitting in the park. I hope I don’t ruin the quaintness when I accidentally eat the whole baguette and fall asleep, only to awake to strange tan lines and covered in bread crumbs.
The moral of the story: Visit Press: Works on Paper. Buy a book. Go see Nick and Paulina. Tell them I said hello, although they likely saw me yesterday.
If you want to get hands on, try out one of their classes. On October 18, Jennie Hinchcliff will be back to teach students how to make "spooky books" for Halloween. On October 26, you can learn how to layer images and objects to create shadow boxes with Courtney Cerruti. Classes are $75, but sign up fast, because they're limited to 15 people.