Friday, August 31, 2012

Coptic Stitch Book

I made a Coptic stitch book yesterday, using old collages to cover the board covers and the outside folio on each signature ~ so that the spine would be decorative.  Coptic stitch is a common way to hand bind books, creating horizontal chains of thread that link the signatures together.

The finished book is 5.25 x 4 inches.  The white pages inside are the backs of the collages; the rest of the paper is kraft cardstock.  I used size 8 perle cotton doubled and waxed for the sewing.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A New Challenge

This is my last book from Mary Ann's Full Tilt Boogie class.  The innards of the journal are a six-page frame block from that vintage album I was gifted with recently.  The covers are from the original art journal I started five years ago that I never got very far into, nor did I like the paper...so not long ago I dismantled that spiral thing in order to use the pages elsewhere, and the covers were just hanging out waiting for a new use.  This collage was done five years ago as well.

The frame block will be a bit of a challenge for me to use.  I'll likely cover over the frame parts in most instances and just use the pages as heavy substrates for art journaling.  We'll see what develops.

The new challenge for me now is to use these handmade journals ~ and toward that end I will shortly be launching into another class of Mary Ann's, Remains of the Day, her art journaling class from late 2009.   I want to get a few other projects out of the way -- like finishing my Fiberations challenge quilts for September 15 reveal -- before I launch into this.  Meanwhile I'll keep working in my two current art journals.

A few more words about the journal above.  The spine covering is fabric.  After gluing on a strip around the edges of the frame block and the two added covers -- which I jerry-rigged together with tape and waxed linen thread -- the spine didn't have enough heft for me.  So I took another piece of the same fabric and fused quilt batting to the underside, then glued that on top of the original fabric.  Now it feels like a solid spine/faux binding.  The dotted edges are smash tape.

Happy Day!  Summer finally came to the North Coast, by and large.  Just when summer is winding down on the calendar.  Par for the course.

Friday, August 24, 2012

In the Journal

A few months ago when I began art journaling, a dear long-time reader asked when I'd upload images of same.  At that point I was very hesitant to share my journal pages, largely because I didn't feel confident that my pages were good enough to share.  Now that I've kind of developed my own style, I'm okay with showing them.  I'm also doing this to encourage those of you who may feel as I did, that anything goes in an art journal.  Whatever floats your boat.

I'm currently working in two journals -- a spiralbound sketchbook, and an altered book.  Before working on pages in the sketchbook, I gesso the pages to make them heavier and so they'll accept wet media (the original paper is text-weight).  With the altered book, I tore out every 3rd or 4th page, then glued two pages together with matte medium throughout the entire book.  Makes the pages heavier, and removing pages allows room for the remaining pages to expand, which they will when you've added paint or collaged on them.

Mostly, I like creating pages with patterns on them, either with stencils, stamps, collaged papers, acrylic paint, etc., and it isn't important to me whether I subsequently write on the page.  It amounts to creating small art page by page in a book format, so disregard the fact that it's a journal, especially if you're thrown to thinking that journals need to be written in.  This was a hard one for me to get over, primarily because a lot of well-known art journalers do a lot of writing on every page.  But it's not necessary if you don't want to do it.

I love experimenting with acrylic paints in the journals.  I love creating backgrounds with whatever colors speak to me in the moment, then digging through my box of collage fodder (different box than the one I use for my other collages) to find elements that will work on the painted page.

I also love using scrap or blotting papers by themselves, glued into the book and worked over.  Actually, I love the whole thing!

I have a loose intention to create at least one journal spread a day, but I rarely do.  Sometimes I'll do two spreads, occasionally four, and often days will go by when I haven't even done one.  That's okay.  There are so many options of things to do that it's often overwhelming ~ should I paint? stamp? stencil? collage? what colors? etc.

Another thing that stopped me from starting at first is that I "can't" draw -- which really means I don't want to take the time to draw.  Many art journalers are terrific at drawing and I felt daunted by what seemed like the need for me to draw and watercolor paint in a journal.

The bottom line is, you can do whatever you want to do.  You don't have to do what anyone else is doing.  Make it your own in every which way.  Whatever turns YOU on.  That's what it's all about (and you thought it was the hokey pokey, right?)!   

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Two New Books

I completed two books yesterday as third-week projects in Mary Ann's online class.  The focus was on chain stitch.  This first book was an old novel that I removed the book block from.  The spine was in okay shape but I decided to cover it.  The spine cover panel is hand dyed and printed cotton fused to muslin, with decorative machine stitching on the edges.  The chain stitching holds six individual signatures.  The book is 5.5 x 7.7 inches.

The second book was a technical drawing textbook that had its book block removed.  The cover and spine were in great shape but not to my liking.  So I covered it with one of my best pieces of shibori fabric.  The binding is triple chain stitch, holding in just three signatures.  It goes so well with the shibori pattern that you can hardly see the chocolate brown waxed thread.  This book is 7.5 x 10 inches.


I see a lot of books in my future covered with hand dyed shibori fabrics.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Studio Tips

I received my new Japanese hole punch on Thursday...the difference between this good one and the cheap one is like night and day.  Now I want to punch holes in everything!

Here are a couple of studio tips to pass along ~

If you do a lot of gluing, use an old catalog or phonebook.  Lay your piece to be glued on one page, and after applying glue, simply turn the page for the next piece.  Great way to recycle those old papers and not have to deal with individual pages with glue on them.

When you first open a plastic jar of something -- medium, paint, gesso, whatever -- coat the threads on the jar with petroleum jelly.  You'll never have a problem opening the jar after that.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Journals and Journaling

Finished this little journal yesterday ~ it measures 6.25" square and features a sewn tapes binding.  The cover fabric is ecodyed linen, and I fashioned the tapes with ecodyed cotton printed with textile paint that I rolled over a rubbing plate under the fabric...then doubled with fusible webbing between, and free motion quilted.

You can see some books in process behind the journal in this photo.  I'm awaiting a real Japanese screw punch from Bonnie's Art Tools in Georgia.  It should be here later this week.  If you plan to purchase one of these hole punches for bookmaking, don't make the same mistake I did ~ I purchased one for $19 at eBay, and it turned out to be a knock off of the real thing.  The real deal costs upwards of $60 including a set of punches with different size holes, and will cut through leather, book board, numerous layers of paper or cardstock and likely a lot of other things.  The knock off required at least two dozen punches to maybe make a sufficient hole, and the tool kept falling apart as I used it. 

I punched the first two signatures in the journal above with the el cheapo model, but badly, since I had to take the four-folio signatures apart, down to one or two folios, just to get a hole.  By the time I got the sigs back together, the holes didn't line up well.  I finished the project with a T pin and heavy yarn embroidery needle as I'd done with my previous books.  So I learned that with some things, you do need to invest in the best tool available.  These tools are available elsewhere besides Bonnie's, and including Dick Blick ~ but the best deal price-wise, considering that a full set of hole sizes is included (6 or 7 punches) along with First Class shipping, is currently at Bonnie's.  So I'm glad to give them my business.

So, I'm getting quite a collection of cool handmade books and journals, but I've yet to use them.  Except for one little book I made a few weeks ago that I quickly filled with zentangles.  I'll likely take that book apart (it wasn't a great construction to begin with) and affix the drawings to pages of another journal.  I'm good for writing journals at the moment, with hard cover spiral bound grid paper journals that I bought several of a couple years ago.  And I'm still working through my first two visual or art journals -- one hard cover spiral bound with plain paper that I gessoed, the other my first altered book begun in Tammy Garcia's online art journaling class.

I'm not journal writing as much as I used to, but had for many years.  At one point a few years ago when I first began my huge life downsize, I threw away 30 hard cover journals, which dated back to 1979.  And I'm only in my second one now, since the toss out in 2009.  Prior to 1979 I hadn't journaled regularly in a few years, although it was a terrific high school English teacher who started me along the path in 1966.  Journaling got me through some really tough places in life...and still does, when I have deep things I need and want to explore on my own.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My Little Black (Board) Book

I made my first board book (think children's board books) at yesterday's NorBAG meeting/workshop.  Presenting the workshop was Ellen Golla, book artist extraordinaire.  The papers I used to cover all the boards were paste painted by me a couple months ago.  There's a really cool drop hinge on the back part of the spine that allows the pages to lay flat when they're open, yet the cover is taut when the book is closed.

And when I arrived home, a care package of delectable ephemera was waiting for me, sent by a dear online friend from North Carolina.  She'd promised some foreign language book pages, which are in the stack at the bottom right.  I had no idea all the rest of these treasures would be included.  I'm especially happy to have that vintage photo album, which in fact is what I "should" be using in Mary Ann Moss's online altered book and journal class that I'm taking...but which are simply unavailable in the relative boonies where I live and not in my budget to purchase online.  Thank you so much, Meg!

I have a couple of books in process that I plan to work on today.  And I need to start thinking about the next Fiberactions quilt, to be revealed September 15.  I do have my fabrics selected but haven't yet spent any time designing the piece.  Will get to that sometime this week.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

World History

My latest book began its life as a Book of World History, circa early 20th century, maybe about 1930 to be more precise.  Although the cover was in decent shape, it was kind of boring.  So instead of altering it, I covered it with discharged fabric.  I like the simplicity of it.  I'm really drawn to handmade books with all kinds of elements on them, but simple seems to be my modus operandi.

The project was to create a book with sewn-on tapes, like last week's, but with the binding hidden by the existing book spine.  As before, the book block is comprised of heavy drawing paper, book pages and bits of old wallpaper.  The book measures 8x11 inches and the signatures were stitched with waxed handspun silk.

I really love it.  I could become addicted to book making...oops, I think I already am!

Monday, August 6, 2012

August Mixed Bag

Mixed Media on canvas board, 8" x 8"
I had a great weekend.  Went in to Eureka for errands on Saturday (first time in 3 weeks) and what I hoped would be a good rummage sale...but it turned out to be a dud.  A blog friend recently posted photos from her excursion to a vintage mixed media sale ~ that's always what I imagine yard sales will be up here on the North Coast, but no dice.  There are a couple of better yard/rummage sales in the fall here, but everything else, including the 8 to 10 thrift stores in the area, is really hit or miss.  Anyway, I do enjoy the thrill of the hunt.
 
Recent ATCs, each 3.5" x 2.5"

Yesterday a gal pal and I went to the annual open house and auction at Miranda's Rescue right here in Fortuna.  Largely I wanted to go because I donated several art quilts for the live and silent auctions and I wanted to see how they did.  I'm so glad I went, I absolutely love that place.  It's right across the Eel River from where I live, I see it almost everyday, but I'd never been before. 

Miranda's is an animal rescue, adoption center and sanctuary.  In addition to cats and dogs, they've got large and small birds, rabbits, ducks and geese, horses, ponies, alpacas, a llama, sheep and goats, donkeys and burros, and even emus.  The grounds are beautiful, the animals are all happy other than that the small animals would probably like forever homes with new owners.  But if they had to spend the rest of their lives at Miranda's, they'd have the best of everything, including the love of countless volunteers.  Needless to say, I was and am impressed with the place.  And I'm hoping to be able to spend a couple hours with the kitties each week.

Hope you have a great week!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Slice 'N Dice Du Jour

Warm Breeze on a Starry Night ~ 27" x 17"
This is my latest quilt, completed yesterday, called Warm Breeze on a Starry Night.  (An alternate name could be Blue Moon, but I think I'll stick with the first...although I just learned that there will be a Blue Moon this month, on August 31.)

The quilt is 27x17 inches, comprised largely of commercial fabrics with some hand dyes in the mix, machine pieced and hand quilted in the ditch.

I began with two sections of stitched fabric strips several weeks ago, took a break to do other things, and came back to the quilt last weekend.  Then worked right through to completion over the last five days.

Now it's back to book arts and art journaling, until I start working on Fiberactions' September challenge, color triad.  Unless, of course, I'm moved to do more quilting, which is not outside the realm of possibility.

Warm Breeze on a Starry Night, detail

Wednesday, August 1, 2012