Sunday, September 30, 2012

Just Start

I made my first fabric book yesterday.  This is a direction in book arts that I've been wanting to venture in for a while.  Like most new things that I undertake, I've felt rather overwhelmed by the possibilities here.  But I knew I just needed to begin, with some idea/any idea, and then let it evolve from there.

This is truly a scrap book -- filled with scraps of paper and cloth, and constructed san souci.  The pages were stitched individually then put back to back with Timtex between.  The cover is merely two layers of fabric lightly fused before stitching.  Finished size is 5 x 7 inches.

There are innumerable ways to bind fabric books.  I simply stitched pages and cover together at the left edge.

It always works well for me to make a prototype of sorts when I'm trying something new...even if subsequent creations have little or no relationship to the first piece.  It's merely a starting point.

My next Fiberactions challenge piece, with the theme of neutrals, will be a fabric book.  And I have my idea in mind and fabrics selected.  I know that before I tackle that project, though, there'll be more experimenting with different options in fabric books.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Chain Chain Chain

Here's another triple chain-stitched book covered with upholstery fabric, completed yesterday.  The innards are collages, scrapbook paper and recycled magazine pages.

A word about recycled magazine pages ~ I've been finding an unusual assortment of magazines and magazine-style books at one particular thrift store recently.  So you might want to keep your eye on the magazine racks of your local thrift stores if you've a mind to recycle pages into handmade books.  Get the ones that have heavy paper.

Here's a sampling of what I've found ~
  • drawings of Richard Diebenkorn
  • a Japanese bluegrass magazine
  • Communication Arts
  • The Best of the Internet, from 1999
  • books of piano (and other instrument) music -- old sheet music is usually too brittle to reuse
  • European art magazines
  • issues of Hand Papermaking
  • an Arabic magazine of some sort
All great to use, all heavyweight paper which can be collaged or painted on, many pages with a lot of white space.

Have a great Friday!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekend Book

Last week an interior decorator friend donated no-longer-needed upholstery fabric samples to me to use for whatever.  I already had books in mind and wasted no time. 

I filled this book with orange-red patterned scrapbook cardstock and old collages to match, along with some pages from a European art magazine with art that also fit the color theme.  The visible folds of the signatures were covered with strips of another collage.  I love this sewn tapes binding.

What delightful weather we're having on the North Coast.  Yesterday I treated myself to breakfast at the Loleta Bakery, one of Humboldt's few European-style bistros, and very close by in the tiny town of Loleta overlooking dairy ranches (some organic) on the flood plain of the Eel River.  I really do live in paradise.  I love living in a rural area. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Launching Autumn

Happy Autumn!  This is my favorite season of the year.  And I plan to record whatever I can of it in my ready-to-fill Autumn Journal.  I sewed in the signatures yesterday and also added stuff to the inside covers.  I might embellish the inside cover flap later on.

The photo of me is from 15 years ago.  Deep sigh ~ I wish I still looked this good...but, oh well.  In my mind's eye I still look like this, and I'm even letting my hair grow out now although it's unlikely it'll ever be that long again. 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Shabby Journal Pages

You might be wondering why I've spent days and days making pages for my shabby journal (ala Remains of the Day).   Each page is rather a work of art in itself, created before the signatures are even stitched into the journal.  And after binding in, these pages will serve as templates or backdrops for recording details of daily (or almost-) life...including photos, snippets of goings on, street papers found, etc. 

I'm planning to have two signatures of eight folios each in this journal.  But like most other fun things, once you start making pages like this, it's really hard to stop.  I have enough finished pages to bind into three journals!

Mary Ann makes journals like this prior to her semi-annual trips abroad, and largely fills them up as she travels, day by day.  Great concept, isn't it? ~ instead of having to start from scratch with a blank book when you get home.

But I don't travel, so my intention with the first of these journals is that it become my Autumn 2012 Journal.  It'll be ready to roll this weekend, when fall officially begins.

Don't miss Remains of the Day.  It's one heck of a fantastic class, brimming with creativity that will keep you busy for a very long time.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Not Too Shabby

This is the shabby journal cover I made in Mary Ann's Remains of the Day class.   Journal is closed in photo at left, and open, below.

I deviated from her instructions a bit, by using Peltex inside the slipcover instead of heavy paper.  You could also use Timtex or Fast2Fuse, any of the heavy heavy weight interfacings, and it doesn't matter if they're fusible or not.

The outside cover is a piece of discharged cotton with scraps and small pieces of other discharged fabrics free-motion quilted on after I put the interfacing inside.  The inside cover is white fabric with tiny black circles -- you can see a tiny bit of it at the bottom of both photos.

Today I'm starting to make pages for the journal.

Re: the concept of shabby, it's hard for me to get really shabby...or it's something I need to work on.  Even my "shabby" pieces look quite-well made.  But that's okay ~ I love this journal cover.

A lot of my handmade fabric is relocating from quilting fabric piles into a new book arts fabric pile, especially the small bits and pieces that I never managed to fit into a quilt -- like the pieces in the journal cover.  

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Why Stop At Just One?

Variations on a Scheme 1 ~ 19 x 12.5"
This is reveal day for Fiberactions latest challenge ~ color triad.  The colors I chose are red orange, yellow green and blue violet.  All of these pieces are machine pieced and hand quilted.

Variations on a Scheme 4 ~ 22.5 x 12"
The slice & dice process was so enjoyable and fun, that once I'd designed one piece I literally couldn't stop.  Partly, too, it's because when you start out with a piece of stitched fabric strips and keep adding and cutting, you're left with a bunch of new ideas and possibilities.  And you just keep going.

Variations on a Scheme 2 ~ 19 x 12.5"

I'm probably ready to put this technique aside for a while...but we'll see what happens with our next challenge.

Variations on a Scheme 3 ~ 19 x 12.5"
A few notes about the books I've been making ~ many of you have inquired about Mary Ann Moss's online class that I completed recently, Full Tilt Boogie.  Although I've responded to each of you, here's the link again, for those of you who are interested but haven't let me know. I very highly recommend Mary Ann's class.

There is a ton of more formal bookmaking material available through books (I recommend Alisa Golden's Handmade Books) as well as online via tutorials and classes.  I'm also learning a lot through NorBAG (North Redwoods Book Arts Guild) workshops from the numerous local book artists in Humboldt County.

What I especially love about Mary Ann and her classes is that she's an "anything goes" kind of gal -- my kind of artist.  There are no rules in bookmaking, no exact recipes to follow, no one says a book needs to be like this or like that, bound like so, filled with specific papers, etc.  Mary Ann's class gave me complete creative license to do whatever I want.  If the result has pages of some sort attached or bound in some way and covered with something, then it's a book.

If you're at all intrigued, definitely take Full Tilt Boogie.

This week I started on Mary Ann's earlier class called Remains of the Day.  I'm in the process of making a shabby journal of paper and fabric (I'm using Peltex inside my fabric cover instead of paper), and later will fill it with recycled paper/envelope pages, and then be using it as a visual journal.  All in THIS class.

And if I haven't said enough good things about Mary Ann and her online classes yet, there's also the fact that once you take her class, you have lifetime access to the videos and PDFs.  You can go back to them at any time -- they do not expire.  How cool is that?!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Don't Forget

A new Coptic stitch book, made yesterday.  This time I even got the stitch right!  This little book is 4" tall by 5" wide, board covers are wrapped in a collage, and the pages are all cardstock.

I have a stretch stretch goal of making a book a day ~ but I'd be happy with a couple a week.  It's such an enjoyable process, and I love that the end product is functional.  This might be the first time in my vagabondish art career that I've actually made something that has a use! 

For several decades I've noticed that my night dreams often fall into categories.  There's the Work Dream group, which I had scads of, especially in the year or two after I left a particular job (and including my very last job, which ended in July 2011).  And the Show Dreams, which were always related to my having been a vendor for a number of years at art/craft shows (often those dreams were about not being set up in time for the opening, a new version of those age-old dreams we all had about not being prepared for an exam at school).  And Conference Dreams, which were where work and show dreams came together.

And then there were/are the Art Retreat dreams, two of which I've had in the last few nights.  I love those, and I only wish I could remember the awesome art made therein by myself and others.  Last night's was about BIG art ~ someone was working in a hardbound visual journal that must've been 18x24" in portrait format.  Somebody else was doing something to glass that gave it a smoky color.  Someone else was using a torch of some kind.  I remember thinking, "Wow, this is all much bigger and more involved than I can do at home." 

Much as I'd love to work on that scale, those days have passed and I'm happy to be working on a small, manageable scale with my work.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Life Happens

I've been busy...and obsessed with completing my four Fiberactions quilts, which I did on Friday.  Look for the reveal this coming Saturday, September 15.  Who knows why I couldn't stop at one...or two.  Actually, I enjoyed the design process so much (slice 'n dice) that I couldn't stop at just one...or two.

Yesterday I schlepped all over Ferndale at the community yard sale, and only came home with some good old books to upcycle/alter, etc.  Left me totally exhausted.

I'm having a Trunk Show & Sale on Saturday, October 6 at Eureka Fabrics, in downtown Eureka.  Since I'm not selling my work online any longer (for all intents and purposes), I thought it would be a good idea to have everything available for sale in one public place locally.  Rather like a traveling Open Studio.  October 6 is also Arts Alive in Eureka, and I plan to be open for business from 1 p.m. til 9 p.m. when Arts Alive ends.

If you're in Humboldt and would like to receive an email invitation to the sale -- and you think you might not already be on my email list -- then please email me so I can add you to the list.

I started working in one of my handmade journals, albeit slowly.  I'm thinking of calling these "Design Journals" instead of art- or visual journals.  And this week -- possibly even today -- I'll be starting Mary Ann Moss's Remains of the Day online class.  Really looking forward to this.

The weather has's definitely fall.  We sure didn't have much of a summer here on the North Coast this year.  Now the mornings and evenings are cooler than they've been and I've begun turning the heat on in the morning for a bit.  We could still get a blast of Indian Summer, but who knows.

Have a lovely Sunday or Monday, wherever you are.