Monday, December 31, 2012

Travel Journal Page Flip

I finished the Venice portion of my travel journal yesterday and made this page flip video.  In the afternoon I printed out all the photos from my trip to Italy in 2007 that I want to include in the rest of the journal, and got them organized to be added.  I'll finish it off today -- nice way to end the year, finishing a project that in one sense has been in process for five years!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

L-O-N-G Book

I finished this book yesterday, that's been on the drawing board for a month or two.  I'd covered the boards a while back with perhaps my all-time favorite dye-painted linen/rayon fabric, printed five years ago (when I had enough space to handle a couple yards at a time).  I got a lot of mileage out of this cloth.  What better way to immortalize what was left than to cover a book.

The book is 6.5 x 11.5 inches.  The 22 inch max folio length necessitated some major sewing, which I did with variegated black & white thread.  It has a sewn tapes long stitch binding.  The tapes are out of the same fabric -- see the white-edged tabs glued to the covers in the photo above -- fused double and quilted.

My idea for the book was largely to use up dark-patterned glossy scrapbook cardstock that was included in a pad of same I bought several months ago.  I'm not keen on the glossiness or the fact that it doesn't fold well because the coating flakes off.  For me the best use of that stuff has been to color copy it onto plain cardstock.

Anyhow, I gathered all of that paper, added a number of black & white collages I did over the last few years, some non-glossy dark-patterned paper and a couple of black printed commercial transparencies, and voila!  Click any of the photos to enlarge all.

I'm at that place of realizing that the book itself, like this one, IS the art.  It doesn't have to be used as a journal at all.  And this one likely won't be -- although it's always possible, regardless of how dark the pages are, what with white gel pens, light colored paper stickers, add-ons and fold-outs, etc.

A note about the sewn tapes binding, which was the first binding I learned, via Mary Ann Moss's Full Tilt Boogie online class.  It requires more pre-planning than other binding methods because 1) the signatures are exposed on the spine (as they are with Coptic and other exposed-spine stitches), and 2) the outside folios of each signature need to be glued to each other (unless it's a very small book) to hold the book block together.  If you're using two-sided patterned paper, you need to decide which sides will be glued together and which will show.  If you're using one-sided paper and you want to glue the white sides together, then you've got to line the spine edges of the outer folios with something else, unless you're happy leaving the spine white...which I'm usually not.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Art, Being, Doing

I'm no longer into exhaustive annual reviews, but year-end is still a good time to look back over the year to see what worked and what might not have.

I didn't have any goals this year, in terms of numbers.  I just aimed to enjoy what I do and go with the flow.

In terms of numbers, however, I made the same number of art quilts as I made in 2011 (22 each year) despite the fact that in the earlier year I had creative goals of one sort or another.  Hmmm, interesting.

But in 2012 I also shifted directions and began doing mixed media and book arts -- and I've produced quite a lot of work in this arena.

So I'm mighty happy with 2012, creatively and otherwise.  And I didn't have any lists of things I hoped to accomplish, didn't have a word for the year that I hoped to live into, didn't have any carrots dangling in front of myself.  Which just goes to show that when you're listening to and following your heart, good things happen and there's no falling short of anything to feel bad about at the end of the year.

I've become quite the devotee of the school of paying attention to what shows up in life and taking cues for action from what presents itself ~ an enormous shift from trying to make things happen, which is what we're all taught to do.  In fact, if we're not out there trying to make things happen, trying to manipulate life to give us what we think we want and need, we're considered freaks -- eccentric, anarchic, people who just won't (or can't) get with the program.

And that's just it, we're NOT with the program because the program will run us into the ground and suck us dry for trying to achieve things that are simply not meant to be or necessary for our happiness.  I just wish I woke up to this sooner.  But no regrets.  A lot of folks never get it.  I'm glad I did.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Winter/Spring Shabby Journal

As promised to myself, last weekend I made the cover for my Winter/Spring 2013 shabby journal (and I still have pages left for another journal).

This time, instead of making a slipcover for the interior Peltex, I fused shiboried vintage linens inside and out, edge stitched the book, and then quilted and embellished it.  Journal is 9x6 inches.

The first photo below shows the inside cover, and the last shows the inside back cover.  I've used a favorite early collage, torn in half, instead of more traditional end papers.  The rest of the spreads are pages that I made last summer.

The tie you see isn't stitched on yet -- I might use ribbon instead.

I've been working daily in my Venice Travel Journal, keeping up with Mary Ann Moss's daily postcards and photos.

That journal is already too thick, and I just started filling it.  I'll have to remind myself not to over do it in future when I create sewn pages with foldouts, etc.  It's easy to make too many pages and not leave room for the natural expansion that happens when the journal gets filled.

Have a happy Boxing Day, if that means anything to you!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Little Gift Book

I had a commission over the weekend to create a small gift book for a friend's daughter-in-law.  The book is 4.25x5.5 inches, has over 100 pages of 60# paper, the signatures are wrapped in polka dot printed paper.  The binding stitch is Carets, from Keith Smith, and the embellishment on the front is handmade, hand printed paper.

Sending my warmest wishes to you for a lovely holiday, whatever it is you celebrate -- hope you have a wonderful week.  There's nothing at the local theater that I want to see on Christmas Day (meaning Lincoln hasn't come to Fortuna yet), so I'll be renting a couple movies today, a splurge in itself since I see very few movies any more.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Triple-Chain Trio

I made a trio of triple-chain stitched soft cover books yesterday.  They're samples for the workshop I'll be teaching at the NorBAG meeting in May.  The difference between the three lies at the top of each, on the left in the photo.  Minor variations.  I'll likely teach the middle way (isn't the middle way always better, in every domain of life?).  That's Keith Smith's original triple-chain stitch. 

The top and bottom covers are scrapbook cardstock -- wish they were just a bit heavier.  But I did sew a contrasting strip of paper at the edge of the front and back in both instances.  The middle cover is watercolor paper that I painted variously, over a period of time, and it's quite sturdy.

Have a good weekend.  It hasn't stopped raining on the North Coast in close to 36 hours.  The Eel River at Fernbridge is expected to rise to low-monitor stage over the weekend -- could be worse.  But it's really wet out there.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Italy, Then and Now

I finished constructing my Italy travel journal yesterday.  I had a great time working on it.  The journal is 7.5 x 9.5 inches and has three signatures stitched in with the Diamond X stitch.  This stitch requires sewing in all three signatures at one time ~ it was actually pretty easy, once I got past the first couple of sewing stations (holes on the vertical).

The spine was created with wallpaper, the same stuff inside and outside.  There are four layers right on the 1.5 inch spine. 

I'm dedicating the journal to my paternal grandparents, Ben and Sara Berk, who were in Rome in March 1953 -- yep, 60 years ago next March.

The journal has a lot of stitching in it -- every page, actually, except maybe two -- because each folio had to be up to 18 inches long to accommodate the horizontal covers.  And there are close to 30 pockets of one sort or another inside.

Last night we arrived in Venice and today it's a sunny blue-sky day -- or it's now evening Wednesday in Venice although I woke up less than an hour ago on the North Coast.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Roll Your Own

This is the mess of innards that will be assembled into my Italy Adventure travel journal.  Despite the focus on Venice -- which I'll likely not ever see with my own two eyes -- I'll be including bits & bobs and photos from my trip to Florence/Umbria/Lake Como in 2007.  The covers are the two pieces of board currently covered in mattress-ticking paper.  Finished journal will be 7.5 x 9.5 inches, horizontal.

I wanted to show you some things I've prepared for inside the journal.  You may be interested in doing some of this yourself at some point.  First, above, this is one way I've been creating clear pockets for some of my journals.  I cut a page protector in half width wise, then stitch scraps of paper and/or fabric along three edges with decorative stitches.  These will be included along with other folios of paper when I create the signatures; the folded left edge of each will be bound right in to the journal.  You can also make them narrower and stitch right onto individual pages.

We have a limited accessibility to cool scrapbook cardstock on the North Coast -- most of the stuff available at the three stores is not my cup of tea.  So I just started color copying the few things I do like that I purchased, onto plain or light colored cardstock.  I'm also copying patterns onto the back of cardstock I bought in pads, sheets that are usually white on the back.

And these three images are transparencies or overlays I printed yesterday.  The patterned papers are underneath.  I used acrylic paint to stamp and stencil right onto transparency sheets.  I have a box of Apollo which I bought several years ago for image transfers, but which, at the rate I'm going, I'll never use up for only the original purpose.

These overlays can be folded in half and used as folios, or cut and stitched to create pockets or use over photos.  Cool, huh?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Too Much of a Good Thing

I've been hanging out in one of those overloaded-with-possibilities head spaces ~ so much I could do, so much I want to do, hardly know where to put my foot next...  The mud will undoubtedly clear in the next day or so, this is just part of my creative cycle.

I've had to let my body be my guide lately ~ after three days of mostly only hand stitching last week, my back bothered me for another few days.  So I haven't gone any farther on that project.

Then I'll cut and tear paper for the better part of a day, and my hands will ache for a day or two.  And so it goes.

Anyway, my plan is to complete Fiberactions' January 15 challenge project in the next day or two if I can, before "leaving" for Venice this Saturday with Mary Ann Moss.  There's still room in the class if you've got a hankering to spend the holidays in Venice creating a travel journal right along with Mary Ann while she's plying the canals in a gondola on behalf of the rest of us. 

I haven't yet completed my shabby Autumn Journal -- have given myself until New Year's Eve to finish that.  I do like the idea of a seasonal journal ~ my next one will be a Winter/Spring Journal.  The stitched pages (to be written on later) are complete, I'll just need to make another shabby journal cover.  Maybe I'll get to that during my holiday staycation -- which is actually happening right now but I keep thinking of as a future thing.  Because I'm on permanent staycation anyway, so it really doesn't matter.  It's just a head game I've been playing with myself lately.

Other projects for my staycation ~ more paste painted papers, more painted papers period, monoprinting with the Gelli plate I've had for several months and haven't used yet, and deconstructed screen printing on paper.  Will I do these?  We'll see.  I'd like to, but I haven't done much printing since I moved into Rose Cottage over two years ago, because of the limited-space-to-spread-out factor. 

Another interesting aspect of trying new things:  the lag time for me ~ between when I first see some media or product or tool I want to experiment with, then have tried alternatives and possibly found them lacking, then have decided I can afford to purchase whatever it is, then have actually bought and received it ~ is usually so long, that I'm often onto other things by then even though I've finally bought this goop/tool/whatever.

It's laughable, and I KNOW I'm not the only one this happens to.  When my conspiracy-theorist self is doing its thing, I can fantasize that this is the plan, by the corporate creators of all the goodies we artists use and lust after.  As though they're saying to themselves (or their shareholders), "Let's just create more and more incredible stuff that everyone thinks they need to have.  Whether or not they ever use it is NOT our concern."  Indeed.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

At Long Last...

Finally, I received my copy of the latest Art Quilting Studio, in which several of my best quilts are featured -- and right up close to the front of the magazine.  I can't tell you how honored I am to be part of the group whose work is featured in this issue ~ women like Rayna Gillman, Gerrie Congdon, Arlee Barr, Natalya Aikens, Katherine Sands, Gloria Hansen and others ~ all fantastic quilt artists who do inspiring, cutting edge work.

Art Quilting Studio did a terrific job with the article, and the images are wonderful.  Incidentally, I provided the images myself, rather than having to send my work to southern California to be photographed.  I'm really happy with the way they look in print.

If you're an art quilter or have designs on becoming on, and haven't seen the magazine yet, I highly recommend buying a copy.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Recycled, Squared

I spent some time on Sunday hand stitching new bottoms on a couple pair of polar fleece socks.  These are the only socks that really keep my feet warm during cold weather.  Despite the fact that I knit, and that I've enjoyed knitting socks, I do not like to wear handknit socks ~ they bother the bottoms of my feet regardless of how finely they're knit, and animal hair (wool, cashmere, alpaca et al) inevitably itches.

It's well known at this point that polar fleece is made from recycled soda bottles.  I like supporting that, a lot.  What I haven't liked is that these socks, which cost a small mint, wear out as quickly as (possibly more quickly than) traditional socks, commercial or handknit.  And yet throwing them out and replacing them, because they simply cannot be darned like traditional socks, just doesn't make sense, especially if you're into recycling in the first place.

I considered making myself new fleece socks, but the ones I already have are fine everywhere else than the bottoms, primarily the heel, and I just can't jettison them.  So I am recycling my recycled socks.  I have another two pair waiting for their new bottoms to be stitched on.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Stitching Days

I have days when I don't feel like doing anything but hand stitching.  This week has been like that thus far.

I'm working on another ecodyed quilt, this one smaller than the last, and filling it with running stitches.

Running stitches are meditative.  And I like being able to accomplish something without having to make design decisions.  It's good for the soul to get grounded by repetitive activity sans a lot of thinking.

Although these are also great times to mentally sketch out next steps on other projects and new things to undertake.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Black and White and Read All Over

"Whole Earth Catalog" book, 4.75x5.5 inches
Recently I found a copy of the millennium edition Whole Earth Catalog at the thrift store, and knew I wanted to make a book with the pages.  There are enough pages to make a small library, as you probably know.  I'm sure many of us grew up with the WEC as a bible of new age, green, counter-cultural resources. 

Coptic bound using hand spun hemp thread

I used random pages from the catalog, covering all manner of subjects, and bound them in with the text running alternately horizontally and vertically.  I didn't intend for the pages to be written on.  The paper is a bit thinner than preferable for writing or drawing on, but heavy enough to hold up well to hand binding.

So, no function necessarily.  Except to be a cool hand bound book.