still out of sorts – and a little purple

So I am still struggling to get down to work. I am feeling wooly and vague and TIRED. I must get some work done, deadlines are looming but I find myself just day dreaming and staring at the materials or watching the wind rustle the leaves in the trees outside the studio.

Saturday it was too hot to even think about being in an attic, so I went outside to dye paper for one of those projects I should be working on. I did manage to dye about 100 sheets in various shades of purple, along with my arms which weren’t covered by my gloves (poor planning on my part). The paper looked amazing blowing on my laundry line.

drying on the line

Then I thought I might give paste papers a try. I had some cellulose paste and all this paper. I have never tried making my own paste papers before and even though I had instructions I wasn’t really sure I was doing it right and I really didn’t like the way they were looking so I gave up. I made a huge sticky mess. I hung up my failed attempts to dry (I just can’t throw paper away) and chalked the whole thing up to experience.

Later that evening, after a great steak on the grill and some Johnnie Walker Red Label, I figured I had better bring the paper in as it was supposed to storm, and I was surprised to find that as they dried the papers became less ugly (or maybe that was just the scotch!) I am still not happy, even for a first attempt they are dismal, but I guess I should have stuck at it a bit longer and persevered. It seems from looking at the final result that I didn’t use enough paste, anyway – if I have bought paste paper from you in the past, don’t despair – I will still be buying it from you in the future. But maybe I will sign up for the next class I see. Clearly there are some things I could not figure out from my printed directions that might be easier to learn from a person. Anyhow here are some pictures of my sad paste paper attempts.

OK – try not to laugh!

Then I spent a whole afternoon on Sunday ironing all that crinkly paper and watching Dr. Who reruns. I am hoping to get down to work on the actual project tonight after dinner, so maybe pictures tomorrow.



This weekend at the swan day event I had out some of my page meditations, I do so many of them that I am always a bit surprised by peoples reaction to them. So many people who stopped by exclaimed that they had never seen anything like them… They have become like breathing to me, a way to loosen up, switch to studio gear and really listen to the materials. I love to just sit with a page and see what swims up out of the text.

So, this past week when I wanted to experiment with a new book form (new to me that is) I grabbed some pages from a readers digest to play with.  This book with wings is from Making Handmade Books: 100+ Bindings, Structures & Forms by Alisa Golden. (I have an earlier book by her, and I love her diagrams.) To make it you start out with squares of paper, then fold the corners in to the center.

After I had folded several pages and had a feel for how the book would look, I decided to go ahead and work the visible part of the page.

Which is where the idea came from to alter a whole story from the reader’s digest in this way and make a digest-ed version. And like all of my ideas, it seemed like such a good one at the time!! Each altered page takes 30-45 minutes to complete, and the story had 50 pages without illustrations, so now I am at least 25 HOURS into this project, not counting time for cutting and gluing!

I love how it is turning out, but as I was working on the altering I felt like it needed some stitching too, so stay tuned… more developments to come! How do I get myself into these things… did I mention I need to finish it this week, as it will be hung in a show next week? Yeah!

a quick plug

As regular readers know my oldest daughter is a senior fashion design major at Kent State in Ohio. This semester the seniors will present selections from their senior lines at a school sponsored show for the industry, family & friends. This years seniors are also opting to out on their own show also, where they will be able to show their entire lines. They have a location, a DJ sound lights etc, but are looking for sponsorship to offset the cost of printing… if you would be interested in making a donation of any size, please contact me!! If you are interested in learning more, they just started a blog here. And if you live in the area, go and support them on the day of the event! We can even meet in person maybe, because you know I will be there! I am proud of these guys for taking on this huge task in addition to the creation of their lines, and their regular course work. I think it shows the kind of determination and initiative they will need to survive in the creative industry the are heading to!! Love all you Kent State Fashion peeps!!

radiolarian and some paper too

This week I watched the AMAZING documentary proteus by David Lebrun. If you haven’t seen it I absolutely recommend it – it is one of the most visually stunning things I have seen in ages. Really!

It absolutely made me want to abandon my current book project which of course I can’t do as it has to leave for the UK in a few more days… but in the meantime I am dreaming of radiolaria!! They are so beautiful… and organic. I showed the video in my 3D class and we are now making projects inspired by the images and ideas in the movie. I will post some images when we are done!!

Also my paper swap arrived from Karen in Australia! There was all sorts of fabulous-ness inside, again another creative distraction when I really should be finishing that book… OK blogging is also procrastinating from finishing the book too. I hate working to deadlines. The projects never cooperate when they are being rushed….

still here

So for all who have inquired, I am still here, I am still feeling totally swamped and I have a lot of new work going on in the studio, just don’t seem to be able to find the time to make work and blog, and with so many shows coming up this year I just feel like I need to get in the studio. I did decide to cut my hours at the print shop, and I guess I am still sitting on the fence really, afraid to let go of my security blanket but becomingly increasingly stressed as the days go by.

I am still working on the books from my card swap partners, above are two little tiny baby board books, featuring card swap ephemera. I am also working on some bigger pieces for various shows, but none of them are camera ready yet!

On a happier note just want to take a few minutes out to brag on my baby who won an internship in a “sew-off” this weekend, you can read more about it here and here is a picture of her winning dress! I am so proud of her and how hard she is working to make her creative dreams come true!!

beginning again – day 1 – tada!

So if anyone is still awake you noticed I missed yesterday’s post, I was too busy trying to finish the DisCo project, and after many mis-starts here is the finished object

front cover

inset into the front cover is the most moldy piece of paper to make it through intact, I covered it in resin to preserve the decay then hand sewed it into the fabric covers (made from a scrap of left over upholstery fabric, the most neutral thing I could find).

As I had mentioned, it rained so much here that the whole bundle was ridden with mold, I baked and then froze the pages to try and kill as much as possible, then I varnished all the pages with multiple coats of poly. Many of the original book pages had been laminated together by the water exposure, so I sewed them shut as one page with the machine, I left all the threads just because I like the way they look, and I felt it fit the whole theme. That left me with individual pages and I knew I wanted to do a sewn binding, so then I scrabbled the order, flipped some pages upside down even, and made signatures by using little strips of binding tape, tea dyed because all I had was white.

here’s a view of a couple of inside spreads

inside 1inside 2

I had originally thought that I would do a Coptic binding, but I was concerned that even with the tape the paper would be too weak to support the spine’s weight, so I decided to do an exposed spine buttonhole binding instead. Yeah! that seemed like a great IDEA, but I had never attempted one with an unsupported fabric cover, or without measuring and marking the holes, so it is pretty sub par, but has character, I made three attempts that I ripped out, before just deciding to let go of my vision of perfection and let it be what ever it was.

buttonhole binding

I am so thrilled at how this has turned out! So thrilled in fact that I have decided to use this piece as my entry for our faculty show this year. The gallery assistant Colin will be thrilled that it is small and will NOT require a team of large guys to install (although secretly I think he enjoys the challenge!). You may have noticed that I titled this post beginning again, and here is my plan…

The work isn’t due to the gallery for another month, I am so in love with this book I want to work on it more, so I propose to work everyday on the interior, solving my boring blog challenge by just posting images for you to enjoy until it leaves for the exhibit. I am just going to hang out and meditate with my scrappy little book for the next month, although I’ll be working on other stuff too! I hope you all feel this was worth the few extra days…

blog revisit, another great idea from the altered page!

buried treasureSeth Apter over at the altered page has a new idea up his sleeve, today bloggers all over will be re-posting their favorite post, a revisit. So here is my favorite, these posts are all about the things I think about when I am hiding out in my attic with all the dead girls from the past… and about the process of writing about art which is really difficult when your mind is a rat’s nest like mine!!

Sorry that’s quite a journey I just sent you on, I hope some of you stuck it out, and that it was an interesting ride!!

disWhile we’re talking about Seth, don’t forget that the big reveal for the second part of the disintegration project is fast approaching, the new works created from our weathered stuff will be making their debut on August 1st, so don’t forget to watch this space, and soooo many others too!! I wish I could tell you mine is chugging along, but honestly the weathered pages are so beautiful I am loathe to work on them lest failure occur!

too busy for words…

I have been online a little these past few weeks, but my summer is just flying by and hasn’t left much time for blogging. I have been checking in on all of you, lurking as Sheree calls it, but just haven’t had the energy to formulate something worth saying… I am getting a lot accomplished in the studio, mostly commercial stuff as I gear up for a few art shows in the local area, the first is this weekend, Art in the Woods, which supports the work of our local Audubon chapter, where I spend a lot of time, walking the trails and volunteering. If you live within driving distance its well worth a visit, just for their eagle Liberty alone!

My favorites are these piano hinge bindings with natural materials, these are bound with local grasses, in keeping with the ecological theme, they have hemp pagesgrassy note the fabulous old wood floor of my studio! and here’s a closer look at the bindinggrassy spine

this next one is for all of you who think my colour palette is too monochromatic!neonneon2

and here are some little jotter pads to keep by the phone, featuring some of that vintage wrapping paper I bought last yearturtle jotterbloommoth jotterthere’s so much more I want to share with you all, but tempus fugit and the studio is calling me back…


sara’s pocket book

letter EMy great friend Sara is a total type wonk, and I love her dearly! We took some classes together during our undergraduate years and then both ended up in England doing our Master’s at the same time, although at opposite ends of the country. We worked as graphic designers for the same company for a short while, I miss sharing an office with her, but she has gone on to bigger and better things in the big city (NYC) and left me behind here in the burbs! Anyway when she left I made her a book of “pockets” to hold all the crazy lists she always has about her person. She emailed me recently to say it had died after many years of patient service, so this weekend I made her a new one… it turned out so well I started several others, I don’t usually like  to repeat projects, I like my books to be one of a kind, but since the materials are all slightly different I guess it can slide… and they were so much fun. Only Sara’s is completely finished, but I’ll post pictures of the others when they are finished! Because of Sara’s love of all things type I themed her new pockets with beautiful old typefaces from multiple sources. I hope she likes it!