Spring Suite: Red Green Blue

Spring Suite: Red Green Blue

A series of single and multiple signature books….bound with the pamphlet stitch, and wrapped with “Eco-fi“, a felt-feeling cloth made from recycled plastic bottles. Sewn with hemp cord. Pages made of acid-free drawing paper. Each made with a person or people in mind. Embellished with repurposed jewelry parts, charms, Eco-fi scrap,  and ribbon.

RED, Fire in the Belly (for Jane)

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Green, The Right of Spring (For Mom)

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Blue, Thinking About You, (For D and V)

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Pure Joy.

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We Wrote The Book: Notes From the Field1

We Wrote The Book: Notes From the Field1

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I am always amazed at the hunger people of all ages seem to have for not only making a book, but filling it. Often immediately. What they, You, fill it with, is called content. If you engage in this process,  you may find that the content of your book begins to resemble, uncannily, the content of your life. Or, it may just start out that way.

Whatever they, you,  fill it with, whether it be words, images, text, poetry, collage, drawings, painting, stitching, lace (!), the content created and the method, media and materials they, you, choose to use, inevitably expresses, and becomes part of, their, your, story.

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I encourage a method of “Found Writing“, which may be similar to “Found Poetry”, as the process often yields up poetic self-awareness.

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Makers simply respond to words, phrases and text they are drawn to, adding it to their book without self censure or judgment. The results are nothing short of remarkable: expressive, moving, and often a signpost as to the direction the maker is moving, or wants to move in their lives.

WEB1The “Flag Book” structure, invented by book artist Hedi Kyle, provides the perfect place for poetic text…

WEB2and images…cut up and reassembled in a new way through the book’s flag pages. Some content seems to be a message in a bottle, yielding up meaning as it is created and  contemplates, while some

WEB3 speaks for itself, in a very direct way. No second guessing  the message here, it would seem!

WEB2Above, students busily create envelope books, which will contain an invitation to their parents to attend our end of class bookmaking event…

WEB1Some brave souls share theirs.

WEB3Sticker letters are a hit,

WEB1and translate into the family activity, which employs the humble (OK- this is a fancy one I lucked upon in our local 99 cents store) file folder. You can use the manilla ones.

WEB2I usually insist on no tape,wanting the students to learn how to glue (UHU Glue Stics are a favorite- acid-free too) and sew, but do make an exception for the joys of washi tape!

In bookmaking, as in life, you can use just about anything to tell your story. It is all grist for the storymaking mill, whether you are conscious of it or not, so, why not get started???!!! You ARE the StoryMaker!

Winter Suite: Engaging the Warm Fuzzie, Again

 Winter Suite: Engaging the Warm Fuzzie, Again

Fascinated by the use of cloth, fabric, and textiles in the built environment, as well as a tactile material to use in bookmaking, I started using Eco-Fi “felt’, a fiber made out of recycled plastic “PET” bottles. In addition to reducing the amount of waste going into landfills, Eco-fi felt can be found in a range of colors, takes glue well, and can be a satisfying and even addictive material to work with.  The following comprise a series called “WinterSuite“, which to my mind, brings the “warm fuzzie” back to bookmaking. Did it ever leave? Books have always been our bedfellows, our constant companions, our friends. Now they can double as a security blanket, as well.

WEB3WEB5WinterSuite: Gray, multiple signature sewn book, recycled board, Eco-fi felt, hemp cord, pastel drawing paper, UHU glue. Diamonds made from corners cut from felt covers.

 WEB3WEB1WinterSuite: Blue, Single signature sewn book, recycled board, Eco-fi felt, hemp cord, pastel drawing paper, UHU glue. Diamonds made from corners cut from felt covers.

web1web4WinterSuite: Gold, multiple signature sewn book, recycled board, Eco-fi felt, hemp cord, pastel drawing paper, UHU glue. Diamonds made from corners cut from felt covers, blue appliqué made from repurposed felt scrap left over from WinterSuite: Blue.

WEB2WEB4WinterSuite:BlueBlack1, multiple signature sewn book, recycled board, Eco-fi felt, hemp cord, pastel drawing paper,  zipper, UHU glue. Diamonds made from corners cut from felt covers.

web1web3WinterSuite: BlueBlack2,  Single signature sewn book, recycled board, Eco-fi felt, hemp cord, pastel drawing paper, zippers,  UHU glue. Diamonds made from corners cut from felt covers.

WEB4WEB2WEB3WEB6WinterSuite: Pink,  Single signature sewn book, recycled board, Eco-fi felt, hemp cordUHU glue. Diamonds made from corners cut from felt covers. pages made from felt!

Comfort Object; “…an item used to provide psychological comfort, especially in unusual or unique situations, or at bedtime for small children.”  Let’s hear it for Linus!

Pushing the Envelope

Pushing the Envelope

Using the form of the envelope to create an artist’s book can be evocative, provocative,  crafty, conceptual, fun, somber, expressive, “artistic”, creative, engaging, and baffling. As with many artists’ books, the question can be raised, “What are these for? What is their purpose? Are they meant to be read, observed and perused, handled, shown behind glass?”  And in the case of the envelope book “…sent through the mail?”

I don’t presume to answer these questions, and can imagine another post which delves more deeply into them.  In this one, my  intent is to share a few of my own envelop books, the materials used in them, some of the motivation, thinking and feeling behind them, and let the observer draw their own conclusions, and perhaps becoming inpsired to explore, and even create one of their own.

Note: in this post,  we see books created in the form of an envelope…as opposed to books created from existing envelopes, which is a whole other story. Also, hemp cord was used to bind the sewn books, and acid-free UHU glue sticks were used as the adhesive for anything glued on all the books depicted.

WEBa WEBbCutting, Folding, Stamping, Sewing…

In this book, the basic form is cut and folded, and a single signature is sewn into the last fold with a pamphlet stitch.  A single rubber stamp image stamped in varying ways is used to develop and adorn the piece, and delicate handmade paper containing plant material adds a finishing touch to the pages.

WEBdWEBaWEBbWEBcLone Stories Connect…Discover “I Think I Can”…It’s Everything

In the piece above, the basic structure is cut and folded from a sketchbook cover, and the pages created by a concertina/accordion folded paper strip glued into its next to last section.. The collaged elements, ranging from printed material cut from magazines,  personal writing, repurposed corrugated paper, ribbon scrap and copied illustration images, tell a story of pain and isolation with the potential of redemption through connection and story.

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This mini book opens on four sides, with pages sewn in a single signature into one fold. Soft handmade paper is used both for adornment and  pages, attached with a running stitch which is threaded back into the sewing holes so that the two ends can be tied together. The single message greets the viewer right in the center. What does it mean? Well, ponder it for awhile, and notice your associations with the phrase, “Painfully Animal”. What does the term evoke for You?

WEBa WEBb WEBcMixed Media Envelope Book: Work in Progress

This mixed media message piece has been underway, along with a number of bookish siblings, for over two years.  It’s structure is cut and folded, like the first envelope book depicted in this post, and it’s graph paper pages stacked into a single signature, and sewn into the end fold with a running stitch as described above. The  painstaking, step-by-step process of developing the book’s content requires time and focused attention.

Every bit of image and text must feel ‘right’ in how it looks, what it evokes and where it is placed in the book. The ‘story’ that emerges, however non-linear, is discovered in the doing as much by the artist, as it may be later by the observer. Time itself is one of the most significant materials used, as such a piece can’t be rushed.

In these works, many aspects of the creative process come into play: patience and impulse, technique and tension, methods and materials, effort and evocation.

The medium of the envelope book may be on  a mission to become a missive to the outside world from the maker’s heart and soul, hands and head. If it gets a little heady, or crafty in-between, well, that might be just another aspect of this long strange trip we’re on.