And A Ribbon Ran Through It 4

And A Ribbon Ran Through It 4

The French Link stitch can uniquely engage the ribbon in fun and functional ways.

The French link is a beautiful binding that links signatures (gathering of folded pages or sections) and creates an open spine book through which a ribbon can weave.

WEB3Covers transformed with decorative paper, chain link stitch above and below the French Link stitch which is sewn over the ribbons.

WEB1 WEB4 WEB5 WEB6Fun book for preschooler with foam sheet pages, Eco-fi felt covered covers, and thick ribbons for durability. Extra cuts in the felt allow the ribbons to weave through the front and back covers, adding visual interest and texture.

WEB1 WEB2 WEB3 WEB4The “Honey Bear Brown Book”! Ribbons used for closure ties and detailing, as well as under the French Link stitch.

WEB2 WEB4 WEB7Using ribbons here for closure ties, under the French Link stitches, and to create the first letter of the young recipient’s first name.

WEB1WEB2WEB4WEB5The imagery on the ribbon supports the “outer space” theme of this book, while the double closure ribbons flow and waft.

WEB1a WEB2 - Copy WEB3 - Copy WEB5 - CopyThree French Link stitches over ribbon creates greater stability. Matching closure ribbons add a touch of whimsy.

WEBa“Humble Materials” sample, practicing the French Link stitch. I often love these models or samples…perhaps because they are done in the spirit of exploration, learning and discovery and feel free and inventive.

Here’s to learning, invention, freedom, with a bit of whimsy thrown in for good measure!

In my book, the French often know how to do this best. Go for it…The French Link Stitch! Use those ribbons!

Linkage: How I Learned to Love to Link

Linkage: How I  Learned to Love to Link

The French Link

WEBbI recently learned the French Link stitch in a class, and then almost immediately made 7 books using it. I had struggled with the structure in class, and felt sure that if I could just sit down far from the maddening crowd in the relative sanctity of my studio, I could get comfortable with this process, and be on my way to mastering it. The little model above is my first solo flight, and it was fun, and gratifying.



















The Brown Bear Book. A Gift. For a Brown Bear. Made of paper, board, ribbon, Eco-fi felt and hemp cord. Five signatures, or sections, or three folios each. The “x” is the French Link.





















My book from class. Fun use of paper.


And maps. WEB4WEB5This book is composed of seven sections of four folios each. The links are created over the ribbons, which are then inserted through slits in the covers, glued to the inside of the covers, and then in this case, covered with paper.










Getting daring, I employed three ribbons on this one, inspired by polkas dots, linking four sections of three folios each.


The inside was fun.WEB4

There are some nifty-looking sites and tutorials out there that deal with the French Link, so i feel confident that should i need further support, it will be easy to find.  I hope this post has whetted your appetite…you have to love this stitch…its French! C’est si bon!



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)




Green, The Right of Spring (For Mom)





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






Pure Joy.

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.

WEBa WEBb WEBcPainfully Animal

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.

Books3: Bookmaking, Artist’s Books, and the Art of Emptiness

Books3: Bookmaking, Artist’s Books,  and the Art of Emptiness

I love to take materials that I have..either saved, given, or just sort of showing up in my life, and set myself the task of weaving them together into unique/one-of-a-kind handmade “artist’s books“…sometimes literally weaving.

The books below are single signature bindings, a signature being a gathering of folded pages, as the marvelous book artist, teacher and author Alisa Golden would put it.

To give the books more heft, I sewed boards, several of which already had holes in them, (because the were backings for sketchbooks, and that’s how the drawing paper was attached…through those holes), to the insides of the covers. Other materials were sewn where they seemed to need to be.

Animal“, repurposed board, paper and business card folder, hemp cord, ribbon.WEBbWEBa

BookShow“, repurposed board, paper and business card folder, hemp cord, collage.WEBaWEBb

Like White on Rice“, repurposed board, paper and business card folder, hemp cord, ribbon.WEBbWEBa

There is an intentional emptiness in these pieces. There is very little text in or on them, and the pages are primarily blank. They aren’t made to be written in either.  They just are. A pure exploration of materials floating through space, bound together, literally, by hand.