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January 26, 2013

Bookbinding: A New Project for 2013

I LOVE books - all books - and always have.  It is probably the reason that I gravitated to sketchbook/visual journal art when I was getting close to retirement. 

I decided to recycle orphan books when I couldn't find watercolor sketchbooks that I loved.  After several years I broke down and took a weekend class to learn how to make a traditional cased-in book - cover and all.  In the last 5 years I expanded my bookbinding adventures, sometimes from information online, other times from projects with my friends Pat and Gwen.  But I still hadn't explored some of the oldest and most common bookbinding methods.

This year I plan to do a little research on specific bookbinding methods and to practice making books exploring some of the variations.  I have reference books here in my personal library and there are many websites and videos available - making this a good DIY project.  

The book project for January was coptic stitch bookbinding and so far I made two books using two different variations of the method. 

Book 1:  I made the cover using bookcloth I made from fabric I painted, and filled it with my favorite watercolor paper.  The bug was painted in a class by Judy Coates Perez using Tsukineko ink thickened with aloe vera.  The back cover was made with fabric I made testing a new batch of procion MX stock solutions.

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Book 2: I also made a smaller book, using decorative paper for the book covers, and card stock for the pages.  I am using this book to collect all of the information about coptic stitching that I want to remember and to document the methods that I used. 

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Plan for February:  Long Stitch with leather wrap covers. 

A tutorial for recycling orphan books, and all of my prior projects can be seen in the Bookbinding Category in the right column on my blog.

January 13, 2013

Two New Books

I am taking an online class by Mary Ann Moss called Ticket to Venice.  There are many videos demonstrating a bookbinding technique to make a travel journal.  And she demonstrates 3 different bookbinding stitches, of which the double diamond is the most advanced.  Plus there are PDFs, Printables, Blog Entries, and More Videos during her actual December vacation in Venice.   

I took the class to learn how to make the book and to enjoy another trip to Venice for 2012.  I kept a travel journal and watercolor sketchbook during our visit in May - and I wasn't disappointed when Mary Ann took us around with her in photos and videos for Venice in Winter.

Most class members made travel journals, but I have 2 books of watercolors from my recent visit, so here is the book I made.  I used a $1.00 orphan book for the covers and tex libris book cloth for the spine.  I want to use the book for more figure drawing practice and bound 3 signatures of drawing paper in the book.

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There is one stitch that is a little catty-wampus and I used pre-folded paper from my stash and it is slightly small for the size of the covers.  But the book opens flat and I really enjoyed making it.

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At the same time, I made my 3rd Mary Ann Moss Remains of the Day book - from her class which I took online two years ago  Here are two photos of my new book.

The book cover is made from fabric which I made using a variety of surface design techniques.

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Here are similar photos of my first two Remains of the Day books.  I filled each of them with one year's photos, drawings, tags, tickets and other ephemera from my art adventures in New York City with my artist friends.  One is the diary from 2011 and the other is from 2012.

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These books become wonderfully stuffed - with collage, flaps, filled pockets, and dangling tags.  Here are the before and after photos.  The two finished books are on the left and #3 is on the right.

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December 29, 2012

Art Progress 2012 and Art Goals for 2013

Long Term Goals: Develop better drawing and painting skills on paper and with dye-painting and surface design on fabric. I am retired and developing skills in art gives meaning to my days - to play, have fun, be bold, and seek adventure!

My Short Term Art Goals for 2012 were to sketch and paint everyday and to blog twice each week.

Although I missed an occasional daily sketch, I frequently filled several sketchbook pages in one day. I kept one doodle book and multiple sketchbooks, including a chronologic visual journal, and individual sketchbooks for figure drawing and travel.

This year my biggest accomplishments were my travel sketchbooks - one created in Venice and the other during a 2 week trip to Berlin, Dresden, Prague, and Budapest. I was drawing "in the moment" and capturing the essence of our days. Before we went to Venice, I painted 16 of my 2002 photos from Venice for practice. It gave me the confidence that I needed and the practice of creating some of the texture of the buildings in watercolor. I used two 30 inch, accordion folded sheets of watercolor paper for this practice. Each strip could then be made into 2 folios for another cased-in, travel sketchbook when we returned.

And with a rare exception, I continued my twice weekly blog posts and on January 4th will reach the 7th anniversary of my blog.

1. I continued to explore watercolor as my main medium and loved Kate Johnson’s online Strathmore Workshop. I hope that she will develop her online watercolor mini-class or offer her regular watercolor class in 2013.

2. I bought 3 tubes of gouache in primary colors and did lots of color mixing and painting to learn how to add this medium to my paintings.

3. I tried acrylic paints with my friend Teri, learning about many of the possible additives and special techniques (i.e. molding paste, crackle etc). I probably won’t ever LOVE acrylic paints, but it is nice to explore them and play on a regular basis.

4. I sketched at least one Master work from each museum or gallery exhibit I attended to challenge myself, and just maybe improve my drawing and painting skills.

5. I took several other online classes: Self-Portraits with Jane Davies, Ticket to Venice with Mary Ann Moss, and Stencil Magic with Melanie Testa.

6. I made my own watercolor sketchbooks for daily use and recycled old books with watercolor paper for travel. As I was making the one for our Venice trip, I documented the process and posted it to my blog as a tutorial.

7. I really enjoy bookbinding and I’m thrilled with the Christmas Origami Tag artist book and second Remains of the Day book that I made and filled.

8. I met with The Central Park Drawing and Art Meetup Group and my friends Benedicte, Pat, and Teri for art adventures. And I went to the Society of Illustrators and the Battery Park City figure drawing sessions.

 

Goals for 2013: To sketch and paint everyday and to blog twice each week gives my retirement life some structure. But I need to add other new activities for inspiration and excitement. I love learning new techniques and then figuring out how I will use them. So I’m considering:

More classes - perhaps from Center for Book Arts and Society of Scribes as well as online classes

More bookbinding - perhaps exploring a new structure every month to give me some very specific goals.

 

December 14, 2012

Paintings of Christmas Ornaments

I made a 16 page Teesha Moore watercolor booklet to paint many of the Christmas ornaments I made for our family and friends.  Last year I posted several of the pages here and here.  I am still painting more ornaments in the book while the ornaments are unpacked and easily accessible.  Here are the next pages in the book.

Here is our fraser tree this year.  It is full of ornaments and I made 95% of them since 1976.  Each of our children have a full set on their family trees and each year now I give them enough for our grandchildren to start their collection.

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This is the painting on the front cover of my book. 

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And here are the four pages that follow the ones in the above links. 

This is a duck made on a big white jingle bell.

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November 24, 2012

Making New Artists' Books

Our Journal Study Group met at my apartment a week ago and made wonderful little Origami Tag Books.  The method was published by Lenna Andrews Foster in Artitude zine (issue 14 - maybe available on Etsy).  From left to right:  the busy artists are Pat, Teri, and Benedicte.

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Pat made one of these books several years ago and offered to teach us the method.  She made a new one while teaching us, so we were all very busy talking, laughing, cutting, folding, gluing, stamping, and writing.

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I needed to make 3 tags per page for a total of 21.  These were cut from card stock, painted with a variety of metallic paints, and then stamped.

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Here is a photo of my completed book - which measures 3.25 by 3.25 inches.

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These are the origami folded pages - which I stamped with my handmade fun foam stamps and gold metallic ink.  Along the edges I wrote the words from the beginning of "T'was the Night Before Christmas." 

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Each of us gathered materials from our stash, as our goals for the day were to learn the process.  Pat used her old monotypes.  Teri added collages to each page.  Benedicte stamped over every square inch of her pages using a lovely leaf stamp.  At this angle you can see my stamps and just a little of my gold pen writing.

The book can be opened completely and tied in a star shape.  A smaller book, with fewer tags, would make a lovely Christmas tree ornament.

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Here are the 4 finished books.  From left to right:  Pat's, Teri's, Benedicte's, and mine. 

 

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I would love to figure out how to add watercolor paintings to the pages, but I need to experiment with different weight watercolor paper. 

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