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BEST book swap

>> Monday, June 28, 2010

One of the things I was most excited about upon joining the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team was participating in book swaps. A few months before I set up my Etsy shop, I stumbled upon the BEST blog and saw photos of the books submitted for a previous swap. I couldn't wait for the next one to roll around so I could be a part of it.

Each book swap participant is assigned a member to send a book to, and then each one will receive a book from a different member. I was thrilled when my book arrived in the mail. Along with a handwritten note describing the materials and process used to make it, my package contained this burlap-covered sketchbook from Katya of minusplusminus.

The book is sewn on raised double cords with sewn endbands. The wooden covers are covered in burlap which has been embellished with embroidery. The text block is handmade paper which she made from a variety of recycled materials, such as flax fiber, beaten jeans and newspaper. I was especially delighted about the leather and metal clasp that keeps the book shut. What a clever idea!

Since receiving and admiring my new book, I took a closer look at Katya's work online and I am a huge fan. She is originally from Ukraine and is now in grad school in Indiana. (Since I'm from the Illinois, I always excited to hear about people living in the Midwest.) I love the tactile quality of so much of her work and the unexpected pops of color, like the rosy pages in my new book. I'm especially attracted to her "Dirt Book" and her "Long Secret Book." She uses a few binding styles that I've never tried before, which I now feel inspired to learn. Please be sure to check out more of her work.


Etsy Shop:
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And while the burlap book was making its way to my mailbox from Indiana, I shipped this orange album off to Canada. The recipient of the book was Rhonda of myhandboundbooks. It's a Japanese stab bound book, covered with patterned paper and bookcloth and bound with matching ribbon. The album is the perfect size for 4x6 pictures with room left on the pages for captions. I've really been enjoying this bright, cheerful paper lately. It reminds me a little bit of sliced tropical fruit, which seems like the perfect summertime treat.


Shopping in C'ville

>> Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tony and I went to Charlottesville yesterday for lunch and to buy some papers for a custom order I'm working on. Aside from some sheets of solid colored lokta paper that I set out to buy, I also ended up coming home with four beautifully patterned papers from O'Suzannah and Rock Paper Scissors. I don't have any specific projects in mind for them yet, but I can't wait to get to work in the studio. Any suggestions for which one to use first?


Flashback Friday: "Cortona Clothesline" concertina

>> Friday, June 25, 2010

This week's Flashback Friday is a book that involves two different printmaking techniques, applique, embroidery, and, of course, bookbinding. As the title "Cortona Clothesline" suggests, the inspiration for this book came from my summer spent in Cortona, Italy. I began to love the daily sight of hanging laundry on lines strung from Tuscan mountainside homes. When I returned stateside, I channeled the imagery into my artwork.

These photos were taken in the courtyard behind the historic building where I lived in Cortona. After hand-washing our clothes, we would hang them here to blow in the breeze until dry. Can you imagine a more beautiful setting for laundry? When in Italy, even something as mundane as laundry day can create inspiration for years to come.

On both sides of the cotton rag paper that I used for the pages, I layered ink using the monoprint technique to create an expressive blend of rich blues and greens, inspired by the Italian countryside. I then transferred my drawings of women's garments to a woodblock to be carved. The woodblock was coated with a transparent blue ink and printed atop the monoprint background. Next came the hand sewing of yellow embroidery thread to represent the clothesline.

The book is bound in the concertina, or accordion, style. To create the covers, I cut out the shape of a dress from blue fabric and appliqued it onto green fabric. I hand-stitched clothespins and the line on the cover as well. This book is one in an edition of eight books. Each is unique, using different colors of ink and thread.

This copy of "Cortona Clothesline" is currently for sale in my Etsy shop.


A colorful quilt from mismatched scraps

>> Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Aside from a quilted Christmas stocking that I made as a kid (and which still adorns my parents' fireplace each December), I'd never done much quilting. Nor did I have much of an interest to. But during college I was blow away by the Gee's Bend quilts, and I also started doing more sewing of my own (thanks to this lovely book). When I saw that a quilting class was being offered through the local parks and rec department this spring, I jumped at the chance to take my sewing hobby to a new level.

On the first day of the class, I brought a bunch of colorful fabrics with me. Some were leftover scraps from previous sewing projects, some were given to me by a friend, and some were purchased at a fabric boutique on my honeymoon. I paired the mismatched prints together and hoped for the best.

In the end, I'm incredibly pleased with how it turned out. I finished most of the quilt during the four-week class, but I finally took the time to complete the hand-sewn binding (made from leftover fabric from my craft fair table cloths!) this weekend. Seeing it all put together is such a wonderful feeling, and the colors and patterns just feel so "me." I can't wait to use this quilt as a colorful wall hanging in our apartment, and maybe sometime in the (very distant) future it will get some use as a baby blanket.

After finishing my very first quilt, I feel inspired to keep quilting. I plan to participate in Rainbow Around the Block, a volunteer project aiming to provide quilts for families who lost their homes during the recent flooding in Tennessee. People from all over the country are making 12 x 12 quilted squares and sending them in to textile artist Anna Maria Horner. I'll be sure to post pictures of my squares here as I get started.


Trading at Art in the Park

>> Thursday, June 3, 2010

On the first day of the Art in the Park festival, I was pretty much glued to my booth. It wasn't until Sunday that Tony and I took turns strolling through the park and seeing the work of the other artists. While I was wandering about, I had the pleasure of meeting Jayme Driver of Harrisonburg, VA who creates handmade sterling silver jewelry. We struck up a conversation, and when she found out that I was a bookmaker she suggested that we make a trade.

I ended up trading her a handbound photo album for a beautiful pair of earrings. I think we both left the fair absolutely thrilled with our new acquisitions. I, for one, couldn't be happier. I love the three-dimensional circular shapes, and the variety of colors made by the patina. Plus, the earrings fit in perfectly with the rest of my jewelry collection. I've worn them three times this week already, and I think I might wear them tomorrow as well. I'm sure this is just the beginning of years of enjoyment. Thank you, Jayme, for suggesting this trade and for sharing your lovely work with me!


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