Monday, 15 May 2017

Handmade artists book - continued

I started on this book journey here.  You might want to pop back and have a look at how things started out.

And this isn't exactly a 'how to' tutorial of a blog - when I get into the groove I am shocking at recording the process as I go along.

So bits are missing.

The covers for instance - they started covered with white gesso like this.

Along the way there was Arylic paint (colours) and then Infusion inks to provide depth.  But I cannot show you the transition as I went along. I simply did not document it.

At this point I left the covers for a while. Not finished but the next steps were not obvious. So I turned my attention back to the pages.

The pages are each a little works of art in themselves. Some take a long time to complete and I leave and come back to them - dabbling here and there until I am satisfied with the composition.

And in truth, I started with a clear vision of the way it would develop, but along the way got a bit 'blocked'.

Then suddenly - just as I was beginning to despair - it all unblocked again and I ploughed on.

There were tags - they were in my pile of goodies just waiting for this moment (indeed I moved house/studio with them! That is how long I have had them).

But they needed a bit more help.

One of the things that was part of the "progression" was the words.

I knew this book would have words. I did not know what the words would be. Was it going to be a narrative?

In the end, it became clear. Almost 'mini poems' began to spring out from some assorted words snipped from a vintage book that had provided some of the background to the pages.

You can see in the photo above some of the words on the work table and some positions on a couple of the tags.

And another image which has been waiting for the right time is this little print (on the left side above) from one of my very early print sessions. (it was a collograph plate! but at the time I did not know that). This motif has come out time and again. 

You can see it in a couple of my finished embroideries if you go to the Gallery page here. 

That combination above was just meant to be. 

Other pages also began to settle into place. 

The central panel on this page below is a painted book page, mounted on felt with squares of inked maps ( saved from a previous project) machine embroidered into place.  This was then glued onto the page and a running stitch of decorative 'wool' added to the edge. 

This page isn't finished but you can see the composition coming together. 

And a jumble of ingredients. 

But this spread below is also coming together. 

When I'm going for it I make one hell of a mess. A chaotic corner of the work table. 

But the chaos can lead to order. 

This one is a double spread but when I assemble the signatures it's unlikely to stay side by side. 

This last page took ages to come together. The middle panel is a book page coloured with a stencil and infusion inks, then mounted onto another piece of paper and machine embroidered, including a thread of wool captured on the left hand side. 

But suddenly the little collaged paper circles popped up. And suddenly the page is beginning to look very successful. 

So one more hurdle to cross - finish the cover, assemble the signatures, bind the book. 

Oh wait - that's three hurdles! 

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Handmade artist books - beginnings

New books are beginning to emerge.

It's been a while since I've made a 'book' and I have a bit of an itch. 

There is so much going on ( quilts, lampshades, sketchbooks) but I felt I really needed to start another handmade book - or two. 

This photograph sets out my base ingredients for the covers - Boneo dog biscuit boxes, brown paper and calico.

I find card from boxes such as dog biscuit boxes is better than the more flimsy cereal boxes. It needs to be tough enough to take the glue and to dry without curling. 

I always cover the box with brown paper. It does wrinkle slightly (despite using a brayer to smoothe the paper down) but the slight texture is what I want. 

I then use calico to add a bit more texture. I don't want raised areas - just subtle texture.

There is no mystery to the glue I use - I can't get my head around the various brands of PVA on the market, but this Hi-Tack seems to do the trick. 

And it's the same with all the various brands of gesso. Does anyone have a favourite gesso and if so, why? I just move from brand to brand and then forget the benefits of the previous brand. This particular one seems very smooth. 

Once all this wet media is dry it will be time to add a bit of colour - and possibly a bit more texture with gesso through a stencil.   I will mull on that.

Meanwhile I've been going some thought to the pages.  The colour palette just a seems to present itself. Here I have mono printed some dictionary pages using a gelli plate and Fresco Finish acrylic paints, and then added Infusion inks to meander their way across the paper.

I've also found some tags. I decorated these a while ago and they have been waiting for this moment I feel. 

Then I started to build up pages (here I am using beautiful textured paper acquired at an artists 'garage' sale, monoprinted with acrylic paints) and the leaves are painted vintage book pages stitched with free motion embroidery.

Vintage book page backed with wadding for 'texture' and lift (will add interest to the final assembled pages)

Tissue paper spray painted with highly diluted acrylic paint. This was actually in my paper stash from a couple of years ago.

And it is all beginning to take shape.

I leave you suspended here. I will be back with the next stage.  I need to gather my thoughts at this point. That, and tidy up!

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Sketchbooks - the practice continues

I cannot promise it is daily, but the practice does continue. 

Not rocket science, just the idea of having a handy, easy to reach bag with a few very simple supplies. 

Not all the pages have been successful. 

But it's a sketch book, not a work of art. Lets not beat ourselves up. 

Some pages stay a bit underdone for a while - just a sposh of colour while waiting for a kettle to boil. 

But then they lead onto better things. 

They can languish for a few days! But, as I said, let's not beat ourselves up! 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

A brilliant idea ( I mean really brilliant!)

One of those "duh - it's so genius ideas!"

I like to think that Annabel Rainbow is a bit of a quilting friend. We have only met a couple of times, but when we have I have had a lovely, warm glow. 

Now Annabel is a mean quilter! But none of those twee blocks from her. Oh siree no! Her quilting is a bit radical. She paints incredible ( and in a way, slightly subversive) portrait quilts. 

Now Annabel works with the equally lovely Laura Kemshall to produce Through Our Hands

And they've persuaded the Festival of Quilts organisers to have a very simple portraits gallery at FOQ this year. 

And this isn't any old gallery. This is where the genius comes in. You (yes you!) can do a portrait to hang in the gallery. And there are no rules about the medium you use. It will be very interesting to see the range of styles. 

Ok, you say, but why is this such a brilliant idea. 

Well - first of all, it's in aid of Save The Children. And second of all, you won't get your portrait back. Instead there will be a shuffle and you'll get a random portrait back - you could end up with something from a famous artist. 

But, I'll stop waffling on. Rather than me banging on go over to their dedicated Blog to read all about it, and maybe sign up

ps - if you want some inspiration pop over and have a look at Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.   She has been doing a lot with faces of late. You might have to hunt around her blog, or have a look on Instagram, but you might be inspired.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Visit to the Bramble Patch

Hilary Beattie runs a workshop called Sanctuary, and I was reminded of this on a recent Saturday when I popped up to The Bramble Patch, at Weedon in Northamptonshire.

This is because the Bramble Patch was, for a few years, my sanctuary - my happy place. But I really don't do much quilting now and I'm as likely to be found sourcing my materials in a Charity shop, so my visits to quilting shops are few and far between. On top of that they tend not to host the workshops I want to do. 

So, for all those reasons it had been a few months since my last visit. And in those few months there had been a few changes. 

First of all they've built a beautiful new conservatory on the front and made a tea room. 

And look, you know you're in a quilt shop. Quilts hanging over the back of all the chairs. 

And they sell cake ( I had delicious walnut cake on my visit). 

Oh, but it's also a fabulous fabric shop. Possibly the best quilting fabric shop I have been to.

Now I could have gone a bit mad on the fabric front. But I was very self restrained and simply bought a few spools of thread, some more pins and some plain black cotton that I want to use to edge a quilt. ( Which I will tell you about when it's done.) 

But if you're in the area do pop in. 

The Bramble Patch is in a village called Weedon, about 15 miles north of Milton Keynes and west of Northampton. It's not too far off the M1 so if your on a journey you can easily slip in a little detour. 

Do go! Great for fabric addicts - and did I mention the cake? 

( By the way, I forgot my camera so these photos are from their website. But it really did look just like this!)