Sunday, October 29, 2017

you've come a long way baby...

many years ago i took a book-binding course in vancouver

it was a fabulous day, folding paper, making signatures, covering bookboard, working with book cloth, learning how to glue

the result was a lovely little little hard-bound book

the only thing i didn't like about it was the way the book block was cased in - we had to cut slits in the spine and then thread the linen tapes (or ribbon, in this case) through the slits, pulling the book-block firmly against the spine and then tying bows

i hated the look of the bows so after the class i undid them, tied knots and cut the ends short

which proved to be a dumb idea as they keep coming undone

the frayed knots can be seen quite clearly in the photo below...

for years i puttered at book-binding, improving my techniques with advice gleaned from here and there but i wasn't satisfied - they weren't as good as i knew they could be...

whilst in london this past spring i was generously taken about the city by a kindred spirit who knew all the best places to go for textiles, ribbons and trims, and paper

first stop was shepherd's book-binding

"oh to be in england in the spring-time"
especially if i could be here...

 the selection of specialty papers is astounding and though i did treat myself to a few, i was really after actual book-binding tools

i did find a few of those and in addition, i treated myself to a very good book of proper book-binding techniques

over the past few weeks i've been working my through the various lessons - not difficult but definitely daunting

i've made a pamphlet book, a single folio (signature) hard bound book and now this

 a hard-covered, rounded-spine cased-in book

and i smocked the spine!

 i've long admired kate bowle's books 

especially her smocked spine ones

they sell almost the minute she posts them so i finally decided i would attempt my own but before doing that i wanted to learn how to make a better book

 first i learned to smock - several amazing tutorials on the internet helped a lot, and after a few trial runs, i got it right

 then on to the book-binding techniques, working my through every stage, patiently waiting the days and hours for glue to dry, papers to press, over and over and over again

and then came the day where i had to glue the spine, round it, cover it and cover it again

breathe deep and jump in

 thrilled is an understatement!

next up is to learn head bands which will be the icing on the cake

i have all sorts of plans for these new skills, the first of which is to make myself a 

"book of trees"

doing that was never on my radar but sometimes things in the universe conspire and if you stop long enough to recognize it, something wonderful might just happen...

the trees across the street from us, many of them 100 years old and more, have started coming down

 the first day was heart-breaking 

the thudding sound as they hit the ground in sections reverberated through the house - i couldn't ignore what was happening if i tried

over and over, one by one, they felled the first four

there's a pause now, until someone buys the wood and hauls it away

 and then the rest will follow

sad doesn't begin to explain how i feel, but they aren't mine and there's no choice in this

that evening i stumbled upon an online course coming up this month on making your own "book of trees" and i thought it might be just the thing to do to capture the memory and perhaps pay my respects

100 years is a long time

standing sentinel on that corner, the land falling away to the lake below

imagining the changes over time, the houses built, the people who walked by, children playing under and in them, climbing from branch to branch

the generations of birds that have sheltered there, year after year

they have stood there, in that same place, for a century and more, strong and silent, bending but never breaking

standing still, yes, and yet what a long way they have come

Thursday, October 26, 2017

plodding along...

a day, a week, a month and then two
i wouldn't have believed it if you'd told me

this month especially has flown by
the leaves are yellow and red, glorious against the bright blue sky, falling at the barest hint of a breeze

winter is not far off...

fall is without doubt my favourite time of the year, especially when it's slightly damp and there's a wooded area to walk through... smoke curling in the sky, peek-a-boo views that have been hidden since spring

i try and get out for a walk every day and though i easily managed that in the summer, this month tells a different tale
it isn't daily right now but it's as often as can be and i love it
i do my best creative thinking when i'm walking outside - just need to start carrying a pen and paper with me so i can jot some of that "brilliance" down - ha!

stitching time has been all about little pieces, tiny bits that are fiddly beyond belief but give very satisfying results

i am making cards these days, to sell at the shop where i work part-time, and have been experimenting with a few different things
below is the first one i did and though i love it, i won't be making them to sell there - for what i'll get paid, this takes way too long to do so i'm working on a simplified version

i do love little houses though, especially those made out of fabric so i'm working on a re-vamp of the design, simplifying it, wanting something equally as charming but a little quicker - maybe one house will do the trick?

I'm also wanting to make some abstract ones, cards that aren't necessarily seasonal or occasion-themed

art cards i guess

that idea is still percolating but has been fueled by something else i made a while back

the piece below is all sorts of tiny scraps of silk and lace, loosely stitched with a simple grid and now cut into three pieces

i've done a bit of stitching on one of the pieces already but am thinking that it might be worth trying out a few ideas on one of the two remaining

i love the colours and all the textures, the looseness of it all
and how fragile they feel in my hand
stitching on them is a huge challenge but i am reluctant to try and stabilize them in any way as I just don't want to detract from that soft fragility

careful experimentation then, with a light hand

i will be back, with more to show, and sooner rather than later...