Sunday, November 06, 2005

Butterfly Magnet

The theme for our Imagine8 special projects this quarter was butterflies. This is one of my very favorite quotes, so I decided to use it to make refrigerator magnets. I wrote it out in the copperplate hand, then reduced it to 50% and photocopied onto cardstock. Each of these was cut out, edged with a Krylon Gold Leafing pen, and adhered to magnetic business cards.

I stamped the butterflies; colored them with Radiant Pearls; and attached the gold threads with Aleene's Thick Designer Tacky Glue. The antennae are made with black embroidery thread stiffened with Elmer's glue.

Chorus Revisited

This is the final rendition of the chorus. Again, I wrote on scrapbooking paper, but instead of coloring in the versals with Gelly Rolls, I filled them in with a Zig Embossing Brush Pen and sprinkled with purple moire embossing powder.

Fifth Verse

Here again, I began by painting the pages with metallic acrylic paint. I needed a lighter blue than came straight out of the bottle, so I mixed it with some silver. The insects were stamped and embossed on the sky paper, and the leaping froggy was a punch-out that I used as a stencil with sponge dauber and pigment ink.

Fourth Verse

I guess it's not very good form to make excuses for one's work, but this really does look better in real life. I almost hate to even show this picture, because it is such a poor rendition of the original. The background here looks like a dull gray, while it is actually the deep, deep black that you can only get from Golden's black gesso. I wrote the verse with white gouache, and added some dry brush swooshes in metallic colors.

Third Verse

Both pages were painted with metallic purple paint. The cross was a print-out that I chose because it had a nice purple aura in the background and the golden yellow is the beautiful complement of purple.

Second Verse

For the second verse of the song, I painted the book's pages with metallic copper paint. The verse was written on a piece of scrapbooking paper that seemed to go well with the photo of the nighttime fishermen.


I wrote the chorus on a piece of vellum with Dr. Martin's gold. I hand-stitched it across the top with iridescent thread in purple, aqua, and gold, and then attached it to the page.

1st Verse

This spread is for the first verse of "Lord of the Dance." I wrote it out in an italic variation, using Dr. Martin's Iridescent Copperplate Gold. I just happened to have this piece of scrapbooking paper in my stash, and I was amazed at how well it went with the photograph on the right side.

Lord of the Dance - Title Page

My Imagine8 art group met today. One of our ongoing projects has been an altered book round robin. For this session, I had Peggy's book. Her theme was dance. I decided to do my pages on the verses in the song "Lord of the Dance." This picture shows the title, which I wrote on a piece of lavender scrapbooking paper. The letters in the word "Lord" are versals (which are drawn letters, as opposed to written letters.) They got this name, because they were traditionally enlarged and used to begin verses in illuminated manuscripts. They were usually colored and/or decorated. In this rendition, I used a purple and an aqua Gelly Roll Stardust pen. The book's pages were painted with metallic acrylic paints.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Reading Journal Entry: The Secret Life of Bees

Some of my favorite books are ones written in a child's voice; not books for children, but lives seen from their perspectives. This is such a book. Lily is 14, and for ten years she has lived with the knowledge that she accidentally killed her own mother. She longs for any sign of love from her embittered father. The only affection she has in the whole world comes from Rosaleen, their housekeeper.

When these two find themselves in more trouble than they can handle due to racial bigotry, they run away to Tiburon, S.C.--a place that apparently had special significance for Lily's mother. They are taken in by three black women--sisters named May, June and August--who are beekeepers. Through calm wisdom and deep spirituality, August empowers Lily to come to terms with the hard truths of her past.

Short passages at the beginning of each chapter are quotes from books on beekeeping. These always relate in some way to what is going on with the human characters, although I often found it necessary to go back and reread the quote after finishing the chapter in order to see it.

Most of the book is written as an adolescent would talk, but there are lyrical moments such as this:
"I realized it for the first time in my life: there is nothing but mystery in the world, how it hides behind the fabric of our poor, browbeat days, shining brightly, and we don't even know it."

I had a picture of some bees on a honeycomb that I wanted to use. I planned to partially cut around the bees' bodies, so I painted my pages with FolkArt "Vintage White" to match the wax color. I wrote my review with a Pitt F pen. The title was written with black gouache, using a Tape 1 1/2 mm nib, while the author was written with a Nikko nib. I then sprayed with Krylon Workable Fixatif. I've found that on slick surfaces, it helps to hold the gouache in place. To tie the two pages together, I cut a stencil of honeycomb, and made a border with sponge daubers and Fresco "Golden Parchment" and "Tuscan Earth" inks.

I'm sorry my scanner made a checkerboard pattern on the picture. I've noticed that it tends to do that on browns, especially.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Inside 4-Needle Book

This shows an inside page in the book with one of the cover pieces extending to the left.
The calligraphic marks are some examples of form themes, ala Hans Joachim Burgert. I made them using a blue Pitt brush pen.

Front Cover of 4-Needle Book

4-Needle Book

This is the cover of a book that I made in a class this past weekend. Sharon Zeugin was the instructor, and she showed us this technique which she learned from Thomas Ingmire, who had learned it from a Japanese man.
Here's how:
1. Fold 3 signatures in half. I used 3 sheets of Arches Text Wove per signature, each 10"x13".
2. Take 2 cover sheets that are the same size as your unfolded pages. Fold each of these about 1" from one of the shorter sides. I used pieces of paste paper from Arches Text Wove that I had made in a class taught by Rosie Kelly.
3. Place the last signature inside the fold of the back cover. Lay the middle signature on top of the cover's flap. Place the first signature inside the fold of the front cover, and lay the flap side down on top of the middle signature.
4. Jog the spine to align all the signatures and clip everything together.
5. Come down about 1" from the top and lay two fingers across the spine. Mark with a pencil on either side of your fingers. Repeat at the bottom of the spine.
6. Use an X-acto knife to score the pencil marks across all layers.
7. Remove the clips and slice individual sections at score marks about 1/8" deep with the knife. Check to be sure it cuts through to the center page. Take care to keep the signatures in order.
8. Measure 2 pieces of waxed linen thread, each 2 1/2 times the length of the spine. (Heavily-waxed thread will help hold the needles in place when they're dangling as you work.)
9. Place a tapestry needle on each end of each thread, for a total of 4 needles.
10. Push needles from one thread through the 2 holes at the top of the first signature, coming from inside the fold. Repeat at the bottom holes with the other thread & needles. Try to keep the ends of the threads equidistant.
11. Attach the middle signature by sewing from outside of fold to inside. Then cross each pair of needles over and out their partner's hole to come back to the outside. Be sure your stitches are taut.
12. Attach the last signature & back cover by pushing needles from the outside to the inside. Tie the top 2 threads together with a square knot (rt. over lt & lt. over rt.), placing the knot over the hole that is nearer to the middle. Repeat with the bottom threads. Pull the threads perpendicular to the spine as you tighten them.
13. Take the bottom needles and lace under the top stitch, bringing each one underneath from opposite directions. Tighten and tie off in a square knot. Trim ends about 1/4" from knot. Repeat with other needles.
14. Score the cover extensions about 1/8" beyond the pages and fold toward the spine. You can glue the cover extensions at the top and bottom edges to form pockets, or leave them free to serve as book markers. By scoring the back one a bit further away, you can wrap it around and over the front cover, where it can be secured with a ribbon, a paper belt, a button/string closure, etc.

This makes a very sturdy book, and is fast and easy to do. You can add more signatures, attaching them as in Step 11. Try using 2 different colors of thread. Make different sizes. Vary the color of your pages. Mix the types of paper (try adding some mulberry or lace paper.) Attach ephemera to the inside flaps with glue, brads, grommets, or thread (a good place to dangle some beads!)