Released in the morning

released in the morning

This small handful of journals and watercolour books that I put together yesterday spent the night tightly clamped between smooth, hard boards…like unruly winos locked up for their own safety.

A favourite way to start the day is to pour a cup of coffee and sit in the breeze on deck as the sun comes lancing over the tops of the mangroves, and release the previous day’s work—what was a loose and motley collection of disparate pieces held together with runny glue and faith in the powers of synthesis—from the grip of the press, to find that everything has come together with a grace and finesse that still takes my breath away.

kidskin and marbling watercolour book

Yesterday: paper, thread, fabric and leather scraps, glue, grey-coloured board.
This morning: a dense, well-made, glowingly beautiful book that feels precious as it sits in my hand.

tea journals

Magic. I will NEVER become blasé about the transformation.

Week 17 ✂ Wheatear Stitch (TAST 2012)

Wheatear Stitch (TAST 2012)

This week’s stitch was Wheatear Stitch.

I’ve done a small, no-frills sample on a piece of fabric patchwork that is going to become a blank journal’s cover. Not very spectacular, but it gives a nice spot of hand-stitched detail to the otherwise machine-stitched patchwork. The book’s just mocked-up, in these pictures…haven’t turned the patchwork into a case, yet.

Wheatear Stitch (TAST 2012)

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This small embroidery sample is for Sharon Boggon’s Take a Stitch Tuesday 2012 Challenge

bookbinding : : The City of Light

Played with my sewing machine today, and used the bright, layered fabric I had made on a journal cover. It’s great to do things in the spirit of fun, but still end up with something that I’m happy with and can use in my work! Feels good to be productive without really putting pressure on myself to produce.

The City of Light was inspired by—naturellement!Paris; by the cabaret, by visions of whirling boulevards and sparkling laughter spilling out of nightclubs…by la jeune fille élégante aux cheveux rouges, the magic of a glittering metropolis at night, every light an iridescent sequin flashing. And by the poetry of T.S. Eliot and this excerpt from The Bistro Styx by Rita Dove

…Fruit and cheese appeared, arrayed on leaf-green dishes.
I stuck with café crème. “This Camembert’s
so ripe,” she joked, “it’s practically grown hair,”
mucking a golden glob complete with parsley sprig
onto a heel of bread. Nothing seemed to fill
her up: She swallowed, sliced into a pear,
speared each tear-shaped lavaliere
and popped the dripping mess into her pretty mouth.
Nowhere the bright tufted fields, weighted
vines and sun poured down out of the south.
“But are you happy?” Fearing, I whispered it
quickly. “What? You know, Mother”—
she bit into the starry rose of a fig—
“one really should try the fruit here.”
I’ve lost her, I thought, and called for the bill.
Book no. 907 is in my online shops

bookbinding : : blackwork on leather

I made a journal yesterday that totally indulged and satisfied my obsessive compulsive idiosyncrasies…using a blackwork pattern drawn onto grid paper to prick holes into the leather journal cover before sewing. It’s a simple limp binding, but preparing and working the cover took up most of the day.
I think this is the reason I also work blackwork embroidery on paper, on wood, on painted canvas, and on Moleskine cahiers—anything but on the grid-marked fabric that it is traditionally worked on: I like the insane, time-consuming, meditative job of making my own grid by hand. 🙂

120 leaves (240 pages) of heavy (120gsm.) white Tintoretto paper, with a slight felt texture. Acid- and ECF-free. Journal measures 5 1/4″ x 7 1/2″ x 1 3/4″ (135mm x 190mm x 45mm), and the adhesive-free limp binding is designed to accommodate a slight adding-on to the pages such as photos, collaged papers, glued-in ephemera.
This journal, Caramel (no. 906), is in my Madeit and ETSY shops today.

bookbinding : : pink hippies

Pink hippies is my 904th handbound journal; an original and one of a kind book inspired by pink lillies, Hippeastrum puniceum,…I used to have hundreds growing in my garden in El Nido, Palawan, and they were a favorite subject for my drawings and paintings.

This is a flat back, case-bound book that opens flat at any point. It measures H6 5/8″ x W4 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ (170mm x 120mm x 40mm)

Paper is Edición avorio 110gsm, acid-free, in ivory, unlined. It is a beautiful paper for writing, sketching, drawing, and other dry media. There are 200 leaves (400 pages) so it is a chunky book, but will fit in your shoulder bag. Endpages are handmade paste paper sheets made using old sailing charts.

The cover is of acrylic paints on artist’s canvas. It has been protected with Soluvar artist’s varnish, which waterprooofs it and protects it from stains.

Pink hippies has a stripey handsewn headband in variegated shades of yellow-orange and coral-pink.

Available in my ETSY and Madeit online craft shops.

book 892 :: Allium

Gardens are also good places
to sulk…
in search of medieval
plants whose leaves,
when they drop off
turn into birds
if they fall on land,
and colored carp if they
plop into water.

…Even the prick of the thistle,
queen of the weeds, revives
your secret belief
in perpetual spring,
your faith that for every hurt
there is a leaf to cure it.

excerpt from “In Perpetual Spring
by Amy Gerstler

Another journal finished today.

The Embroiderer's Floral by Janet Haigh on Amazon.comThe fabric cover is hand-embroidered Indian cotton with foliage and flowers stenciled in metallic green fabric paints.

There are three embroidered Allium flowers in improbable hues (but then the Allium DOES have such an improbable flower, to begin with, doesn’t it? I love their big, starry balls of vivid color!) were worked using a technique I learned from Janet Haigh’s book The Embroiderer’s stitches and French knots, mainly, on felt bases.

The journal’s binding is flat-backed, case-bound, with a hand-stitched headband in variegated shades of greens and blues.

Dimensions are W 12cm. x H 17 cm. x D 4cm. Textblock is 200 leaves (400 pages) of Edición 110 gsm in avorio (ivory), endpapers are in aubergine.

Purple Ball Flower (Allium giganteum) by wadester16 on Wikimedia Commons

The generic name Allium is the Latin word for garlic (Allium sativum), though not all members of the genus are as flavorful as garlic, onions, leeks, scallions and shallots. Some Allium species, including A. cristophii and A. giganteum, are used as border plants for their ornamental flowers, and their “architectural” qualities.

I’ve popped this into my shop…only the second thing I’ve ever put up for sale! Patience, grasshopper! Slowly I will get the hang of this selling handmade things online…

As seen on CraftGossip.comPostscript: Many thanks to Denise Felton, of CraftGossip.Com, for mentioning our Allium journal on her extensive craft blog! A craft tutorial for probably everything ever created? I reckon Denise has got it. So many projects and ideas over there that if I don’t limit my visits to a couple of days a week, I’m soon overwhelmed…so many lovely things to make, so little time!