The Sandwich Book by Pawel Piotrowski

Such a great idea for a book…besides being a humorous take on the book form, I love that it brings to the fore qualities of the book that are often overlooked.

When we read an ordinary book, we take its construction for granted and forget that each page is, in itself, a plane…that is, a level, stratum, a stage, an environment, a microcosm of the world, a surface upon which unique things happen.

That these surfaces are bound together at one end of a book introduces sequence…this before that, and then this…usually a continuation from the previous page, though the possibilities of using the turning of the page—to rattle or to slow the viewer/reader by dropping her in some completely unexpected environment or by keeping her in suspense—have been explored by artists and writers, alike.

Ultimately, a book is a working model of Time. The time it takes to read a book. The time it takes to introduce a world and follow an unfolding story. The time it takes to make a sandwich…or deconstruct it…or eat it…

The Sandwich Book by Pawel Piotrowski via strictlypaper.

vot I did at verk…

masks into calaverasIn order to get some pictures for our shop’s monthly demonstration (the goal is to work on a simple project in-store that uses Jacksons’ products and gives kids and adults some easy, accessible art and craft ideas) I decided to paint one of our papier maché masks (it’s not a wearable mask…too small for a head, and there are no eye holes!) as a sugar skull (calaveras) decoration for dia de los muertos, coming up on November 1&2 (or for Halloween, if you like, though there is no feeling of scariness or monstrousness associated with this Mexican tradition).

I’ll be making another (hopefully better) one for the actual demonstration on October 16th, Wednesday, at 10:30 a.m., if this looks like something you or your kids might enjoy doing. Jacksons Drawing Supplies is located at #7 Parap Place, Parap Shopping Center (between Toppy’s sandwich bar, and Arafura Catering). Everyone is welcome. 🙂

gift wrappingAlso, I am the only Aquarian in a shop full of Virgos (like a cat among the pigeons) and August/September brought on a slew of birthdays. My lunch breaks this past week were spent wrapping birthday presents…and then playing with ideas of how to top them and personalise them using paper scraps and junk mail. I started slowly, noncommittally…but as I warmed to the ideas (and then more ideas came than I knew what to do with) it became a small obsession. I even turned up for work half an hour earlier last Wednesday to work on them.

lily pondI’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: “I love my job…”

Maciek Janicki’s Paper City

Spent a lot of last week making large paper cut designs for our shop window…so paper’s the flavour of my week.

über embroiderers: Emily Barletta

These are the big kids, the superstars, the crème de la crème, the leet of needle and thread…

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I think everyone has seen the work of Emily Barletta, as she has been posting progress photos of these pieces throughout the project.

Emily Barletta has just updated her website, with all new works on paper, and I just had to spread the love a little further. Most of you have seen these before, Emily has been posting them on her blog as she completed them, and a few other craft and stitching sites have featured her, as well. But I want to feature her, anyway, because the category “über embroiderers” would be half empty without her. In case you haven’t seen them before, feast your eyes on these beauties.

Droplets of oil on water. Cross-sections of malachite and other semi-precious stones. The veins in coral or the patterns on feathers. In them I see endless organic patterns, the sort you find when you get really close to bits of surrounding nature.

I think my most burning question for Emily is “How do you reinforce the paper so that you can place the stitches so close together?” Do you think there’s fabric on the back of the paper? Something to think about.

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uber embroiderers: Jazmin Berakha
uber embroiderers: Jazmin Berakha
über embroiderers: Tilleke Schwarz
über embroiderers: Tilleke Schwarz
über embroiderers: Maricor/Maricar
über embroiderers: Maricor/Maricar

Get thee to a bindery…


Got my bookbinding groove on last weekend and put together a diverse bunch of journals (some orders, some for the ETSY shop, and some for the shelves at Jackson’s).

There are two things I am excited about with this new batch of journals:

The paper.

Last weekend I cracked open the first pack of my new paper stock, Bianco Flash. I bought a thousand A0 sheets of this luxurious paper, which means that my next 250 journals or so will be of this stock. This heavy (120 gsm), creamy, smooth paper is made in Italy by the Favini Crusallo mills…the same mill I used to buy my beloved Shiro Alga Carta paper from (Alga Carta replaced up to 30% of regular paper pulp with algae that was choking the canals of Venice…saving trees and lagoons at the same time) when I first started binding books in 1996. My Manila supplier had discontinued Alga Carta by the time I was ready to buy my next batch of papers (although Favini still produces it), so I chose Bianco Flash, instead.

It’s a wonderful paper to write on. I took a juicy dip pen and strong Rouge Hematite ink (by J. Herbin of France) to it, and the ink didn’t seep into the paper…it dried sitting crisply on the surface of the paper, slightly raised, making it look like a print made from an engraving. I turned the sheet over and there was no bleeding through to the back of the paper. I could hardly see the blood red writing on the reverse. It should be good for pencils (graphite, charcoal or coloured), inks, pens, maybe even small touches of wash, though it’s not a paper for wet media.

The second thing I’m excited about is Spoonflower’s cotton-linen canvas. This is the first time I’ve bought fabric from Spoonflower, though I have stalked their blog for years. I ordered some fat quarters (other people’s designs) just to check the quality of this print-on-demand fabric…whether the designs are still crisp, and what the cotton-linen canvas would be like to make cases for journals with. I have to say that I was delighted on every point. The canvas is strong and full-bodied without being difficult to turn, to mitre, or to glue; the designs were every bit as gorgeous in the cloth as they looked on the website, and the canvas texture makes the surface of the journals more rustic and lively.

I had been hemming and hawing about getting my own fabric designs printed for bookbinding, but seeing these fat quarters has finally convinced me to jump in and do it. I also really like the way the Spoonflower company handles orders, the personal touch of a note from one of the staff when your order arrives, the down-to-earth language they use on their site, the fact that they try to find shipping solutions that are affordable. Their products are awesome, and I wish I was as adventurous as many of their regular designers, who seem to churn designs out by the dozens each week, for everything from gift wrap and stickers to fabrics and wallpaper. Maybe it’ a confidence that grows with use, and I’ll get the knack of it when I’ve uploaded a few designs and printed fabrics of my own.

The three fabric designs I used (click the thumbnails below to visit their pages on are:

Dragonflies by Bettina Pedersen

Aztec Armor by spellstone:
Aztec Armor

Tropical Fronds by cricketnoel:
Tropical Fronds

Tea with Lady Lavender


Hello, sorry It’s been so quiet on here. I’ve been quite busy making stuff…just didn’t remember to take pictures of anything I was doing, hence nothing to show you or blog about.

Yesterday I started working on a series of mixed media journal covers because I visited my own ETSY shop a few weeks ago, and things were looking very, very lonely and neglected. I am trying to get back into bookbinding now, because I have a dozen or so text blocks of beautiful paper all bound and ready for covers. The covers are always the hardest part (but also the most fun) because I don’t like to repeat myself, and I tend to get stuck for a long time, fiddling with tiny details on every single one.

The subject of this batch of journal covers is tea time; this one’s predominantly lavender. The base is painted artist’s canvas. I’ve used various papers—tea stained pages for the tea cup, and my own marbled paper for the tea, some gift tissue—and bits of fabric. Machine as well as hand stitching. Acrylic paints (and some dimensional glitter paint), acrylic inks, and some shading with colored pencils.



What have you been tinkering with lately?