i put the mod squares book from yesterday up on etsy. it looks so lonely! i will put up more, but i've been busy today making pens. i think that papermate has reformulated the pen barrels, and i'm having a bit of a problem with them not holding their shape during baking. hopefully i'll have some successes in a bit.
mod squares, approx 5 x 3 x 1, $25 handmade blank journal, paired needle coptic stitch, variety of card stock pages, acrylic on book board covers
i spent most of the day working on my website and painting my bathroom. i keep trying out different programs for making the site. dreamweaver just seemed too complicated. iweb was easy to use, but i couldn't get it to do all the things i wanted. now i'm trying freeway. we'll see how that goes. i haven't loaded the new site, but i'm going to make it pretty similar to the one that is there now. i just want to be able to include a better gallery, and a shopping cart. the thing is, i really don't want to learn any html. i just want my website to look how i want, i don't want to know the ins and outs.
i sold a bunch of pens yesterday, and my friend yelled at me for not having more in my inventory. so i guess i will work on them tomorrow. i'm also going to try to put some books up on my etsy site. i'll keep you posted.
i've struggled a lot with the idea of finding a mentor. it's a bit difficult to market and sell blank books, and i wish i had a guide along the way. i get emails from the daily om a few times a week. here is the current one:
November 24, 2006 Life Your Perfect Teacher Many of us long to find a spiritual teacher or guru. We may feel unsure of how to practice our spirituality without one, or we may long for someone who has attained a higher level of insight to lead the way for us. Some of us have been looking for years to no avail and feel frustrated and even lost. The good news is that the greatest teacher you could ever want is always with you-that is your life.
The people and situations we encounter every day have much to teach us when we are open to receiving their wisdom. Often we don't recognize our teachers because they may not look or act like our idea of a guru, yet they may embody great wisdom. In addition, some people teach us by showing us what we don't want to do. All the situations in our lives, from the insignificant to the major, conspire to teach us exactly what we need to be learning at any given time. Patience, compassion, perseverance, honesty, letting go-all these are covered in the classroom of the teacher that is your life.
We can help ourselves to remember this perfect teacher each day with a few simple words. Each morning we might find a moment to say, "I acknowledge and honor the teacher that is my life. May I be wise enough to recognize the teachers and lessons that I encounter today, and may I be open to receiving their wisdom." We might also take some time each day to consider what our lives are trying to teach us at this time. A difficult phase in your relationship with your child may be teaching you to let go. The homeless person you see every day may be showing you the boundaries of your compassion and generosity. A spate of lost items may be asking you to be more present to physical reality. Trust your intuition on the nature of the lesson at hand, work at your own pace, and ask as many questions as you want. Your life has all the answers.
i've been surprised at how often these have been helpful, and seem to come along at just the right time.
john and i went to indiana for thanksgiving. his extended family lives there. we couldn't get over how they actually have STARS. it's so dark out there! the first night when we went to sleep, i couldn't tell if my eyes were open or closed! his family likes to play a lot of cards, and i really don't have the stamina to keep up with them. so i brought my knitting. i usually make a lot of my holiday gifts, but this year i am making just one. i've finished about 1/3 of the project. i hope the recipient likes it.
should i give you a picture?
this handmade polymer clay book is entitled "many rivers to cross". it is teeny, 3 x 2 x 1 inches, with a variety of colored cardstock inside. bound with paired needle coptic stitch. $50.
i'm going to try to work on my website today. i'm not really happy with iWeb, so i'm going to try freeway. i just realized that i should have archived my old site so that outside links would still work. maybe i haven't thrown it away, and i can still do that.
i've spent a good portion of the day preparing my old issues of somerset studio for ebay! take a look.
i'm pretty much running out of room for magazines, so i thought i'd clear out my chi and let others get inspired. i was actually surprised, as i was scanning these, that there was still so much i wanted to read and save. so i photocopied a few articles and kept myself on track.
it just happened to be $0.20 insertion day on ebay, so that was a bonus. more to come!
here are the fantastic flat files i received from my book angel. they are quite huge! i only had a couple pieces of paper that didn't fit in them. on the top left of the flat file is the kutrimmer, which is a super duper paper cutter. the near edge of the blade is a bit dull, so i will have to have it sharpened soon. on top of the flat file are a bunch of papers waiting to be trimmed. just behind the flat file is my meditation space. you can sort of see the mandala that i made at the formaton retreat for artists that i attended this spring. unfortunately, my zafu is under paper right now! i sorted out some paper to share with my bookbinding friends. i'll have to share soon so i can liberate my meditation area.
i keep hearing from online friends that my studio always looks so neat. ha! i'm just really good at cropping out the mess. here's a peek at the chaos that usually surrounds me. this is my journaling desk. my kittie, mookie, is keeping my chair warm. i created an acrylic technique book from a bunch of different sources, with examples of how the techniques look. i like to refer back to that when i'm making backgrounds. so that is there under the mess.
there are three journals from 2006 that i am working in. i only made one myself! usually i work in my own books, but this year i thought that i should use some of the other blank books i collect. i made number one in a fabric book class with teesha moore at art continuum the last year it was held. i used cheap watercolor paper, which i won't do again! number two is a rag and bone journal which i found on ebay for about $5. that was a find! it has wonderful watercolor paper inside. the cover has a lovely bookcloth, which i have dirtied, unintentionally, with a bunch of acrylics. journal number three was created by my friend debb galcik. i think she is thrilled that i wrote in her book. we blank book artists are used to people saying that they don't actually use our books.
you can also see my amsterdam bag, given to me by my friend francine. she lives near me, but visited amsterdam last year, and is there again right now. i use that bag to house my journaling supplies when i go out.
there's a big roll of tape which has nothing to do with journaling! i was packaging up some stuff to send to friends, and didn't put it away. also visible is a bunch of paint; alcohol, vaseline and liquid dyes to use as paint resists; small alphabet unmounted rubber stamps in a hardware sorter (which i don't use very much); carbothello water soluble pastel pencils; and baby wipes for blending and cleaning.
well, now that i've shown my mess, i believe i may have been shamed enough to get back to work journaling! i should have taken a picture of the bookbinding desk. it's much more cleared off. :)
here's my lovely new-to-me cast iron book press. and it's already in use! i put together several signatures of thick papers to use in my second flexible binding. i thought i should try to recreate my book from bookbinding class while i still have access to the tools at columbia. i'm going to try to do the whole book with the tools i have at home, but will be able to take it into columbia if it turns out i do need their equipment.
yesterday i headed out to the diy craft show in wicker park. i was able to get most of my holiday shopping done! it was hard not to buy things for myself. i had my list in hand to keep me focused. this week i will have to wrap things up and send them to the east coast. i'm happy that i was able to support local artists this year.
ok, pretend that early morning post belonged to yesterday.
this handmade book is one of my new non-polymer offerings. i painted book board with acrylics using a salt resist. i have a great stamp from postmodern design that i painted with gesso and used on the covers. but i didn't like how it came out, so i put more acrylic over it. then i drew inspiration from a piece of fabric for the bubble design. after i was done i realized it looked just like the postmodern klimt stamp i had used earlier! silly.
i've been getting a lot of inspiration from textiles and screenprinting. people are coming up with some wonderful patterns lately. and i've been enjoying recreating them in my art journal pages and books.
this book is about 6 x 4 x 1 inches and is bound in the paired needle coptic style.
in other news, i just found out that one of my classes at art & soul in may is sold out! wow.
i'm thrilled! i really like this design and will be making a bunch more of them. there is still space in my other class. we will be making the book i create on craft lab....but with a lot of improvements! i originally made this book a few years ago, and in teaching and getting ready for the tv episode, i've come up with a few better ways to do things.
i'm off now to the diy trunk show in wicker park. a friend is exhibiting and i'm hoping to get a lot of giftie goodness.
i'm realizing i really need to update in the morning! that's when i have the most energy. well, not at 12:20 in the morning, like now, but in the actual morning.
this handmade polymer clay book is entitled "imagine". i actually created it a while ago, but rebound it recently. i'm never sure what to do with books that are a bit more vintage than my current creations. (i thank nina for the "vintage" idea. they're not old books, they're vintage). a lot of the time my binding skills have advanced. but i've always been encouraged not to rebind them, and just move on to the new work. for this one, i'm happy that i bound it again.
i wanted to try to do a variation on the lost artifact theme. i make a lot of those books, and i wanted to try a different color scheme. the colors of the imagine book go nicely with the millefiore colors on the back cover.
the idea behind the book is that you have to imagine where that key would take you. it's an uncut key, so the possibilities are unlimited. i often visualize my books as doors. the pages record your journey through the door.
if i were sylvia plath, i could probably make these peeks into my thought processes a lot more lyrical. i'm reading her journals now and they are just so beautifully written. despite my practice of journaling since i was a child, there are no flowing pieces of language emanating from my fingertips. just the plain detailing of the process of creation or the actions of the day. but i can make books, so i'll try to keep you happy with pictures of those!
i'm really fond of this book and i may have to start writing in it myself. of course, i have several journals in process, so this might have to wait for a special occasion. the covers aren't polymer clay. they are book board with acrylic paint. the faces image came from a united airlines in flight magazine. they rest on a small cloth collage over book board.
i can't say i accomplished too much today! i tried to make friends with our circular saw, but that was a bust. for some reason i could only make a little gouge in my wood, and the line was circular instead of straight. i ended up getting out the hand saw! i was cutting some oak into manageable pieces to use for pressing boards in my book press. yesterday i folded a ton of paper and it's either pressing or waiting to be pressed.
sometimes when inspiration is absent, i'll do routine tasks like folding paper. it helps me get in the mood to work on something more substantial.