Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Why Do These Totes Make Me So Happy?

I saved the bags from Dixie's dog food thinking that they were too good to throw away since they were Tyvek type material.  I envisioned book covers, but have since made a couple of handy totes from them.    This is my prototype which is lined with a material given to me and therefore was pretty cheap to make!
It is fully lined and has sturdy handles that I made from wide heavy twill material.
After showing it to a friend at the school, she ordered one which came out a little nicer than my original.  I tweaked a couple of things and voila!
This one is lined with cute dog fabric which just happens to match the bag!  I've sent the word out on Facebook for friends to save their food bags for me.  I can't wait to make some more!

Monday, July 22, 2013

I just wanted to give a big artist shout out to an inspirational blogger, youtuber that I keep going back to again and again lately.  JenniBellie is an artist that seems to have the same artistic philosophy as me... she saves lots of "stuff" that would otherwise be tossed or trashed.  I savor her videos and am inspired by the work she does with recycled materials.  Check out her blog here and watch some of her videos here on youtube.  Now, back to her channel!

Monday, July 1, 2013

A smaller version of the cardboard journal

 I had quite a few pieces of painted cardboard from the last journal I made so I made a smaller version.  I still have pieces left so maybe a teeny version is in the future!  Who knows?
The cover:

 The pages some of which are scrapbook paper in between the cardboard.
Top view of the chunkiness of this journal:
A close up of the cover and spine.  The pink and red hearts are an old earring.
I've been wanting to try paper beads and finally gave it a try.  I think they came out pretty decent.  I'll be using them on my books.
 April sent me some of the hotel soap she's been hoarding  collecting and I felted a couple for Dylan's bath.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Recycled Journal

I got my mojo back and finally finished a project!  I have several large items in the works and they are spread out all over making it difficult to actually complete anything.  *sigh*  I watched Jennibellie's videos over on youtube. She made a totally cool journal from cardboard boxes (lighter weight boxes like cereal, etc.) so I grabbed cardboard and paint and went to work.  It's difficult to bring work with me when I sit at the galleries all day so last weekend I took a ball of cotton twine and dyed it there with spray inks.  Once it dried and I got it untangled:
 I used it to sew the book together.  This is the cover (very similar to Jenni's).
 A close-up of the sewn tag, wirework, and random fabric pieces on the front.
 I used packing craft type paper on the cover over cardboard and some costume jewelry.
 Some wooden beads that were given to me on the spine, can you see the dyed twine?
 The cover, pages and almost everything in the journal is made from painted cardboard   and I still have many pieces left.  I'm in the process of creating a smaller version for the kids in the CRE8! program to make.
 Some small tags:
 Close-up of the spray paint and stencil surface design and more jewelry:
I'm still saving boxes to make more of these.  Thanks, Jennibellie!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Learning the Coptic Stitch

One of the goals I set for myself this year was to learn a different binding stitch for my journals and books.  I've been intrigued by the coptic stitch so I took a stab at it (pun intended!).  The first attempts took me what seems like forever.  After taking out the threads multiple times. leaving it, coming back to it, retrying it, and then watching the video on youtube again I finally figured out what I needed to do to get the stitching to look the way I had imagined.  Rather than a few fatter signatures I divided the pages into many thinner signatures. Success!  After I put together a few more books I plan to work on the caterpillar version of the coptic stitch which I think is amazingly cool!
I also wanted to get away from the boring scrapbook and sketch paper pages that I had resorted to (time saver when you need to crank out the books for the galleries) and began using painted surface design to create artistic pages.  I'm at the point where I want to do the books the way I WANT rather than thinking about what others may want.  I've had too many people whispering in my ear things like "what are you supposed to do with THAT paper?", "how can you write on that?", blah, blah, blah.  If you don't "get" it, don't buy it!  
This journal/art book has a hand-dyed muslin quilted cover embellished with a heart, fabric scraps, and embroidery accents.  
 I have been experimenting with types of closures as well as binding stitches and really like the elastic and button closure.  The satin heart is accented by a pearl bead.
 The coptic stitch binding with perle cotton thread and eyelets.
 After taking a clay clock class at Old Town Pottery here in Galax I made some charms and buttons (the blue charm was a gift from Sara) to use on my spines.
 This book has various pages including paper bags, finger painting, stenciled deli paper, inked baby wipes, and others.
 This book has painted canvas paper covers with coptic stitiching, elastic and button closure, and painted deli paper signature wraps.
 One of the deli wraps.
 Another quilted muslin cover with fabric scraps and a free motion flower.
 Elastic and button closure and close- up of the free motion embroidery.
 The signatures have canvas mini wraps and plenty of painted papers.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Teaching At Chestnut Creek School of the Arts

Recently I've become involved in our local art school, The Chestnut Creek School of the Art in Galax, VA.  In fact I'm up for a spot of their Board of Directors in July.  I taught a basic fabric bookmaking class at the school in April which was very successful.  In response to several people who want to take the class but couldn't, I've scheduled a repeat of the class for Sat., June 8.  We'll be making a quilted fabric book cover with free motion canvas leaves, abstract flower, a stamped twill tape accent and buttons.  We had such a great time in the class I can't wait to teach new students.  This is the new class sample I created in the April class.  I've added clay/ceramic charms top the spine that my friend, Sara, graciously gave me.  Since then I've learned to make buttons and charms over at Old Town Pottery (an extension of CCSA), they should be fired and glazed to use in the class. 
If you live in the area and are interested go here for more information and to register.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Website or Blog? That is the question.

Buffering, buffering, buffering.  Now I think I remember one of the reasons I haven't posted since November of last year.  I have been trying to upload photos of some new journals, but blogger keeps buffering and it's pretty frustrating.
The other main reason for no posts is that I've been thinking that a website would be more beneficial for showcasing and selling my work.  However, I don't find any of the platforms user-friendly enough for me to spend the amount of time required to create a good site.  I can't afford expensive site designs nor can I justify spending hundreds of dollars for a person to design a site for me.  So as my website falters for lack of effort on my part, my blog has suffered as well.
Part of the issue for me is that as my business grows I'm unsure of the direction in which I want it to continue to grow.  Thus some of the hesitation on creating a website.
If I can get the photo uploader to cooperate here I may just continue to blog and revamp this site rather than reinventing the so-called wheel on a website.
On the positive side of things my reputation as an artist and therefore my business has been growing here in VA.  I'm really pleased with my progress and I'm enjoying being busy.  In the past few months I have gotten more involved in Chestnut Creek School of the Arts here in downtown Galax and feel this is an incredibly comfortable fit for me!  I just wrapped up an 8 week program teaching young students from the local elementary school the process of bookmaking and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I have volunteered to coordinate the summer program and have been invited to be a member of the board of directors.  New shop owners are asking for my work and it has been selling well in the local galleries.  Whew!  It's been an extremely busy and successful year.
And it's STILL buffering.... argh......... so I will try on a subsequent post to show photos of my work.

I would really appreciate any input, insight, encouragement  that you can offer.  Thanks in advance!