As you know I have a sincere but underdeveloped interest in making books. I have had a new one on my mind for awhile.
It was this plus Maureen’s booth, and the fact that Nancy would go as well that sent me to the Book Arts Jam last Saturday.
I had never been before and I found it to be a really interesting experience. I was expecting a PIQF but with books experience.
It was not like that at all. The show was much, much smaller and the people there were, mostly, selling their book art rather than selling supplies to make books. There were a lot of interesting shaped books and interesting sculptures made from books. I also saw some interesting supplies (mull was one) used to make books and related objects.
The location was in Palo Alto at a community center and, in true Palo Alto fashion, the room was gorgeous.
Maureen was there selling her postcards and doing fairly well. She had a simple to set up, but very effective for display, booth. She had cards displayed on the black slant board and then she had cards in the little baskets. Those in the basket were arranged by event, occasion and holiday. Very clever! She said that she had sold almost all the Hallowe’en cards before we got there (around 1:30pm).
I thought it was an interesting experience. I kind of wish there had been some kind of exhibit of vendor’s art with more explanation. I was glad I went, because I had my eyes opened and my creative energy inspired. I was also glad to support Maureen.
Sometimes, very occasionally, my personal creative world and my professional world meet.
This happened a few weeks ago when the social committee of one of the organizations to which I belong scheduled an outing to the San Francisco Center of the Book. Of course, it was a week where a thousand things were happening and I almost cancelled. I am glad I didn’t, though, because it was a great class and it got me moving in the direction of bookmaking, like the Red, Purple, Well Done and Good Job journals, again.
Not every participant had arrived, so I took some time to look at the exhibit on display. I don’t remember the name of the exhibit, but the books all looked like they had hidden messages.
The piece, Until it is in Flame, is by Beau Beausoleil and Andrea Hassiba. While I do not like the burned and destroyed book, I do like the way a part of the book is hollowed out. The space could hold additional artworks, messages or other books. It makes me think of how to do this sort of idea in the structure of the books I make, but it also makes me wonder whether I should.
Healing Wounded Words is a piece about the power of words by Marina Salmaso, a Danish artist from KØbenhavn. I find this piece to be very light, but the words and the red are not boring. I also like the format.
You really have to click the photos to see them larger. The thumbnails don’t do them justice.
Another exhibit was in another room and it was equally as intriguing as the one in the main room.
I really like the variety of different bindings and different types of books. It was so fun to learn how make a few of them.
Rhianna, the instructor, passed around lots of different types of books with different bindings. We did 4-5 separate books and bindings. Of course when I saw the binding on the green book, I immediately thought it would make a fantastic journal binding.
This book was a teaser for another class! I really want to take that class so I can learn how to make the binding. If I made it I can decide whether I can translate the binding/bookmaking type into fabric.
From the inside, this binding looks like it would hold a lot more pages than the other types of bindings we learned.
It also looks like one could see some of the fabric through the binding.
The San Francisco Center for the Book is a great place. It is in a hip, up and coming neighborhood that still has a bit of grit with their Whole Foods.
There are a lot of interesting things to look at in the facility and it is light and airy as well. The exhibits I looked at were two in a series of ongoing exhibits.
If you are making a trip to San Francisco and want to get off the Fisherman’s Wharf-Ghirardelli Square-Cable Car beaten path, you might want to check out the San Francisco Center for the Book.
Last Saturday, CQFAers met at Sue’s house where she tried to teach us the secrets from Stitch Alchemy, a book by Kelli Perkins. The idea is to make fabric paper – a combination of fabric and paper. I hope to use mine for journal pages for journals like the Red Journal.
I don’t share well, but space was limited and Rhonda (of BAMQG fame – she plays with both teams 😉 )and I ended up next to each other. She is a great tablemate! We shared well and she is extremely creative. I felt like an idea-less boob next to her. She is like me in that we just got down to it. We also had fun.
During the time I thought of texture, because of the podcast I had just recorded with Sandy. I have a lot of schnibbles from pressing fabric so I brought that with me and adhered them to the paper. Sue wasn’t sure if it would work but it was worth a try.
The next step is to paint the fabric. We will do that at the next CQFA meeting.
For a long time, I had an idea in my mind that I would make two pencil rolls for some friends who worked with me on the Primal Green show. Somehow the pencil rolls never got made. Then, the idea morphed into journals as I worked on the Purple Journal and I got in the groove of making the pages. I ended up just kept making more and more pages until I had enough for the two additional journal.
I used the Circa 1934 mosaic piecing pieces that I had started when I got off track for Julie. The words are appliqued on to the cover using raw edge applique’ (straight stitch down the center of the letters). I started out with a freezer paper template using my own, slightly stylized, handwriting. I am not much of a calligrapher, so I reworked the design of the letters until I was happy.
It took me a long time to cut out the freezer paper templates. The letters were thin and I didn’t want to rip them. It was meditative. I wanted the words to be subtle so I chose another fabric from the group I used in the Stepping Stones quilt.
I might have put the words on the back so that the closure wouldn’t cover them when closed, but I didn’t think of it. That is one reason why I like to work in a series (which sounds so much more arty than “make projects over and over”) – so I can learn and do better the next time.
On the other hand, it kind of looks like a surprise. You get a little peek of something else, then you open the closure and see the words.
The signatures are the same or similar size to the signatures in the Purple Journal. I left a little more space to write and draw on these pages and thought about the Design Series Sandy and I have been working on while I embellished the pages. This project gave me the opportunity to get a little design practice in without starting a new quilt.
These two journals are really twins: cut from the same cloth and made at the same time.
I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the design while I was piecing, because I knew it would be ok. One thing that encouraged me on to add the words was the large expanse of that mustardy dot that ended up on the front. It is really too big of a piece for the front. One large piece of fabric in this mosaic piecing technique does get the piece to the right size faster, but also looks boring. It is, however, a great background for words.
Shocking as it might seem, I stitched on the words AFTER I put the cover together. That means I stitched through the manilla folder which provides the base and gives the journal shape.
The ‘Well’ word was more tricky than the ‘Good’, ‘done’ or ‘Job’ words. I think the fact that they are taller and thinner were part of the issue. My second ‘l’ is leaning a bit more than I intended, but I think it looks ok. If I had thought of it I might have used a light fusible to keep the words in place while I sewed them.
I made a big effort in these two journals to vary the types of paper and put more blank pages in.
I didn’t realize until I started on the signatures for Good Job and Well Done that I was making mini art pieces as pages rather than embellishing pages to add interest and providing space for the recipient to write.
Andrea, at A Work of Heart, where I took the original class, had a lot of great ideas about embellishing pages and adding interesting things to them. She also has a huge supply of all different types of items that could be used for pages, in addition to interesting paper.
I have a smallish bag of paper to use. I found an envelope in it, so I added that to one page so the owner could tuck bits into it. In some cases, I also sewed down only two sides of a piece of paper to embellish so that something could be tucked behind that embellishment as well. I like to tuck things into my journals and imagine that others might, too.
On the left, which is the last part of signature 1, you can see that red strip of paper. That is the kind of embellishing that I was trying to do.
In signature 2, on the left, you can see how my stitching shows up on the first page of the signature, but embellishments are actually on the back of the page.
I also try to position the edges of the pages a bit unevenly. I wanted to highlight the handmade nature of the piece and also draw attention to some of the handmade paper I used.
The inside back cover isn’t terribly interesting. I put a pocket on the Purple Journal, but forgot to do so on these two journals.
I thought the card with printed words saying good-bye in different languages was appropriate to put on the last page. I am sorry that I don’t remember where I got them, because I would like to get a few more. I had a few so I think each of these recent journals got one.
I also like the small images printed in between each of the words.
In this photo, you can also see that I used a zigzag stitch to adhere the paper to the other pieces of paper. I used the same color thread and the same stitch throughout both journals. I played around with the setting a little bit to get a width and length that I liked. I remembered to not make the stitch length too tight or close together (like a satin stitch) otherwise it would have torn the paper.
I think that little bits can be tucked behind the Good-bye card.
The bad thing about this project is that it makes me tempted to save much more paper than I really should save. I really don’t have any place to keep paper and A Work of Heart is too far away to depend on for a ready supply of paper. I guess that is another reason to use a lot of blank paper and embellish it slightly.
Mosaic piecing is not only good for journal covers, but it is a great way to get something done that you don’t have to think about too much while working on another project. Remember leaders and enders? Mostly, when using fabric, I sew like colors together, but in this case, I used a group of fabrics I had used for a quilt, the Circa 1934 + fabrics. You can see that my cover includes a half square triangle piece. I didn’t use it in the quilt, so why not give it additional life?
The Red Journal cover had a lot of super tiny pieces, but not all mosaic quilting needs to use super tiny pieces. Larger pieces become larger faster. In some way, Pieced Backs are a larger version of mosaic piecing. Of course, a cover can be made much more simply from two pieces of fabric. Piecing like I have done is not required.
Things I would like to try for next time (not that I know when next time will be):
use Timtex or similar for the base. I kind of want to see how that works and whether using a more fabric friendly base would be better.
use batting for the cover and see how a softer cover works.
push the limits on how many pages I can fit into a journal this size. One problem is that the sewing machine needle gets dull, so I have to make all the pages at once or keep track of a “for paper use only” needle and keep switching out the needle. It would be great to use the leaders and enders technique for making the pages.
try to put more blank (or nearly blank) pages in the journals. I want people to be able to use these as a journal, so more blanks would be one way to do that.
So, above are the three journals. I am really pleased.
Awhile ago, I decided I wanted to make Julie a really special gift for her birthday. I decided on a journal similar to my Red Journal as a gift. The date slid as my November and Decembers were pretty busy and it ended up as a Christmas gift.
She is a purple person, so I decided to make the cover from some of my purple scrap. I had quite a few from the Purple quilt, so it wasn’t difficult. However, I got really busy and distracted right before her birthday, so I didn’t finish it. Then December was really busy and I didn’t finish it in time to give it to her for Christmas. I told her about it and promised her it would be done.
I did work on it over the holidays, but in the course of being distracted, I somehow got off track and started making her a new cover out of the fabric I used for the Stepping Stones quilt.
Huh? I know. Not sure what was happening in my mind, but there you have it.
Finally, I stopped working on the cover and turned my attention to the pages. The point is to make signatures (groups of pages). I was going for 12 pages in 2 signatures, which, when folded in half, would give 48 pages total to write or on which to journal.
I have a small stash of random, scrap paper, which I got out and started sewing together. This process ruins the needle for fabric, so I worked on all the pages I needed. As I worked through this process I decided to make two more journals for other gifts and made the pages for those, too.
Since my needle was ruined for fabric anyway, why not? I’ll talk more about those journals later.
You can use any kind of paper, but you shouldn’t use ALL really thick paper. You need to use different weights otherwise it is too hard to bind at the end.
I sewed the various pieces together to make 8.5″x11″ sheets, which I, then, folded in half. Julie will have to use different pens to write on the different papers as some of the papers are shiny and won’t work with roller ball type pens. It will be interesting to see what she does with it.
I have been struggling with what it means to be an art quiltmaker lately (for awhile, actually) and whether I am or not. I think this project puts me firmly in the camp of art quiltmaker.
I must have been hiding under a rock or too engrossed in quilts not to have heard that Kaffe Fassett does mosaics. I have an idea for a mosaic for which I have been hoarding pottery shards and bits of tile forever. I am pleased that the Library has his books so I can take a look. For what I want to do, I’ll need a lot more tile and a buddy to work with. Immerhin*
One of my faithful readers asked me to publish a list of quilt and creativity books that I acquire. It would be nice if I wrote a review of each one, but I will start out with just a list.
Paper Piecing Picnic from the editors and contributors of Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine and Quiltmaker Magazine. Thanks JCN! Kaffe Fassett’s Museum Quilts with Liza Prior Lucy. Thanks Beth! Textile Designs: 200 years of patterns for the printed fabrics arranged by motif, colour, period and design by Susan Meller and Joost Elffers. Thanks JZS! Mary Shaffer: American quilt maker by Gwen Marston. Thanks, Ruth! Borders, Bindings and Edges: the art of finishing your quilt by Sally Collins. Thanks, Ruth!
Thanks go to people, because I bought the books with birthday money or was given the books for my birthday. I know this isn’t an exhaustive list, so check back. I am a lucky girl.