…when all the birds had fled” , sings the Huron Christmas carol. Indeed, the birdies have fled:
Blogging today from my husband's room on the fifth floor of a local hospital where he has been since Christmas Eve as the medics sort some health issues. So I have plenty of time at my disposal to work on organising photos for one last post before the new year comes in.
December has been Artist Book month in my studio. A workshop on sewn board bindings with Archives Canada conservator, Lynn Curry; some “Use Up These Prints” books made from studio gleanings; and some little books made from the grandchildren's art papers. Outside in The Kaleyard, autumn said a long and languishing “Goodbye”, delivering temperatures as high as 15C last week! A crazy, green Christmas – but it will be a sober, white New Year's Eve.
So first, goodbye to fall and the statuesque kale: lovely textures and colour with grey Lamb's Ears and blue-grey sage.
First dusting of snow:
In the kitchen, thoughts turn to cranberry chutney, companion to the seasonal turkey: cranberries with half and half Marsala and blackcurrant syrup to cover; fresh rosemary and bay (from indoor plants); and a generous heap of fresh gràted ginger; boiled to the stage of setting. Good with anything.
In the workshop ( later, I made more such bindings at home in the studio) the sewn boards binding which produces an elegant raised spine and encourages the use of contrasting coverings of paper or cloth:
The spine is free of the boards at the head and tail and all along the edges. So the book can flex and lie flat nicely.
I made others at home with more of my handmade linen book cloth that I had printed earlier in the year with rust and indigo:
Note the separate spine pieces:
The text block is coptic sewn then glued and placed under weight ( wood boards with a covered brick on top)
Other little playthings made this month: an indigo printed single sheet of watercolour paper folded and cut into a book structure; and my monthly “Magnificat” mass book folded into a sculpture ( one of several made so far)
A delightful piece evolved from one of six-year old Dylan's paintings that has artwork on both back and front. We cut up the artwork into two strips, accordion folded the strips, taped them together to make a longer accordion, then found a figure in the brushstrokes and outlined it in black pen. We tore the top edges and “gilded” them with metallic paint.
The back of the piece is also evocative.
I have saved many works on paper done over the years by my children and grandchildren. And they do tend to accumulate ( art papers as well as kids…) Why leave them in a box? (Not the kids…) Hence the idea this Christmas season to use the kids's art as material and content for Artist Books.
A few sheets of humble newsprint, painted by the grandkids with kids' acrylics a few summers ago, were next coated with Liquitex matte medium (three layers). These were to provide the books' covers. Following that, all kinds of papers were assembled to make up the signatures: saved scraps of all sorts, small print sample off-cuts or proofs, handmade papers…whatever gave strong interest and variety in texture, colour, print design, technique etc. I made four books, one for each grandchild, with each book containing between 15 and 20 signatures consisting of at least four folios of various sizes held by guard strips which allow for attaching more pages later. A major goal was to include signatures with expandable pages – fold-outs or accordions, for example. The signatures were handsewn into the spine with long stitch binding; the covers were sewn along the cover edges with machine stitching: a cloth pocket with flap was sewn into the both back and front inside covers. The pics:
The art work to make the covers:
Signature samples with guard strips for eventual additions of pages:
Page and fold-out signature samples:
Some printed samples:
The longstitch binding (Note the fragility of the newsprint for stitching…layer on lots of medium)
The finsihed books, ready to receive more art on any and every page:
Last little piece: a canvas cover for a book. acrylic painted:
The spine of the canvas cover book (long stitch over tapes) and another canvas book cover, soon to be sewn:
Happy new year in art and life to all. Thank you to all the new readers for joining us.