Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Edge of Leather

More and more lately, I've been using the natural edge of the leather hides as part of the journal/sketchbooks I make. This is one was especially fun:

Here's what it looks like when "unwrapped":

Monday, May 26, 2008

Handmade Books from Cuba, Part II

Here is the second handmade book I bought when my husband and I visited Cuba:

It's a handbound copy of a poem by Carlos Jesus Garcia called Ritual del Pez (The Fish's Ritual). The text is in Spanish and English. The cover is made from sheets of handmade paper glued at the spine, and decorated with thin pieces of wood (the "v" shaped pieces on the cover). The fish on the cover is in ink and watercolor, and the paper was embossed so the fish rises up from the paper a bit.

This is one of the inside pages:

As you can see, the illustrations are just fantastic. According to the colophon, the pages (if my Spanish doesn't fail me entirely) were printed on an 1816 Gordon and Price press.
Here is another page:

And the back cover:

Of course now I'm wishing I'd bought more books, but my travel bag was the size of a teaspoon (well, it seemed like it anyway), so I resisted temptation. Sigh.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bird's Nest for Spring

Got some more handmade hemp paper, plus the birds were singing like mad outside my window yesterday, so I decided to make one of my crazy little bird's nest books :)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Handmade Books from Cuba, Part I

I went on a trip to Cuba a few years ago, and was lucky to visit the Taller Experimental de Grafica ( located at Callejón del Chorro No 6 Habana Vieja) in Havana. They make and sell handmade prints, and you can watch the artists at work. I picked up this wonderful handmade book there.
As you can see, it's called Los Dos Principes, by Jose Marti. The paper it's printed on is made by hand--it has lots of plant fibres in it--and is illustrated with lithographic prints. I just wish my Spanish was better! Nobody there really spoke English, and although I struggled valiantly, my Spanish is pretty terrible (more on the "where is the bathroom, please?" level), so unfortunately I didn't get to ask any questions about hand bookbinding in Cuba.
Here is a pic of the inside front cover:

And this is the back inside cover:

And the outside of the back cover:

The whole book is cleverly stitched together with one piece of help cord. On the back it says (I think) that it was made at the Taller de Papel Artisana in Holguin, Cuba, and that it was illustrated by hand. The pictures can't convey just how wonderful the texture of the printed paper feels.

NOTE: if you know of any other good bookbinding / book arts related places to visit, please do post information about it in the comments for this post. It helps to spread the word about the book arts! :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

First Show of the Year

Did my first craft show this year in Vancouver, British Columbia (about a four-hour drive from where I live). It was a good show, so I'm happy. My husband made me some excellent book stands(this is a picture of one of them).

Doing attractive displays is a real art. I've tried different ways to display my work--some ideas were good, and some were definitely not good! I'm really happy with these stands, though--I think they'll work very well.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Art and Craft Show Schedule

This is the schedule of shows and markets I'll be taking part in this year. Don't know if you will be out and about in any of these places, but if you are, hope you will stop by and see me! All of these venues will have a great range of arts & crafts, so I'm looking forward to doing them. The good thing about doing shows and markets is that besides getting out of my studio and seeing real, live people :) , I can also usually find time to wander over to the other booths. Seems like there's always some lovely little craft item waiting for me....

You can find my books at:

Spring Sensations Fine Craft Sale
St. David’s
1525 Taylor Way, West Vancouver
May 9-11, 2008

Sorrento Farmer’s Market
Shopper’s Plaza
Selected Saturdays, May-Sept., 2008

Playing With Fire--
Pottery & Fine Craft Sale
Forster’s Convention Centre
at the Best Western Hotel
1250 Roger’s Way
Kamloops, BC
November 1, 2008

Art Market
Telus Convention Centre
Calgary, Alberta
November 20-23, 2008

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Studio Remodel Update

Finally, after three days of desperate hacking and yanking and hammering, my studio is finally re-done! Instead of torn vinyl wallpaper, I now have walls in a soft, golden brown color which makes me happy to be in my studio.

I kind of suspected that underneath the stained white carpeting I might find some lovely hardwood, and sure enough there it was! Yay!!! My house was built in the early 1900s, so it has wonderful amber-coloured hardwood elsewhere in the house, and now also in my studio. In the photo above, you can see it as it was being uncovered.

I also got some more storage thingies, so I can put things away (she sighed happily...). Amazing how much difference small changes can make.

Here is a photo of the studio now that it's finished (not the best photo, but hopefully you get the idea). I still have storage issues, as you can see from the boxes, but that's an eternal problem, not to be solved in this lifetime :) I always liked my studio, but now it's really a wonderful, peaceful space that I'm going to love working in.