Saturday, 24 September 2011

New Works

Hello There:  It's been a busy couple of weeks.  I created  new 'little' books.  A collection done in white Canal paper.  This is a beautiful paper to work with and makes embossing a pleasure.  I added  art work to covers and interiors, cut up a large photo and put fragments of the photo on some of the pages and used my mini die cuts to enhance the page edges.  I have also created a very simple, but effective tab closure for these little creations.  All in all it has been a very productive time.


I have been experimenting with my camera lately and have gotten some very interesting pictures.   I submitted a selection of them to a local photography gallery in the city for the 2012 season.  Hopefully they will be selected for an exhibit.  I'll keep you posted.  Have a look at some others at:

View from my balcony

Store Display

Notre Dame Cathedral Ceiling

Notre Dame Cathedral

I start back to work on the elk head this weekend.  Looking forward to seeing it come alive (no pun intended) as it gets built.  I'll post pictures as it evolves.  

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Prop Design

This past summer I have been working with an independent filmmaker as a prop designer.  I was asked to create a half body cast for one of the scenes.  I gathered chicken wire, paper for the paper maché covering, paper maché pulp, gesso and glue.  It was a great creative adventure, not to mention it overtook my dining table for about a week.  It has gone to the filmmaker who will put the finishing touches on it. 

I am now on to the next prop - an elk head.  This is a full head mask that will be used by one of the dancers in the film: SINCERUS.   To build the head to scale, I was able to measure the head of a real elk (stuffed).  I was wondering if a real set of antlers could be used, however I discovered that a set of antlers from a mature elk weighs between 30 and 40 pounds.  The ones I am creating have a metal rod core and are surrounded by foam rubber, a much lighter pair of antlers.  I will have to build them up a bit more around the base and point the prongs before covering them.  I am looking forward to the building of this full scale mask.

Artist Trading Cards

I first discovered artist trading cards a couple of years ago when I was getting some art supplies.  They were sitting on the check out counter.  I asked the cashier what they were.  She explained they were like a sports trading card.  You were to create a small piece of art on them and then trade them.  I bought a package and for the longest time I looked at them sitting on my desk, not sure what I should create on them. 

Artist trading cards are 2.5 X 3.5 inches in size.  No larger and no smaller.  The Artist Trading Card (ATC) movement was conceived in 1996 by M. Vanci Stirnemann from Zurich, Switzerland (  His first exhibit of 1200  ATCs was at the Ink, Art and Text art collective in Zurich, Switzerland.   Since then he has exhibited his ATCs at galleries in Alberta, Germany, and Holland and continues to exhibit in Zurich. 

Once I started creating the cards, I had to find some trading groups.  I was able to find a couple of groups and started trading.  It has been great fun, I have met a lot of very creative, interesting people and have a marvelous collection of ATCs.  My cards have been exhibited a number of times  in the Artist Trading Quarterly, a publication created by Ronna Mogelon:  In order to display the beautiful cards I have created and collected I have designed ATC books.  

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Mini Books

This little book is made from red and dark brown leather.  I used a grey satin ribbon and waxed cotton thread to bind the signatures and create the design on the front.  

 This little book is called, "What is Art?".  It contains artist trading cards and each trading card is premised with a page that asks, what is art?, followed by a page that has one word that describes art.  I used a Japanese paper for the cover and the end papers are recycled from an art book.  


This is a piano hinge book.  It is much larger than the other books and contains my art work, as shown on the cover and I have used my photographs to create collages on some of the pages.  This was an enjoyable book to make.  I used different coloured card stock which gave the spine a very interesting checkerboard appearance.  I used barbeque skewers for each page and waxed cotton threads to bind it together.  

This is called a book within a book.  This is one of the most beautiful bags I have received when purchasing products.  It has a floral and fruit decoration on the inside.  One day I was sitting looking at this empty bag wondering what  was I going to do with it.  It was too pretty to throw away, so I decided it would make a great book.  It is a modern day version of a girdle book.  It comes with handles and I used the cardboard bottom to create closures.  I used a  heavy stationery in purple for the two outer books and a chartreuse coloured paper for the middle book.  I included my photographs on alternate pages. 

This little book is made from two leathers, brown and blue.  The blue leather is suede side out with the smooth side against the paper.  I used a jute twine for decoration and a brass button with waxed cotton threads for the closure.  

This little number is made from a soft, supple brown leather.  It has a 14K gold decoration over a wooden skewer closure.  I used a waxed fuschia cotton thread and multi-coloured stationery.  The soft suppleness of the leather makes it enjoyable to handle. 

This is a friendship book.  It has drawings combined with paintings and poetry about friends.  I used a soft hunter green goat skin leather with the suede side out and smooth side next to the art work.  The cover is embellished with red, blue, yellow and green waxed threads and a burgundy rosette.  

 These little books are so much fun to make.  I created them using glass tiles, most often used for back splashes in kitchens and bathrooms.  The rectangular one has a floral drawing on the front page, is lined with blue leather and bound with turquoise coloured waxed cotton thread.  The square booklet is lined with red leather, has chartreuse coloured pages and is bound with turquoise waxed cotton thread.  They have 10 pages in them. 

 This is a replica of the Girdle Book.  It dates back to Medieval times.  They were small, portable books that were worn by European monks, clergymen and aristocratic nobles.  It first appeared in the 13th century and was used up until the 16th century and the advent of printed books.  The traditional Girdle books had a leather binding that continued loose below the cover into a tapered tail with a knot at the end which could be tucked into one's girdle or belt.  The book hung upside down and backwards so when swung upwards it was ready for reading.  The content of these books most often was religious.  It made a visible statement of social position, wealth and literacy of the individual wearing it.  The most popular surviving Girdle book is Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy.  There are 23 surviving medieval Girdle books in their original bindings.  The oldest one dating back to 1453 from Kastl Germany.  Their use was confined mostly to an area from the Netherlands to the Upper Rhine Valley.   In this replica I used a soft brown leather suede, Japanese and Tibetan papers and regular stationery.  It has 60 pages. 

This is a replica of the Nag Hammadi book which dates back to the 4th Century.  Nag Hammadi is a city in Upper Egypt, on the west bank of the Nile.  These books were Gnostic gospels of the Coptics of Egypt.  They were written in Coptic with Greek characters.  There are 13 surviving Nag Hammadi books.  In 1945 they were found buried in the desert in a ceramic jug.  They are an ancient form of a bound book of papyrus sheets folded down the middle and bound together (codex).   I used a soft brown suede leather with red waxed cotton thread and cotton rag paper to create this replica.  It has 20 pages.  

This is an affirmation book.  It contains words on alternating pages.  When looked at, the intent is to write an affirmation using the word as a source.  It is small and can be put in a pocket or purse and used whenever the spirit is moved.  I used Japanese paper and fine art paper.  It has 70 pages, lots of room for affirmations and a nice keepsake once it has been filled.  

This is a friendship book I made for a friend.  It has quotations on laughter, happiness, joy, friendship and love.  I created abstract drawings in different sections of the book.  The streamers read love, smile, joy, friendship, happiness and laughter.  I used blue leather with one-half suede side up and the other half smooth side up.  The closure is two purple buttons and the binding is blue waxed cotton thread. 

What's New

I woke up this morning to the sight of these hot air balloons flying across the morning horizon.  It was very misty and they looked ethereal as they moved along.  The sight that brought a smile to my face was a large smiling bear followed by a lady bug with dangling legs.  What a marvellous way to wake up.  

So what is new in my world?  This summer I have been volunteering with an independent filmmaker as a prop designer.  The designing lets me express myself creatively and in a different way.  I designed a half body cast and I am currently designing an elk head.  I went to an elk farm in the Carp area to get the exact measurements.  Luckily the head was already stuffed and I didn't have to negotiate with the animal to stand still so I could measure him. 

On the horizon of books, I have created a number of very small books with leather covers.  They have clasps and are large enough to create a story, draw a picture or included small format photographs in them.  These books came about as a result of playing with asymmetrical pieces of leather.  I like the free form that the pieces provide and the challenge it gives me to create a book within its confines.  Currently I am creating a photography book which will include a story I wrote when in university. 

I also wrote a children's book this summer.  I was talking with my four year old granddaughter who was asking me about getting ready for bed.  When I awoke the next morning, the story was running through my mind.  As a result, I am in the process of putting the book together.  It requires some drawings and more photographs.  Hopefully it will be ready for publishing in the near future.