Monday, 28 October 2013



Students have been asking me about making a portfolio presentation case for their portfolios.  At first I wasn't sure what this entailed.  Once I did some research, I created three different styles of portfolio presentation cases.  This one has a three-sided envelope inside.  The sides are flexible and made to accommodate a number of pieces in different sizes.  Once tied, the art work remains in place.  I covered this one with hand marbled paper by a marbler in the city.  I used book cloth for the spine and to join the envelope pieces.  

I used silk ribbons for closures on the outside of the box and waxed, braided cotton thread for closures on the inside. 

This is the second style I made.  I used untreated canvas to cover the outside of the case.   

I lined the inside of the covers and box with a copper foil decorative Japanese paper.  The box is covered with a textured decorative paper that compliments the  unfinished canvas. 
I used a red and gold ribbon for closure.  This is the Portfolio Presentation Case that I will be teaching on four Monday evenings, starting November 18th and finishing on December 9th.  This mini-course will be offered at the Ottawa School of Art, Shenkman Arts Centre campus.  If you are interested in attending, registration is through the Ottawa School of Art - course cost $150 plus the cost of supplies - $25 - $40 depending on the needs - based on the size of one's portfolio.  I will also demonstrate how this case may be sectioned to accommodate different sizes of work in a portfolio.  This case can also be used by collectors for special pieces and of course. for book lovers.  I have put three journals in the different cases that I have made.  


I have been playing around with different stitchings and bindings.  I find the straight stitching on the single signature books quite boring and so my boredom led to the creation of a new decorative binding.  I call it 'corn cob' binding because it looks like two rows of corn on a cob.  

I find this binding quite decorative and it adds a nice touch to the single signature books that I have been making for the book fairs.  


This year I have been making large journals.  I am getting great pleasure out of creating a full-bodied journal that is substantial and feels good when held.  I have also been experimenting with different papers for the text blocks.  I have used a beautiful Ingres paper by Fabriano in two shades of blue, Fabriano writing paper and Strathmore sketch paper in grey and beige tones.  The Strathmore paper is heavier and gives the journals a weighted elegance.  I have used both leather and paper covers for these journals. 

This journal is made with lamb skin and lined with Lokta paper.  I used a chain, glass beads and leather to create the design and closure.

This journal is made with a reptile stamped cowhide and is lined with a faux reptile decorated paper.  I like working with the shape of the leather, so the top right hand corner of the journal is exposed to show a decorative die cut on the page. 

I have had a lot of fun mixing and matching papers and ribbons.  The cover of this journal is made with Lokta paper and lined with the same. I used a green, white and fuschia gross grain ribbon for the closure.  

I used a navy blue reptile stamped leather for the cover of this journal.  There was a small hole in the leather and rather than work around it, I like to work with it.  The leather is lined with a Japanese copper foil decorative paper.  I wove the binding and made the closures from waxed, braided cotton thread.  

I was looking through my different pieces of art work this past week and came across two photographs that I had done on fine art paper. The paper is beautiful to touch and I really like the image: which is a reflection.  So they are now both covers for single signature books.   
I also had some beautiful fine papers that were for special invitations.  I made drawings on them and they are now covers for single signature books.  I used the decorative corn cob stitch I mentioned earlier on these books.  


This book was initially created in response to a call for art representing the human figure.  It is two accordion books joined back-to-back.  One end of the book has five female figures and one side of the book has the poem: Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou.  The other cover of the book has five male figures.  The poem: To Lou Adreas-Solome, by Rainer Rilke is on the other accordion book.  I used photographs on both sides of the accordion folds - soft curves for the diva and angular curves for the bachelor.  I decided not to submit the book to the first call when I was told that it didn't have enough of the human figure showing in the piece.  I then submitted it to the Fritizi Gallery in response to a call out.  The piece of art was to be in response to a play - modern version of Othello.  I received a letter stating it was a very good match for the play, however, because the gallery is an open space there was concern that the book would be stolen.  So alas, I have this beautiful double accordion book which will now be the first piece in a series of books.  Watch for the complete series next year. 
This is the Diva's side of the book, with the poem: Phenomenal Woman.  The photos represent the soft curves of the female figure and the words in the poem.  

This is the bachelor's end of the book.  I used leather and textured papers to cover the figures.  

The photographs I used for this side of the book are very angular, representing the male figure. 


I attended the Ottawa Small Press Book Fair this past month.  There was a steady stream of visitors and I sat between two authors.  A video of my time at the book fair can be seen at:

The next craft fair for me is on November 9th at the Britannia United Church on Pinecrest road.  The event opens at 9:00 am and goes through to 3:00 pm. 

Following this I can be found at BazArt at the Shenkman Arts Centre, 245 Centrum Boulevard on November 30th and December 1 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.

You will also be able to find me at the Noel Market at the Museum of Civilization, in Gatineau, Quebec, on December 6, 7 and 8th.   I hope to see you at one or more of these events.  


 I will be teaching courses and workshops at the Ottawa School of Art again this winter.  Here is the schedule and course codes.  For a full description and registration: go to the Ottawa School of Art:

WINTER 2014 – George Street Campus
Course Code
Jan. 14 – April 1
Tuesday Evening
1800 – 2100
Book Arts – 12 Weeks

WINTER 2014 – Orléans Campus – Shenkman Arts Centre
Course Code
Jan. 15 – April 2
1300 – 1600
Book Arts - Intro - $260.


WINTER 2014  -  Workshops – Orléans Campus – Shenkman Arts Centre
W/Shop Code
January 25
10:00 – 4:00
Japanese Stab Binding - $110
February 8
10:00 – 4:30
Introductory Box Making - $110
February 6 – 27
4 Thursdays
1:00 – 4:00
Artist’s Portfolio Presentation Case - $150
March 1
10:00 – 1:00
Hand Decorated Paper - $80
March 29
10:00 – 1:00
Flowers & Folding Books - $80

Monday, 9 September 2013


It’s Sunday morning and I’m sitting at the window looking out at the world.  By all appearances it is a beautiful, warm, sunny day.  The grass is green and the leaves are swaying gently in the wind.  We have turned the corner into September and autumn.  When one walks outside the air smells like a changed season and it has a noticeable chill; not cool enough for a heavy coat yet, just a light jacket. 

I had a very good summer, teaching, making books and enjoying the warm weather.  August was a blur as I taught classes at both campuses.  I moved from August into September participating in the Ottawa Mini Maker Faire at the Canada Science and Technology Museum.  This is the first time I have participated in such an event.  It was very interesting and included artisans, industrial designers and an interesting assortment of electronic and technical inventions by young and mature inventors.  The attendance was amazing and adults and children alike enjoyed the offerings. 

I spent some of my summer days down at the Byward market in the heart of Ottawa.  I always enjoy my time there watching people, taking pictures and enjoying the ice cream. 

This gentleman was kind enough to step out of his kiosk so I could take his picture.  

 I love looking at the reflections of my surroundings.  There are so many layers of images that one can see, not to mention photograph. 

 Right from the heart of maple syrup land.  If you want an education on maple syrup, this is the place to go.  Just fantastic on pancakes and crepes.  

Can you believe this is a receiving door at one of the many loading docks in the market.  As a shoe lover, I see a beautiful shoe.  What do you see?  

 I was sitting down enjoying some great ice cream when I saw this image in a cracked mirror in front of me.  As luck would have it, I had my camera handy. 


 As the season changes, so do my activities.  Fall courses are starting up at the Ottawa School of Art again.  My course is now offered as an option to certificatae and diploma students.  

FALL 2013 – 35 George Street Campus
Course Code
Sept. 17 –  Dec. 3
1830 – 2130
Book Arts – 12 Weeks

FALL 2013 – Orléans Campus – Shenkman Arts Centre
Course Code
Sept 18 – Dec. 4

1300 – 1600

Book Arts I - Intro


Fall 2013  -  Workshops – Orléans Campus – Shenkman Arts Centre
Workshop Code
Sat, Sept. 28 &
Sun, Sept. 29
10:00– 1630
Japanese Hidden Compartment Box – Part 1

Thur. Nov 7, 2013
10:00 - 1630
Leather Explorer’s Journal
Saturday, Dec. 7
1300 - 1600
Hand Decorated Paper – Intro

All registration is done through the Ottawa School of Art at:  Course information can be found on the website under General Interest – Printmaking, for the George Street and Orleans campuses.   Come out and have some fun creating books and/or boxes.  They make fabulous gifts for family and friends.  


I had the opportunity to photograph a couple of books made by my students.  These are Coptic bound books with a sleeve.  Both ladies worked with blue papers.  

 Jenny decorated the covers of her book with cut outs which she had drawn; one was of the Phoenix rising and the other, a tree.  The orange Japanese paper she used was textured and it made an interesting contrast to the smooth book cover and sleeve.  She used a red satin ribbon for the closure.

Randa used a beautiful handmade paper and lined it with blue card stock.  The sleeve on the left and book on the right were covered with the same paper.  When held it looked like a clutch purse. 


I will be at a number of craft shows and book fairs again this fall.  To date here is the list: 
October 12, 2013 - Ottawa Small Press Book Fair - Jack Percell Centre, 2nd floor 
Jack Percell Lane, just off of Elgin Street - 12:00 to 5:00 pm 

November 9, 2013 - Britannia United Church Craft Show - 985 Pincrest Road, 
9:00 am to 3:00 pm

November 30 & December 1, 2013 - BazArt - Shenkman Arts Centre, 245 Centrum Boulevard, Orléans - 11:00 am - 5:00 pm 

I hope to see you at one of these events.  

If you have any questions about the courses, workshops or books, please let me know.  I will be happy to discuss them with you.  You can contact me at:
My books are now available at the Ottawa School of Art Boutique, 35 George Street and the Ottawa Art Gallery, Leasing and Sales Boutique at 2 Daly Avenue

Wishing you all a fabulous autumn. 

Mary (Note: the e-mail address on this video is no longer in use)

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Sumer Time, Summer Time, Sum Sum Summertime and Books

Hello Everyone:

Sitting at my window today, I am enjoying the wetness of the day and marveling at the beautiful greens from the trees and grass as the dust of the past week is washed off of them. Lady summer has arrived in a splash of heat and humidity – what a great week it has been. 

New Work

Story Rooms 

The first story room I created was Harvey Hornet’s Writing Room.  I recently completed the second one – Lydia Ladybug’s Flower Room.  This one is for my granddaughter’s birthday.  As I created this one I started thinking about other story rooms that I may create.  I have a number of them lined up to be created over the coming year. 

Lydia Ladybug's Flower Room

   Lydia Ladybug's Flower Room Side view

Lydia Ladybug's Flower Room - back view.  The materials I used to make this story room are: fabric, decorative papers, Davey board, metal, wood, photo, peacock feathers, dried wild cucumber blooms, pismire wings, maple keys and felt. 

Lydia Ladybug's helper


Open story book about Lydia Ladybug's Flower Room

 Closed Story Book - FlutterBook

 Pictures and story inside the story book about Lydia Ladybug's Flower Room

The books under the flower room

So what is a story room?  It’s a room I make with book board, decorative papers and found objects.  I start with an idea, usually coming from a found object, i.e. hornet’s nest, dried wild cucumber blooms, and then a story starts to build in my head.  From there I build the room and under each room I put a set of books.  Each room comes with its own story, which I write and incorporate into one of the books.

 Student Work

I recently completed the spring bookbinding course at the Ottawa School of Art and a number of weekend workshops.  I am always amazed at where students take what they have learned in class, and expand on it using their imagination and creativity.  Some beautiful books have again been created.

Eva made this for her daughter's birthday

Another of Eva's amazing creations

Madeleine's Tunnel Book about how she enjoys riding her bike.   

The open version of Madeleine's Tunnel Book.  Fabulously colourful, humorous and artistic.  Her hanging geese gave the impression of flight. 

 Amy's beautiful leather Explorer's Journal.  The leather was embossed with futuristic designs which Amy used to incorporate her closure. 

 Amy braided cotton thread and incorporated a piece of lava rock to complete the closure. 

 The interior of her book. 

Doreen's leather Explorer's Journal was made from a faux reptile stamped leather.  She incorporated a hand made glass bead for the closure and French style stitching. 

The interior of Doreen's book. 


The Instructors’ Exhibit at the Ottawa School of Art Orleans Campus at the Shenkman Arts Centre, 245 Centrum Boulevard, opened on June 7th and runs to July 21, 2013.  The vernissage and an opportunity to meet the artists will be on July 7th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. 

The Instructors’ Exhibit at the Ottawa School of Art George Street Campus will open on August 1 and run to August 29, 2013.  The vernissage and an opportunity to meet the artists will be on August 1 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm.

The Eastern Ontario Contemporary Book Artists exhibit has moved to the Marianne van Silfhout Gallery at St. Lawrence College in Brockville at 2288 Parkdale Avenue. The exhibit is from June 21 to July 20, 2013.  One of my books in this exhibit has been purchased by Queen’s University and will be in the permanent collection at the W.D. Jordan Library. 

Summer Workshops and Courses


George Street Campus Workshops

·        July 6 -  1:00 – 4:00 pm – Box Making
·        July 13 -  1:00 – 4:00 pm – Paper Decorating – Marbling, Paste Paper
·        July 20 – 1:00 – 4:00 pm – Flowers and Folding Books

Orleans Campus – Workshops and Course

·        July 27 – 10:00 – 4:30 pm – Music, Abstract Art, Dada Poetry and Bookbinding Workshop – course code S13SWS6
·        July 31 – August 28 – Monday and Wednesday evenings: 6:00 – 9:00 pm
o       Book Arts Intro – Course Code S13S040B


George Street Campus Workshops

·        August 3 – 1:00 – 4:00 pm – Box Making
·        August 10 – 1:00 – 4:00 pm – Paper Decorating – Marbling, Paste Paper
·        August 24 – 1:00 – 4:00 pm – Flowers and Folding Books

Orleans Campus Workshop

·        August 17 – 10:00 – 4:30 pm – Hanging Puzzle Book – course code: S13SWS7
  • Registration for the workshops and courses is through the Ottawa School of Art

By phone; George Street – 613-241-7471/ Orleans Campus: 613-580-2765

By e-mail: George Street: Orleans Campus:

That's all the news for now.  Have a happy Canada Day and a great summer filled with sun and fun.

If you have any questions about my books, courses or workshops, please feel free to contact me at: