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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Cover story


It is said by some that I tend to put the cart before the horse and never know when to leave well alone. This is certainly true of the cover for the Big Draw book. Once the fabric was stretched on the cardboard and the holes were drilled, I decided I wanted to add lettering. Calligraphy is not my thing. Handwriting can be a struggle at times. I had several attempts - no, not try outs - writing on he actual, finished cover - and hated them all.
At the same time, I was writing on the cover of the technical try out book and having covered it with ink I resorted to bleach. Yes gentle reader, I know you'll find this hard to believe but on the cover of my precious book made with archival glue and Japanese paper I painted with bleach. Don't shout at me, it's too late now.

From my flirtations with felt making I remembered that vinegar is supposed to neutralise bleach so a sponging with vinegar came next. Is smells delightful, as you can imaging

The finished item is good enough. If I mess with it any more, I'm going to ruin it altogether and them I'll be in deep doodooh. I wanted it to look rough and ready ( had my wish granted there) to be in the spirit of the drawings.

For anyone like me whose dream is to slap on a cover once a book has been published, check out this project.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Used envelope blues


I made my technical try out book today and reminded myself of all the dodges and wheezes. This piece of fabric was painted by the profoundly disabled kids I worked with for a couple of weeks. Looks great when you see it in isolation like this and nice to have a memento of them.

I often make books from used envelopes but I've never done it like this before. I split the envelopes up the sides as well and fitted them together in sets of three to make signatures before joining them together along the spine with chain stitch. White UK envelopes all seem to have a similar blue patterning inside them. Lots of different patterns and lots of different shades of blue. I wonder why this is? Must try and find out. I like the juxtapositioning of the blue and white pages that results when you stitch in this fashion. Maybe tomorrow morning I'll wake up brave and drill holes in my cover for real. I'm charging my drill battery tonight, just n case!

Weird? Moi?

My friend Gill had tagged me to tell you six weird things about myself. Gave this serious thought and decided that I am not in the least weird, not by the standards of my like minded friends There are weird people around. The kind of people who don't look at the contents of their dustbin and think 'I could make something out of that!'. Colour is not important to these folk and they have no desire to stroke texture where ever they might find it. They don't feel the urge to dismantle things to see how they are made or hoard the end bits from notebooks because it's such good cardboard. They don't have a room filled with the detritus of life like broken glass and stones. They don't save used envelopes, vegetable nets, yogurt cartons and the plastic things pasty cases come in, just in case. These poor people don't keep striped telephone wire filed in colour order and have no desire whatsoever to pull trash out of their neighbour's bins because with a bit of tweaking, it just might turn into treasure.

How sad for them. Makes me glad I'm perfectly normal.

The book continues


Here is the Big Draw book just about ready to have it's pages stitched together and here's one I made earlier to give you an idea of what I intend to do to with it. I've made several deliberate mistakes so far. I do hate doing things for other people. Not in a reluctant kind of way, just in an it's never good enough (for me) kind of way. So glad this is an unpaid voluntary commission. My arms have this thing......they tend to fly up from sides and then I make this noise like - I'll do it I'll do it! Whether or not I have the necessary time, or ability come to that, seems to be a secondary consideration. Heigh, ho. Too late now.

Next step is drilling holes in the cover. Lots of opportunities to make an a--- of it here. Cover wrong way up, holes wrong distance apart. They do say being aware of your faults is half way to curing them. Maybe being aware of the pitfalls is the best way to avoid them. Wish me luck!

Friday, December 15, 2006


I just love some of freestyle drawing people produced during Big Draw week. I'm having great fun matching them up as I make them into a book. Check out this sultry pair.

The Same But Different

Thanks for your kind comment Diane! May be the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me.
Blogger has changed me to the new format, that's perhaps why things look strange. The 400 page book continues. Christmas has just knocked me off schedule a bit. When the holidays finally get here I'm going to blitz the gluing bit then I can get onto the fun stitching bit. Being a grumpy shopkeeper, I have to be behind my counter until closing time on Christmas Eve. My favourite customer quote from yesterday was.....I thought I might give it to her on Christmas Day. Weeelll, yeeessssss......

I miss the little darlings at school too. Was dreaming about them last night. This is the first year in about three I haven't had a project in the offing but will do my best to make good use of all this lovely time and space I have been given. Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sock it to me


Here are my latest sock creations. They were knitted in wool not really designed for this purpose. Hence they are the same...but different. I do like this.

I'm struggling with Knitting Vintage Socks now. Many false starts but I'm beginning to pick it up.........and rip it out.........and pick it up.......and rip it out.......

If you are into knitting and/or poetry, please check this out. Excellent series on BBC Radio 4.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

You have to learn to crawl before you fly

Exercise is an excellent way of combating the doldrums of any kind and a few years ago I got heavily into shadow yoga. It's a great way to train your mind as well as your body. I have a class twice a week with a bit of hatha on the weekends just or fun. The other days I swim. I've been trying to learn the crawl recently and the swimming pool attendant was giving me some free lessons today. I can maybe only manage half a length but man, do I finesse it beautifully! My goal is to do that fish like underwater turn at the end instead of surfacing a gasping, snottery wreck. The indentations left by my goggles remain for the rest of the day (could it be they are too tight?) giving me an interesting, ravaged appearance without the trouble of actually having to have a hangover. A benefit of underwater swimming all too often overlooked in my opionion.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Positive Action

Right. Enough being miserable about Christmas. Time to take some positive action to cheer myself up.

Went to a thanks to our tutors party at a local arts centre the other night. Pretty dull. Ended up sitting between two girlies discussing what the feed their babies but on the plus side, I was talking to a very interesting art tutor and I think I'm going to make her my mentor for next year, lucky girl! (Would that be me or her?) I've booked a collage workshop with her on 20th Feb to express how I feel about the 24 hour society and a painting workshop of March 6th looking at the work of one of my fav Scottish artists John Bellany. A more cheerful chap it would be hard to find.

For a immediate fix, I've rekindled my interest in knitting socks which has always stood me in good (not to mention warm) stead in the past when reality has become a bit too much.

Perhaps I'll be able to manage one ho....but definitely not three. Whadaya want? Miracles?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Ongoing book project



My project of turning 400 drawings into a book continues to progress. I reckon I'm about quarter of the way thought the pile. At the moment I'm gluing them together into sets of four or 'signatures' as they are known, for some strange reason, in the bookbinding world. After that they are getting a good old squash under heavy weight to flatten them as much as possible.

I'm using archival glue which describes itself as reversible. Have found this to be partially true. You can wash off any spills which is useful but if you've stuck it down like you meant it, the Red sea wouldn't unstick it.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Effing drawing


No I'm not being rude. This is a new descriptive term I've invented to describe my favouite drawing style. Fast, Furious and without Forethought. I'm dong a demonstration tonight of public sewing machine drawing and this is my trial run. I'm hoping people will stop by and have a go so I want the technique to be fast and free as possible. Think effing drawing might fit the bill very nicely.

My one concession to Christmas


No decks, no cards, no tree, no turkey - from choice. I do enjoy this bah humbug time of year. Couldn't resist a little competitive clothes peg dressing with some chums the other night though. Fast and furious and without forethought. My favourite way to work. Here she is, the angel of the hot glue gun.