Monday, February 15, 2010

Painted Paper

I love painted paper! Somehow, it brings me back to childhood - playing with watercolor paints or crayons - even the time in elementary school when we put crayons in our glue to make the white adhesive change colors. I love the array of commercial and handmade decorative papers that is used in bookbinding and handmade box projects. But, it is also fun to experiment and create my own. There is just something about getting messy, playing with colors, and accepting the final product.

It is great to spend a couple of hours with liquid acrylic paint, black ink, Arches text weight paper, water, and other supplies. I love spreading out and going crazy (being careful not to get paint on the dining room table or the floor). Each sheet comes out unique and completely one of a kind! When trimmed into smaller pieces, the art looks very different. I can't just paint one sheet. I keep going - mixing the paints ever so slightly as I go along and spreading out the wet paper all over the living room floor until it dries. Yesterday, I painted 9 pieces of paper. When there is enough acrylic paint left, it is fun to paint book fabric. Like the paper, this painted fabric looks very different when attached to the cover of a book.

I have made a few journals in which the entire book block is comprised of these painted pages (one of these books will be posted to Etsy soon). At other times, I cut the paper and use it to embellish the book. Sometimes the painted paper is used to surround the spine of each section on a Coptic bound book and at other times, it is used for the cover of the book. Regardless, I find a great deal of satisfaction knowing that the paper used is partially designed by me, but mostly by the water and paint nearby. It seems to take on a life of its own.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Amherst and Lupe

It has been a while since life has allowed me to move forward on bookbinding projects. My partner is a scientist and has been on the job hunt this past fall. He just accepted a faculty position at Amherst College and we will be moving there this summer. We have known that a move would be coming and are both very glad to know where we are headed. The details during this initial decision making process have kept both of us quite busy! I truly look forward to getting to know more about the art community in and around Amherst. Now, it is my turn to explore job opportunities as an elementary teacher. Now that this major move is in place and we have announced it to those close to us, we can get back into some sort of routine once again. For me, this means carving out some time to create handmade books. Although, I also realize that I don't have much more time for bookbinding in St. Louis.

This afternoon, I finished one more upcycled book; this time, using a 1934 copy of the book, Lupe Goes to School by Esther Brann. It has an orange cover with black lettering. A little girl is walking across the cover. One of my favorite features of the book appears on the back cover. The fabric from the spine has been carefully detached and reapplied on the back cover. I love the fact that this old book has been given new life. It will make a perfect journal for just the special someone!

I have some other pieces of spine fabric that I have removed from other antique books. I might incorporate those into another upcoming handmade journal. This project also includes scanned portraits from a 1929 yearbook. Currently, the book is sewn and sitting in my "to do" pile. I look forward to the final product (hopefully, I can finish it this weekend or early next week).