Monday, February 22, 2010

Weekend Class

This past weekend, I took another class at The Center for Book Arts. The course was called Short Cuts and was taught by one of the most generous and talented artists that I have met through classes. The class was taught by the amazing paper cut artist--Beatrice Coron. Her paper cuts have recently appeared at MOMA and I fell in love with her work by viewing it up close and personal at Kate's Paperie where she did Halloween Window Displays. Much to my pleasure, she is one of several artists who was chosen this year to provide artwork for Arts for Transit Program. Her poster is currently being featured on several of the subway lines. I purchased her artcard through the Arts for Transit store.

I thoroughly enjoyed her class and will definitely repeat it when it is offered again. The beauty of the class is that there are four components (black and white cutouts, color cutouts, cutouts for stenciling and paper engineering). Beatrice allows students to pick and choose the elements they want to pursue. If a student wishes to delve deeper in one component, Beatrice allows that student to do so. It is that type of learning that I appreciated the most--both as a student and as a teacher.

You see, I hate taking classes in the creative arts. I hate getting compared to what other people are doing. I am not overly creative on the spot. I love to think about what I want to do; I plod along. Other people are much more free-form when it comes to creating and they create some wonderful things that I could never do on the spot. I like to go home and experiment with what I want to do and will usually create some nice projects based on what happened in class.

The two projects that I concentrated on were color cutouts. The assignment was to take inspiration from artwork/pictures that were published and then to turn them into paper cuts. In class, I was working on a Little Mermaid poster from a advertisement for the Broadway musical. In order to perform the colored cutouts, you are required to make several copies of the cutout in different colors. Theoretically, you are supposed to cut out all versions of the cutout simultaneously. I didn't have adequate knife skills to do that so I cut my out in batches of two. I didn't quite finish the poster in class so I am still working on it at home.

The project that I did complete was done at home. I took the advertisement for the Lion King musicals and turned it into a paper cut. It was almost cheating because the advertisement is already very similar to a paper cut. I had to add a few connections for it to work. I prepared two cutouts of the image-one in black and one in grey. I mounted them slightly apart as to create a shadow. I mounted them on yellow orange card stock to mimic the actual poster.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Art Journal Swap--Part Two

Once the text block was complete, all I had to do was prepare covers and endsheets. The structure is very easy to construct because the boards can be prepared separately. One pleat of the concertina spine is then attached to the board. The end sheet then covers this hinge.

Here are the materials that I used for this project. Davey Board, a metallic swirl paper, and marbled paper from Rhonda Miller (who was featured last Friday on Paper Fridays).

I used a five station pamphlet stitch to sew the pages to the concertina spine. As with any pamphlet stitch, you must decide where you want to place your knot. Since artwork was going to be featured on the pages, I didn't want the knot to interfere with the artwork so I decided to hide my knots in the back of the concertina.

Here is the front of the book. I can say that I am not quite pleased with my choice of paper for the covers. The small metal brad-like features of the paper aren't very amenable to handling. Some of them were rubbed away when I was burnishing the paper. I would probably use a different paper if I were to do this project again.

Here is the book opened to the front endsheet. I was hoping that I would have the perfect project in order to use this paper. This paper was grain long so it was an excellent choice for a taller book that didn't need a folded endsheet. I love the surprise you get when you open up this journal.

Here is the book in a horizontal position. You gotta love that marbled paper.
All that I have to do now is to art journal my entry for this journal before sending to the next person. I can't wait to get started. Unfortunately, I won't be able to share the results with you until the swap is completed--I don't want to ruin the surprise for the other artists.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Art Journal Swap--Part One

I joined a new swap on swap-bot for Art Journals. There are a total of five participants. Each of us is to start a journal and then send it to the other members so they can add content. Each of us is allowed to set our own theme. We could either make or buy a journal.

I decided to make my own journal. My theme is "Tell Me About Your City." After taking a class in Accordion Books and after reading the great blog by Dennis, I decided to do a concertina spine book. An accordion book is a book based on folded paper where the folds themselves become the pages. A concertina is a folded book where the folded pages become a part of the structure rather than the pages.

I called my book a Butterfly Accordion Book. The book is comprised from an accordion folded spine. The pages are long pages that are folded in quarters that fold to the center of the book. In other words, you fold a page in half and then fold the outer edges to the center. The center fold is then sewn onto the mountain folds of the concertina.

I chose 140 lb cold pressed watercolor paper for the pages and oak tag for the concertina. I have five pages for the book (one page for each participant in the exchange).

Here is one page of the journal. Each of the quarters on the left side will be folder inwards towards the center valley fold.

Here is a shot of the concertina spine with four of the pages already sewn to the mountain folds of the concertina. I had already sewn on four of the pages before I realized that I hadn't taken any pictures for the blog.
I found it easier to clip the sewn pages together while sewing the remaining pages. I also put a piece of paper between the clip and the paper so that the pages wouldn't get marred in any way.
Here is the fully opened page before it was folded and sewn onto the concertina. The beauty of this structure is that there are so many options when choosing a format to art journal. There are four continuous pages when the page is opened full. Once folded toward the center, the outer pages can be used as two sets of continuous pages or one outside page/two separate facing inner pages/one outside page. There are so many different configurations that the artist has so many options to play with.

Tomorrow, I will show you the casing in process.

Just a note: Dennis' blog gave a great tutorial on making a photo album using this concertina structure. My idea was based upon his tutorial and the class at The Center for Book Arts taught by Barbara Mauriello.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Japan Journal

This is the last set of pictures for my Japan Journal. Next week's Journal Monday will continue with my Art Journal.

The Japanese love their neon and nighttime in Tokyo is absolutely stunning.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Paper Fridays

Today's entry features hand marbled papers by an artist in Canada. Rhonda Miller provides some of the most beautiful papers using classic techniques and patterns. As you already know, I am something of a paper hoarder. I collect papers of all types. I also believe in supporting independent artists in their endeavor through etsy and other venues. Rhonda's store always has something wonderful to covet and the price is very affordable.

I only know Rhonda through our interaction on etsy and she is a personable and giving artist who is always willing to listen to your requests and suggestions. He has custom made some papers for me when I asked her to combine several color combinations for a project that was in progress. Not only did she meet my request but she did so at her own expense--even though I bought the papers she supplied.

I highly recommend her shop to you and hope that you have a chance to visit it often. You can also follow her excellent blog here.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

From My Library: Cover to Cover by Shereen LaPlantz

First of all, I must say that this book has one of the longest titles on my shelves--Cover to Cover: Creative Techniques for making Beautiful Books, Journals & Albums. The book was published in its first softback edition in 1998. For some reason, it has just now been brought to my attention. This book was one of those suggested books when I purchased something else.

Unfortunately, these books are like boxes of corn flakes--the insides are all the same but the covering is different. Many of them begin with bookbinding basics: equipment, paper, grain, etc. They then go into types of books and are usually followed by a gallery of some sort.

This book falls within that realm. The subsequent chapters are: Pamphlet Stitch, Basic Codex, Stitches, Stab Bindings, Fold Books, and Combination Books. Where this book stands out is the discussion of Unusual Bindings and a chapter titled "Presentation Counts."

I find it difficult to follow directions in a book. I am much more comfortable seeing someone perform the machinations or being taught them. Once I see someone doing it, it is much easier for me to follow along in a book. The problem is that bookbinding is a three dimensional art form. Stitch patterns are very difficult in a two dimension format like print. For those people who can follow a book like this, there are numerous examples and illustrations. Many examples are made specifically for this book by the author to illustrate the different types of books. There are also numerous examples from other book artists throughout the book as well.

All in all, this is a very good reference book to have on your shelves.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Only in NYC

Yesterday, I visited a local high school to talk about my hobby--Paper Arts. I described myself as a paper artist and amateur bookbinder. Here was one of the verbal exchanges:

Eager Student: "Do you make a lot of money doing that?"

Me: "Not particularly, but I enjoy doing it."

Eager Student: "No problem. I wanna put $20 on the Jazz to beat the Lakers."

Teacher(rolling her eyes in embarrassment): "He's a bookbinder--not a bookie."

Later on during the break:

Teacher: "I wondered by he got so excited about you coming to visit. I told him that we had someone coming who makes books."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valentine's Day Card/Spreading the Love

Here is the first manifestation of a Valentine's Day card. I am not totally pleased with it yet but I am still working on it. I am doing some cards in non-traditional colors this year not because I am being all artsy fartsy; I am doing it because I want to use up some of the cardstock that I have leftover. I am so over using red because of Christmas.

Also, I will have many Valentine's cards left over this year. Some are handmade, some are store bought, and some are like kid's valentines. Rather than have them waste away--here is what I propose. If you know someone that could use a little cheering up around this time of year (recently alone, permanently alone, etc), please send me their address via PM. I will send them one of these Valentine's Cards signed with the following--You are loved. Signed Cupid. It will be totally anonymous with a postmark from NYC. That's it. I pay the postage and handwrite the sentiment. No tricks, no gimmicks, no advertising. I do this in memory of those that I have loved in my life. So, let me help you spread some love. This will be on a first come, first served basis as long as the supplies last. I will mail out the cards as I receive the names. The last day that I will mail out will be Thursday.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Japan Journal

The is the next to last entry in my Japan Journal. This features a small shrine that is smack dab in the middle of a large industrial area outside of the Hotel Okura. I got lost leaving my hotel and ran into this small but serene setting. These pictures really represent many of the wonders that I love about visiting Japan.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Paper Fridays

Here is another of my Indian papers which features another color that I do not use much in my palette--mustard yellow (more of an ochre yellow in reality). The pattern is a large scale paisley-like pattern in navy blue. There is a definite retro feel to the entire pattern. The paper also comes in a lime green with navy blue pattern as well.
This paper is very thick, curls, and stretches in both directions.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Year of the Tiger Postcard

Here is the final postcard for the Chinese New Year celebration of Year of the Tiger. This is the cutout that was featured last week that is adhered to a crayon resist background. This card is then back onto a red cardstock in celebration of the new year. Red and gold are the traditional colors of the new year.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Technique: Crayon Resist

One of the latest techniques that I have been experimenting with is crayon resist. I have been using a variety of different papers to see what effects that I can achieve. I have also been using a variety of different crayon bases and washes to see their interaction. The first example that I will share with you is a crayola crayon resist.

The paper is Aqvarelle Arches, Cold Pressed, 100 % Cotton (140 lb).
The base is simply Crayola crayons (96 pack)
The wash (overlay) is black gesso.

I like using the Arches paper in watercolor block. I find that I have less leakage onto the other pages when using a block. Also, I believe that the paper stays flatter and dries more evenly.

The crayons are a little waxier than some of the bases that I have used. Therefore, your crayons will not spread as easily as some of the other bases. You will find that you have to press harder and almost crosshatch for good coverage.

I like the way that the black gesso evens out the finish and mutes all of the colors.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

From My Library: Journal Spilling by Diana Trout

This book was mentioned on another blog (of which I can't remember at the moment). This book is a combination of mentoring and technique. If you are new to art journaling, it is a great resource on how to get over the hurdles that new, and experienced, journal writers face--the empty page.

The are a variety of different exercises that the author provides to jump start your pages. One benefit is that the author provides you with concrete and finished examples of her completed pages following the exercises she is recommending.

One of the interesting aspects of the book is her concept of journal spilling--not the esoteric explanation that she provides on page 15 but the practical exercise of putting thoughts to paper without a concern for spelling, grammar, content, or composition. The goal is a stream of consciousness writing that fills the page--big letters, cursive letters, fat looping letters--anything to fill out the page. This then becomes: a page in your journal, fodder for a collage, or confetti to be torn up and pasted down later.

The freeing aspect of this stream of consciousness writing is that it becomes liberating. More importantly, if it is too personal she provides you examples of how to cover it up so that only you know what is on the page--even as the writing becomes decorative on the page.

While the examples of journaling provided are not my personal style, the book is a valuable resource for the liberating, and often healing, aspects of art journals.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Japan Journal

As I was walking in Tokyo on a windswept day, I ducked around a corner to get away from the latest gust of wind. When I turned around, I saw this sculpture one-half block away. For a minute, I thought that I was back in NYC again.