The daffodils and lily-of-the-valley are blooming in my front yard and the lovely tulip magnolia is bursting with bright pink blossoms. Spring is in the air and I am busy planning for summer craft festivals and teaching venues. The official start of spring is still two weeks hence, but it is certainly time to celebrate the return of the light and warmth!
I am on a bit of emotional high also due to having just returned from a week of teaching book and paper arts at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. At the Folk School, I was part of "Arts and Crafts Week", a celebration of the American Arts and Crafts period from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During this time there was a strong resurgence of handmade crafts as folks were resisting the impact of the industrial age. I taught a limp leather binding style utilizing both handmade bookcloth from Morris print fabrics and goat skin leather to 6 students over 5 days. I included linoleum block printing as folks worked to create their books in the style of The Roycrofters, a group of craftspeople in Aurora, New York who were well known participants in the American Arts and Crafts movement.
After the 5-day bookbinding workshop, I also taught a weekend paste paper class. We focused on traditional paste paper patterns, more linoleum block printing, and stenciling as ways of creating decorative papers. We ended the session by making flag books with class samplers of the paste papers.
If you are not familiar with the Campbell Folk School, please explore their website. There is much to offer and I will be back on the 2017 schedule!
In January, I wrote about some of the custom binding requests I had filled. One of those I summarized in this manner: "I read that you created a 640-page journal for someone. I want one too. I'll be hand-writing my novel". I created a leather cover with longstitch binding that included 20 signatures of 32 pages each. My customer, the novelist, wrote, "The journal arrived today as promised and it looks beautiful. It's going to be a pleasure writing in it." I wish him all the best in his writing journey. I know I am biased but I believe it makes a world of difference to be writing one's ideas or to be creating one's drawings in a unique and hand-crafted book.
As always, please consider the list of events I have scheduled and come say hello at one of the exhibits or sales venues. I am definitely open to scheduling individual workshops. This month I am offering 3 workshops - 2 private, 1 public - that are scheduled simply because people asked for the skills. I enjoy teaching and am told I am good at it, so come find out!
Bookbinder and Papermaker
Wow! What a busy holiday and post-holiday season I've had! I am grateful to have a number of projects and workshops ongoing. Please see Workshops for upcoming events.
Feathers shall raise men even as they do birds, toward heaven: - that is by letters written with their quills. (Leonardo da Vinci)
In December I visited a special exhibit of Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Leicester at the North Carolina Museum of Art. On display were the pages of a 500-year-old handmade (duh, the only kind available then!) book that da Vinci had journaled in, doodled on, and expressed his thinking in as he worked through various problems. The exhibit was informative, inspiring, and fully absorbing. It occurred to me that one does not have to BE da Vinci to journal, doodle, and otherwise work out one's thoughts within the pages of a handmade book.
One customer followed up on the da Vinci idea remarkably well: She commissioned a leather bound book, proceeded to draw and write out various herbal recipes, and gave the filled book as a Christmas gift.
I ended the month by teaching an introductory papermaking workshop at the Sawtooth School for Visual Art in Winston-Salem, NC. It was a one-day affair in which students had opportunity to practice the technique of pulling sheets of paper and got to play with a variety of pulps and decorative methods with inclusions. Most importantly we all had fun!
September was an exciting and busy month teaching two workshops - in marbling and bookbinding - and exhibiting at the West End ArtsFest, where I was honored with an Award of Merit. See below for details.
I had a fabulous time teaching Basic and Advanced Marbling this past month. The fine fall weather allowed us to work - and keep the mess - outside, where papers dried on the line. The workshop was well attended and we all created many sheets of stunning paper which will be used for bookbinding, collage, and other art/craft projects. I also had a good group of folks for the Secret Belgian Binding workshop. Everyone went home with a beautiful book.
This month I am teaching two workshops and exhibiting at a local festival. It is a busy time for Anne's Books and Papers. See below for details on one happy customer.
It is difficult to find a journal with more than a hundred or so pages. Because I consistently fill up many pages, I go through journals at a steady and exhausting rate. When I saw Anne's custom bookbinding at a craft fair, I couldn't help but ask if it would be possible for her to make me a larger book. Expecting a no, I asked for an extremely custom, multiple hundreds of pages book. Not only did Anne deliver me a 640 page book (amazing!), she used a special binding stitch that allows each page to open flat and, on top of that, the cover is beautiful hand made paper. I have never seen any book like this and am extremely impressed. Anne really came through for me on this custom journal that I couldn't have gotten anywhere else. Once I fill these pages, I will definitely be back. I highly recommend Anne for all your custom book making. Her books are beautiful, quality, and made to last. She is a master of her art.
I have made a new friend this past month. Betty Kjelson is an 87-year-young papermaker, pulp painter, printer, and otherwise artist extraordinaire who lives just north of Winston-Salem. She helped build a beater about 40 years ago and has graciously allowed me to use it to beat my own cotton pulp for paper. We definitely had some adventures getting it going - for instance, a brand new motor! - but it has allowed us to get to know one another and to share some friendly cups of tea, all in the name of commitment to art and craft.
Please vist the Workshops tab to see new workshopsand exhibts!