Friday, 25 November 2011

Getting Ready for the Holiday Season

Hello:  Well it has been a busy fall, getting books ready for craft shows, attending gallery openings and taking photographs. 


I have made a lot of small books this fall.  It has been great fun creating these little treasures.  The Endearment Book is a miniature book in which a person writes an endearment to another person.  The recipient then writes an endearment for the person who gave the book.  They keep the book going back and forth until it is full.  It makes a nice keepsake.  These books can be used with groups, with loved ones who are living far and away, or friends.  They have been very successful with customers.  I have used a number of different materials to create these miniatures.  I love playing with leather, the texture and the shape.  What evolves from this play is usually very interesting. 

This Endearment book has pictures in it.  I took a large photo and cut it up into small sections to enhance the book.  On the empty pages I put a die cut.  It adds a nice little complement to the book. 

This Endearment Book was made from a beautiful heavy leather and green suede for the closure.  Inside I put pieces of photographs and recycled prints from an art book. 

These Endearment Books are made from a blue leather with a simulated snake skin cowhide.  The closures include mother of pearl fittings and glass beads.  They fit nicely in a palm, in a purse or in a pocket. 

  These are a set of Endearment Books with tab closures.  I did small drawings on the Canal paper covers.  These are great for a couple, a pair of siblings or a couple of friends. 


As a writer, I was taught to do free writing to get warmed up and get the words and thoughts flowing.  It is usually timed and a great exercise to give one's writing voice a free rein.  I made the first one about four years ago, it had pictures and the beginning of a sentence.  The writer then continues on with her or his thoughts.  I created some again this fall for the Ottawa Independent Writer's and Artists Fair.  They were a great success.  The covers had original drawings on them and I put the sentences in each section of the book.  

This is an example of the writer's primer.  Some were done in black and white and others were coloured.  The drawings are original and not reproduced. 

This is the back cover of the Writer's Primer.  When the book is opened flat the whole picture is revealed. 


I made a lot of miniature books.  This one has a paste paper cover.  Making paste paper is an adventure into the world of creativity.  One can use different colours, add different mediums and textures.  Once the paper is dried the final product is ready to use for book covers or other projects.  The one pictured here has a mother of pearl fitting for the closure with pieces of paper and a tacketed binding.  I did a gold wash over the finish and when held a certain way in the light, this little book has a real sparkle to it. 


I have the greatest job.  I was asked to create a number of journals for the Ontario Organic Growers Association.  These are hard covered books, so the first step was to cut out the covers.  I use a utility knife to cut the book board.

I had selected my papers from three shops. They were different colours, different textures and included fine papers and hand made papers.  When covering the book board I discovered the varying nature of each paper.  It is always an interesting venture when working with different kinds of papers.  I have learned that glues, humidity and paper composition will determine how easy or challenging the cover will be to make.  The finished products look and feel great.  I put tab closures on them, made from the same papers. 


This season I was asked to create a calendar with some of my photographs and some drawings.  I did a combination of six drawings and six photos.  This is a one-of-a-kind calendar.  Here are the drawings I created for it.

The Covers 

 The Months

I was also asked to make three CD covers.  I really enjoyed creating these little pieces of art.  I don't know what music they will be used to cover, but I was thinking, when using the music to inspire the art, I would have created something very different.  These are one-of-a-kind as well. 


I was able to get together with my artist trading card friends this month.  The theme was Wild Card, so I let the creative juices flow and created a little piece of three dimensional art.  I used a couple of photographs, one a reflection in the big chrome ball in front of the National Research Council building and the other from the new architecture of the Royal Ontario Museum.  The butterflies were taken from Telus calling cards, the trees are chicken wing bones, the plumes are curled pieces of a peacock feather and the jewel is from a recycled earring. 


Some very talented and creative friends have been very supportive of my work and I would like to honour their talents as well. 

Wendy Southin is the lady who organizes our Artist Trading Group.  She is a beautiful artist and jeweller.  Most recently she offered a piano hinge book workshop.  The work the students created is very artistic.  You can see the books and her other artistic endeavours on her blogspot:

Allison Flowers is another very talented lady.  I met Allison while volunteering with a filmmaker.   Her talents range from vidoegraphy, graphic arts and just yesterday I found out she has the most beautiful voice.  She just released her new album.  Have a listen, I think you will really enjoy it:

Olive Jones is a lady I met at my very first artist trading card trade.  She is a fabulous artist and makes very unique artist trading cards.  The first card I traded with her is on my bedroom wall.  Over the years Olive has been very supportive of my work and I want to extend a very special thanks to her.

Catherine Hajnal is a lady I met when volunteering with an organizational development group in the city.  We have been friends for a lot of years and when she moved to the west coast, I was saddened.  Our friendship continues and she has been very supportive of my work.  Catherine is another creative lady when it comes to working with people.  She is presently in Esalen in California, developing new skills for her practice.   Have a look at her website:

Thanks ladies, your help and support is greatly appreciated. 

Well that is about all for now.  Back to the books.  I must write in my blog more often.  This has been an incredibly long report.  Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.   Mary