Thursday, 28 May 2015


Spring has finally arrived in Ottawa.  May is Tulip month and we have a fantastic tulip festival.  There are many different types of tulips which are interesting to see and photograph.  The colours are beautiful and sometimes delicate. 

On Tuesday, I went to the beach.  It was such a lovely spring day and the temperature was rising.  The big fluffy clouds were floating around in the sky chasing the sun.  

The trees, with their interesting blooms, were gently blowing in the wind.  The leaves were rattling to the beat of the waves lapping at the shore. 

Trees, trees, trees.  I grew up in the country on a big lake, surrounded by trees.  When I left home for the first time, I found it very difficult to get to sleep without the sound of the wind in the trees.  

Down at the beach there are some very old trees with their roots exposed to the elements.  I find them quite beautiful and enjoy photographing them.   

I find it interesting how much the grain and smooth surfaces of these old roots look like the images on topographical maps.  
These next two look like the scales of an amphibious beast.  Mother Nature sure knows how to create beauty.

Can you see the eye in this one?  It can be viewed from right to left or left to right.  Either way I see a different beast. 


This winter I experimented with wood covers.  I started out trying wood carving and found it was not to my liking.  So I decided to do 'au naturel' wood covers, using the grain, bark and uneven edges to create covers.  I am very happy with the final outcome.  I experimented with pine, curly maple and aromatic cedar.  I used heavier, coloured  papers in these books because the covers are heavy.  They are very complementary.  
These are pine boards.  Sanding and creating rounded edges and corners was very easy to do with this wood as it is quite soft.  It has a very gentle grain in it and when I  stained the wood, the grain made an appearance. 


These book covers are made from curly maple.  A much harder wood to work with.  It took a little more power to sand down, but the exposure of the curly grain in the wood was well worth it.  The grain is a blond colour and when the wood is stained, the blond grain really stands out.  I used marbled paper for fly leaves in the one journal, giving the spine a colourful look. 

Another curly maple covered book.  As you can see, I left the irregular foredge in place with parts of the bark.  There was also a long scar at the spine which added a nice contrast to the light streaks of grain.  

One of the benefits of using the heavier paper inside the books was it allowed for paper cutting decorations.  The contrast between the different coloured papers made it more interesting. 


These curly maple covers came with a curved edge which I wanted to preserve.  I carved into the grain of these covers giving it a look of flames coming up from the base of the board.  It was a pleasure to run my hand over the carved wood - telling a different tale from the smooth covered ones. 

This maple cover had a nice long streak of bark along the edge which I kept intact. 

There is a variety of coloured papers in each signature and on the right hand, bottom corner I used a leaf die-cut to decorate the pages. 

I wanted to see if I could bind the wooden covers in ways other than Coptic binding.  This is the first one I tried.  I used suede leather for the spine.  It worked quite well with the pine boards.  

This is the aromatic cedar.  It was such a pleasant experience working with this wood.  First of all, the smell was magnificent.  The wood is soft, so very easy to sand and round edges and corners.  As you can see there was a big knot hole in the front cover which I left in.  The grain in this wood is very strong and the colour is similar to oxblood red.  I used a cherry stain which enhanced the grain further.  I only sealed the outside of these boards, leaving the inside sanded, but not sealed, in order to maintain the beautiful scent.  I believe bugs would not bother this book.  It's quite a large book measuring 12 x 11 3/4 (at the widest part) x 1 3/8 inches (30.2 x 28.6 x 3.5 cm).

This is the back of the cover and you can see a portion of another knot hole in the wood.  The boards were wider at the bottom than at the top and it makes for a very interesting shape.  Definitely not a book for someone who likes perfect squares. 

I used a heavy parchment paper for fly leaves for each signature in this book and did some paper cutting on them.  Some pages have borders and others have designs in the center of the page.  I alternated red and neutral coloured threads in the binding. 

Where you can find my books:  
  • Ottawa School of Art Boutique- 35 George Street, Ottawa, Ontario
  • Ottawa School of Art, Shenkman Arts Centre, 245 Centrum Blvd., Ottawa, Ontario
  • Ottawa Art Gallery, Sales and Leasing Boutique, 2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario 
  • La Fab Gallery, 1-212 chemin Old Chelsea, Chelsea, Quebec  
You can also contact me at:
That's it for now.  Wishing you all a wonderful spring and restful summer.