Remember back in January when I introduced my 14 Art Book in 2014 project? Well, I finally got around to making my first art book of the year! January and February were really tough months for me this year. I had a lot of trouble getting motivated to do things, and spent most of the time curled up on the couch knitting. (Which is why I have so many knitting posts lately...) I'm also a competitive figure skater, so this is my peak training season before competition. Between all of that I did not have time to physically make any art books... But I was planning!
This month I am really kicking things into gear with art books. I have been invited to be part of a gallery exhibition of book and paper artists that opens in late April. The artwork deadline is fast approaching and I only have one piece ready for the show! Yikes!
To get ready for the show, I made a list of pieces I already have and pieces I would like to create for the show. I want to continue the two themes I've already started with my art books: curly willow branches with ecodyed papers, and Astronomy. Last week I spent some time after work dyeing papers for future books. On Monday I had the day off and spent most of the day in my studio.
I started by spraying down my new ecodyed papers with water and pressing them under weights to flatten. I had two sheets of dyed paper from last fall that were already flat, so I used those for the first book. Then I sorted through my stick collection and found some lovely, skinny, wavy ones. The idea was to create a multiple signature stick book with one stick for each signature.
Once I had my 5 ideal sticks, I tore down the two sheets of dyed paper to 4 1/2 x 6 inch pieces. I supplemented that with 5 sheets of handmade abaca paper that I made a few years ago. Then I leafed through my old dictionary and cut out several botanical images for transfers. Normally I use a blender pen to transfer images that have been through a copy machine, but this time I used the original image and rubbed very hard for a light transfer. For the covers I used embroidery floss in complementing colors to sew together two smaller pieces of dyed paper. (Two pieces for each cover.)
The hardest part about this book was sewing the signatures to the sticks. It was tricky figuring out where to attach each stick and how to get the signatures connected securely without much wiggle. I ended up just winging it, and I think it added to the organic look of the whole book. I'm very excited with how the book came out, and I think I like it even better than my original Curly Willow Book!