Thursday, October 30, 2014

Digi scrapping update

Last month I joined to participate in their Stash Bash event. I was able to tackle messes, reorganize my stash, and start scrapping again with the supplies already on hand. It got me motivated to return to my story making. Here are three digi pages I have done, during and since the event. 

Now I am a coach for the upcoming Holiday Focus community circle, helping people stay focused and motivated during the holiday season. Hopefully, that means I will have more projects to post in the coming months!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Santa Fe Plastic Bag ban

Yesterday a plastic bag ban went into effect in Santa Fe, to:  “protect, conserve and enhance the city's natural beauty.” I think they are trying to say that if we get plastic grocery bags, we will litter but without these bags we will throw our trash away? Um, yeah. Right. What this ban did for me was to get me reminiscing. 

As I paid for my purchases at WalMart, I received all paper bags (which was great because I needed more for my paper recycling at home.) The cashier was too young to remember the days of my childhood when we only had paper bags. Plastic grocery bags became the norm in the mid-1980s. Before that, we didn’t know what we were missing. Paper bags were so useful! We used them for our kitchen trash can liner (which really amazes me because my kitchen trash is often wet and would ruin the bag). Covering school books? Hello? That was the best part of a new school year. I loved cutting open those bags and making a book cover to then decorate to my heart’s content. My kids don’t even have to cover their books these days.  It’s a lost art. And can you imagine Pig Pen with a plastic bag over his head? Not gonna happen.

On the other hand, plastic grocery bags have become such a staple in today’s world. Bathroom trash can liners. Messy diaper disposal. Wet clothes receptacle on car trips. Quick bag to carry an armload of stuff to the car. Lunch bag. And our (unfortunately) biggest use of these bags seems to be for lining our throw up buckets. We have a few of them. And they get used. Have you seen the Studio C sketch where the guy carries about 20 bags of groceries at once? Yeah. I had 3 paper bags to bring in today and I could hardly manage it. WalMart paper bags don’t have handles and even when the bags do have handles, they aren’t useful unless you have a bag full of cotton balls. I always try to get a carload of groceries into the house in one shot.  Just load me up with those plastic bags full of food and I can totally do it. And I can get the house unlocked without putting down a bag. 

I wonder how long this ban will last? I wonder if my nostalgia will wear off and I will miss those darn plastic bags that frankly I always have way too many off. Maybe I’ll sell the ones I have stashed on the black market. ;) I actually usually use and prefer my reusable bags, but I will miss the plastic ones eventually. At least it isn’t a nationwide ban and I can always hop in my car and drive 45 minutes to get my fix elsewhere, if I start going through withdrawals. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sidenote about the blog

So, I started out the blog as Scrappy Girl because I was scrapbooking. Then I started photoshop and digital scrapbooking. Now it is book art.  I guess really it is a documentation of my crafting and art projects. I did add a "Book Arts Projects" tab so that all those projects will be in one place and in order and easy to find. Just because it is my latest obsession and to make it easy for Mom to see what I've been doing. :)

Book Arts: Final Project (Photoshop too)

For our final project we were to design a project with a concept and build models and come up with it all on our own. My concept came together pretty quickly early on in the semester. We learned the Daniel Essig method of making covers and these are what I made. At the time I didn't know what I was going to do with them but I did make the covers with the idea of doors in mind. Ever since we moved to Santa Fe I have fallen in love with doors. There are so many beautiful doors around town and we often stop to take a picture.  It took me a month or two to work and rework my ideas around doors and how to make a book out of the photos. And this is what I came up with. I used hinges for the spine and did transfer prints of the doors onto wood veneer. The accordion fold ended up being what worked best for displaying the pages. It's so interesting how at the beginning of the semester, books came together one per week and toward the end we worked for a few weeks on one book.

Note: During the semester I was working in the Media Arts computer lab as a photoshop tutor and on my down time I was able to resize and recolor the photos to give them all the same shape and size and coloring. And they had a free color laser printer where I could print to my hearts content on large paper. I was able to print and reprint until the pages were just right.

Book Arts: Drum Leaf

The drum leaf is a pretty interesting book form. We took a big piece of paper and decorated the paper with paint and stamps and paste paper technique and whatever we wanted, then cut it up into pages. Then we glued them together and added the covers. I think it would be interesting to try again. It was also nice to have a concept that was just the surface of the paper. Especially as we were working on a few books simultaneously. Easy peasy. (Except for the fact that my first paper surface ended up looking like mush because the inks I was using were smearing when they weren't expected to. So I started over again.)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Book Arts: Blizzard and Wire Edge

We had a few choices when designing this book project. Marci taught us about pop-ups (which I used in my ribbon tacket book), wire-edge binding, and blizzard binding.  As I was playing with paper in my workshop I folded a blizzard binding (the "earth" in my book), and because of the colors of the paper I used it really reminded me of the earth. As I played around some more, and took a field trip to Papers! in Albuquerque I came up with this unique book. The wire edge binding involves covering book board and punching holes along the edges so that the pieces of wire included under the paper can then be bound together to form a type of book. Even though this isn't in the traditional codex form of book, pages turning to read from left to right...this is still a book. Because I say so and because it is my art piece.

Note: When I first made this book I wrote my text in my own handwriting. It didn't really work. At Marci's suggestion, I tried again by printing the words on the rice paper with my printer, using a font that matches the map paper.  I like it so much more now!

The words are again my own, written specifically for this project.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Book Arts: ribbon tacket

The concept for this ribbon racket book was seasons or senses. I came up with the concept of colors and their relationship to seasons and holidays. I wanted to show the importance of color to communicate the meaning of the holiday, so I chose colors that were completely wrong for each holiday.

I really liked the concept as I was developing it. But I'm not super thrilled with the outcome. One day I may redo the book if I can come up with a better format to communicate my concept. But it consumed so much of my thoughts I still must share my book. Each section of pages is a different holiday and there is a quote about the meaning of color on the back of each signature. The pages are cut and folded in a graduated manner so that all of the colors of the holiday are showing at the same time. Each signature has a white centerfold with a pop-up showing an image of the actual holiday I am misrepresenting. I call the book "April Fool's Day."

Note: This is my first book to have a colophon. (colophon: a brief description of the book, in this case describing the concept behind the book.) This book has a ribbon tacket, in which the signatures are sewn over the ribbons along the spine.

Book Arts: Collaborative book (accordion)

Every semester Marci has the students in the class do a collaborative book project. This semester we had a botanical theme. The book form was using an accordion made of stained tyvek with pages glued to the mountain folds of the accordion.  The pages have windows cut in them for our two-sided 2"x4" individual pages to go in.  Some of the mini pages were translucent or transparent (such as the leaf collection shown here) and some of them were not. I chose to put the pages in different parts of the pages and because of the size of the paper I used for the book pages, I rotated the orientation of my book, so the spine is across the top. The trick on this book was finding a way to communicate to the reader how to orient and how to open the book. It took awhile but I finally found a way, with the rub-on letter title and the pull tab ribbon on the cover.

Book Arts: personal project

Around this time in class we learned a technique for making covers inspired by Daniel Essig. I used my covers in my final project, but at home I used the technique to make a simple little magic wallet/jacob's ladder book. I have this phrase that I use in an unconditional way that I have been wanting to use somewhere and this seemed like the perfect format. The phrase is: Be Kind. Rewind. A well known phrase to those of us who lived during the time of VCRs and video stores. But in a family with three energetic kids who sometimes yell at each other...this phrase has come to take on new meaning. I have our kids stop after yelling and rewind and try again to say what they want without the anger.

Daniel Essig's method is basically to glue objects to a cover board and then glue some thick paper down over top of the items, put on layers of paint, and sand away parts of the layers to reveal different colors. His books are usually pretty subdued browns and neutrals. I went a little crazy with color on this book but it makes me happy. :) I decided to try some pretty extreme objects under the paper and love that it worked. I used pony beads with letters on them to spell the word rewind and it worked out better than I thought it would. The papers on the back with the other quote are some paste papers I made with my leftover paint from painting the layers of color on the front covers.  I got quite a few paste papers out of that!

Book Arts: Japanese Stab binding

Our next project was to make a Japanese stab binding. It was a little tricky at first realizing that it needs to be done just right for all the gaps to be sewn, but once you get it, it is a lot of fun. Our theme was receipts and record keeping, and I decided to be literal including actual receipts and pockets to keep papers. I tried a technique I had read about but never tried: fusing plastic bags. I learned a lot in the process and will do things differently next time (like using more layers of plastic on each sheet). This is my teacher's favorite book because it is so organic. The book is full of bags making pockets and the one page with the butterfingers bag is in there because on the day we were working on these books a classmate brought in this delectable treat to share and I washed it out to include it as a great pocket page. The yellow page with the "credit card" is fun because I sealed the pocket shut so you can't get the card out to use. (It is a fake card that came in the mail.)  I had a lot of fun assembling this book.

Note: The cover is made from one of those reusable shopping bags. This book is quite timely, it seems, because Santa Fe has been working on a ban of these plastic bags. It could be that this book will become a record of a relic of the past. :) Another good use of the theme "record keeping."

Book Arts: Box/Case

Using leftover fabric scraps we learned how to make book cloth and cover book board to make a case to cover a book. I chose to stick with the black and white original colors of the fabric and use my case as a book itself. Once upon a time in my scrapbooking days I had learned about this waterfall style to flip pages and it seemed just the right way to add a lot of text to a small, thin space in an interesting way. The black and white and the waterfall led me to the concept of memory and I wrote a personal narrative about the history of Alzheimers in my family and the lifelong worry I have held surrounding it. (I am the cute little girl in the bottom right of the photos.)

Note: We used reversible adhesive in this project which ended up being  blessing to me because I was able to lift the fabric after I was done and add a magnetic closure to the case to help it to stay shut.

Book Arts: Flag book

Flag books are accordions with flags attached to the folds. You can open and close and flap the flags. When I made a model of a flag book I noticed that the accordion wasn't laying flat and the flags inside made this amazing swooping pattern that was fun to look at. I took my inspiration from the lovely shape of the book and eventually came up with this manger scene. It looked like hay inside a manger, especially once I figured out how to make these legs to hold the book in the right way to see the hay.  Then I switched the book to the flags on the outside and noticed the star that was formed. So obviously I needed to make a Christmas book! I had been working on this while working on my altered book project and came up with this nifty book stand that can hold the book in both orientations. Isn't this book just so much fun to look at?

Note: There are nativity scenes on either side of the manger and handwritten transcriptions of the Christmas story from the New Testament written on the accordion folds across the top.  The flags are different shades of yellow sprayed with a shimmery mist.

Book Arts: Altered books

I thought at first that book arts was going to involve more of making art out of books, altered books, such as the next two projects I made. But I really do enjoy altered books and should try some more. I have a few ideas brewing in my head for later. But for this first project, our theme was to be taken from the book itself. I went perusing goodwill and other places looking at books and finding books that eventually spoke to me and went together. I came up with this concept I call "Our Love Story." The text comes from chapter headings from the books and the titles are part of the text of the project.

I pondered and discussed and sketched and worked and reworked these books until I figured out how to get the project to come together just as I imagined it. I learned how to glue pages together and I learned to be ok with taking out chunks of a book. My amazing husband figured out how to get the heart cut out of the final book with his scroll saw (that would have taken an amazing amount of time, talent and patience to cut by hand!) 

The books have been glued together so that they are flush with the tops of each other...Marci says that people pay the most attention to the top and side of a book, and not so much to the bottom, so that helped me make that decision.  I used stained tyvek to reinforce the old bindings of these books.  The troubles I had were in letting the final book lay flat and in being able to always read the spine of the book that is showing with each cover turned. My final solution was to find a title (the blue book) that went with the love story and could be used as a lift to help in the display of the book. Another Marci-ism is that each part of a project must be a part of the project. You should never have to tell someone to ignore part of a book. Everything should go together. 

(By the way, the picture of the older couple is part of the book. The younger couple is Kyle and I on our 10th anniversary.)

Book Arts: Nag Hammadi

The Nag Hammadi books were the first codex style books and are from the 4th century. We learned how to make a book in this felt like a big jump from the simple little books we started off the semester making. This ended up one of my favorite books I have made so far. Part of that reason is that I felt like I was able to really grasp concept with this one. Our concept was site/sight/cite.  Marci's suggestion was to go to a place we spend a lot of time but don't normally give much thought to. Go there every day for a week and write down your observations. And this is what I came up with. A book about my minivan.

For this book I also ventured into writing poetry. (Text to follow)  The piece of leather I found inspired me as well, with those holes and being a nice soft leather and very much shammy-like.  I used my die cut machine at home with an embossing plate for metal gears to peak through the holes. Inside is canvas (remnants from cutting canvases at the art supply store) that I tea stained and did transfer prints of images I found online (and my keys) and my poem. I really do like this book.

Text of poem:
A place of solitude and quiet mediation.
A time to listen and bond
to pay attention.
An opportunity to observe and parent,
to teach and build.
A view that is ever changing,
inspiring and beautiful.
A labor of love.
A chance to serve and to help.
A worth well beyond its worldly value.

The number of times I wrote and rewrote that last line. Wow.  Anywho, here is my book:

Book Arts: Triangle book

Paper bags are something we use quite often in the book arts classroom. When making models or when we need a cheap thick paper to use as a sample, or just for a gluing surface. As we made our in-class samples of the triangle book I decided to go with it. I love the imagery on Trader Joe's bags and I highlighted them here with my book covers.  The rosette and butterfly are also from the bag. I even made a mini bag to hold the first out of necessity to help hold the book closed but then I really liked it to carry the theme. Inside is homemade paper on which I did transfer prints of old grocery store lists and a photo of a grocer. Unfortunately, this was another learning experience because the photo didn't have enough contrast to come through with enough detail and you can't tell what it is. But I do love the look of this book. Trader Joe's has always been a fun destination for us!  (By the way, the book is 3 inches tall.)

Book Arts: Dos-a-Dos

That's just a fancy spelling for Do-si-do, but the spelling used among book artists. A dos-a-dos is a book with two sides that you can open, read, and turn and keep reading. Over and over again.  Our theme for this book was contrast. I chose the contrast of old and new. Paper vs. digital. We learned about making transfer prints and I learned an important lesson: do a test print. My hypertext didn't transfer as it should have. I could have had a better image had I done a test. That is a lesson we learned over and over: make models first. Sometimes, however, I didn't have the patience.

The paper pages in this book are taken from an atlas, a dictionary, and a hymnal.  The SD card was our first: a paltry 32 MB, if I remember correctly. Can you imagine that now? 

Book Arts: first project

On the first day of class we learned two things: how to make paste paper and how to make a flutter book (a book made from folding and cutting one piece of paper). Paste paper is making patterned paper with acrylic paint mixed with water and paste. Then you make patterns with combs and cards and whatever. It's a lot of fun but I have so much more to learn.

Our first assignment was to make a book combining at least two types: flutter, accordion, scroll, pamphlet. I used all but the accordion. The concept was color, which I quite enjoyed. The cover papers are all paste papers. I pamphlet stitched white pages in between, which you can't quite see.  The scroll holds a matching pen and the string tie can tuck into the center pocket.

Book Arts primer

In August 2013 I signed up for a class at the community college called Book Arts. I didn't know quite what to expect but I knew I would learn about book making. Turns out, Book Arts is so much more. It is the book as an art object. I will be taking the second half of the course starting next week and decided it was about time to take photos of all of my projects to date and share them here.

My teacher is Marci Easterbrook and she has trained at different schools and programs all over the country. She always has so much to say, it's crazy how the 5 hours can get away from us. I'm excited to learn even more from her.