Lucky Star Connection/Celebration


“Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was a simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The first still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated.” ~Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds

I’d have to say that the rain became sort of a defining element of my Lucky Star Art Camp experience this year – there were rain jackets and galoshes and puddles and even a river running through, but none of it seemed to dampen anyone’s spirit. We just rearranged, worked it out, pulled up our galoshes and such and trudged right on through. That spirit of pursuing your passions without restraint was only lifted and magnified by the rain.


So, here’s how it all went… I got up bright and early Tuesday morning, loaded just about everything I own, puzzling it all out so I could get what I needed when I needed it and also have room for MORE stuff (cause there was going to be shopping, oh yes there was!) and set out for Lewisville Tuesday afternoon. In Lewisville, I met up with my sweet friend Laura to spend the night and prepare for the final leg to Lucky Star on Wednesday. There was a grand tour of Laura’s amazing studio, puppy cuddles (that’s Beau, pictured above), a trip to Ikea (my first!), a yummy meal and a soft place to lay my head before we jumped back on the road and headed for camp! Laura is a most gracious hostess and we’re already planning our next adventure to Canton Trade Days in early 2016!!


We had a fun drive down to Hunt and arrived to greet lots of familiar faces + some new ones (there were hugs), check out our cabin, eat the first of many to-die-for dinners, listen to an inspiring and heart-felt discussion with Bernadette Noll, and then wrap it all up with Mandy Rowden’s truth-telling – sorta near the fire (oh, the rain!).

2015 Lucky Star

Thursday morning, I was up with the sun to put the finishing touches on my classroom and jump into the first of my two classes, Monoprint Heartsongs Folio. My students were so amazing – absolutely fearless and eager to try everything I threw at them. And their books!! Each one was a unique expression and truly beautiful. I know there was a whole BUNCH of well-deserved bragging that evening.


Friday I taught my Monoprint Longstitch Journal and had so much fun. It was a bit rainy, but we were cozy and warm, listening to music, chatting and working oh-so-playfully. We tried a few different printing techniques and then used our favorite papers in the afternoon to make our books. I think you can tell from those smiles that everyone was thrilled with the end result.

2015 Lucky Star1

Saturday I got to be a student and take an AMAZING class on Shibori, Making the World a Bluer Place. This was a class I’d been drooling over every day because the Thu and Fri classes were hanging their work right outside my classroom window. Let me tell you, Erin Lane was such a great teacher and she created just the most comfy and safe atmosphere for this slightly scary process. I absolutely ADORE what I made and cannot wait to do more!


Saturday evening was Lucky Star Show and Tell – there was Irish dancing and a guitar girls performance and lots of show and tell, including several of my students who stood up in front of everyone to brag about their beautiful books (my little ole heart just about burst with pride)! Oh, and there was a vendor fair too – that’s my table pictured above. Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by – it was so much fun seeing your delight with what I had on offer and just talking and laughing together. Loved every moment!


If you’ve followed me over the years, you’ve seen me write about many different retreat experiences – I’ve stayed in adobe huts, creaky farmhouses, family camps and yurts. I’ve studied under people I consider masters in their fields – a world class triathlete, famous authors and “real” artists. I’ve connected with people from every possible walk of life – learning about their passions and struggles and coming to understand the many ways in which our passions and struggles intersect and (often) run parallel. I’ve often wished there was a way to capture the feeling I have when I’m in these places, standing side by side with these like-minded souls, because there is always that moment when I’m back in my studio alone wondering if it was even real – struggling to imagine how connected I was just a heartbeat ago.


Here’s what I know… the women I connected with last week at Lucky Star Art Camp were the real deal – passionate about living their lives holistically, from a place of vulnerability and truth, expressing their light in the most courageous ways imaginable, making what they make with pure joy and zero apology, loving without regret and growing tall and bright in the sunshine of those like-minded souls who gathered in that most beautiful place.


This year was unique for me in a number of ways. First it was my first time to attend as a teacher – I laughingly told someone that I’d been promoted. I suppose if anyone has earned a promotion, it might be someone like me, someone who probably barely said a dozen words the entire duration of my first retreat ten years ago – this year there were conversations and hugs and daring choices and it was liberating and life-affirming and I can barely stand the wait for next year.


I was also there with a group of women who truly and completely understand and accept me – flaws and all. It didn’t matter that I was hyper-focused on my classes the first two days, it didn’t matter that I got super quiet as the day started to wind down, it didn’t matter that I was a little late coming home after class – they waited and applauded (literally) when I walked in the door. It’s hard for me to even express how that lifted me up – I felt embraced, my demons stayed out on the front porch, and that safety net that was created for me, made it so much easier and natural for me to extend the embrace to others when they needed it.


I’ll just close with this last thought – if you’ve ever considered going to an art retreat, this is the one. You will be fed in so many ways – good food, of course, but also good connections that will most certainly remind you of what you might have forgotten – that life is a gift, meant to be shared and celebrated.

Categories: adventure | 10 Comments

100 Books Journey – Books 44 thru 52!



I’ve been debating whether to include this round of books. The first one undoubtedly counts – it’s a definite one-of-a-kind and was made while visiting my kiddo in Vermont earlier this month, so extra special! The others were made for the Lucky Star craft fair (coming up VERY soon now), so they’re all the same and were basically cranked out assembly style. After much inner debate, I finally decided – I made them, they count! Thus, I’m now at 52 books completed!! Seems like there should be some sort of fanfare, right?


Before I dive into the books, I have to say just a few words about fall in Vermont. Oh my heavens, it is like nothing I’ve ever experienced in the south – COLD, cold nights (like winter for this Okie!) and all that gorgeous color!! Meg had all sorts of fun things planned for me – one of the highlights being the day we spent at the Shelburne. This amazing place is filled (to the brim) with the eclectic collections of Electra Havemeyer Webb. She was passionate about art, artifacts and even architecture and the museum is just breathtaking. With over 150,000 pieces, spanning 35 buildings and 8 acres, it’s certainly the largest museum I’ve ever visited! Some of our favorite exhibits included the steamship Ticonderoga – which you can board and explore and imagine to your hearts content…


Then there was the circus collection – full of carousel animals and the most amazing miniature circus parade (which I must’ve been too awestruck to photograph 😐 ). The piece below did manage to get into my photo files, thankfully. It was hand-carved by Edgar Kirk with just a treadle jigsaw and penknife. It took him over 40 years to complete and it includes over 3500 pieces – every one unique, best we could tell…


Lastly, the print shop – set up just like an old-time print shop and fully functional. The print-master, Russell was a wealth of information and I got to bring home one of those lovely letterpress alphabets you see on the wall there (Meg got a Ticonderoga poster, which was also extremely cool).


On to the books!! – 44/100 is a variation of the Triple Dash pattern I shared last post. I didn’t have my trusty Keith Smith guide with me, so we “winged it” with the stitching and I must say I really like how it came out. I’m calling this one the “Book on a Budget” because Meg didn’t really have traditional bookbinding tools/materials and some things are hard to find locally. What we did end up buying cost us just over $25 and she now has some basic tools! We ended up improvising a lot and had an awfully good time in the process. The covers were made from watercolor paper – mine (on your right) started with just random watercolor shapes, which I then cut them out and glued/sewed to a larger sheet with washes on it. I LOOOOOOOVE how it came out. Meg’s was made the same way, with the addition of some doodling, which really took it up a notch. Love hers too! Both are filled with drawing paper and I even trimmed the edges – with a craft knife, ya’ll – and it’s actually not too wonky. :)


Books 45-52/100 – You may remember these from a Family Art Day last month. I loved them so much, I decided to make a few for the Lucky Star market. I’m really digging how cute they look in that little wire basket!


I’m going to be hibernating a bit over the next few weeks, but will try to pop in either here or over on Facebook to keep you posted. I say “hibernating” – really, I’m adventure bound! Off to Lucky Star NEXT WEEK!!! Then I’m going to be head-down working to prep for The Indie Trunk Show at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds on December 5. I sort of applied on a whim and was so excited to be accepted – another grand adventure begins!!

Categories: adventure, book arts | Leave a comment

100 Books Journey – Books 40 thru 43

I’ve had my head down working over here, but haven’t had a lot to actually show for it – until today!  I finally diverted my attention from a whole NEW project and came back to my 100 Books Journey to finish a handful of new marbled books.  All of these are paperback books made with my own hand-marbled papers and book forms inspired by Keith Smith’s Non-Adhesive Binding, Vol. 2: 1- 2- & 3-Section Sewings.

40/100: The first book (shown below) is a chain stitched paperback, filled with 140lb watercolor paper.


It’s a single signature book of 14 total pages and only 5″ x 8″ – so it’s great on-the-go size size.  I love this cover because it was created using a single color – payne’s gray, which is one of my favorites these days!


41/100: I am a pink girl, through and through and the pops of orange on this cover just slay me – so much that I stitched it in orange too!


This 6″ x 9″ paperback book is two-signatures of 44 total pages – paper is 80lb multimedia paper and the stitch pattern is a called Carets.


42/100: Next up is another 6″ x 9″ two-signature paperback, filled with 24 pages of 140lb watercolor paper – stitch pattern is called ZigZag.


This cover looks like a map to me – maybe the narrow lines and fields of blue?  I love it and the stitch pattern was so much fun to do!  I’ll be stitching more of these I think! :)


43/100: Last, but not least, is a three-signature paperback in a beautiful stone pattern of blues and a pop of yellow.


The stitch pattern is a pamphlet variation called Triple Dash.  I really like it because you can get creative with the length of your stitches and really vary this a LOT over many books.


All of these books (and many others from my 100 Books Journey) are coming with me to Lucky Star next month!  I’ll be teaching two classes – Monoprint Heartsongs Folio on Thursday and Monoprint Longstitch Journal on Friday.  Plus, I’ll have a table at vendor night on Saturday! If you’re there, be sure to come see me cause I’ll have coupons for my online versions of both classes AND I’ll be introducing a brand new online class/diy kit that I’m super pumped about.  If you are thinking about coming, don’t delay!  Registration ends this week!!  Hope to see you there!


Categories: book arts | 2 Comments

100 Books Journey – Book 39


Instead of cleaning up after Family Art Day this past weekend, I took advantage of having all the marbling goodies out and threw stones all afternoon!


The tanks were a bit sludgy after Saturday’s activity and didn’t really want to play with any of the more intricate patterns, but they sure did like stones and I got a number of pieces that I am particularly in love with!


This one found its way into book 39/100!  It’s a two signature book, bound in another of Keith Smith’s forms from 1-2 & 3 Section Sewings, called Pinking Sheers. I filled it with a really sweet Fabriano Watercolor paper I picked up a few weeks ago and the end papers are another bit of that bright turquoise Canson Mi Tientes I’ve been using all summer, so this book is just luscious!


I also got a chance to do a little experimenting in the marbling tank and loved this last piece so much I had to mount it on a cradle board…


It reminds me of an alien landscape and has me thinking about exploring a whole series of them. Hubby and I are off on Friday for our annual health sojourn in the dessert, so it’ll have to wait til I get back, but I suspect these landscapes might find their way into my dreams while I’m gone.


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Family Art Day and Books 37 & 38


I don’t know about yours, but my family tends to be a little scattered. We’re busy, some of us live outside the city, life just gets in the way and we tend not to get together as much as I would like – which is one of the main reasons I started Family Art Day. That and my absolute LOVE of sharing the creative process with anyone who shows an interest!


We get together about once a month to visit, share a meal, and make something pretty. We’ve been a busy bunch this past summer and have gotten a out of our once-a-month rotation, but the recent arrival of my new grand-niece (Aug 1) and a visit from her grandma and great-grandma from Florida made it perfect timing to get back in the game! We had a full house this past Saturday and I think a marbelous (pun intended) time was had by all!


First we marbled (thus, the pun 😉 ), then we used our beautiful papers to make darling little accordion books, which we filled with even MORE darling photos of the new baby.


I suspect there will be a whole lotta bragging going on as those little books make their way out into the world this week!


I know mine (#37/100 – the pink one on the left) is definitely going into my purse for bragging purposes. The second book on the right (#38/100) will be going in my shop – soon!!

Family Art Day BragBooks

This day also marked the first official sharing of my brand new screen porch!! This has been all I have thought about all summer – planning, gathering, sewing and crafting – and I guess there was a little construction involved too. We started with this…IMG_0754-001

When the workers left Friday afternoon, I went to work filling it up with all my collected bits and now I have THIS…


There is still a bit of finishing work to be done (brick shifting, gutters and other boring stuff like that), but the part I am enthusiastic about is definitely ready for primetime!! My family was thrilled (as am I) – there were plenty of spots for everyone to sit and visit, a soft spot for the baby to nap, and just the sweetest/coziest little space you ever did see. Here are a few highlights…

  • The sofa is a Saybrook All-Weather Wicker Sofa from Pottery Barn – I got it on summer clearance for about half the regular price. We could not have picked a better time to furnish an outdoor space because every item I added was on sale. Yay!
  • The black and white ottoman is hand-made by me from this Style Me Pretty tutorial. I did alter mine in a couple of ways – first, before I stitched the whole thing together, I added a long zipper to one side seam so I can wash it; second, instead of stuffing with bean-bag pellets, I stuffed mine with blankets! It’s nice and firm, won’t break down over time, better for the environment, and serves dual duty as a place to store blankets. I can always open the zipper and take one out if I need it over the winter!
  • The cushions on the wicker chair were Pier 1 cushions (agaiIMG_0807.jpgn on summer clearance) that I just recovered with my own fabric.
  • The rug was on summer clearance from Target (7×10 Threshold Indoor/Outdoor Flatweave Diamond Area Rug – in Turquoise).
  • The blue chair front-right is a Melanie Side Chair from Wayfair. This fun, retro-styled chair is also a glider. I have cushions to recover for it, but just haven’t gotten there yet.
  • On the other side, I have a little bistro set that I got on clearance from Pier 1. I’m planning to add bright cushions to the chairs and possibly another small rug.

All of the side tables, plants and the quilt on the couch were things I already had. I’m also planning to add some twinkle lights and prayer flags and I have a sign to paint that will read, “life is better on the porch.” Because I’m truly finding that a life centered around porch-living is pretty sweet indeed.


Categories: home, teaching | 4 Comments

100 Books Journey – Books 35 & 36


In the interests of full disclosure, I started what I intended to be book 35 and got stuck. I had this crazy stitching idea, spent days working it out, then just wasn’t happy with the outcome. It’s been sitting on my workbench taunting me ever since! Should I tear the stitching out and try again? Should I regroup and reinvent? Should I abandon it as a lost cause? I swear, it’s sitting over in the corner right now, sticking its tongue out at me! As someone great once said, “the best laid plans are sometimes best laid aside.” I’ll get back to it (eventually). In the meantime, I did manage to bring a couple of other fun ideas to fruition and here they are!


Book 35/100: This is a single signature, chain stitched book and is another example of the type of book I wanted the lying press for. One thing I learned while trimming this baby, though, I probably need to go ahead and trim the top and bottom of my pages before binding and just use my plough to trim the side edge. I found the signature-fold a little tricky to navigate with my make-shift blade and ended up having to hand-trim in places.


I was ultimately triumphant, however, and I love this book (though it may not, in fact, be a favorite 😉 ). It’s filled with 24 sheets of my go-to 90lb mixed media paper – folding my cover to create a 1/4″ spine allowed me to really pack the paper in (which I love).


The marbled cover was actually an oops of a Nonpareil American pattern, but I liked how it almost looked like leaves on vines, so I decided to use it. My favorite thing about it is the spine, which lined up almost perfectly with a “stem line” down the center and “leaves” on either side of the stitching – nice little happy accident!


Book 36/100: This book was born out of a personal need. If you follow me on Instagram (#kjw2play), you might suspect that I am an avid nature lover. While the rule of the trail is generally, “take only memories, leave only footprints,” when I’m hiking non-protected trails, I do sooooooo love to satisfy my magpie urges by picking up interesting leaves, feathers and the like. Sometimes, the things I pick up are wet, could use cleaning before they’re handled too much (like feathers), or (worse) they end up forgotten at the bottom of my bag. So I decided to make a field journal / flower press! I wanted it to be light, portable and contained – and I wanted it to reflect the natural world I love so dearly.


The cover is made from Gelli® plate monoprints, made using natural leaves and feathers as masks and stamping tools. I printed a large, abstract piece for the overall background, then created little vignette type prints to sew on top. The book is tape bound with scraps of ribbon and lace and stitched with lavender waxed linen thread. Inside the book are a minimal number of pages – a total of 12, plus two pocket signatures. My intent was to use the book more as a press than to put anything into it permanently, so I kept it pretty small (we’ll see how that goes).


The two pocket signatures are made from glassine envelopes. For this, I simply taped two envelopes (sized 5.5″ x 8.25″) together along one side with washi tape to form a signature.  I did use a heavier coated tape, stitched the signatures very carefully/gently to avoid tearing, and will need to watch the tape ends as they may begin to unstick over time and use.  Simple solution for that is to just re-stick them with glue stick, matte medium or more tape!


The book also has an elastic closure to keep it closed and help with the pressing aspect.


Plus an expandable collection pocket at the back. THIS book probably IS my current favorite and I can’t wait to take it with me on my next nature wander! :)

Categories: book arts | 6 Comments

100 Books Journey – Book 34


Hooray!! My lying press came this week and the first thing I did was finish book #34! This book has been laying on my worktable for a couple of weeks now with paper hanging out the side because I wanted to trim it flat.


The trimming process was a little tricky – I ended up having to hand-trim a few pages afterwards, but am hopeful that practice will help. I’m also not 100% sure my makeshift plough is going to be adequate, but I haven’t given up on it just yet. In any event, book #34/100 is finished and I think it’s one of my favorites. 😉


This is a two-signature Linked-X book from Keith Smith’s 1-2 & 3 Section Sewings. I had actually planned to stitch this as a Soft-K, but I realized right away that my tension was too tight and I just decided to go with it. Soft-K and Linked-X are basically the same stitch, the Soft-K is just looser and looks more like a letter K.


The cover is pieced-together scraps of marbling, backed with a beautiful plum-colored Canson Mi Tientes paper. I’ve layered on some stitching, stenciling, rubber stamping, a bit of security envelope collage and finished with a tiny bit of pen-work. It’s a little wild, but I’m really loving all the color and movement – I think it would make a great inspiration journal.


Inside the book cover, I’ve also created two long pockets. I know I love to stuff loose papers and found bits into my books and am not always prompt about gluing them in, so I love when I can include a pocket or two for temporary storage of those goodies. To make these pockets, I just made my cover extra wide, folded over about a two-inch flap (front and back), then finished by sewing the top and bottom on the sewing machine.


My next book, book #35, is well underway. It’s going to be more of an art book vs. a blank book, so it’s an evolving process, but I’m hoping to bind today and maybe finish by the end of the week!


Truthfully, I’ve been a little side-tracked the last week or so as Hubby and I are working on a home-improvement project. We’re screening in our back patio, which I’m over-the-moon excited about because we don’t have a lot of shade in our back yard and, as a TOTAL back-yard-shady-chair-sitting kinda gal, this will be a huge and much welcomed change. I’ll share more as the project develops!

Categories: book arts | 5 Comments

Clean and Clear

There’s no getting around the fact that I am a better person when my body is clean and clear. When I’m drinking lots of water, eating healthy foods and breaking a sweat every single day, I’m just a better version of myself.  I’m also a happier, saner person when the space around me is clean and clear too.


Working in a small studio, the thing I struggle with THE MOST is finding a clean/clear space to work on.  Any time I start a project, I end up with every possible inch of space FULL and overflowing.  It didn’t used to be like that – I used to have a place for everything and always returned every little thing to its place when I was finished with it.  Over my years of creating, my places for every little thing have become a little convoluted.  I’ve been working hard to remedy that!

First up was a drawer that I completely loved for its content, but NOT for the way it looked – the washi tape drawer!  I wish I had a before photo – this drawer was just a jumble of tapes, all thrown in, with no rhyme or reason and inclusive of EVERY tape I’ve ever bought.  So the drawer was overflowing and I rarely even opened it because I knew I wouldn’t find what I wanted and would just make a mess trying (heck, the ones I wanted where probably out someplace anyhow)! I started by taking everything out of the drawer.  Then I grabbed some little office supply organizing containers and began adding back only the tapes I truly loved.  I held each and every tape in my hand and pictured using it – if I couldn’t imagine using it or didn’t feel a strong sense of affection for it, out it went!  And now I have this…


Organized by color and pared down to a manageable number of tapes I will actually use! :)

Next up was stencils!  I’ve been collecting for years – REALLY ramped up when the Gelli® plates came out and could probably have said I owned well over 200 stencils when I started this cleanup.  On good days, they would be organized neatly in their original cellophane packaging (so I could remember the name & manufacturer) – on most days, however, they were just thrown in.  I went through the same process with the stencils that I did on the tapes – held each one, considered whether I (or my students) would miss it terribly and acted accordingly!

As far as how to store, I’ve been looking at a lot of different ideas over the last year or so.  I had some basic criteria in mind…

  1. had to be easy to get stencils in and out and easy to flip through and see them all
  2. had to have a way to note the stencil name and product info, so that I can share that with my students in classes
  3. needed some level of portability – so I could a) take them with me to classes and b) move them out of sight & mind when I’m working on other things.

As I was wandering the aisles of my local office supply store, I ran across a stack of legal-sized milk crates and my lightbulb went off.  I bought two, one to store tissue paper in (formerly stored in a box under my desk) and a second for stencils.  I can stack the stencil box on top of the tissue paper box, keeping the paper close but not in the way, lifting the stencil box to a better height for me to reach when I’m printing, and still having the whole thing low enough to fit under my table when not in use…


Then I got a box of legal-sized file folders, which were too short, BUT I refolded them so that the back was taller than the front, reinforcing the original fold with duct tape and making them plenty tall enough for 12×12 stencils.  I can write the stencil info on the folder tabs, flip thru everything easily, and (a bonus) even drop in wet stencils because the folder will lay open and allow them to dry…


Unfortunately, I have now pooped out on this project and still have a gazillion little stencils to deal with.  I’m thinking of getting the j-hooks mentioned in Stencil Girl’s recent storage video and hanging those little ones in some fashion – maybe a line or rod stretched across my big window or under the table.  Not sure, but will share if/when I work that out!

Lots of other clearing has occurred…

  1. I had two big drawers full of glues and other artist mediums – went through and pitched what I didn’t need or had multiples of and condensed that down to ONE drawer!  New rule is – if a new item doesn’t fit in the designated drawer, something has to go to make room!!
  2. I moved things I wasn’t using regularly out of the studio to other storage in the house.  I have a number of such areas, which I call “art annexes” and will share a little more about those in another post.
  3. Went through lots of drawers full of things I’d collected over the years and narrowed everything down to only what I truly love – a whole box of scrap paper that I haven’t opened in over a year – gone; a whole jar of beads that hadn’t been touched in years – gone; rubber stamps I haven’t touched or used for one project then forgot – outta here!; drawers that had collected junk and become unmanageable – now clean and uncluttered; duplicate supplies – donated.
  4. CEASING my habit of keeping something “just-in-case.”  Let me tell you, just-in-case is never a good reason to keep something – it is a disaster in the making.  It’s true that as soon as you throw away a just-in-case item, you will need/want it; however, the cumulative affect of keeping ALL those just-in-cases will bury you.  Just don’t do that to yourself! :)

The biggest thing now is to not return to that state of crazed clutter.  That’s the tricky part and the part that will take me some willpower and determination.  One of my BIG revelations is that I am an impulse buyer when it comes to art supplies – I see something new, interesting or sparkly and I get it without thought for how I’ll use it, just thinking I surely WILL use it (since it’s so new, interesting or sparkly)!  Or I go out and buy EVERY ITEM suggested for a new online class, even though I may have a perfectly viable substitute in my stash already.  Much of the time I think those substitutes will be just fine and I am determined to use what I have going forward – both for classes I take and for classes I teach.

“As I unclutter my life, I free myself to answer the callings of my soul.”
~Dr. Wayne Dyer


Categories: flow, home, learning | 4 Comments

100 Books Journey – Book 33

As I mentioned last post, I’ve been on an organizing kick.  I’ve been making some fantastic progress and am dying to share some of my tips/aha! moments… the trouble is, I’ve been focusing pretty heavily that last week or so on organizing my stencils and I’m losing steam. I’ve started on the little ones (like Balzer Bits, 6×6 stencils and the Dina Wakely ones that are about 6×8) and they are slowing me down. A lot. Suffice to say, I am procrastinating. Which, in my world, usually means a new book or three!


I recently got a copy of Keith Smith’s Non-Adhesive Binding, Vol. 2: 1- 2- & 3-Section Sewings and have been having some fun experimenting with 1 and 2 section paperback books, featuring some of my marbled papers. Book 33/100 is one of the first book form’s in Mr. Smith’s book, Dot-Dash Sewing (aka “the machine stitch”).


This stitch acts just like the stitch on a sewing machine, with a top thread that is basically just a long straight piece of thread and a bottom thread, inside the book, that slips out of each sewing station, over the top thread and back inside. I had a little fun with thread colors, using a bright yellow for the top thread and a denim blue for the bottom – both of which compliment the marbled cover quite nicely, if I do say so myself! :)


There are some hints of turquoise in the marbling too, so I covered the inside with a turquoise Canson Mi Tientes paper (love that stuff!!). The book is filled with 90lb mixed media paper.


I have to admit that this marbled piece was one I’d relegated to a discard/do-over pile, but now that I see it all bound up in a pretty little book, I have a whole new perspective. There was no special pattern involved, just some freestyle swirling through the paint and I’m realizing I need to do a little more of that because it’s FUN and unpredictable and beautiful to boot!

I’ve also been experimenting with trying to create a trimming plough. When papers are stacked together into a signature, they form a little mountain – notice the mountains in the 4-signature book, below-left. Many bookbinders, especially with paperback books, will use a tool called a plough (essentially a horizontal blade with a handle) to trim the edges and make them nice and flat, as you see in the photo on the right…


I found a great video where a binder shows a diy plough he made out of kneadable putty and a blade for a fraction of the cost (traditional ploughs run $200 and up)! It worked pretty well, but I struggled quite a bit with holding everything in place while I cut (picture blocks of wood and clamps – yeah, not so much). Sooooo, I’ve taken another bookbinding plunge and ordered a lying press, which means my 1-2-3 section sewing adventures are sort of on hold til it gets here. :(

Luckily, I get to be shopkeeper for the day tomorrow at My Heart’s Fancy here in Oklahoma City! So I don’t have to go back to stencil organizing just yet. If you’re local and around tomorrow, come see me!! :)

Categories: book arts | 4 Comments

100 Books Journey – Book 32

I took a few days off from book making to do some clearing and organizing in the studio. I am a pretty devoted packrat and find that a good purge every 6 months or so does me a whole lot of good. It not only clears the clutter but it somehow clears my head too! This time around, I’m being somewhat guided by the book The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Condo. I won’t profess to have read the whole book, but I did grab one major tenet, which is “keep only what you truly love” – along with its partner, bring in only what you truly love. I think this might really BE life-changing if I can keep it up!

In any event, you probably want to see Book 32!


This might not necessarily be what you’d think of as a “book,” but I’ve been thinking a lot about non-traditional book forms as a way of highlighting a body of words – like a poem.


I considered an accordion book, but the folds seemed like interruptions to me, which can problematic with a poem, so I thought, “what if I just left it long and scrolled it around something?!”


I found a thread spool book on Pinterest (a simply gorgeous piece by French paper artist, Diane de Bournazel) and the idea started to take form.


In my cleaning/clearing, I had unearthed many bits and pieces of Gelli® print scraps – thin strips, tiny squares, pieces I’d cut out and not used.


Separately, none of it seemed worth keeping, but then I started thinking about piecing them together. Some cutting, piecing, glueing, taping, sewing and poetry-inscribing later and she was finished! Here’s the little poem, which says a bit about who I am in the world.

“when she grew up,
she wanted to be a melody;
a catchy little ditty constructed
of cedar and strings,
with a touch of birdsong and whispering trees.

the words would be less important
than the rhythm
and meaning
and the potential for dancing.

it would be short and sweet and easy to remember
and when people loved her,
they would be compelled to hum along,
maybe even add harmonies that would carry on the wind.

she would never be an anthem;
it’s just not her way.
she’d be more of a gentle ballad;
one that reminds you just a little
of where you came from,
who you first loved,
what you dream of,
why you are the way you are.”

My organizing continues – tho sort of half-heartedly, as I am now sorely TIRED of cleaning & organizing! :) But I do have a couple of organizing ideas to share in a future post, so hope you’ll stay tuned for that!

Categories: book arts, home, poetic stuff | 6 Comments