I bought a pack of what can only be described as 'waste' or 'leftover' craft papers for £1, which had some really interesting and unusual things in it, not just paper. Among the rest were sheets of various sizes of a thick purple paper, with one edge roughly torn.
I decided this would make a couple of small books, and picked out the pieces all cut to about 7" x 6" for a very small one. The only problem was that the torn edge would be at the top of the page when I folded it. The paper was too thick to tear easily, so I used a brush to soak each cut edge and when it was wet enough I could tear it roughly to match.
There was a large sheet of fairly similar purple paper which I could use for the cover, and I stuck a smaller piece of pink to it to give more stiffness. Here is the cover being made with the purple being folded in to give neatly mitred corners, and the completed cover beside it.
I stacked the pages and cover, and made them into a small book, following Pam Carriker's instructions in her lovely book 'Art at the Speed of Life' (Interweave Press LLC). This involves piercing three holes through each page and the cover, then using a darning needle to stitch it together by passing through the middle hole of the stack on the outside, leaving a long tail for a 'tie', through the bottom hole from the inside, up along the spine of the cover and through the top hole, then back down the middle hole from the inside. Making sure the thread is pulled tightly enough to hold the book together firmly, the two ends are positioned one each side of the long outside stitch and tied firmly.
Here is the completed book; the outside measures 4" x 6". Beside it is a picture of the first page. My white pen would not write on the porous purple paper, so I roughly painted white acrylic on each page. I decided to record on each left-hand page something I had always wanted to do but never achieved. Opposite to it, I wrote something I had done of a similar nature that I had never dreamed of.
The book was full in a couple of hours. I really enjoyed the exercise, and on balance I didn't feel I had lost out on anything in life even though what I had done didn't fulfil those early dreams. Here's the centre page as an example.
A WORD ABOUT ACCORDION BOOKS
I was really pleased with the mini 'Accordion-Plus' book I made at 38 inches long (shown below). When I visited the Walker Art Gallery for the 'Art Books of Henri Matisse' on 30th March there was a small exhibition of Art Books made by various artists. One of them was this book 'EVERY BUILDING ON THE SUNSET STRIP', made in 1966, which opens out to 25 feet in length. Every building on both sides of the street was photographed and the photos joined together to make one image of Sunset Strip.
Ruscha is an artist I have never been aware of before, part of the Andy Warhol era. It's well worth looking details of his other art books, and his other varied work, in Wikipedia.
MINI 'ACCORDION-PLUS' BOOK
I'm really pleased with my latest book. It is just three and a half inches square, made from three strips cut from an A3 piece of card. The pack of A3 card didn't specify a gsm weight, but it feels about the same thickness as 220 gsm smooth cartridge paper. Basically it's an accordion book, but I added a little twist to it, as you can see in one of the photographs below.
Here is the front of the book, which has a fold-over section continuing from the back cover that reaches halfway across the front, and a silk ribbon tie.
and the back -
and this is the front with the cover flap partly open. And yes, I do feel I went over the top with the butterflies, but I got carried away with enthusiasm.
I joined the sections using strips of blue paper cut with a deckled edge cutter, and added some extra strips of the same paper here and there for decoration. The cover was painted with pink, purple and Prussian blue acrylics using a small sponge to dab the paint almost at random.
In the next photo you can see the concertina from above, showing the way the pieces were joined, with an extra 'page' sticking out by itself on each side, just to add variety to the accordion. The book is standing on a stained painting board, the only thing I could find big enough to put the book on.
Finding places to stretch the book out against a plain background for a photograph was not easy, given that it is 38 inches long. (Our dining table is glass!) Here it is on top of one of the night storage heaters.
I was particularly pleased with the simple repeat pattern on the right hand side, which took a lot of patience.
The four sections pattern was another particular favourite. And the last one was inspired by Kandinski, because I'd been reading one of my Kandinski books.
A very enjoyable experience to make and to draw in. I keep arguing with myself about whether I will be able to bear giving it away when I have completed the other side!
MAKING A 'LAZY-GIRL'S BOOK'
When we were children my sister and I were always making little books with any scraps of paper we could find, and then drawing little comic strip stories on the pages. These usually included back views of well-endowed ladies - wearing very high heels simply because we liked drawing the shoes. The pleasure of bringing a book into existence has never gone away, but nowadays I am more experimental.
I had an idea for a 'lazy-girl's' journal book that was very quickly made. I started with an old A5, 16-page advertising booklet promoting watercolour pencils. It's rather like a household paint catalogue from the DIY stores, but not so many pages.
Cutting it to size left me with a nice shape almost 6" square. I collected together a pile of scraps and images that I'd been saving for collage and set to work 'Speed Collaging' - just picking up pieces almost at random, tearing them to size and sticking them on - using PVA glue (Note: important point - see the last couple of paragraphs). So that I could collage more than one double page at a time, I laid cling film between the pages before turning to the next double page. I've never collaged so quickly in my life before, but it was remarkably free and enjoyable. Here's an example of one collaged double page, but they vary tremendously.
The next job was to paint each page with gesso, but I took this at a slower pace. In fact I've only gesso-ed four pages so far.
Covering the book was a pleasure, using blue hand-made paper for the outside cover, and red hand-made paper for the inside covers and I added gold paint to the inside covers.
I love drawing birds, and I decided that each page of this book would feature a bird on it somewhere, so I came up with the original title of 'Bird Book' and added gold leaf and a golden bird to the cover.
I've started the last page, but come to stop with it at the moment, and left it until a decision jumps into my mind about what to do.
I painted this cocky fellow strutting his stuff on stiff cartridge paper and cut him out. I stuck him on using acrylic matt medium (whereas I would normally use PVA glue for this particular job), which I spread over an area larger than the cockerel .... and had a bit of a disaster. I covered the page with cling film, closed the book and put it under a couple of heavy books because he didn't seem to want to lie down on the page. When I came to him next morning the cling film had stuck all around the bird. When I tried to remove it, it started to remove the background, so I gave up, but left the damage, as you can see. Serves me right! Anyway, I painted over the cling film with a transparent Raw Sienna acrylic, and it did the job, though it darkened the background.
I'm sure I can see the shape of a fantasy bird on the red of the back inside cover .... so I'll see what comes of that.
He still hasn't told me what he wants painted around him yet, so I've put him to one side. And that's my 'lazy girl's book'.