Monday, January 26, 2015

The Coptic Stitched Handmade Book

My new beginnings got a little waylaid by an awful cold. But inbetween down times,  I've been learning how to coptic stitch little blank books.

There are a million chances for imperfections: gluing paper onto cardboard for covers, lining up little holes for signatures & binding, the stitching itself, zut alors! I am needing faith & patience with this craft that isn't naturally easy for me. I'm learning that sometimes what I perceive as imperfections along the way are inconsequential in the end. Other times, they are, but I'm learning to accept them as part of the practice.
Part of January has been about sifting through lots of old tidbits of paintings & drawings. Tossing, filing, & re-purposing some for covers & content.
How did it begin? A generous art friend, a prolific & diverse artist who enjoys sharing her joy, gave me a handmade blank book. Click here to see her blog, "sew sew art". At the top, are categories of tutorials. One is "Making Your Own Sketchbook". She refers you to a great Youtube by a bookmaker named Sea Lemon.
Beth's concept of the handmade sketchbook is that it be a "repository", a place in which to put one's ideas, scribbles, plans, notes, inspirations...The book itself is beautiful & precious, & also a wonderful organizing tool. Hallelujah! 
Little scraps of miscellanous doodles get honored here & get the attention they deserve.
The 6 X 9 inch pages take a variety of media & they, as well as the SPIRIT of the handmade book, inspire new doodles & new play. (To the left of this page I've pasted in a greeting card whose design I found appealing & that is related to my own graphic marks.)

After my practice books, I'm ready to make a few books to give away, & to share the craft of the coptic stitched blank book with a few friends. The gift that keeps on giving! Thank you!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Beginnings

Gone is the noise & visual clutter of commercial Christmas.
It's my time for clearing, for new beginnings.
Sweeping away the old makes room for the new.
 No soothing, white January snow yet this year, 
but I see & feel fresh, unmarked whiteness everywhere.
It soothes me, calls to me, in a more peaceful way
than all those December colors.

Happy New Year, Dear Friends.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Peace Squadron of Angels

Off they go, those aforementioned Angels, no two exactly alike, no two to the same mailbox. 
(Though they are from the same clan!) 
For now, they are a Squadron except their mission is Peace, not war.
The Angel Precision Flying Team, Whooooshhhh, 
flying to wish you a Happy Solstice on this day & this night!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Late Holiday Angels

The Late Holiday Angels 
will be delivering Greetings, each in her own envelope.

Sometimes they wander, they dawdle, they play.
They have so much work to do before their trip!
But they promise, they will arrive in mailboxes, 
as soon as they can.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Books & Librairies

Books & Librairies: If one is lucky, the love begins early.
Books & Librairies: If one is lucky, the love lasts forever.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Accordion Pocket Cards for Children (& adults)

Next week we're offering a Holiday Story Time & Craft Party
for our library families. One of the crafts will be, what I call, "Accordion Pocket Cards." Lots of possibilities: 
Pop on little cut-out pictures with 3-D sticky tabs, or slide them into the pockets so that they  can be taken out & played with & re-arranged. Other treasures & gifts can be put in the pockets too. 
Here I used pen & beeswax crayons on bristol board.

When I taught art I loved trying out ideas for lessons. If I had models to show, I kept them simple, thinking about what would be possible for various ages to create in a limited amount of time. 
Children so often changed my ideas & added their own. 

I can't wait to create my own Accordion Pocket Cards to send this year, but they will probably be a bit more refined. Something tells me watercolors will be involved.

I got the idea from More Making Books By Hand by Peter & Donna Thomas,
 a great inspiration for creating miniature books & structures. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Accordion Landscapes

What to do with all those bits & pieces of drawings that one doesn't want to keep, but doesn't want to toss?
Cut or tear them up, create a collage! In this case, glue them into an accordion card structure...
I learned this from Mary, a gifted teacher, watercolor artist, & very kind woman, whom I miss. She was the one who started our Art Group in Portland. They still meet (I moved away), & call themselves "Mary's Artists. Mary herself lost her eyesight as she aged & had to stop going. 
She continued to paint, though, as her sight waned,mostly in monochrome or with 2 colors. 
We are given gifts for a limited time in this life. I'm grateful for that time, and for the gift of having known Mary. 

Happy Day of Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Musical Sketching

Not much time for drawing lately. 
But once a week I do some of my favorite type of sketching.
Our local Fiddlers rehearse weekly, at least 20 fiddlers, guitarists, penny whistlers, pianists, 
Bodrahn drummers...playing mostly Celtic dance music...
They invite listeners.
I happily accept. 
My eyes, ears, hand, body & soul are happy dance partners. 

Music flows through me together with the enjoyment 
of the movement & composition of the musicians.
Multi-sensory JOY!
I warm up drawing solo musicians & then it's on to composites, 
just as a single melody is enriched by group harmonies & variations. 
For a previous post about sketching at the Fiddlers,
click HERE.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Memory Sketches: Morning October Walk

Several weeks ago,I had the brillant idea of going for a walk rather than staying stuck in a stressed mood, indoors.  As soon as I stepped out the front door the change, in the morning scenery as well as in my soul, was as intense as if I'd traveled to another country! I took no sketchbook, no camera, & I walked & gazed slowly, taking comfort in sunlit October trees.

I made memory sketches when I returned.  Even though I resisted (drawing from memory feels so insecure), it was pleasant. I felt as if I were still out there. And my memory of that morning is still vivid as I contemplate the sketches today. We had a Northeaster storm (big, heavy, windy snow) on Sunday, & a lot of the leaves I saw are gone, & a lot of limbs & even some trunks are broken. Images pass quickly in autumn, though not usually as fast as they are doing this year.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Maine Tiny Autumn Series

3 3/4" X 4 1/2 ", watercolor on hot press paper with Prismacolor

Tiny landscape on paper scrap, 
part of the ongoing Maine landscape series...
A little reality, a little improvisation, 
done just for the fun of drawing & painting & Feeling
places that I love, in seasons that I love.

When does a series become plain repetition? 
I think it has a life of its own.
By continuing to draw my little autumn vignettes, 
I get to extend my immerson into places that make me happy.
When it starts becoming rote repetition & a process
in which my soul is not present, then a voice says,
 "It's time to explore something else, my friend."
But for now, it's time for autumn on the coast of Maine.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The #2 Pencil

About 4 X 3"
My old camera broke recently, new one not yet set up, so I haven't been able to photo recent work.
 This is a photo of a little back-to-school gift that I made for a friend a few months ago.
I benefit so much from technology, cameras & computers, all silver & electronic & metal, 
BUT~ the direct tools of the pencil, ink pen & paint brush are still my technology of choice. 

The #2 pencil was my first drawing friend when I was a child. 
I posted a similar pencil drawing last year, but the thing is,
I never get tired of those golden, pink-tipped, wooden, sharpened #2's.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Accordion Card Gardens

Recently I had some fun with accordion folds on watercolor paper. These were cards for friends. 
Embroidery floss tied into each end wraps &  ties them into a gift waiting to be opened. You can fold them up into compact cards to fit in an envelope for mailing, and then, the receiver can arrange them to stand up prettily on a table top. 

I'm looking forward to a handmade book art time with a friend. Folded structures & pop-ups!
In the meantime, things have gotten busier in my life 
with some fun new work each week!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Landscape Season in Maine

It's Landscape Season in Maine!
Vibrant colors outdoors 
create vibrant energy within.

 I've had inquiries about selling my work online & about selling rights. At this time I don't sell online. All of my work is copyrighted & may not be used without my written permission. I appreciate the requests & if in the future I decide to sell, I will post notification here on Sketchbook Wandering. Thank you for your interest!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Seawall, Mount Desert Island

Seawall, composed of granite & loose boulders,
 is on the southwestern side of Mount Desert Island. 

After hiking up Flying Mountain,
 where we had sat on a rock looking down 
toward Cranberry Island, 
we now sat on a boulder at ground level, 
looking in the same direction.

It was a glorious September day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Common Ground Fair 2: Photos

The Common Ground Fair  
(see the previous post for a description of the fair.)

Tents everywhere...
Sweet Annie is the signature scent at the Fair.
It wafts through the air, everywhere, as people buy bundles.

Plain bundles or mixed bouquets. 
A young farmer & a brand new fairgoer with her grandmother.
The fair is for all generations.

Displays are visual masterpieces.
 A Communal Weaving expresses the 
spirit of community & creativity.

A scarecrow for your organic garden.
Crops from a horse powered farm.
Horse powered rides.
A parade of human powered vehicles.
 Lots of handmade natural products 
at the marketplace.
And lots of colors at the special fiber marketplace.
If Sweet Annie is the signature scent,
 then perhaps the fiddle is the signature instrument.

I've heard that some people go to the Fair for the food. 
Locally grown, organic, fresh, healthy & delicious.

That was a tiny glimpse of a portion of the fair. Parts not shown include animals,
medicinal herb tents, folk tradtions & crafts, contemporary crafts, 
children's activities & forestry demonstrations.