Monthly Archives: May 2011

Garden Journal


I am using Cover to Cover, by Shereen LaPlantz as one of my texts for this bookmaking study. The project here is taken directly from it.

I started by stitching together five four-page signatures to make a standard codex, then prepared a covers and a spine with davey board and mulberry paper.  I added decorative end papers to the text block and used them to attach the cover.  I used these papers and this method of construction so that his book can be my garden journal. I like to keep a record of which plants are where, what color palettes  I use in different corners of the garden, and so forth so that in the deep dark winter months I can do some dreaming and accurate planning. Until now, my garden journals have been handwritten and drawn in colored pencil or watercolor, but I just may add some photographs this time around.


Playing around with folding and sewing paper, I devised a tiny booklet with pockets for notes and other important scraps.

Note Card Folder and Booklet

Concertina Book


I’m taking a non-adhesive bookbinding course this semester, so you may be seeing a lot of this for the next couple months. This small book was made with hard cover boards covered with cardstock decorative papers with a concertina spine attaching them.

The three signatures were sewn into the valleys of the concertina folds with a simple pamphlet stitch.

I used a Bristol paper for the text block, so the pages are suitable for drawing, pen and ink, or colored pencil. I like this construction because the pages will lie flat very nicely for drawings spanning two pages.

I really like the idea of small sketchbooks with 16 to 32 pages. Somehow they seem less intimidating to start making marks in. And there’s something very satisfying about creating my own sketchbook or journal, customized to its intended purpose.

The Zen of Seeing


I read a fantastic book this weekend that my daughter gave me for Mother’s Day, “Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing”, by Frederick Frank, in which the author encourages us to “see” rather than “look at” what surrounds us, to take the time to draw, rather than sketch, to breathe, to see and enjoy.

When we practice seeing/drawing, as he calls it, we “de-thingify” that which is in front of us. That was may favorite word in the entire book. Yes, de-thingify what you see, un-symbolize it, make it real and unique. This twig of pine is not like any other; these cones and this candle will never be repeated.

Off to the Races



After yesterday’s whiny post, I am obliged to tell you that today was a beautiful day. My sweetie qualified well for both Saturday’s and Sunday’s races, I got some good work done myself and despite a couple pretty intense showers, the weather was beautiful.
Above is a colored pencil drawing of the view from the paddock area where we are parked. Below the drawing is a whole different world; asphalt, cars, trucks, big rigs , haulers, scooters, golf carts, I even saw a Segway! And noise. Lots of noise. Such a man’s world.
But my sweetheart is conscious of keeping me comfortable even while he works to drive fast and not take too many chances. Two more days. I can do this.

Shifting Gears


I’m out of my element. I’m in a world of men and metal and an addiction to speed: the racetrack. My guy is here as a driver; I’m here as payback for something I did in a former life that must have been truly horrible. This weekend it is Motorsports Park in Canada, about 60 miles east of Toronto. This (no different than any other) is a place of no creature comforts, no tea on demand, and a quarter mile hike to a flush toilet For the next four days it’s the price I pay for wanting to be with the man I love. I find this to be so unpleasant (more so when the weather is lousy) that I often opt out and stay at home in my studio with music and scented candles and all my art-making supplies at hand, as I did for the past two weeks.
This week we made a compromise; I would travel with him, but stay at the hotel during the practice and qualifying days – when rain was in the forecast – and come to the track for the two race days. I brought with me books, papers, bookbinding tools, sketchbooks, pencils and colored pencils. I was prepared for long, happy days of solitude just making stuff.
I was not prepared for the “newly renovated” HoJo’s in Bentonville, Ontario. Which is actually still under renovation. And pretty early in the process by the look of things. We got a bad feeling just pulling into the place and when we drove around the building to our room and saw the ten or so construction workers sitting outside the motel rooms on their plastic chairs drinking cheap beer, my heart dropped a little bit more and my sweetheart started muttering, “I’m sorry” over and over. There is no exterior lighting and something was dripping on my head as we tried to get into our room The door needs a kick as well as a key and there is juuust enough room to walk around the bed and shove an unopened suitcase in the corner. No desk or table to work at, no possibility of any kind of creative atmosphere.
So here I am, at the track, hoping I can carve out a couple relatively clean square feet in the trailer to work, stopping just short of kicking myself for hoping against my better judgement and experience that this could be fun for both of us. At least it’s not raining. Yet.
Vroom vroom.

Handmade Journal and Sketchbook


I’m preparing to go on a trip that’s not quite business or pleasure. I’m accompanying my man on a five day trek to somewhere northeast of Toronto where he will race wildly around a road course with about thirty other madmen in the same car class for the right to say they did it. There may be a little money won, but certainly not what they spend to get there. While this may sound thrilling, it actually entails a lot of sitting around and waiting for a few exciting moments. Sort of a microcosm of life. At any rate, I’ve been doing this long enough to know that I need to bring plenty of things to occupy my hours and hours sitting in a lawn chair in the track paddock.

It’s a good thing I like to read, crochet, draw, navel-gaze and paint my toenails.

Today I decided to make a few journals and sketchbooks expressly for this trip. One will be a travel journal, documenting the trip. It has interior pockets for any souvenirs we may want to keep. Another is made with drawing paper so I can sketch anything interesting (the people-watching is great) and the third will be an introspective diary; a place for some personal exploration and griping about how boring the whole thing is and wondering why I keep agreeing to go along.

These were made using a basic pamphlet stitch, the two green ones with just a single signature and the red with a double signature and inverted spine.

I used cardstock for the covers and basic bond or drawing paper for the signatures. There are meant for casual use and therefore, I see no need for any more serious construction.

With these books and the new sets of colored pencils and watercolor pencils I picked up today, I should be able to stay out of trouble for a few days.