I’m heading to the annual PLAY Retreat tomorrow. Tracy and Teesha Moore are always gracious hosts and since I know that Teesha likes little boxes, I decided to make her a gift before heading out. The small turquoise box pictured below was made from polymer clay. The lid is walnut burl and the interior of the box is lined with basswood that was faced with walnut veneer.
Like many others who keep an art journal, I tend to work in several at a time. One is usually a larger book I’ve bound, think of it as the mothership — it rarely leaves the house. Each year around this time I bind a new one to take me through the year,
I began by tearing down 10 sheets of Fabriano Artistico to for the book block, I didn’t want any waste so I quartered the sheets for a book block that measured 7 1/2″ X 11″. I wanted the cover to look like it had been made from some salvaged wood so I began by edge gluing some poplar to a strip of walnut to get the 7 1/2″ width I was going to need.
Once the glue was dry, I ripped the board down to 7 1/2″ and then cut it down into to 11″ pieces.
Because I wanted this to look like reclaimed wood id decided to use several coats of milk paint. Milk paint can provide a nice hard, smooth finish but you can manipulate it to look distressed by applying it too quickly which can cause it to crack. I started with a base coat of black and followed that up with a two coats of white.
My goal was to get some hairline cracking of the white paint to reveal the black underneath, there wasn’t as much cracking as I had hoped but it was good enough for what I had in mind. I sanded the white coat a little and then applied a mask to create some lettering under the final coat of paint.
Once the paint was dry I sanded it down until I cut through the layers of paint and looked well worn. I followed that up with a couple of coats of clear Danish Oil to protect the finish. Once the covers were done, I attached them to the book block to wrap it up. Here’s a shot of the finished book, 424.
In mid-November I wrote about the PLAY Retreat rolling around again and showed a prototype of the small journals I was planning on giving as gifts to the other attendees. In early December I actually hand bound 50 cahiers, I really didn’t think it was important enough to post about so I let it pass. Since then, I’ve exchange email with a couple of the people who normally attend and they asked about the small sketch books I make each year.
I just finished them up tonight and you can see a shot of them below as they wait to be signed and belly banded to the matching cahiers. The cover is French Paper Company’s 140 Lb. Kraft Muscletone. The book block is Wausau’s 57 Lb. Exact Vellum Bristol which is hand-sewn to the cover with 4-ply Irish Linen thread.
Here’s another small book created from paper scraps. The dimensions are 2 1/2″ X 4 1/4″, the book block is created from 90 Lb. Fabriano Artistico sewn to the leather cover with 4-ply Irish Linen. The mask on the from is molded from polymer clay. The closure was created by boring a recess into the back of the mask and inserting a neodymium magnet, a second magnet was glued into the leather to keep the book closed.
Since I had all my polymer clay tools out to make the covers for my Small Jade Scrap Book, I decided to continue working with the clay and make a few other covers for my scrap books. Next up was a book block that measured 3″ X 4 “. These scraps were 140 Lb. Fabriano Artistico so I limited the signatures to 3 pages, when you’re working at a small scale like this adding too many pages will make your book impossible to close.
I ended up with 10 signatures and decided to continue down the simulated stone road and whipped up a batch of polymer clay turquoise for the covers. In this particular technique you chop the clay up in a food processor and then re-integrate it into sheets. I had some concerns about the integrity of the covers over the long haul, so the interior of the covers are just a sheet of solid black polymer clay.
The binding itself is straight forward. The signatures are and sewn to the leather spine with 4-ply Irish Linen. I liked the color variations in the turquoise, so to emphasize that, I used three different colors of blue thread for the sewing.
Over the holidays I decided I was going to tidy up and I began by cleaning out the bin where I keep my paper. I had a healthy pile of scraps and given that I use Fabriano Artistico for almost all of my journals I wasn’t about to throw any of it out. I sorted the scraps by weight and size, and then tore them down into into book blocks. When the carnage was over, I had 13 book blocks ranging from very small to what I would consider pocket size. I began binding them a few days ago and first out of the gate was this small Faux Jade book with skulls and bone chips. The covers were created from polymer clay using a faux jade technique. I applied some polymer clay “bone chips” along the fore edge just to make it a little more interesting visually. Frankly, I used these techniques because I had scrap polymer clay laying around and wanted to clean up the clay bin too.
The book block is 90 Lb. Fabriano Artistico sewn to a leather spine with 4-ply Irish Linen thread. This is small book and the dimensions are approximately 3″ X 3″ Here’s what it looks like: