Wednesday, November 21, 2012

{lovely reads} sibella court

I'm a huge fan of book author and stylist Sibella Court! I first discovered her work and her shop The Society Inc. on one of my favorite TV programs, Man Shops Globe. {I miss that program! But fortunately I have 16 episodes saved on my DVR, and I watch them over and over!} I recently bought Sibella's newest book The Life of a Bowerbird, and it's filled with beautiful images of her collections and other lovely bits and pieces.

I discovered Sibella's book Etcetera: Creating Beautiful Interiors with the Things You Love book on my first visit to an Anthropologie store, so it has a special place in my heart. Anthropologie...need I say more? That store is a visual feast for the eyes, and so is this book!

The third book on my shelf, Nomad: A Global Approach to Interior Style, details Sibella's globe-trotting adventures as she seeks out inspiration all over the world. It's filled with stunning photos of her exotic destinations, and real-life interiors in far-flung corners I only dream of exploring.

You can read all about Sibella in the winter 2013 issue of Where Women Create. I adore this magazine, and I have every issue published stashed on my bookshelf. It's always inspiring, but this issue is particularly excellent! I hope you enjoy these lovely reads as much as I do.  What are some of your favorites?

Monday, November 19, 2012

{handmade books} feather studies

As part of my recent quest to learn how to draw, I discovered that I can sketch out a reasonable facsimile of a feather! I was so excited that I decided to stitch together a little book to capture my drawings and some feathery images to inspire me. I used corrugated cardboard from Gauche Alchemy to make the cover. I could have used cardboard from a box that I peeled apart myself, but they don't call this stuff "Ouchless" Cardboard for nothing! It's much easier to start with a 12 X 12 sheet of this sturdy product, and it's acid free so I don't have to worry about  that aspect. I cut the cardboard to 6 x 12, dry brushed it with some pretty aqua paint and a bit of gesso for a distressed patina. A kraft glassine envelope with the top trimmed off creates a pocket for tucking in tags or sketching papers. A lovely image from The Graphics Fairy {via Mary Green of Greenpaper} completes the front cover. I added the "FEATHER STUDIES" text to the original image in picMonkey, using the Special Elite font.

This 6 x 6 book is a simple 3-hole pamphlet stitch book, and is so easy to make!  I used cream Stonehenge {my new go-to paper for handmade books!} for the inner pages, and created another pocket for the inside cover with a kraft glassine envelope, cut at the top with with vintage pinking shears. vintage pinking shears...I love them! I had a pair of plastic craft scissors with a pinked edge, but they didn't feel quite sturdy enough for some of the heavier weight papers I like to use. I decided to keep my eye out for a pair whenever I went on a antiquing jaunt, and I found this pair almost immediately! Funny how that happens so often when you're looking for a particular item. And they were quite inexpensive!

I decided to print out some pretty feathers from The Graphics Fairy, and cut and paste them into the book for reference. The idea is to learn how to draw and color feathers by recreating these images with my own twist. For individual links to the images shown above, be sure to visit my Feather Studies Pinterest board.

Pens, pencils, markers, paint, watercolors, and more will make their appearance in this little book, so I want to document the  materials I use by recording them on the backs of my drawings. In the pockets of the book, I have several blank sheets of paper to draw on, and I simply use washi tape to  hinge them to the original image I'm recreating.

Here's another feather just waiting to be tipped in to the book. My hope is that when the book is filled, my feathers will be as pretty as the originals!

If you're interested in a tutorial for making a 3-hole pamphlet stitch, I used the same method for this travel journal. I used 4-ply waxed linen thread for the Feather Studies book as opposed to ribbon for the travel journal, but the method is the same. The printable tutorial for this book includes a link to a visual diagram that is so helpful! I hope you've enjoyed the promised tour through my handmade book. I'm ready to tackle the colorful feathers next, and I hope practice will make perfect! Do you have an artful skill you're trying to master? I'd love to hear about in the comments!

Friday, November 16, 2012

{michelle & kimberly's artful adventures} citrasolv magic

Citrasolv is simply magic! For some time, I've been reading about this citrus-scented-cleaner-turned-art-supply on other blogs, and I've been dying to try out this National Geographic experiment, and these image transfer techniquesI"m so glad I did!

Actually, I'm so glad we did. My dear friend Michelle and I have been getting together monthly for some time now to try out new art techniques and this is our latest adventure! Michelle shared her gorgeous Citrasolv pages here, and I tried mine out in our collaborative art journal shown above.

It's incredible to me that these dreamy backgrounds result from liberally dousing pages of National Geographic magazine with Citraolv, smushing the pages together, impatiently waiting a few minutes, and then unfurling them to reveal  images magically transformed into mysterious landscapes, moonscapes, seascapes...whatever your artful eye discerns.

I began my art journal with the idea of birch trees. I love their white, peeling, bark and somewhat disheveled air. As I sorted through my pages, I found the perfect starting point for birches in the image shown above. A few dashes, lines, and whorls created with a Pierre Noire Conte pencil turned these vaguely tree-like emulsions into birches with just a few strokes.

An excerpt from the poem, Birches, by Robert Frost and the word birches superimposed on a photo of birch trees are both image transfers on cream Stonehenge paper. The process is so simple:

  • Print out an image using a laser printer or get one made at a copy shop or your local library. Make sure the image is reversed if it includes text.
  • Place the image face down on the desired surface, saturate a cotton ball with Citrasolv and rub it over the paper until all of the image appears. Wait a few seconds, and then burnish the image with the back of a spoon. You may carefully lift the corner to make certain the ink is transferring.
  • Lift the paper and presto, a beautifully imperfect image appears!

I used the same process for a lovely pink bird image via The Graphics Fairy. The image was printed out on a laser printer, though not reversed because I wanted the image to face to the left when I transferred it.

For the finishing touches I used Golden's Yellow Ochre fluid acrylic paint along with a vintage biscuit cutter and a vintage wooden rubber stamp. Derwent Inktense pencils, Vintage Photo Distress Ink, and a couple of stamps from my stash made the page complete.

I enjoyed our experiment with Citrasolv immensely, but the best part was giggling, chatting, and shrieking with excitement over the result with Michelle! Working on an art project with a friend is so gratifying, and I know I would probably never have gotten around to trying out these methods on my own. If you can collaborate with someone on your next artful adventure, I highly recommend it!