'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Tuesday 23 December 2008

How to make something simple very complicated

I have been reading the late Julia Caprera's new book, 'Exploring Colour' and was inspired to do a colour study. So did I go out and buy a small sketchbook? Of course not - that would be far too simple ...

I thought I had a dark blue box I could use for a cover, so I chose blue for the study. Using the box seemed simpler than making a cover from scratch, and 'box books' have lots of room for adding stuff. If I could make two Mulled Wine box books in the middle of the night I could make this one almost equally quickly, even if it was bigger.

First complication - I decided to pre-paint some pages rather than colouring them in situ, which can get messy, in my hands at least. So I used crayons and paintsticks and acrylics as resists on big sheets of paper, sloshed over Brusho and Koh-i-Noor and some pale glittery paint I got from the Works, and left them to dry while I looked for the cover.

Second complication. The box is dark green, not blue.

So rather than paint some green papers I decided to make a cover. I didn't think the blue card I had would be tough enough so it had to be fabric - and I found a perfect remnant of thick dark denim.

Fourth complication - I can't just leave the cover plain. I'm an embroiderer for goodness sake! But I really couldn't face doing anything elaborate - the embroidery is meant to be on the inside, not the outside. Time to explore the alphabets on the Bernina - and fortunately I have lots of blue variegated thread. So, in case I forget, the cover says BLUE BLUE BLUE repeatedly. It isn't back to front/upside down, by the way - the cover wraps over to allow for expansion when I start putting stuff inside.

Fifth complication - thick as the denim is, it needed to be stiffer . And I have decided I don't really like craft Vilene. Fortunately I found another offcut of some thick mystery fabric which was big enough. Bond the two pieces together and zigzag round the edges - easy! And I found a suitable twisted cord for a tie, no need to make another one!

Now all I had to do was put in the pages ...

I found a picture of a long stitch binding I liked in EK Smith's 'How to Make Books', used her clever technique involving graph paper to punch holes in the cover and pages and started to sew. And realised - sixth complication - that I hadn't checked how to do it so I hadn't punched enough holes. I needed 6 in each signature, not 4. Unpicked, punched more holes. [It's not easy to do this retrospectively.]

Started sewing again - and had problems with almost every signature. Getting signatures upside down, sewing the tying cord into the pages, knots, pages out of place - everything that could go wrong did.

But - it is finished - and I like it. It feels wonderful in the hand, and once the smell of paintsticks wears off it will be perfect. And I don't have to put something on every one of its 190+ pages, do I?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This sounds just like a day in my house : well worth all that effort though it looks great,but 190 pages, phew!