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

Dorothy Rowe

Wednesday 18 August 2010

It’s been a good week …

despite spending Sunday worrying that Mr & Mrs Cheese Minor's buyer from Hades would change her mind at the last minute – although, given her Scrooge-like tendencies, the prospect of losing her deposit seemed likely to encourage her to complete.

And so it proved. Babybel and her mum and dad are safely ensconced in their new home, and enjoying walking/running next to the canal, waving to train drivers, playing in their new garden, and unpacking boxes. Well, maybe not the last.

Mind you, someone was heard to complain that he couldn’t sleep because it was too quiet. No pleasing some people.

While all the moving was going on, Wensleydale and I were drawing nudes in Southampton – and, much to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. W. did as well - so much so that we’re thinking of joining another drawing class next term.

Will I include my half dozen efforts in my 100 drawings? Well – it was the same teacher – but I think she might let me get away with it.

After the class was over, we went up to admire the new house, and deliver the champagne and Thomas the Tank Engine birthday cake. The latter was appropriated by Babybel, although she did allow the rest of us to have some. [The chocolate cola birthday cake she had helped her mum make was much nicer.]

We had a pleasant time with Mr and Mrs Cheddar, Babybel and her mum and dad, and two dogs, sitting in a darkening garden [the inside seats were still under  a pile of boxes] eating chips and cake and drinking champagne, while the birthday boy opened his presents. Tomorrow we are off there again so W. can help with plumbing and I can take Babybel out while her mum sorts the house.

I know who I think is getting the best deal…

As I expected, now the long distance worrying is over, Ms. Muse is back and has hit the ground running.

I mentioned that I had got a bit bored with the 100 drawings, and wanted to go back to making books. I’ve been re-reading ‘The Penland Book of Handmade Books’, and was struck by some comments from Dolph Smith, the US book artist. He writes about capturing ‘acts of nature’ in his book making – by which I take him to mean being aware of, and taking advantage of, the natural characteristics of the medium you are working in.

This was a ‘doh’ moment for me. One of the things I have struggled with in making fabric books, is trying to make fabric act like paper, without resorting to the dreaded craft Vilene.

But why not make books which make the most of the things you can do with fabric which you can't do with paper? The books may not be the same as paper books – but why should they be? Time for some experiments.

If you use translucent fabric, you can have see-through pages – very see-through if your definition of ‘fabric’ is broadminded – and if you layer it  you can put stuff between the layers.


This is a pocketed accordion like the green one here, crossed with this and this. [Sorry about the size of the last one, it dates from before I found out how to post sensible sized images. Wish I could remember how I did it.]

Of course plastic pockets don’t fold very well, but with ‘fabric’ you can use stitch to hold in the folds.

This one actually looked better before I added the cover, but another of Dolph Smith’s principles is that books should be ‘anatomically correct’ – i.e. have a book block, a binding and a case/cover. I was observing that principle, but the way I chose to attach the cover – which is a slice of a blue plastic pocket – restricted the opening of the book. I’m sure there’s a way to get round that - time for more experiments.image

Another difference between fabric and paper is that fabric is stronger, so you can cut holes in it with less chance of tearing.  And if you remember to use your soldering iron [thanks A.] you can use it to attach your holes to other parts of the page.

I must confess that I made these earlier -they are waiting to become a Japanese bound book. They are two layers of sheers, glued together with painted Bondaweb sprinkled with glitter and stars. The stitch is double running, so it’s reversible.

image Here’s another one I started earlier, before my ‘doh’ moment, so the pages are stiffened with Sizoflor. The pages are polyester, scrumpled and soaked in the last of the Setacolour from my sun printing experiments. It was free machined to the Sizoflor, following the tree-like marks in the paint, and then folded into a double sided accordion. There are more soldering iron holes, both in the pages and the cover, which is painted Lutradur from a Kim Thittichai workshop.

Quite arbitrarily, I’m counting this lot as 6 drawings – so the running total is 78, not including the nudes.

No comments: