Finding Comfort in the Binds of Books

A book is a dream you hold in your hands.  -Neil Gaiman

Inspirations come and go. So do likes, loves, and passions. My favorite color changes every day.

But I have always loved books. To read them, to write them, sure, but also just to look at. I admire their binds, pull away their sleeves to see the secret cover beneath, slip photographs and flowers between their pages.

Books are paper sculptures painted with ink and ideas.

And I don’t think they will ever go away. Even in today’s digital world, in which we can download a book in seconds, there’s nothing like the analogue. As we head deeper into screens and flashing lights, printed things become something to be admired. We become grateful for their simplicity. We remember why we have always loved them.

Last night, after spending an entire day sewing binds and covers for my most recent little handmade books, I made a short list of what my handmade books might mean. Because to me they’re not books. They’re fine art pieces (I mean this humbly and literally). I wish I could find a way to display them on a gallery wall.

So why am I making them? I’m still not entirely sure. A few of my bullets suggested that I make them because I want to express everything I’ve said in this blog post so far. Other bullets suggest I simply love the hands-on approach to the craft. The final notion was that I just…love books.

Whatever the reason, I’m inspired to continue down the rabbit hole that is bookbinding, and I feel like a piece of me is in each one of their little binds. I am closer to them than my wall paintings. I hate seeing them go when they sell. I wrap them in little packages and send them off to their new homes and hope they will be taken care of.

And I don’t print them. Somehow that makes them even more special.

My latest book, “Rooted,” contains seven original intuitive watercolor paintings that depict trees and their roots. For me this piece has special meaning, but I’d like to keep it to myself, so that those who open it can gather their own perspectives. Made of Khadi cotton paper, it was folded zine-style, then later sewn into its cover. Like the others, this one will not be printed. And, like the others, it is one-of-a-kind.

Click here to see Rooted on my Etsy shop.

Click here to see all of my little books that are still for sale.

I’m currently working on finishing up my winter themed book–still no title–a personal watercolor journal, and a mini blank watercolor journal for those who’d like to paint their own book. So keep a lookout on my Etsy as some of these will be appearing there soon.

Until next time…I hope your days are quiet, calm, and filled with book smells.

Bookmarks!

Happy November everyone!

I’m so happy to introduce bookmarks to my Etsy shop! I had a lot of strips of paper, leftovers from cutting other sizes to make larger pieces, and decided I should put them to use. The immediate love I got for these itty bitty vertical panoramas was immense!

I love working small, and these are just so much fun that I can’t stop! I’ve already got a new batch going.

My goal is to print these as well, but there will only be ONE hand-painted original for each design, which I think makes these even more special.

And they’re going quick! I posted them on Etsy yesterday, and in 3 hours I’d already sold half of them. I’m very excited, as this not only gives you guys the opportunity to buy original art for a smaller price, but this also makes my artwork useful, and if you’ve been following¬† my blog you know how important that is to me.

I’d love it if you’d head on over to my Etsy to check them out, even if it’s just to click the little heart icon. I appreciate all of you so much!

Until next time, I hope your days are full of wind-blown leaves and crunchy footsteps.

Lessons in Treeship: Indigo Autumn

Indigo Autumn started out as a handmade zine, but eventually became a full-fledged project, one that took several hours to complete.

I have always loved the idea of hand-making miniature books, bound and un-bound, with original art inside. I enjoy having this form of “interactive art” in my portfolio.

At first these miniature books (folded zine-style, though can I still call them zines?) were just a fun side project for me to play around, but the love I got for them hasn’t gone unnoticed. So I’ve decided that I’ll be introducing a new miniature book and/or zine as often as I can. Because not only are they fun to make, but they’re fun to flip through over and over again.

Indigo Autumn was one of these projects. I started out with an 11×14 sheet of Arches cold press, very finicky to fold as you can probably guess, and I chose a main color for the book. Indigo.

Each page has indigo, in the sky, in the landscape. The trees are indigo. And I wanted to somewhat personify the trees, or give them a human-like quality, in that they each have a friend to grow beside. Each of these lessons in “treeship” are based upon a different story, which I feel can only be interpreted by the viewer.

After I painted my trees, I went through the whole book and painted black gouache around the images to give it a more finished look. Then I un-folded the book and painted a full-sized 11×14 painting on the blank side. I didn’t take a photo of this backside, nor did I scan it. I want the buyer to be totally–and pleasantly–surprised.

Indigo Autumn is available here. Be on the lookout for several others in the “Lessons in Treeship” series.

I’ve also added a “mystery zine” product to my Etsy. Each book is approximately 4×3 inches and is a total surprise. Meaning, you don’t know what you’re going to get until you open the package! But each one is handmade, just like Indigo Autumn, and is hand-painted/illustrated. Check them out!

Until next time, I hope your home is warm and your yard is filled with autumn leaves.