Saturday, March 3, 2012

LENT and "Taking Up" Making New Books

Inside Front Cover Opening-Standing Book
The latter part off this week I began making new artist's books and also blank journal book structures. A dear friend, Dea Fischer, has published a new DVD , "Handmade Book Essentials." This is a wonderful DVD with basic and some advanced instruction on making folded books, side stitched books, and multiple signature books. You can order the DVD or a download a copy of the DVD from the link above. I have had great fun following the class and making books along with Dea.

Fully open folded book broadside view
 This is my first folded book based on instruction from Dea. It has calligraphic, type stamps, brush watercolour and pen elements. I completed the brush calligraphy and type stamps prior to folding the paper and cutting the pages. I added the pen calligraphy after the final cuts and folds were completed.

This book is intended to either be held in the hand, stood for a display, or laid out open, as a broadside, for viewing. This was a test run for me and I hope to be making more through next week.

Side Stitched Blank Journal, rice paper flyleaf
I have also been working on a book structure that is new to me, the side-stitched open sewn book. This is a marvelous structure for journals, albums, and scrap books. The one shown here is 8.5" x 11". I added silk screened Japanese rice paper to the inside of both covers, and also as an exterior decoration to the front cover. This cover is board and quite sturdy.

I am really am enjoying this particular book structure I will be exploring more forms in the weeks to come. I have posted a slide show here to illustrate my progress.

My creative verve for unique as well as  small edition artist's books is surging through the roof. In particular, I am considering a small letterpress edition of quotes and cuts from my collection, with hand coloured elements. For the next week, however, I will be concentrating on calligraphic folded books, and also some calligraphic side sewn collections of calligraphy illustrated with watercolour images. You can see a sample of Dea's instructional DVD by clicking HERE.

We are ending the first week of Lent tonight. (If you need a crash course in Lent, check out this video from Busted Halo by clicking HERE.) I find Lent and the prayer discipline that comes with it uniquely suited to my workshop practice of making calligraphic books and blank journals. For me Lent is not so much a time of "giving up" but of "taking up" something as part of my prayer practice. This Lent I have taken up trying to be in the studio by 7:00 a.m. every morning for pages and praying online with Sacred Space. I find the quiet of the house, and the heater warming the cool of the grotto studio, welcoming to my writing and praying.

I also am finding the quiet of the early morning conducive to listening to my heart and soul as I pray. Sometimes we can get so busy making sure we get all our own thoughts into our prayers, that we forget to rest a bit, open our hearts and get the wax out of our ears (both physical and spiritual) and listen to what God, in her infinite wisdom, is trying to share with us. In the quiet of the early morning I find that I am more aware than ever that the distance from this world to the next is very thin, and paying attention to that thin-ness is very important in bringing us closer to God.

More than ever, I feel called to create the artist's books and calligraphs that have been living in my heart and head all these years. Each letter I write, each stitch I take for binding, and each book I create and hold in my hand, reminds me that I have been called to do this creative work and to share it with others as my way of sharing my faith in God.

Each breath I take, each stroke I make, reminds me that if we open our hearts to  the infinite creativity, joy, and impassioned love that God wishes to share with us, that all will be well, and all will be well, and with the blessed love of God moving through the thin-ness of eternity, all will be well.