For my next trip abroad, I wanted to make another travel journal. I have previously handmade a small hardback pocket journal and a fold-out accordion journal. This time I decided to make a handmade journal using a piano hinge. This, for the unfamiliar, uses tabs and cylindrical objects (in this case bamboo skewers) to attach the pages at the spine. The benefit for a travel journal is that every other spread is the depth of the bamboo skewer, which means there is plenty of room for additional items of collage and other ephemera, and pockets to store memorabilia. It’s also possible to easily disassemble the book at the hinge to work on individual pages, or remove and add pages as required.
Constructed from canvas textured acrylic paper, I knocked back the white using an off-white chalky finish acrylic paint. I added a darker shade at the base of each page, using the same paint to stencil the building outlines. Overprinting with various travel oriented stamps using archival ink completed the decoration. It seems that the convention for piano hinge books is that the spine is visible, and the skewers extend from the bottom and the top. I wanted a more traditional book appearance as well as a protective cover, so I constructed cover pages before covering them with lokta paper which resembles old leather. A few coats of soft-touch varnish added to that illusion as well as protecting the paper. Adding this type of cover does restrict the addition of further pages. As I intend to use this on the flight as well, I thought it wise to trim the skewers… Some care needs to be taken to keep the pages vertically aligned, but in practice friction seems to keep the posts in place.
I started this page layout on Tuesday night as my teaching sample for my ‘Christmas Crackle’ art journal session on 7th November. Building up layers and techniques, I was very happy with the resulting background. I then spent just as many hours searching for the perfect ‘winter’ quote. Eventually I settled on this excerpt from ‘Do not stand at my grave and weep’ attributed to Mary Frye.
Sometimes I go quiet on here… Regular readers will know that I’m always up to something (holidays are infrequent), and often can’t share my makes until after a ‘press embargo’ has been lifted. Happily, Hochanda seem to be less restrictive than a certain other channel I’ve done work for: keep your eyes peeled for sneaky peeks at the end of the month. Oh, and in passing, if you haven’t found the TV menu option above, that’s where you will find the latest information I have as to when I’m next on your screens.
Back to the point – I thought it would be fun to share a photo of my studio workspace as it appears right now. I’m in the middle of learning new products and prepping samples from which my show demonstrations will be developed. Whoever said that men can’t multi-task? I must be an exception as there are three different projects on the go at the moment – as I am waiting for one to dry, I’m working on the others.
Don’t worry about the naff lighting – that’s done in Photoshop so that I can hide the piles of stuff still waiting for their permanent home. So there’s glass paint, acrylic paint, crackle medium, varnishes, acrylic pieces, MDF pieces, a brayer, brushes and sponges, frost effect paint, Posca pens, scissors, a screwdriver and Gorilla glue, various polymer stamps, archival ink and not nearly enough tea. It does however support the adage that men typically do not clear up after themselves… But by tea time tomorrow, all has to be tidied away for another night of crafting with my studio guests.
As a follow up art piece to my ‘Dream’, I thought I would add another 3D word to my studio – this time, Create. The letters are again paper mâché, all undercoated with two layers of gesso and then decorated. I wanted this assemblage to reflect all the creative pursuits that take place in various forms in The Studio, both by me and my studio guests. Sculpture didn’t quite make it, but then I can always say the whole thing is sculpture 😉
The last ‘proper’ day of the Creative Chemistry 103, and we were taught several techniques with alcohol inks on Yupo. For those not in the know, alcohol inks are dyes with, well, alcohol as the solvent – makes for fast drying heady crafting! And Yupo is a smooth plastic sheet of polypropylene suitable for all media, but particularly suited to media that play nicer when on non-porous surfaces. Lots of splatting, buffing, stamping, painting and puffing went into these. Great fun!
I got sidetracked today… instead of getting on with my Creative Chemistry 103 Distress Crayon homework, I decided, like you do, to install a slow sand filter to deal with the Studio’s grey water. Admittedly, occasionally the grey water is more of a pinky purple, but you know what I mean. Up to now, I’ve had a caravan waste water carrier to catch artistic rinsings. Inevitably, I forget to empty it and an interesting smell announces that it is overflowing. I think a video popped up on my Facebook feed which sparked curiosity, then research, and then a quick trip to Wickes. £12 and couple of hours later, I have a passable way of dealing with my rinsings. They are filtered before draining into my irrigation reservoir, ready for watering the garden. A quick inoculation with ‘good’ pond bacteria followed, which should jump start the biofilm that apparently forms on the sand particles and keeps the nasty niffs down. No more hefting 40 litres of stinking sludge up the garden to the drain 🙂
Eventually I did get back into the Studio, and completed Day 4’s homework. More techniques with Distress Crayons which very artfully demonstrate why they are so, so different to other waxy water soluble crayons. And there’s more kits to come – three is not enough!
I thought I’d catch up with a couple of days’ worth of classes today, but, alas, it wasn’t to be. I did however get Day 2 samples done – a few more well used techniques revisited, but a couple of new ones there too. And a note to self, in passing… Always test your mica containing sprays well away from other items in the studio, and clean them before putting them back in the box. That way, there is a fair chance the spray a) mists rather than spurts, and b) actually sprays.