Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sketchbook Project 2012, pt. I - OR - The Gift of Giving

Sketchbook Project Logo
customized for our merry band"The Sketchy Characters"
As I mentioned in my last post, several members of The Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild and I have embarked on the Sketchbook Project 2012 ("It's like a concert tour, but with books!").  In addition to submitting books to the project, we plan to visit the nearest stop on the Tour, Atlanta, next year!  With forty (40!?!) themes from which to choose, the results promise to be as varied as the wildly divergent talents of our members -- I can hardly wait to see them all finished!  Alas, wait I must, it will be January before I see them all in their completed finery -- we will be having a grand send off for them, before they are shipped out! 

DIY Thermal Binding
inserting the pre-glued spine strip
 The first stop on the journey, however, was getting our 'sketchbooks' prepared for the rigors of travel with such a 'mixed up' crew of creatives!  Had we all been planning to merely sketch, everything would have been fine 'as is.'  However, this is a group that embodies the 'mixed' in Mixed Media!  Within days of receiving/distributing our books, the questions were already popping up on our forum ("is there a way to ...?"  "what if I want to...?"  etc.)  To aid in the effort of creating more 'user friendly' books, we planned a Re-Binding day; so last Sunday, 09/11/2011, found us in the classroom at Jerry's Artarama.   I must say:  it felt very good to be in fellowship with like minded souls, making something, on a day remembered by so many for so much destruction/loss.  I came armed and ready with some of my favorite tools for an afternoon of bookbinding.  I had two options to offer the eager participants:  thermal and sewn.  Lots o' tips and tricks flew about; and I think it is safe to say that a good time was had by all  ~>;-)

Two Bindings - Myriad Possibilities
(L) Long Stitch binding, (R) Thermal binding
The thermal binding was based on an example from Dorothy Simpson Krause's fabulous Book + Art - Handcrafting Artists' Books.  After some 'fiddling' *and, yes, misreading the instructions - ha!* I provided one sample with 140# watercolor paper folios bound in a re-enforced SuedeTex cover, and another with three, pamphlet stitched signatures in a Nujabi cover.  This format was a big hit with the crew!  The sewn option was a basic long stitch -- improvised to suit the various formats of each artist.  Depending on the thickness of the paper (watercolor *90# and 140#*, bristol, drawing, etc.), the number of signatures varied (4, 5 and 7); the results were all fantastic! The best part of the day was seeing the excitement of my fellow Guild members in learning something new -- it was more than excitement, tho', it was JOY bordering on downright giddiness!  I would be hard pressed to say who was happier:  me, for the sharing; or they, for the receipt of the "how to."  Therein lies the beauty!  My love for my favorite art form was reinvigorated by the sheer pleasure of my friends' appreciation at having a chance to 'just do it!'  Lucky am I!

Everyone left with not one, but TWO newly bound books -- I should say "at least two," as there were a few who ended up with 3 completed (and, most left with materials at the ready for additional bindings).  I count the day as an enormous success; it puts me in a great frame of mind for next years bookbinding offerings at Jerry's!

The Orchid
*AKA, my visual crack!*
In addition to waves of gratitude, I was *quite unexpectedly* gifted with a gorgeous orchid (((hugs to KS!))); which has become my ruination, in terms of distraction, this week (o.o)  It is simply stunning!  I had the foresight to apologize in advance for the great likelihood that I would *undoubtedly* kill it *in short order*...  When I got home, The Man 'oohed' and 'ahhed' appreciatively; then wondered *quite aloud!* how long I thought it would 'make it.'  Apparently, my magpie tendencies are rather renowned - ha!  I am very pleased to report, however, that at one week we have managed:  successful watering, perfect lighting, and a brand new blossom!  It has created in me an urge *nee, fervent desire* to paint!?!  *yeah, i know, i know...  just what I need:  one more thing - LOL!*  Whether I actually end up painting it or not, I am enjoying it immensely!  My photo doesn't do it justice, tho'...  It is so beautiful as to appear unreal!?!  

Onward & Upward!
 - pla

Words of wisdom for today:
"Grief can take care of itself,
but to get the full value of a joy
you must have somebody to divide it with."
                                      - Mark Twain
Photo Notes:  
   Sketchbook Project Logo from Art House Coop (modified for CMMAG group by moi).
   Thermal prep photo by Katherine Stein (iPhone camera app)
   "Two Bindings"  taken with Panasonic Lumix (DMC-ZS1) - set to natural light, slow sync/red eye flash.
   "The Orchid" taken with Motorola DROID Vignette Demo App, set to random, vintage frames and auto flash.


  1. I'm so sorry I missed all the fun last Sunday; it sounds like everyone had a blast.
    And, you WON'T kill the orchid. Contrary to popular and erroneous belief, they are easy to care for. Just don't overwater it (no more than once a week), and once you find a spot for it to live, don't move it (like us, they don't handle change very well). And, most importantly, when the blossoms drop off, DON'T give up on the plant! It's just gathering strength and nutrients to bloom another time...when that will be is up to it--could be a couple of months, or up to a year, but it'll be worth it.

  2. Guess what?! We are doing a sketchbook too! ( theme: filled with stories! Doesn't that sound like a MOBY" DICK could get in there !!) My nephew lives in Brooklyn so we will go up there to see it next summer. Also tried to find the library in Sept. when we were up there. One of my students ( English ) did one last year and asked us to try to see it. Next time. I'm sure yours will be amazing!


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