12 August 2012

Return to Normal

This week I've returned to reality and in earnest started planning the courses I'm going to teach for the next eight or nine months. And I'm glad to say that I'm enjoying it! Getting up earlier in the morning, having meals at regular hours, working, feeling useful and purposeful. It suits me.

I finished the Alabama Chanin fitted top that I prepared the fabric for earlier in this post. With a few changes to the pattern it fits me well, and I'm all set for something more decorative next time. Appliqué, reverse appliqué, dimensional appliqué, couched... I haven't yet decided what to do for my next A.C. project, but I know it's going to be fun. Here's the finished top:

I've also done a little drawing and painting for Melanie Testa's workshop Dream Journals (you can still register). Head over to Flickr, if you're curious. Here's another fun little project I did this evening. I've been trying to find a brush stand like the one Melanie uses in her teaching videos, but without success. Then a friend told me that I could probably make one myself easily with oven-bake clay. Duh, why didn't I think of that? So here it is, my brand new brush stand in one of my favourite colours:

It's very simply constructed of seven rolls of clay that are stacked. I baked it upside down with kebeb skewers as support, to make sure it wouldn't sag in the oven:

That was a great little project. Brought out the inner kindergartener in me, and that's always satisfying.

Thanks for visiting and see you again soon I hope! - Annika

5 August 2012

Custom-Made Dream Journal

Ooh, time flies. Where does it go, I wonder? It seems I have so much to do at the moment, and by evening I've only done a fraction of it. I've had a very long vacation this summer, and I feel it's about time I got back to work. It's only a few weeks now until the first two classes I'm going to teach will start (the children's classes). Well, tomorrow's Monday again. The best day to start a new life, and to pick up old routines. I do need to get back to my routines. No more staying up all night and sleeping away half of the morning. Discipline!

Right now I'm participating in another one of Melanie Testa's online workshops at the Clever Guild: Dream journal (you can still sign up!). You can find some images of what I've done so far (not much, as usual) in my Flickr photostream. This workshop explores different techniques that you can use in your sketchbook or visual journal. And since I can't find the kind of sketchbook I want in the shop, I have custom-made my own sketchbook. A page in this book is only 15 x 15 cm (6 x 6 inches), which is a nice little format to work with if you're like me and easily get performation anxiety or fear of the Huge White Page. I can choose to work on a small single page, or on the 30 cm spread. I used smooth hot press watercolour paper (300 gsm/140 lb) for the pages, and cardboard for the covers. I covered the cardboard with my own breakdown printed fabric. Fun!

The signatures are sewn together, and the covers are also sewn onto the signatures. I used a technique I haven't tried before and which I learned from Laura Kemshall in an episode of DMTV. Before this book I've tried Japanese stab-binding, small pamphlets and the thirty minute multiple-pamphlet journal taught by Gwen Diehn in her book The Decorated Journal (follow the links for a look at the books/pamphlets in question). This binding method was both fun and easy, and here's the result;

I was a bit hesitant whether this kind of structure would work for a watercolour sketchbook, but figured that I'd just try it out to see what would happen. As you can see below, there is a gap between the signatures that can be problematic with watery paint.

However, I've decided that I'm not going to be bothered about it. If I want to lay a wash over a spread with a gap, I can always tape the gap or glue a piece of paper over it. Things are only a problem if you make them a problem.

Isn't this a beautiful binding method? I love the loops that form over the spine and the exposed signatures.

Now that I have the book, it's time to start filling it. This week's assignment for Melanie's workshop is to make 10 starts, that is to do something - anything - to 10 pages somewhere - anywhere - in the journal. Sounds like fun!

Thanks for reading, and see you again soon! - Annika