Book and Paper Arts (page 1 of 13)

Altered Book The Missionary Box with Pockets, Keys, and Hidden Ephemera

My latest altered book is made from a vintage book called The Missionary Box. Books like this were given as gifts for doing well in Sunday school and they often have an (appalling) edifying tone. Added to the cover of the book is a miniature ring of skeleton keys. I have used gesso to activate water soluble media throughout and there are lots of pockets. Click on any photo below for a larger view and more detail. Some of the vintage ephemera in this piece include:

  • a small ring of keys
  • handwritten post cards and letter fragments
  • celluloid card, 1905
  • cabinet cards including lady with cat
  • birds and bat engraving, 1912
  • woodpeckers and birds engraving, 1845
  • calling cards, circa 1902
  • vintage map of Naples, 1905

Here is a video flipthrough:

And here is a longer video here explaining the book.

This altered book is £175 GBP with free worldwide shipping. Please contact me to buy or use this Buy It Now [read more]

How to Layout an Altered Book Page

In this video I share how I create one of my collage layouts in my altered books. Using a vintage image from “The Girl’s Own Paper”, a magazine from 1903, and the cover of an antique French bank book from 1910, I show how I play with a variety of backgrounds to get a page that you can’t stop looking at. I also explain about where to put the images on the page and how to rearrange them to change the narrative, or story, that the images are telling. Finally, I show how to really make your altered book pages pop by edging the images with charcoal and smudging.

Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below and I will be happy to get back to you and if you like what you see, subscribe to my free, online newsletter where you will receive tips, hacks, and tutorials for making altered books and other paper and journal arts [read more]

Vintage Paper in Altered Book Pockets

This latest altered book is chock full of vintage goodies tucked into pockets. Included in this piece:

  • Colour woodpecker engraving, 1867
  • Variety of engravings of jaunty women, 1881 and 1887
  • Cabinet card of young girl, 1900s
  • Distressed envelope with sealing wax, 1851
  • Handwritten postcard, 1875
  • Handwritten French card
  • Celluloid card, 1911
  • French “wrapper”, handwritten receipt, 1857

To see a larger view of any photo, click on the picture:This

Here is the flipthrough:

Cost is £225 GBP with free worldwide shipping. Contact me to buy or use the Buy It Now below. (Click here for currency converter.) Any questions? Send me an email at [read more]

Altered Book Handbook of Elocution

My latest altered book is made from an old elocution handbook. It is filled with original, vintage ephemera, as well as one-of-a-kind layouts using carefully curated reproductions. Due to the many layers involved in a piece like this, it takes almost three weeks to make by hand. To see a larger image, just click on any photo below:

Some of the elements are:

  • Fragment of handwritten French document, 1906
  • Beauty from La Mode Illustrée, 1880
  • Engraving of mushrooms, nature guide 1874
  • Envelope fragment with postmarks, 1906
  • Girl from postcard, 1902
  • French holy card, 1927
  • Handwritten French postcard with nun, 1909
  • Hand-embroidered card “To My Dear Aunt, 1917
  • Image from postcard, Zena Dare
  • 2 French postcards with handwriting and stamps
  • Carte de visite, 1880s
  • French cigarette card, 1895
  • Tintype, 1860s
  • Engraving of penguin from L’Universe Illustrée, 1881
  • Handpainted celluloid postcard with pop-up cross, 1917
  • French invoice, 1900
  • Bird engraving, 1912

Cost is £125 GBP with free worldwide shipping. Buy It Now with button below or send me an email for an invoice. Please let me know if you have any [read more]

Oldest Known Work of Art is 44,000 Year Old Cave Painting

The oldest known work of figurative art has been found on the wall of a cave in Indonesia. It is 44,000 years old and spans over 16 feet, depicting a hunting party in pursuit of wild cows and pigs. The animals are portrayed as huge while the people are tiny, although they do have some fantastic, supernatural elements such as lizard-like tails and a bird’s head on a man’s body. (If you like learning new words, this is called “therianthropy”.)

I don’t know about you but the evidence of the need to create, reaching out to us from 400-centuries inspires deep, almost wordless awe in my tiny, human brain. Also, it is a lot like a journal page, if a journal page was 16-feet big and on the wall of a cave. Just saying, people you might want to think about making an illustrated record of your days in your sketchbook.

This is not the painting. I don’t have a legal right to post it so I drew my version. To see a photograph of the real thing, go here to National [read more]

Here is Your Pep Talk: Joy As an Act of Defiance

“People have always been good at imagining the end of the world, which is much easier to picture than the strange sidelong paths of change in a world without end.”
― Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark

There is a lot of malaise going around, and when I say “malaise” I basically mean being in funk so deep that you can’t start or finish anything. I am hearing this from the last people in the world I expected: people who are smart, creative, resourceful, self-motivated, self-disciplined, and buoyant, and if they are in a funk, what hope is there for the rest of us. Fortunately, that is not how hope works so here we go. Here is your pep talk.

Consider this: humans are biologically hardwired to fear change and you have been hit with a mortal degree of change unimagined a few months ago. Consider this: if you are not okay right now it is because powerful forces are hard at work making sure that you are not okay. They are rather, deliberately manufacturing the maximum amount of chaos, despair, division, and confusion possible. Under the circumstances, it would be weird not to go to pieces. Except consider [read more]

How to Make Easy Handmade Paper Flowers

There are many ways to make paper flowers but this is my favourite. Easy, cheap, truly beautiful, and fun. You can wear them a “brooch,” buttoniere, or corsage, put in a little vase, or give as a gift. All you need is a length of paper, a “stem,” and a glue gun, then you roll and tack, tack and roll. Here’s the video tutorial.

Add a brooch back or corsage pin, and you are ready to go. Just let me know if you have any questions and please sign up for my newsletter on my website for more free art ideas and other [read more]

La Maison du Pastel

Recently I visited La Maison du Pastel. I was toting handmade paper and ink and a journal or two that I had bought on the other side of the Marais and had trudged miles to find it tucked away on the rue Rambuteau and I guess it all showed because as I walked in, the lady behind the counter looked at me and said quietly, “Le Graal.” She wasn’t wrong. I don’t even work in pastels and this room was the holy grail.

These pastels have been made since 1722 and has been in the Marais district of France since 1766. In 1878, M. Henri Roché took over the concern and it is in his family still. Currently they have 1540 tints and counting of pastels that are world famous for their intense colour and quality. (They were the pastel of choice for Degas.)

I bought a small box of half sticks. They were (understandably) expensive and as I say, pastel is not my medium of choice but how could I walk away without something, some touchstone and connection to hundreds of years of artisans committed to creating the finest tools for creating. A spell. A part of the grail.

To visit La [read more]

Using Lists in Your Journal Pages (Plus Prompts)

After last fall’s holiday I was cleaning out my bags and all of the bits of papers and crumbs and whatnot that end up there. (You know the ones I mean.) One of them was where my friend and I made a list of our expenses (road tolls and fancy wine, museum tickets and postcards:, petrol, t-shirts, cut flowers, fountain pen ink, maps – all of the things that we spent as we went, and then divvied up over a cup of coffee at the end of the day. As I was about to put this half a page of paper into the get-rid-of pile, I realised something. This fragment brought back vivid memories of that time together, of an afternoon of my life over coffee I would have forgotten. And that is what a list can be.

Adding a list to your written diary or illustrated journal captures day-to-day details that define your life and this time, anchoring a page in your sketchbook or diary, a snapshot of where you are and what you are doing, and when you find it again in a year or five or seventeen or your grandkids are going through your stuff [read more]

How to Get Past Your Fear of the Blank Page in Your Journal Work

I have heard from several people this week, in different degrees of anxiety, say that they want to – they need to – start a diary or journal but their fear of the blank page has only increased during these strange days. Well people, this will not do. In addition to being the record you need to be keeping of what is happening, keeping a journal is cheap therapy that can make a difference.

So. Here is a short video tutorial showing ways to knock this blank page fear thing out of the park. You are going to deliberately, on purposely get your pages dirty. Well, not dirty, but you are going to stain them with a variety of elements so that you will have a nice, grungy, comfortable, welcoming paper to begin with. Turn the idea of order out of chaos on its head and instead make chaos out of order, then play with it.

Drizzle tea. Dab coffee. Spritz ink. Splatter paint. Doodle, then scribble, then doodle some more. Make a grid and fill it with notes in the form of teensy images. But no excuses.

[read more]

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