Ingenius upcycling

In my last blog post I wrote about learning so much from the participants in my classes – the show and tell sessions where I am privileged to be shown books that they have made since taking a book making workshop make sharing so worthwhile.

Living in the country miles from the nearest art supply store makes for very creative people and Erin who participated in my book making workshops in Narrogin recently had an abundance of computer parts she has found a new use for.

"Sewn on Tapes" book using computer parts  - Handmade by Erin Bailey - photo courtesy of Erin Bailey

“Sewn on Tapes” book using computer parts – Handmade by Erin Bailey – photo courtesy of Erin Bailey

Erin creates some wonderful steampunk jewellery, makes tin horses from some very interesting discarded items to promote  the “tin horse highway” and Kulin bush races.  You can find her page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/eBee-Creations/227915167353792.

 

It makes my heart sing – thank you so much for sharing Erin.

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More up-cycling

I have been having such fun this week making these fun books.

They are side bound books with orphaned teaspoons sourced from Ebay.  I love how they have turned out.  With so many budding master chefs around these days I thought they would be fun with kitchen/baking themed papers for the covers.

Here are just a couple of them – what do you think?

Cupcake book with vintage teaspoon spoon

Cupcake book with vintage teaspoon spoon

Kitchen/baking themed book with vintage jam spoon

Kitchen/baking themed book with vintage jam spoon

The tyranny (or not) of distance!

Yesterday, after wading through rivers of water during the storm at 5.30am to put our horses out into their paddock (they were most indignant at being woken at that hour and very reluctant to join me in wading!) I set off for a cross country drive to Narrogin in the heart of the West Australian wheat growing area.  Narrogin is a country town, some three hours drive from our capital city of Perth.  The drive was very pleasant, the weather being kind to me, there were only a few sprinkles of rain on the windscreen.  The paddocks are all looking green after recent rainfall.  I arrived in the town with plenty of time before the workshop started and was pleasantly surprised to find a coffee shop open at that time of day.  The coffee was good and the roaring fire was very welcoming.

It was easy to find the venue for the workshop in Narrogin’s main street.  The Artspace is a wonderfully welcoming, large space  and ideal to hold any workshop, also a great meeting place.  I understand ARtS Narrogin is run by volunteers and they are planning all sorts of exciting events – the Ten Sopranos will be performing in Narrogin on Wednesday – if you live in the area check out their FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/ARtSNarrogin.

I had a fabulous day teaching lots of simple book structures – using some recycled items, and shared lots more ideas.  Some of the workshop participants had travelled a considerable distance to attend and I think they all had a good time – they worked really hard and produced a considerable collection of books during the day.

Despite being a considerable distance from the capital city and having limited access to art supplies Narrogin has an artspace and organisation to be proud of, and lots of enthusiastic and very talented people.  I love rural Western Australia.

working hard in Artspace Narrogin

working hard in Artspace Narrogin

The fantastic work space at ARtS Narrogin

The fantastic work space at ARtS Narrogin

making mini books for necklaces

making mini books for necklaces

Searching for artisans in Florence

One of my favourite places in Italy is Firenze. I read about the artisan being still alive and well in Florence and was looking forward to meeting artisan bookbinders.  There is an abundance of shops in the city stocking books – mostly leather bound, but I discovered that most of them are part of a chain of stationery shops, or independent shops stocking all the mass produced journals with book blocks made by machine and then glued into their leather covers or casebound.  I was determined though and persisted in asking in every shop I went to where there was a bookbinder making books by hand!  Eventually I found a bottega where a sole bookbinder is making her living making handbound books – mostly commissions.  I spent a lovely half an hour chatting with her. In the artisans area – on the “other” side of the river we chanced upon jewellers, violin makers, chair restorers and iron workers.

Florence is the home of Zecchi – what a treasure trove that shop is – the owners have found, revived or reproduced all the colours of the pre Renaissance and Renaissance painters – the pigments are in jars behind the counter.  My one indulgence was to purchase a small tin of half pan watercolours from Zecchi – they are formulated in Florence using pure pigments, honey and gum arabic.

Zecchi watercolours

Zecchi watercolours

Zecchi Firenze

Zecchi Firenze

Florence - Full Moon over the Duomo - market stall holders packing up for the evening
Florence – Full Moon over the Duomo – market stall holders packing up for the evening

 

Upcycling some leather

The past week I have been busily working in my studio making some leather bound journals. The leather for the covers has been claimed from some vintage leather clothing – lined with Nepalese lokta paper to stop the little bits of black leather fibres coming off onto the pages.  The accent leathers are  fish leather from the boys at Mermaid Leather in Esperance, Western Australia (if you are ever in Esperance – it is well worth a visit to their tannery, showroom/information centre – they produce a lovely product from fish skins, something that would otherwise be discarded) and a fabulous leather that I found in Melbourne on my recent trip. This lovely textured leather is from Bufo marinus (otherwise known as that invasive creature the cane toad!)

 

Leather Journals A6 landscape  $35 each - Cartridge paper pages - accent leathers are: orange and pink - fish leather; purple and teal - cane toad leather.

Leather Journals A6 landscape $35 each – Cartridge paper pages – accent leathers are: orange and pink – fish leather; purple and teal – cane toad leather.

I also unearthed some very small scraps of upholstery leather from my stash and made a little collection of “jelly bean” journals – these are tiny – approx 5cm x 7cm with different pastel coloured pages.  They are closed with elastic and decorated with vintage buttons – a little bit fanciful, but useful to keep with your mobile phone if you need to jot down any important numbers, or write mini shopping lists on!

Jelly Bean Journals! made from leather scraps - vintage buttons and various coloured papers for the pages $5 each.

Jelly Bean Journals! made from leather scraps – vintage buttons and various coloured papers for the pages $5 each.