Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Wedding Book Commission – Samples

I really enjoy the challenge presented by a Commission item. 
Customers will contact me and ask if I can make them a special item.  It’s nice, because they get some input into their item and I can work with them to help decide on the best format for the book, the paper choices, binding etc. I've been very lucky so far, as all customers have been very nice and co-operative; and they've been really pleased with the finished items (believe me, this isn't always the case for artists/craftsmen carrying out commission work!).

This current commission is a good example.  The customer is getting married this year and would like a wedding album.  However, it’s a bit different to the usual sort, as she would like to use it to store messages from the wedding guests, which will be written on some blue paper tags that she is making.
After some discussion, she’s leaning towards having plain pages, with envelopes that she will attach, to hold the tags. 

She wanted the book to have a theme of peacocks, with a colour scheme of blues, with maybe some golden or coppery colours.

She also thinks  she would like the pages to be of kraft paper or card, with ivory envelopes fixed to them; but this is still something she’s thinking about.

I have some lovely paper, printed with an old Chinese wallpaper design of flowers, birds and peacocks.  I suggested this and have put together some samples for the customer, to help her make up her mind.
The back of the book – I have covered it in plain kraft paper, with coloured eyelets, to show what’s possible.
The front cover of the “sample book”, ready to sew together.  The paper is my peacock design, with a navy silk bookcloth at the bound edge, together with some eyelets and some holes without, again to show what is possible.

The front cover is hinged, as the customer wanted a traditional “Japanese” style binding; this would make the book difficult to open, hence the hinged cover.

I want her to be able to see what this binding will be like – to see it and be able to play with it, so she is sure it’s what she wants.  That’s why I am binding the paper samples into a “Try-out” book.
I have put some page wrappers on some edges, using different papers, to show what can be done.
The shiny stuff is glassine paper – that crackly tissue that is often used in traditional photo albums.
This picture has normal gift-wrap tissue paper as a separator.  The customer may want to put photos in the book, on pages facing the envelopes, so I have included some options for the page separators (I wouldn’t really recommend “normal” tissue paper for a photo album. It is not normally of archival quality, which means the paper is slightly acidic and may attack the photos, spoiling them). If she wants tissue paper, I will need to source some large sheets of acid-free tissue, that has not been folded (see the crease up there!).
180111_5_Peacock_Wedding_Sample_Page  180111_6_Peacock_Wedding_Sample_Tibetan
Another couple of page wrapper options, and some cartridge paper for one page.  The bottom picture shows another page separator option – a fine tissue paper that I buy to make bookcloth. This isn’t like gift-wrap / packing tissue. It’s much stronger and a little thicker, but it is still translucent.  She may like this stuff better. We’ll see.
The customer thinks she’d like to have pages made of kraft paper or card.  This is a sample of some Bazzill Kraft Cardstock.  I think we may end up going for this in the end. 

I have, however, included lots of different papers, so she can see what is possible in an album of this kind.  They are all different types of paper (kraft paper, cartridge, printmaking paper, sketch paper, watercolour paper) and different weights too.
So, I have bound all these different samples into a book, which is about 7”x5”.  I used gold coloured linen thread, which I waxed, for strength and to make the stitching easier.
The book will be sent with a batch of other samples.  There are some mulberry papers, which could be used for the covers – lining or complete coverings and/or page wrapping if she wants this; some Murano and Canford art papers, also ideas for lining the covers, or perhaps page wrappers; the final swatch is pieces of silk, in various “peacock” shades of blue, so she can see what I have available, if she’d like silk on the bound edge, for a bit of contrast – like I have done above.

I hope she’ll be pleased to get all this.  It should help her to work out what she’d like – which can only be a good thing for us both!

Wish me luck, friends. This is a special project and I don’t want to mess it up!

And, if anyone knows a UK supplier of patterned Glassine paper, or a similar type of patterned interleaving paper, pleeeeeese let me know – I used to be able to get this easily, but now I've offered it to the customer as an option, I can’t find any!


  1. It must be lovely to create something that is made up of your skills and understanding and at the same time taking into account someone elses ideas! When it is finished it is a really collaboration xx

  2. It must be lovely to create something that is made up of your skills and understanding and at the same time taking into account someone elses ideas! When it is finished it is a really collaboration xx

  3. Lizzie there is so much involved in a project like this one - I am sure the customer will have a difficult time making her final decision!
    Thanks for walking us through the process - I enjoy seeing how you put your ideas together, it is very interesting :-)

  4. Wow!! This is all so technical! You are making some lovely things!!

  5. You put such a lot of thought and care into your commissions - I'm sure it shows in the finished project. No, wait, what I really mean is I'm sure it SHINES through the finished project!

  6. Thank you ladies - all such kind comments! It makes me feel so warm and fuzzy... eeee!

  7. Lizzie - I'm not surprised your customers have all been happy, your attention to detail and the care you put into your projects is so evident :-) Lucky customer! xx

  8. Thanks Mel - I like to do a good job. This is what she wrote to me yesterday, when her parcel arrived:-

    "I can't tell you how fantastic a surprise it was, you almost made me cry it was so perfectly presented!
    Thank you so, so much for going to the trouble of making up the mini book, you have made this whole experience so special - there is going to be a very special story behind our book of special memories!"

    I am smiling... ;-)

  9. Lizzie, what a fabulous project and how wonderful that she was so enthusiastic (quite rightly of course) about your samples. Wishing you all the best for completing the project. Your books are always really super! Have a lovely week! x

  10. This is going to look fantastic when finished

  11. Lizzie,

    Thank you so much for the great floral tutorial. I'm about to give it a go! :) Love your wedding books- they are beautiful!

    Megan @ coffeyhouse

  12. What a great idea putting together the little sample book--sometimes it is so hard to explain ideas through emails. She will appreciate you taking that extra step, and hopefully will return it to you so you can use it in the future.

    Have you considered using vellum instead of glassine? Here in Canada it seems to be widely available where scrapbooking paper can be purchased, and there are so many colours and patterns available.

  13. Ah Laura, that's a very good idea... why ever didn't I think of it? Duh!
    The customer did like the Japanese tissue paper, but I need to send her an additional sample of some dark cardstock (since she loved the Murano so much she now prefers dark pages, but heavy weight); maybe I'll pop a couple of vellum samples in there too!
    This is really turning into a collaborative effort - so many people are offering helpful ideas! If I don't use them this time, I'm sure I will another time!

    Thank you everyone, for your support and advice. I so appreciated it!


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