JOURNEY - A Palm Leaf Structure Art Book

Saturday 9th June 2012 - Palm Leaf Structure Art Book Workshop, with Mia Leijonstedt

I posted about the one-day workshop I attended on Saturday, with Mia Leijonstedt. We made a Palm Leaf style Artists Book.
If you didn't read that post and would like to know about the day and see the photos of all the books, then do go and see it, before you look at my photo gallery here.

I do think it would be nice to know the background to the book, a bit about the whole day and see everybody's books together, before you see mine in detail (you are welcome to ignore my suggestion though!).

There are about 25 photos of the book here, with notes. I'm quite proud of my book and wanted to share some of my thoughts about its creation and where I want to go with it from here. If you find it boring, feel free to go and floss the cat, or some other interesting occupation!

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My Artist's Book - A Palm Leaf style Book:


Top cover. Wooden covers, sanded and dyed with golden yellow acrylic paint.
There is a matching cover on the back. The binding is simply made, with a cord that passes down through one set of holes - through all pages - out of the bottom and along the base of the book, to the other holes, where it comes back up. The cord wraps round the book, to keep it all together.
The "thing" mounted on the top of the book, is the "Talisman" that I made earlier in the day (see the previous post for the history of this!). I mounted it onto a piece of black leather, then fixed it to the top of the cover.
Mia thought these talisman objects that we created would say something about each of us. I don't know if I agreed about that, but I did feel attached to the object I had made from scraps and it just seemed right to use it as part of my book, though I don't think anyone else did that.
Hand-twisted double cord, to bind and fasten the book. We had fun twisting cords out in the car park area, where there was room to stretch out a long length of twine and twist it over and over. We helped each other with this - one person twisting their cord, another being the "middle" - holding the centre of the twisted twine, then walking backwards, while the "twister" walked forwards, to join up the ends. Then the "middle" person would gently release the twist, gradually allowing the two strands to twist back on themselves, forming one cord.
I like the fact that my cord was a joint effort, between me and another person. All part of my Journey on Saturday.
I love this photo. For me, the content of the book was as important as the covers; it forms part of the whole structure. I think this is always true, when I am making books. I choose the inside paper as carefully as that used for the covers. I wanted my book to tell a story about me, about my discoveries, about where I am just now, in a creative sense.
It reminds me of one of those long sandwiches you can buy, where there are layers of filling - turkey slice, ham, salad, tomatoes, more turkey.... Only my layers are different papers and content!
When you open the cover, you see a "top layer" page. It is made from a thick, fibrous paper, which is almost a felt; except that it's not at all soft, but thick, scratchy, full of texture. It doesn't show so well in the photo, but it is a warm golden yellow colour, not browny-beige.
This page is made from a batik paper, with a thicker handmade paper section laid on top, then an embellishment.
Closeup of the embellishment, which is an "angel hair" paper, in silvery and golden threads, with black textured paper, brown embossed leather (from one of Mia's binding projects!), then a black handmade type of paper.
I don't know if this "means" anything. I put these pieces together because I liked them like that. It was all about "just creating" I think. And after all, "just because I like it" is as good a reason as any other!
A lovely golden coloured mulberry-style paper, with silky fibres. On this is an off-white crinkly paper, with an oriental paper matted on top, plus embellishment.
Closeup of the embellishment. Strips of brown leather, coiled to make beads, with rolled beads of pink foiled paper.
A heavy weight handmade paper, in grey-beige colour, with embellishment of angel-hair paper, plus fragments of black and brown leather. Attached on top, with stitching, is a piece of melted tin. I think this was cooled in water, rather than being poured onto a board and allowed to dry slowly. It is wonderfully textural and spikey. It was slightly malleable, so I was able to press it flat against my paper, but it would only go flat up to a certain point, then it resisted.
More batik paper, with some of the crinkly off-white paper on top. This is still unfinished. I want to add content to it, but still deciding whether it will be words, images or more embellishments. There are several of these "unfinished" pages, as I want to explore this whole thing further. I hope to write another post at some point soon, to show what I have done to complete my project (I really want to find time to do that!).
Golden mulberry paper with fibres, then a piece of greyish handmade paper, with a square of a brilliantly textured damson-coloured paper on top. The pieces of paper with the cords passing through are "mini books".
One of the "mini books" - it is three "pages" of different papers. I want to add to these... not sure what yet though.
Another Page with Potential. This time it is grey handmade paper, with a piece of the oriental patterned paper on top. A surface for embellishment I think!
The grey handmade paper was a great surface for paint. I used golden and ochre paints to colour this, then left it to dry. It is lovely here, on top of the batik paper page. A good place for a piece of printmaking, perhaps!
Golden mulberry paper again, with another "mini book".
The book is still empty. I think it needs words...
A strip of brown leather, gathered into a pleated pattern.
Closeup of the pleated leather strip. I had a great time making this. It was lovely to pinch the leather on top of the gluey paper, making these ruffly pleats. I think I'll leave it exactly like this.  
Batik paper, embellished.
Closeup of the embellishment - angel-hair paper, leather pieces and a tiny bit of melted tin.
Golden mulberry paper, with leather and paper embellishment.
These three pieces of leather have been dyed a pinky colour - I think with inks - then decorated with a scribbly pattern in browny ink. They were in Mia's scrap box and I just loved them. I have three or four items that were left over from Mia's other projects. I love that some of her work has become part of my story... it kind of emphasises the influence she has had on my project. I also love that she shared these freely with us. My question "is it ok to use this?" was met with a ready agreement. Nothing precious or possessive about Mia! (though I'm sure she'd be cross if someone copied one of her beautiful books and said they'd designed it themselves - who wouldn't be!)
The last embellished page of the book. Beige-grey heavy paper, with leather scraps and another "mini book".
This mini book is a "real" book! It is hand bound by me, using some of the linen threads I took along with me. 
Endpapers made from bright pink, foiled Indian paper.
I used a creamy, crinkly hand made paper for the pages.
And finally, another "page" of that thick, fibrous golden stuff. Beneath that is another wooden cover, tinted gold with acrylic colour. 

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That is my Book Story. I called the book "Journey", because that is just what it represents, on several levels. The creation of the book was a sort of journey in itself. I haven't made an artists' book before - not really. I've made many books where I have experimented with the cover materials, the paper for the pages, the binding style and materials... But I hadn't ever conciously set out to create a Book with Content, that was designed as a complete entity. Any previous books have been made so that their content would be added at some future point. This book has Content already.

The Content is another part of the Journey. I already mentioned that some of the little items I used to embellish the pages, were scraps from Mia's binding projects - and why I felt they were significant to me. I also made up some of the content myself, by painting and scrunching paper, rolling leather or paper strips, tearing, cutting, sticking, layering. I have also left spaces, where I want to add more content.

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Another of the course participants has now posted about her day.  This is her story...


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