Tag Archives: Crafts

Three and a half and counting …

I spent yesterday and today hanging my part of the Holiday Exhibit at the Arts Center of Yates County.  Had a great time working in the Gallery and am very pleased with the display.

I changed the setting on my camera on the second day, causing the difference in lighting.  Bonnie Barney set up the mirror table for me, giving wonderful reflections of the books and boxes.  Very striking!

Exhibit will be open from now to the end of the year.  Be sure to stop by!  Lots of other fascinating art and craft items.  It’s a great place to do your Holiday shopping.

Opening reception with food & wine is this Friday, Nov. 21st from 5 to 7 pm.

127 Main Street
Penn Yan, New York

Call for directions  315-536-8226.

See you there.


Filed under Art, bookbinding

Beads in Flame, Addendum

Here are the photos I promised from the bead course. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of people working on beads or lit torches.  That part is left to your imagination!

This is the enameling & glass studio, rustic on the outside and packed on the inside. There are eight student stations with a touch in front of each.  The crock pot in the center of the table is used to keep small beads warm until they can be annealed in a kiln. Large beads go directly into the kiln.

After the beads are formed on the mandrels, they are placed in the annealing kiln, which is kept at 950F until full and then allowed to slowly cool overnight.  In the morning, the kiln is opened and the beads removed like a bouquet of blooms. Beads are removed from the mandrels, cleaned and made into jewelry or just admired.

Final showing before leaving for home.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Other crafts

My First Enameled Book

Some weeks ago I took a class on enameling and was very excited to get working on some projects.  As usual, life intervened, but I have finished my first book.  Here it is!

Now I can’t decide whether to keep it or sell it.  One one hand, it may be the only enameled book cover I ever make as the rest of the pieces are smaller inserts.  On the other hand I really don’t need another blank book.  What to do?

I also decided just to hang my biggest enameled piece. I found out then how fragile the enamel is. Just trying to thread a cord through the holes in the piece, I cracked some of the enamel.  Not catastrophic, but you can see fracture lines in the enamel. You can just see them in the upper left corner when the photo in enlarged.  If I had a kiln, I could just re-fire it.

DSCN4479At the same time I was making the enameled book. I made another of the diskette books.  They are such fun! DSCN4518

I don’t really care for Coptic bindings.  They are not nearly as stable as a cased or bound book and they don’t protect the textblock as well, but they are a lot faster to make and are cute. I’ll probably keep them in my repertoire for fun, quick projects.

I’ve also been doing some marbling. Not terribly happy with the results as I been having a hard time with my carrageenan.  I don’t know if it’s the heat, the humidity or the carrageenan itself, but it’s been breaking down very quickly.  I was getting five or six days from a batch, but the last batches haven’t lasted more than two or three days.  Frustrating! I haven’t changed anything about the water, paints of the way I work, so I just don’t know.

I did have fun with these!



Leave a Comment

Filed under bookbinding, Other crafts

Kilns and Torches and Enameling Fun

My granddaughter and I just finished our second year attending the Inter-generational Week at the John C. Campbell Folk School.  Last year we did woodcarving and this year we did enameling.  At its simplest, enameling is the process of heating glass and copper together so that they form a bond and the glass fuses to the copper base.

In this class, we used sheet copper most of the time which could be shaped by repeated heating and cooling.  For most of my work, I stayed with flat forms because I’m hoping to be able to use these pieces in my bookbinding.  Someone said to me that I seem to like rectangles and squares!  Only because my books tend to be that shape.  Here are photos of some of the finished pieces.

We used both torches and kilns to fire the pieces.  The kiln was more predictable, but the torches were more fun!

I’ve added a lot more detail about how we worked, the materials we used and lots more pictures here.  I’m excited to start trying to use these on some books.  I have no idea if it’ll work, but it will be interesting!

On a totally different topic, I had lots of time to think as I was driving home, it took 2 1/2 days! One of the things that struck me, was the way the road has changed.  I’ve driven Route 15 through Pennsylvania on a rather regular basis since the early 1970’s. In the early days most of it was two or three-lane, but now it’s almost completely a divided, four-lane limited access highway.  Some of it still goes over the path of the old road, which may have been over game, trails, Indian paths, logging roads – I haven’t researched it.  That evolution has been very fast.  My image, though, was of archaeologists several thousand years from now, long after the automobile has gone the way of the chariot, painstakingly unearthing, studying and recreating all those multiple layers of roadway.  Even now in towns and cities, when streets are replaced 19th century bricks, logs, rails etc. are found.  Just a thought while driving!

Oh, and by the way, I have lots and lots of HUGE cucumbers.  They’ve turned slightly bitter, so I think they’ll be compost or rabbit food, but the tomatoes are just beginning, so I haven’t missed those.

1 Comment

Filed under Craft design, Other crafts

A Book or a Toy?

It’s been a very busy time since my last blog!  I had a number of calls from local outlets for more inventory – cards, books, towers, note pads –  just everything.  It’s all good, but it does create time pressure on everything else.  I didn’t even have time to take pictures!

In the middle of all of this, I decided to play with a little “book” I found in a bookbinding manual that is based on the old toy “Jacob’s Ladder.”  You know, the little pieces tied together with cord or ribbon, that clatter down in one direction and then the other.  My version, naturally, uses light-weight board covered with marbled paper.  My first attempt (the prototype) failed miserably when I misread the instructions for the ribbon placements.  The second, (beta)  was strung incorrectly  but I was able to fix it.  My first “real” version is under weights right now.  I’ll see how it goes tomorrow morning.

Here are the prototype and the beta version.

Jacobs2 (1)Jacobs2 (2)Jacobs2 (3)

Here’s an attempt at showing the Jacob’s Book in action.

Jacobs7Jacobs5 (1)Jacobs4 (3)Jacobs4 (2)

Click for a real video of the Jacob’sLadder

If I become inspired, I’d like to try making it a real book with a poem, a story or even just words.  Don’t know when I’ll have time.  Soon, I hope.


1 Comment

Filed under Craft design, Marbled Paper

Around the World in Marbling

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog.  My only excuse it that I’ve been busy, busy, busy. I was away from home for a month, enjoying Washington DC, North Carolina and Texas. They all deserve separate blogs, but I probably won’t do that!  I’m going to start with the great time I had back at the John C. Campbell Folk School.

At the Folk School, I took a great marbling course with Pat Thomas.  The theme of the week was “Marbling Around the World” and we tried marbling techniques from various countries.  Japan was the first stop and I tried suminagashi marbling for the first time. It is done with Japanese ink on plain water and gives very different patterns than the usual marbling. The ink is loaded on  brushes and the tip of the bush just touches the water, leaving a bit of ink. Concentric circles are formed by repeated brush touches in the same place.  Once there is enough ink floating on the water, the surface is rippled by blowing on it or by waving a fan lightly over the surface.  There are YouTubes showing Japanese masters making all sorts of designs, even landscapes.  I made lots of circles and a few designs that began to look like something from dreams or nightmares.

As you can see, the colors are faint and look rather like topographic maps. Clicking on the thumbnails helps.  Much more practice is needed for this.


There were five people in the workshop, so there was plenty of space for everyone. Here is the room set-up showing the marbling stations and the drying racks.

Our next stop was Turkey and into the classic stone and get-gel patterns.

Then on to Spain for some Spanish ripple.

I like some of the 3-D effects this produces, but I need more practice to be able to produce nice even rolls every time. We also did the New Jersey ripple, but mine was a total mess.  I’ll try it again in my next marbling session (probably after New Years) and show you what it’s supposed to look like, with luck.

France was represented by the nonpareil and French curl patterns.


We did a lot of overmarbling, both plain and with masks, but I’m going to save that for a separate blog.

Here’s my pile of papers. Now I have to figure out what to do with all of them.  Fun times ahead!

All in all, a great time was has by everyone.




Filed under Marbled Paper

Wood Carving at the John C. Campbell Folk School

Last week was spent playing with wood and hanging out with my granddaughter,  a combination of two very enjoyable activities.  The John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina has an Intergenerational Week every summer when parents or grandparents can share  a class with a child aged 12 to 17.  I’ve been taking classes there for years by myself and my granddaughter was very excited to learn that she could come with me as soon as she was 12.  She chose the wood carving class so we set off to learn how to handle sharp blades without cutting ourselves.  Here is a photographic overview of the class.

The entire class started with the goose so that the instructor could take us through all the different stages of carving.  Once we had finished the goose, we were able to chose the next project from the many blanks that the instructor provided.  I chose a mouse in western red cedar.  My granddaughter chose the cat in redwood.  Both of these woods proved to be a bit of a challenge for beginning carvers, but we were happy with the results.  My third project was my own design.  I put a flower, maybe a daisy or coneflower or black-eyed Susan, on top of an egg-shaped blank, wrapped the flower stem around the egg and put three small ladybugs on the stem.  I’m still playing with it and tweaking the design.  I don’t know exactly how I’ll finish it, but I had fun and learned a lot with the carving.

As our last project, both granddaughter and I chose to make gnome heads. She did a large one and I did a little one.  Both were re-engineered from Santa heads! For both of us, these last projects were a very successful conclusion as they felt as if we had some command of the project rather than having the wood rule.

My puzzle over the next six months is how to incorporate the wood into my books and if I really like carving enough to spend the necessary time and effort.  Stay tuned!

I’ll be back to working on my books and marbled paper soon and may even be taking another class on marbling.


Filed under Craft design, Life, Other crafts