Tag Archives: relaxation

How Does One Recharge?

Ever since I came back from the Folk School and my exciting classes there described in my previous blogs, I’ve been trying to get started again.  Not very successfully!  I put the finishing touches on a few books right away, but my snakeskin book languishes on my work table, untouched.  I go into my studio every day, look at the leather, look at the enameled pieces and end up sorting some marbled paper or rearranging stuff.  I spend some time there and then go upstairs to play Civilization or Solitaire on the computer.  Not much accomplished.

One thing I have done is to buy some large bins so I can sort my papers.  I had them in drawers and boxes and had to go through everything to find what I needed.  Having them in smaller groups by type and size should make life a bit easier. Now I just have to decide where to put everything!

Today was the first time that I have been inspired. While sorting the printed papers I found a long, narrow strip of purple Lokta printed with gold tigers.  It really called to be made into a book.  Maybe there’s hope for me!

In the meantime, this is what I seem to be doing most of the time.

Lucy with fire

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Filed under etc., Life

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

Design vs. Doing


If you’ve read my pages on Designing a Book, you’ll know that I’ve started working on a new set of books this week.  The design decisions have almost all been made, so next week I’ll be moving on to the more mechanical aspects of making books – the sewing, the pasting, the cutting. I think the enjoyment I find in creating books, or my towers, comes from the duality of the process.  There’s a lot of thought and creativity that goes into the design phase, but that is followed by rote work.  To do it properly, one has to be careful and precise, but the sewing and pasting doesn’t take much thought.  Attention, yes, but not thought.  I can relax and daydream a bit.  Not too much or the textblock goes into the covers upside down!

It would be boring to just do the making part and it would be frustrating to just design with no product.  Combining design and execution makes a very fulfilling whole.  I’m sure there are hundreds of hobbies and skills that would yield equal satisfaction, but this works for me!

In case you missed them, these are the books I’m currently making.

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Filed under bookbinding