Friday, 29 December 2017

........ a year in the life of a book artist.

Like must people my Year has been one of ups and downs. On the whole the ups win. Here are a few of the events.
January had me designing some stamps for my silhoette mint. These were part of a project for my friend Ruth  She is a photographer and I have been making small bespoke boxes to keep memory sticks in, for her wedding clients. 

Couple of the ones I have made for her, the all so have the couples name and the date on the top.

January also saw the arrival of the two newest members of the family, Arthur and Sid.

It was only this year I started drawing A.T.Cs and then later in year went on to drawing on postcards which lead to a weird series of Whimsal doodle characters. These are made by tearing up pieces of painted papers then looking for faces and people in them. Sticking them into postcard and adding paint and drawings to make the characters. These have been posted on Redbubble where they can be bought on mugs, phone cases and various other items.

A long with the drawing and painting, I’m still making Books the most basic being the leather Journals with a ribbon tie. The most popular being the “Dragon books”. 

Learnt some new skills a long the way. The most enjoyable was making book plates from recycled tin. In the new year I plan to make more.
The main event of my year was my daughters wedding.

Wedding photos by Ruth Lee 

 This has been a good year for the most part all though there has been sadness too. My best friend Ian Jones and my mother Barbara Corcoran sadly passed away this year. R.I.P I know you will be with me throughout the new year.
Thanks to all who have supported me all year and will see you all in the New Year.

Friday, 22 December 2017

...... a dragon is born.

Thought it was about time I made a short post to give a glimpse of the “birth” of a dragon book.

First stage

First layer of paint

 Front board done just final coat to do on the back

Only to put the text block in 

Finished and away to its new home in time for Christmas.

They can be made in any colour and can be made to order.

Monday, 27 November 2017

..... of tin and Morris dancers 

December is nearly upon us and I have been busy making things to restock for the crafts fairs that are held in the run up to the “C” word. So been making leather Journals and key rings, cards and calendars. The thing I have enjoyed the most came from a workshop I attended a while back, there I decorated a piece of tin. I have finally had the chance to make it into a book plate. It’s a very small book which is covered with thin leather. The binding is a “secret Belgian binding” . I enjoyed making this immensely and when I get get a chance I’m going to prepare some more tin to make covers.

Have also rejoined the Morris side I danced with years ago. This time I’m not dance but will be playing my Ukulele Bass. So far I’m just trying to learn the tunes and due to a family illness I have missed the last practice session. I’m determined to get back into it and improve my playing.

 My Bass with street amp.

I dug my old kit out of the loft. I used to be a heavy smoker when I last wore it and it still smells of smoke! So I’m going to dismantle it wash and save what I can and replace the rest. The hat has long gone so this new one needs some tarting up. Need to find a theme to decorate it. Maybe a Book art theme.

 Deffinatly seen better days.

 New hat is really in need of some bling.

Mean while I still have a few Christmas orders to complete. 

Monday, 6 November 2017

Time and tide wait for no man or book binder!

Where has this year gone? Bonfire night over and done with, next stop Christmas. Eeeeeek! This year has been good so far my business is growing all be it slowly. My family are all thriving. One daughter married the other moved out (for the second time) and although my son is still at home have been feeling a bit of the empty nest syndrome. 

That all sounds a bit negative but it really isn’t. I’m enjoying life and it’s ups and downs and work wise I’m enjoying that too. At the moment the work I’m doing feels a little fragmented, I’m spending time building my stock up while trying to get some seasonal stuff done too. Also a few orders on the go too. I tend to have lots of bits on the go, for instance I’ll glue a covering on book board to make a box, put it under weight, then get some pages ready for some tiny key ring books, then paint some backgrounds. 

One of the finished box’s this one was for a photographer friend who orders these to hold memory sticks to give them to her clients.

These are the mini key ring books I made for my craft stall perhaps for stocking fillers. Will put on my Etsy shop later in the week.

Some of the backgrounds I had ready for projects. They don’t look much but can be used for all sorts of things. I usually scan these before I use them then if there are any interesting bits I can use in textures for digital work. Or print to use again. Recently I saw a tutorial or Skill Share class by Herma Starreveld where she painted a few background papers and then tore them up stuck the bits on postcards and found and drew strange birds on them. So I decided to have a go. 

A selection of my images using this method. Was great fun I did about half a dozen and then a few landscape ones and some ATC size character ones. Some have found their way on to RedBubble  where they can be bought as mugs phone cases or studio pouches. 

This was one of the orders I had. It’s a present for this persons Mother. Here’s hoping she likes it. This is a square flexagon book. It opens open folds and then folds again to reveal 4 sides. I use four photos in each of these sides. I have made a few of these each for different occasions mainly to commemorate something or someone. For instance I made one for all for kids when my husband died. With photos of their Dad. These little books have their own little box to keep them in. 

This about sums up the bits and pieces I have been working on. Also colouring pages and Christmas cards and gift bags. Not many craft fairs left until Christmas. Then New Year and then wash rinse and repeat. 

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Life after the frock trauma.........

The last couple of months have been extra busy as I was helping with preparations for my daughters wedding. This found me making lots of favour boxes and a guest book. If I never see another favour box it will be too soon! As for the guest book that was a joy to make, just as well really as I’m committed to making a matching photo album.

That was the easy bit, then came the wedding and I had to wear a dress, first time my legs have seen the light of day for years. Worst yet had to wear a fasinator, things yer do for yer kids

Another memorable event was a workshop I attended. See the post before this. Unlike most of the other people in the class who created some bits of Jewery from old tins. I didn’t actually make anything but tried out all the different techniques on some pieces of tin. Loved it very soon tin will be finding its way on to book covers. Great material to work with.

Don’t look like much on there but .........

Quite a few craft fairs on the go as well so got my Christmas cards and tags ready for them. The biggest being the Boston Spa arts festival.

Have a couple of weeks now to get some more stock made for the next few fairs. 

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

On me jollies or What’s in the bag?

The title is a little miss leading as I’m only going away over night. I’m going to Artison in Masham to a Jewery  workshop. This was a Christmas present from one of my daughters. Last minute I decided to go early, the idea being I will go somewhere with my sketch book and camera and then stay over. Thought I would share my travel kit.
What’s in the bag?
My pencil case contains a variety of pencils pens, water brushes, erasers a retractable scalpel. I will post a more detailed account of what is in my pencil case at a later date. The watercolour box is a small Van Gogh box which is my favourite box at the moment. This doesn’t live in the case but is al ways in my travel bag. There is a very small sennelier watercolour box tucked in the case.
I also have 4 tins of colours “just in case”  the Derwent watercolour collection, Derwent skin tones, Derwent special edition inktense pencils and Caran D’ache neocolour.
Sketch books. One moleskine and I made myself.
So just a peck into my travel kit. I’m also taking my small camera kit but that’s another post.
To be continued with a more detailed look inside.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

''Oh I do love to be beside the seaside ......"

The weather here has been fairly mixed the last few weeks. Red hot then heavy rain. At least the rain has been warm (that's how we know it's summer). A day at the seaside I felt was needed. Didn't quite make to the coast but did get as far as Henshaws arts and craft centre and their Urban beach.

If you can't get to the coast bring the coast to you. That what they have done at Henshaws and it the there from 6th to 27th of August. Was the opening day that I went too, live music all day until 9pm, craft stalls, food, beer, face painting. My grandchildren came along and had a great time playing in the sand and joining in with other activities on offer. Pagebooks and stuff were there too. All in all a great day out.

Henshaws is an Arts and craft centre that caters for people with learning difficulties and visual impairments, a safe environment for them to work and be creative. There is a small cafe, gift shop and gardens for a visitor to look around. So if your ever in Knaresborough call in have a cuppa.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

I'm still here

This is my first time blogging for a while, time sometimes gets away from me. 

Here are a few things that I'm working on at the moment.

First up some book covers made from drinks cans ready to have text blocks added.

And my lastest design got my seaside set again waiting to be sewn up.

Also another box finished to take a memory stick for wedding images.

Watch this space.

Sunday, 9 April 2017


After taking part in the "Artists around Wetherby" open studio event, I'm feeling a little lost. The event was good on the whole lots of positives, lovely visitors and some even bought stuff. Made a few contacts and the like and even organised having some paints in the local Methodist bookshop. The negatives were caused by the weather. It was hotter than last year, and in between weekends I left my display up. Big mistake some of the hard bound books got so hot that the boards warped and paper became wavy. My leather Journals were fine just some of the ones that had glue in them.

The other factor was the big storm on the first Saturday which resulted in a flash flood, the water in the back near my studio went very quickly but was over half an hour before the front garden cleared. Just as well I didn't have visitors at that time as they would have needed wellies to get in and out. 


So now I have a lot of ideas going around in my head, but that is as far as I have got. I need to get some stock built up again but........ lots of ideas.  Watch this space!!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

A few more books......

Yet again a busy week, not all envolving making Books. Monday found me in Leeds had to collect some paperwork, so decided to take advantage of being in the city and have a walk around, years ago I was a collage here but over the years my visits here have been infrequent. Recently I have spent more time in the area around the art gallery, so this time decided to go and have a look around the markets and the corn exchange. Lots of new buildings around there and I was pleasently supprised and was impressed with the look of them. Was going to take photos only to find my camera was out of battery.  This is a view from the market showing the new building behind think they look stunning. In the corn exchange the is a great little craft shop, had a word with the owner and hopefully will be able to rent a shelf and have another out let for my work, have to send some images and fingers crossed get accepted.  Some of the time I did spend making books. Still almost on the upcycle theme, made a couple of books using the box my teabags come in to decorate the covers. Also made a couple of leather journals. Apart from adding bits to some paintings that's about it for this week. Next week I'm going away to the Dales will hopefully get inspired there. Also I'm going to a marbling workshop. So watch this space to find out how it goes.