Things that make you go 'hmm'…
Category Archives: paper arts
I had a particularly good day yesterday. The night before, I stayed up until 2am printing pages and then got up at 7am to finish the job, rushed to the post office and posted the latest book to the record company, so that’s 8 finished, 12 to go. Once that job was done I could head off on a much anticipated trip.
Since I became interested in bookbinding, I have come across the work of Cathryn Miller on many occasions and I have always admired it. I was thrilled when she started commenting here. I bought a book recently called ‘500 Handmade Books’ a while ago and two books caught my eye in particular – both were by Cathryn.
The first of Cathryn’s books was called ‘Bipolar Dream Journal #2’ and it’s gorgeous, made using handmade paper.
I particularly like this one because I had a go at this ‘dos-a-dos’ binding and it’s difficult! The colour scheme she uses is a favourite one of mine – I love the black and white and the red ribbons. My own effort used my images printed onto linen bookcloth.
The second book I admired is one I have mentioned before in this post. It’s an ingenious construction made out of a single piece of card. The photographs on the book were all taken by Cathryn (the photographs of the books were taken by her husband, David) and when I think of what ingenuity and patience must have gone into working out the placement and construction of this it makes my brain hurt. It’s called a ‘bustrophedon variation’ and the piece is printed on both sides with Cathryn’s own images of street art. It’s called ‘No Skateboarding’.
I was thrilled when Cathryn started to comment here on my blog, and I was even more thrilled when she mentioned that she and her husband, David, were on a walking holiday in the UK and she suggested we meet. Well, yesterday, I went to Salisbury to meet her and David for lunch. Salisbury in Wiltshire, is famous for two things (there are probably a lot more but these are THE most famous things about Salisbury) – Salisbury Cathedral
and it is now famous as the place I met Cathryn Miller – and she gave me the artist’s proof of the ‘bustrophedon variation’ I mentioned above! It is exquisite! I have seldom been more surprised and thrilled, in fact I was almost (but not quite) rendered speechless at her generosity. If you read this when you get back from your trip, Cathryn, THANK YOU. You and David are delighful, talented people and it was a privilege and a pleasure to spend time with you both. I will let you know how I get on when I eventually have a go at a ‘bustrophedon variation’ – but it will have to wait until I have finished my book commission!
I’m having a lazy day today – watching movies (Howard’s End at the moment), varnishing prints, tidying my desk
and playing with the dog at the beach
We had a nice walk today but a couple of days ago, we encountered a younger Bichon Frisé puppy. The two dogs squared up to each other, danced around for a few seconds, then the other puppy turned around, cocked his leg and peed all over Milo. We were both taken aback – I’ve never seen a dog do that before. The cheek of it! Poor Milo! Apparently, this happened because Milo was being submissive to the younger dog – so I am going to give him assertiveness training then we will go and find the puppy and show him who’s boss :-)
It’s been a funny old couple of weeks since I last posted. Lots of good things happening and a few bad. The good things included me finding out I was a runner up in a photography competition I entered a few weeks ago. This is the image they liked, it’s East Cliff, West Bay, Dorset.
I’ve always liked this as we think that one of the clouds looks like Milo running across the sky. There is no prize for the runners up but we do get our photographs displayed in an exhibition so I am well pleased.
Another thing that has pleased me greatly was getting an orchid plant to flower for a second time. You know the ones – you buy them looking like this.
They flower for ages but eventually, all the blooms drop off and you try to follow the instructions to make it flower again. It tells you to cut it back to the first node which means in my book, you chop the flowering stem right back almost to the base to the first node from the bottom, so it ends up looking like this.
And so it remains until (if you are me) you lose patience, bin it and start again with a new one. However, I now discover that it means the first node FROM THE TOP and lo and behold…
I have BUDS and NEW SHOOTS!! Glory be! There is hope for me as a gardener yet.
The other good news was seeing this on the Falkiners (now Shepherds) blog (which you can also reach from their web site). They have extended their famous and already impressive wall of paper and it now looks like this. I feel a trip to their fabulous shop coming on. They are also starting to run beginners courses and master classes – read all about it on their blog.
Other good things include my Dad’s 80th birthday weekend over Easter which passed smoothly. My niece arrived, terrified of dogs and screamed at the sight of Milo. With some patient intervention, she was transformed within 10 minutes into Milo’s biggest fan and she followed him around the house the entire visit. I almost had to check her bag to make sure she wasn’t smuggling him home with her. One of my sisters invited me to go sailing in Corfu with her and her husband in June – I accepted immediately and booked it all yesterday. Fab, can’t wait.
Needless to say Milo sulked for days after they went home. The bad news also involves Milo. He is now 9 months old and after being a perfectly housetrained little sweetheart for most of this time, even learning to use the dog flap without prompting, he has suddenly started doing all sorts of unsavoury things like peeing all over the house and getting frisky with his toys and people’s legs. He has hit dog puberty! I’m hoping it’s just a phase he is going through but I’m going to talk to the vet and if this is likely to be a permanent problem – then I will have to make a big decision…
The book project continues. I have completed 7 books and matching clam shell boxes and am well into the 8th set. I ordered some new inkjet cartridges for my printer. It uses 10 different coloured pigment inks and the new set arrived today – in 10 separate padded envelopes. How wasteful and ridiculous is that?
To end, I want to point you to the Britweek website, it’s an event going on in Los Angeles to publicize the British contribution to LA life. This is my ex. He is now a rock star and a photographer and has an exhibition called ‘Poetry in the Streets’ at his gallery in LA. You can also see a video of him performing with his band GTA, at a Teenage Cancer Trust concert a few years ago at the Royal Albert Hall.
Those of you who know me will know that for a long time, my role in life has been that of a mother, housewife, lady-who-lunches, type person. I’m not complaining. I loved being at home with my children and being a full time mother, I considered myself very privileged to be able to enjoy this lifestyle. It was my career. Wife and mother. I loved looking after my husband and I loved being around for my children. I enjoyed being able to attend all their school events and to be able to ferry them to their many after school activities and let’s face it, I admit I enjoyed my days, when I could pootle around, play tennis, meet up with friends and pursue my many hobbies. The only fly in the ointment was the feeling of inadequacy that would flood over me when I used to meet new people and observe their eyes glaze over with boredom when they asked what I did for a living. “Housewife’ just didn’t cut it somehow. Then everything changed, seemingly all at once. Children grew up, husband went AWOL and I sudddenly found myself adrift.
It took me a long time to come to terms with my new circumstances. I suffered from ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’ big style. I had a couple of new relationships, each lasted a couple of years, each one ended abruptly, each break up worse than the last and I will admit, this last year I have struggled after the very sudden demise of what I thought was a wonderful relationship with THE ONE. No matter.
I decided I needed a career, but what to do after 20 years of non-career? I tried training to be a maths teacher but realised I enjoyed training to be a teacher more than I enjoyed the job itself. I started to understand that I enjoy the process of learning new things. It was one of the things I loved about my last partner. He has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and a vast curiosity about the world. It was something we had in common and we would often contact each other during the day to share something amazing we had read, heard or seen. Encouraged and aided by him, I started to teach myself to design web sites and I also started to make books. The rest is history.
My life has gone crazy. The book I designed for the record company was received with delight and they have ordered 20 (!) more to be used as promotional copies. The first is going to Bob Dylan, the second to Morgan Freeman and another to Bruce Springsteen. I forget the other names – I was in a daze at the meeting! There is a possibility that when the actual book goes to print, they might offer a limited edition, hand bound version by yours truly. In addition, I have been asked to design several web sites, the latest is a new one for an artist friend and it’s huge – contains a gallery of 70 or so paintings. Each one I do, seems to generate interest and I am now charging serious money (as opposed to ‘mate’s rates’). I have been so busy, I haven’t had time to mope or despair at the lack of suitable chaps on internet dating sites or eat (so I am losing weight – an unforeseen but pleasing bonus). I realised today – I have a life. A full, interesting, satisfying life which keeps me busy and fills my days. I have learned a lot and have much more to discover. And when people ask me what I do, I now have something to tell them. (However, shame on you if you have ever thought being a housewife was a boring job!)
You may wonder why this uncharacteristic introspection? Well, it’s by way of explanation about my lack of blogging and my disappearance from your blogs. I heard recently my husband has got engaged to his new girl friend which initiated a huge bout of retrospection, a little sadness but not as much as I would have thought, surprisingly. It is also 2 years since I first started this blog and I was thinking about how my life has changed in that time and doing that rather under rated thing – counting my blessings. I have my wonderful sons, great friends, a new fledgling career (in fact, two!) a nice house, my blogging friends and of course, I mustn’t forget Milo. (How can I? He’s is lying on my foot….)
For the first time in ages, I feel quite positive about the future. The only thing missing is a partner to share it all with but I have even stopped worrying about that. It will happen one day, I hope and in the meantime, I have more than enough things to fill my time. Long may it continue. Back to the jokes next time I promise!