Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Paper Marbling with Steve Pit­telkow

This year at PBI, I also took a marbling class with Steve Pit­telkow. I've been marbling on my own for a while, after taking a class from Nancy Morains a few years ago. But I still learned a lot in this class; as always, there is no end to what can be learned!

Steve, demonstrating:

Fellow classmate, marbling:

Many marbled sheets from the class, drying in the paper studio:

So what did I learn? Firstly, Steve made me use eye droppers! I thought, what is this madness with eye dropers? How can it be done!? I struggled and wished and wished for whisks; but I persevered and at some point I got used to them. I also learned a lot about working with acrylic paint. My first class was taught using watercolours, and evidently one needs to treat them differently! Steve also had a lot of good tips for solving the myriad of problems that inevitably occur. It was a great class, thanks Steve.

A few of the papers that I made in the class...

I practiced the moiré a lot.

One of my favorites made during this class, a nice Spanish wave on a stone pattern.

And for the first time ever, I actually tried some traditional ebru marbling.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Making Tools with Shanna Leino

I just spent nearly 12 days at Paper and Book Intensive without posting to my blog even once. My reliability decreases every year. But do not despair, I intend to share lots of information about PBI now that I am back home. One of the classes I was taking, was tool making with Shanna Leino. My first introduction to tool making! Shanna makes stunning tools, both bone and steel. Check out her tools (and her books too) at Here is Shanna, cutting something in class last week.
We were using elk bones to make the bone folders. The bones have to be chopped up a bit, into long narrow slabs. Shanna had a box full of bone slabs that we could pick through and select ones that appealed to us for our own tools.
Starting with a hatchet to hack away any large pieces, then using rasps and files, the slabs can be shaped and refined into useable tools. Here are the first bone tools that I started - nearly finished:
After all the rasping and filing, the bone tools were also decorated and then sanded and polished. By the end of the session, I made these four bone tools and one chunky bone needle.
Shanna also had us make a steel tool. Starting with a plain steel rod, the ends were shaped and then the rod was decorated. We also tempered the steel to make it hard and durable (red hot into water - my first taste of blacksmithing). These kinds of tools can have different shapes on the points like hearts or squares or stars etc. After a false start, the one I made turned into a simple round point, with some decoration on the rod. The little brass star in this photo has been punched with my newly made tool.
Thanks to Shanna and PBI, now I have this selection of beautiful new tools to use. And as Fran so wisely pointed out, they fit my hands because my hands made them.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Paper and Book Intensive starts tomorrow

Once again, I'm attending Paper and Book Intensive and it starts tomorrow! It starts early. I have to leave home around 4am to get myself to Michigan on time since the event is being hosted at Ox Bow again this year. I'll be taking classes from Shanna Leino, Steve Pit­telkow, and Larry Yerkes. More details to follow over the next couple weeks!
Some of the buildings at Ox Bow.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Old newspaper and birch bark

Just a couple of the fun journals that I had left over from last weekend's Halifax Crafters Spring market (which was a great time, by the way). First of all, an aged journal with an actual 1936 newspaper on the covers.
And this one, with real birch bark! Ever since the first time I used birch bark, I've been wanting to make books like this more often - the bark is a tricky material, but the result is very satisfying!
Both now available on Etsy.