brought to you in living colour by Quietfire Design
March 2003 - Issue 22
Welcome to the March 2003 issue of byhand!
This month we have the first of the Tag Book Swap bookies to show you, along with information on altering books (What is an Altered Book?) as well as the continuing article on copper.
A note about this issue - there are a lot of links in this issue and they are set up to open a new browser window. When you have finished with these links, simply close that browser window and you will be back in byhand.
There have been some significant changes in ordering the byhand products...
am delighted (because I actually managed to get it up and
working!) to introduce you to the
All the prices on this shopping cart are in US dollars with Canadian dollars shown below them.
Don't forget if you're proud of artwork that you have stamped with a Quietfire Rubber Stamp, please send me a copy and I'll be delighted to put in the Stamping Gallery.
I hope you enjoy this issue of byhand!
Design is proud to be a Sponsor at
this years Artwerx. We will also be at the Vendor
Market will a whole pile of goodies for your creative whims!
A Week with Calligrapher
Important links at your fingertips!
How to subscribe to the byhand newsletter and other stuff!
If you wish to contact me, my email address is: email@example.com
To subscribe: send me an email
Please feel free to browse through my
Come join us in our Yahoo discussion group, where we talk about artistic inspirations, make inquiries about techniques, and share quotes and resources.
This month I would like to feature
Charmaine is a wonderful artist who loves to try new techniques.
Below is a sample of her experiments with Kaleidoscope Stamping. Charmaine is amazing with this technique. The stamp on the bottom right is the one used to create the Kaleidoscope on the left. To see more check out her website!
Seeing we are on the subject of altered
books this month, I'd like to share a wonderful book called Altered
Books 101 by Beth
Cote and Cindy
Pestka, which is a visual candy store of excellent altered book
There is another book due to be released, if it hasn't been already, and that is titled Altered Book Page Ideas. It is another Can Do Crafts publication.
Another wonderful resource
is wee book printed last year and entitled
This little black and white gem is chalk full of ideas. If you're nice, she might re-issue it. Feel free to contact her - firstname.lastname@example.org - and bug her about it! Tell her I sent you!.... if you don't get side-tracked for hours in her website!
Altered page by Meesh in Suzanne's Hungarian Dictionary. Yes, it's the "fish" page!
I have this sneaking suspicion that contemporary altered books began with those who were not bookbinders, but were looking for interesting journals. Many artists simply take each page and obliterate what is on it with gesso. Essentially you end up with a blank journal, but different.
Another way to approach altering a book is to take some element on the page, be it a word or picture, and use it as a creative springboard. This provides a much greater challenge.
Byhandartist Zoe Hecht, who produces an "infrequent, personal 'zine" called art on the loose, writes "as far back as medieval book making, altering has occurred. In the 19th c, many books were altered, and the fashion of the day was to embellish or use books as keepsakes pasting, pinning, and darning in objects, hair, among other interesting items".
One of the more recent and well-known altered book is called A Humument and originates from W.H. Mallock's novel, A Human Document and was altered by artist Tom Phillips . Mr. Phillips altered his first version of A Human Document in 1966.
This is the cover of my Hungarian Dictionary which I painted, lettered on, stamped on and poked holes to thread beads through.
Last year a group of us on Vancouver
Island decided to do a Altered Book Round Robin. We are the Altered
Islanders, six artists, most of whom have never met, and scattered
from Victoria to Ucluelet to Campbell River. We each selected our own
book, did some altering in it and then sent it out to the next person
on the list. We chose all shapes and sizes of books. Mine was a Hungarian
Dictionary that I picked up for about $3. Most of the books had a theme.
Susan chose a Westcoast theme, and, as well as decorating pages, asked
that we create sign-in totem poles from tongue depressors(!). Gillian's
theme was Shrines, Charmaine's theme was Gardens, Corinne's book was titled
A Darkness Greater than Night, and the title of Meesh's was Laws
of Spirit. You can see a selection of the pages from our books here:
and I know if you've checked out Charmaine Stack's website (our Site Siting for this month) you can see pages from her Gardens of our Souls altered book.
Our books have been around once to each artist and now we have begun a second round. Many of us are sending our original books for a second time. Round Robins are a great way to see how others approach an altered book and an artistic challenge. Receiving a book the second time gives you a chance to finish up what you started, to continue where you left off or to create afresh. When a book has a theme, often you have to live with the book for a while until inspiration strikes or you've collected cool items to put in it.
The tongue depressor totems from Susan's Westcoast book
Here is a portion of an email I sent to the Altered Islanders asking their opinions and feelings about altering the books....
Why not just use a blank journal? For me it's easier to use a blank journal than to deface a book. I had a book for a year before I could alter it! Was that a problem for you ladies?
Do you think that it's more fun to use an element on the page as a creative springboard? or would you rather not have to worry about that? and just dive in.
Does a theme cramp your style? or slow you down? (I would say not, by what I've seen!) I know it sure slows me down! (except for Charmaine's Garden book)
How do you approach your altered book. Do you read the pages that have already been done first? Do you find it hard to be the first in a round robin?
I absolutely love to do altered books. In fact, with a theme of sorts, I find it much easier to come up with ideas and go for it. This has been my first experience with an AB RR and I am in love with the entire process! I now do altering on my own, just for my own sake. Yet, one of the best thing is seeing all of the other artist's work - this is so inspiring and awesome to behold.
i find it far easier to alter than to use a blank journal.
First its no waste if i totally blow it, and second it just has a whole lot more interesting look. I guess the idea, in the book "The English patient" where he wrote in and around his copy of Heroditus was part of it for me. As well I have seen old scrap books using an existing book. I am not great in using the existing book as part of the piece (or not as good as i would like)...But found that doing Suzanne's altered dictionary helped a lot with that, gave me a push.
I love thrift shopping so looking for the books is great fun for me. In the last issue of Somerset, in the artists profile, the artist used blank journals but covered them in old book covers...she just glued them on over her journal if I remember right. That's another way to alter a book.
The first altered book I did was really a scrap book for my collages, and didn't know that it had a name....
When I get an altered book in our Round Robin, I definitely look at what others have done first. Partly cuz it is like Christmas to open those pages and soak in all that inspiration. Partly because I find these books tend to take on a life of their own and suggest a theme or way to go for me. So obviously if I am the first person to work in a book, I find it harder, because I am not getting a lot of visual cues from others.
This was my first experience with ABs so I think I have relaxed more as time has gone on and I have seen more of everyone else's work and I realize that I am (I hope!) not doing anything wrong. I *do* like to use an element on the page as a springboard - I really like it if I can have some text showing through, especially if it ties in with the imagery. I know everyone has their own thoughts on this. Some people think of the book as just a support for their art - like plain canvas or paper, it does not matter that there is text or images there already. The book content, title, colour, etc. are immaterial to them. They "create without limits!" But I think of it in a totally different way. I try to "enhance" the book or the book theme with what I do (albeit not always successfully).
Does the theme slow me down? Yes, mostly because it is imposed on me by the book owner, instead of being a theme I have come up with. Thankfully each of us did some work in our books first to get them going before sending them on their way - and that has aided me in understanding what the themes are and a little of the book owners' expectations. So the theme slows me down because I have to let it settle within (I know that sounds sort of spiritual or something, sorry) but I have to be presented with the theme, then I let it roll around inside for a bit while I think of what found objects or other "helps" I have that can be stretched to fit the theme. Some book themes are quicker to distill and act on; others take longer for inspiration to hit. I can't see any rhyme or reason to it, either. I don't find this "slowing down" a negative, however; I love the challenge, and the more frustrating it is, usually the more pleasure I get (and gusto I give) when I do hit on the right path to follow. So in that respect, it is great that this group has been pretty forgiving if things take a bit longer to move along than originally hoped. That gives us the freedom to internalize the visual and textual clues and get the juices flowing. (I don't think I am alone in this - from what I have seen in the books, everyone is taking the time to think out what they contribute, but I would love to hear everyone else's approach.)
Suzanne said "I think that book altering has been promoted by those who don't want to bind their own books." That may be true. I know for me making a book from scratch takes a lot of time (as I am not experienced enough to just whip them out) and care (because I do care!). I love the process of making the book, just slowing down and doing something methodically and deliberately. It is a totally different space for me than the embellishment, writing in, or decoration of the book. Once I have made up a book, I have a hard time using it - they are so pretty with all those clean, white pages. An old, neglected or discarded book is easier for me to play in.
Suzanne said "For me it's easier to use a blank journal than to deface a book." Ah, my friends, it's all in how you look at it. I think with all the Altered Islander RR ABs I have seen so far - they have been vastly *improved* by the art - not defaced. A book unopened on the shelf or languishing in the bargain bin (where mine came from) is not enriching lives, lifting spirits, making glad. An Altered Islanders RR Book, however, does all of this and more!
Why would you want to alter a book?
Here is a list of sites where you can see wonderful examples of altered books (in no particular order).
Helga Strauss has a gallery of altered pages by various artists on her ArtChix Studio website
Lenna Andrews Foster - check out a couple of Lenna's recent altered pages in the Stamping Gallery where she has used Quietfire Rubber!
Check out any of the following where Lenna shows altered books:
Her Class Sample books are here:
And if you are really interested:
International Society of Altered Book Artists (ISABA) A non-profit organization whose mission is to "promote altered books as an art form and to provide a forum for the exchange of skills, experiences and ideas through education, exhibits and events" The annual membership dues of $35 includes: annual 'zine (filled with tips and inspiration), membership directory, membership card, use of logo, online ISABA group with monthly online classes and a teacher database. Future plans include a traveling library, annual symposium, juried shows, workshops and more. Mail check payable to ISABA, PO Box 56, Genoa, IL 60135 USA or use Paypal, by credit card, account name is email@example.com http://groups.yahoo.com/group/isaba/
Go forth and alter!
Recently I decided to try my hand at paper weaving. We have all woven paper in school. Remember those strips of coloured construction paper that ripped so easily and faded in the light? I thought maybe I'd add a twist to the process. With the help of the byhandartists, here are some "grown-up" versions!
This was a sample I did using the Japanese Potluck papers (available below) to do some elegant paper weaving. The only "twist" here was the copper tape (not part of the collage Potluck Papers!).
Adding different materials than just paper sounded like fun and the wire spiral was an additional challenge. I think I need to glue it down!
More from Anne....."I'm putting this paper weaving business to bed..."
And then this arrived in the mail....
Becky S. used all sorts of colors and textures!
Thanks very much to the byhandartists that played (especially Anne who couldn't seem to stop!)
I'd be delighted to receive your favourite tips and techniques for inclusion here - we can all learn from them and probably save someone - like me - frustrations!
A Passion for Copper - Part V
Parts I through V can be found in the previous issues of byhand
For this issue of byhand, I spent a few weeks thinking how I could acquire the beaten copper look with household tools. I went all over town looking for a little ballpeen hammer with no luck. Then I asked my woodworking teacher how he'd do it. Boy, did I feel like a dolt. He suggested a marble and then he disappeared over to his tools and pulled out a carriage bolt. These have rounded head, with no notches. And that's what I used to dimple this heart. I place the head of the bold against the copper and pounded the other end!
I thought I'd do another one using a marble. Well, you'd think in a house full of boys I could find a marble? Not.
So I tried a bead with a glue dot on it so it wouldn't roll away (thought I was so clever - it served its purpose!). However, the bead broke. Did I mention how well the carriage bolt worked?
to Jim Lawson for the perfect solution!
Tag Book Swap
In December I proposed the Tag Book Swap, where artists were to design small books using shipping tags as some part of their books. If you want to read more about this challenge, click here!
The results are amazing! Please enjoy the first installment!
each one has the recipients name in Runes on the cover and the alphabet inside.
I had a general idea of what I wanted to create, but for the most part, my tag books came together through a lot of trying this and that. I started with card stock, and created the paper by sponging acrylics, one color at a time and allowing them to dry well before adding the next color. I used about 5 different hues and the metallic bronze and gold brought a really nice sheen to the pages. I then punched a hole to create the tag and decided on 4 pages for each booklet. The bamboo atop the booklets serves as decorative and as binding. These were labelled and sold as beads. Using gold crafting wire, I looped a horseshoe bit of wire around the bamboo, pulled it through the hole from the front of the booklet to the back. The top and bottom wire was then straightened, wound around to the front of the booklet evenly and then fed through the ends of the bamboo. I used my pliers to add a little decorative swirl to 'cap off' the binding. Being a long time fan of Runic alphabets, I decided to personalize each booklet. I added a little legend inside so recipients could decipher their names and try their own hand at this ancient alphabet.
Lately, I haven't made
much time for being creative and was feeling a little disconnected from
the arts. That's when the tag book swap caught my eye. So I decided to
go for the challenge and headed out to buy some tags.
Sanwa tissue was placed over pressed flowers and washed with diluted glue to become the front cover. The inside quote is a stamp from Postmodern Design, #CN1-101D Camus. "Romeo & Juliet" paper strip from cigar box deconstruction was glued to gold painted tyvek (from recycled postal mailer), then sewn to front and back covers as a binding. Scraps of handmade bookcloth (cotton fabric fused with TransWeb to masa paper) were sewn to back cover as pockets to hold notepad. An assortment of beads/charms and threads/fibers for personalized embellishment was included with each tag book..
Pat Williams - Sidney, BC
I wanted to use this poem by Robin Skelton, my favourite of a series of four poems written for calligraphers and dedicated to his wife Sylvia Skelton who was a calligrapher and teacher. The format is a bit unconventional (as Robin was!) with the text dropping down when the book is opened. The text was handlettered and then photocopied onto 90 lb watercolour paper, designed to fit 2 text blocks on a 8 1/2 x 11 page. This was cut and pasted into the wrap-around tag cover with a tab closure to keep the whole thing together. Six book were made with one sheet of w/c paper painted on both sides, hardly any scraps left over. I wish now I had made all 25 copies!
I used the Fresco Chalk-Finish inks (which I love) on my tags. I brayered the large tag with Venetian Sunrise, Florentine Rose and Olive Grove. I then stamped the smaller tag with the same colours using a Hero Arts shadow stamp (and stamping off the Olive Grove once before I stamped it on the tag). I coloured the "Dream a little dream" tag with the same colours using sponge daubers. The reinforcements and the edges of the tags were all done with Versacolour Olive ink. "Dream a little dream" and "Dreams are the touchstones..." were also stamped in the Versacolour Olive ink. The quotes were computer generated. Stitch it all together, add fibres and beads or charms and it's done.
stamps used: Stampin' Up!
Summer and Fall Schedule
Nontraditional Tools for Calligraphy
Because the tip of the carpenter's pencil is quite broad, letters made with one will be quite large. Remember - 5 pen width body height for traditional Italic letters!
Here is a sample of lettering done with the carpenters pencil and a stamp.
byhandartist Judy W. reminded me that these cool pencils are available. Magic Pencils by Koh-I-Noor are a lot of fun to use. Their leads are made of many colours and whatever you draw comes out in a completely unpredictable colour. I got them for the kidlets last Christmas - but of course I had to get one for me, too. (Research is important with new products....) Judy got hers at Michaels, I got mine at Opus.
*New* note about these items I have for sale.
I've added some new items for sale that I hope will aid your creative pursuits!
For your convenience,
I have created a the new
You may wish to email me to check for availability! Please feel free to email me your list and avoid delays!
you are using the byhand Products
order form, please make your cheques payable in Canadian or U$ funds
to Suzanne Cannon. Your items will be shipped
when the cheque has been received. It has been known to take 2 weeks for
a cheque to get to me.... Go figure.
*Prices subject to change without notice
Waxed Linen Thread
4-ply Waxed Linen Thread
Prices: It is $0.50/yard
Cdn ($0.35/yard U.S. funds).
For those of you who have taken the Coptic Stitched Class, it takes two yards of thread to complete the book as we made it.
For those of you who have taken the Criss Cross Coptic, you will require five yards per book.
are weeny cute little guys. They are 1/8" eyelets. There are regular
and long neck eyelets. The long neck eyelets will go through a regular
thickness of bookboard.
(the long and short Copper are real copper and the long neck brass are real brass)
is just the best little eyelet setter! It's hard to mess up, in
fact, since I began using this setter, I haven't messed up!
This is the Anywhere Punch - it allows you to make 1/8" holes for the eyelets *anywhere*! - not just close to the edge of the paper.
Subtle, but they make a statement!
These are washers for your 1/8" eyelets. What will they think of next???
They fit nicely on a bookboard of about 2.2mm thickness covered with decorative paper.
Collage Packs - 40 different collage paper treasures - colour-coordinated Japanese papers. There is one colour scheme on the front and a different one on the back. For invitations, name tags, collage, card-making, bookmarks, drawing, painting, poetry, rubber-stamping, photo mats, calligraphy, place cards, book covers, gift wrapping. . . Assorted colours
$9.50 US dollars per pack
Book Boards - precut 9" x 6", perfect for Coptic Bound, Criss-Cross Coptic and Pipe Organ Bindings.
Give yourself a break! $1.50 Cdn per pair
$1.00 USD(there is an additional $0.50/pair charge for shipping this item)
If there is any information you would like to see in this newsletter,
let me know. Each month I will email you to let you know the new issue
is published. If you know someone who would like to receive notice of
byhand, just have them email me and I
will put them on the list. Bye for now and thanks for visiting!
The original title lettering of byhand was done with a Mitchell's Roundhand Nib, size 0, and Higgins Eternal Ink. Quietfire Design Rubber stamps were used to create the other designs.
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