My little handmade book is finished. I’m really pleased how it turned out but sad that it’s now finished as I enjoyed making it so much. Sometimes I felt slightly uneasy at how much this project has meant to me, it certainly helped me focus on the small pleasures in life that made me happy in these strange times.
The book originally started as a few ecoprinted concertina pages but as I didn’t want to lose the end pages I decided to make signatures and have these as pull out pages. More pages were made, some with pockets. There was damage to the folds in places so tissue and metal leaf were used as a ‘sticking plaster’, I thought this kind of fitting.
I wanted to add some drawings of birds and mammals that had visited my garden, I was going to glue in my drawings but they didn’t look right, I scanned, printed on a laser printer then did an image transfer using Citrasolv to get a printed look. Once I worked out how to flip text using Open Office I added some words. We wrote some haiku one evening, I thought this would add another dimension to the book. I think the combination of haiku with the ecoprints is a beautiful thing, I will be doing more of these in future.
Photos were printed in black and white or desaturated colours, some were toned down with coffee. I included the rare special days like V. E. Day, when I baked my Gran’s wartime ginger cake recipe for our tea party in the garden. Also the one day we had drinks with friends, another happy memory to hang on to.
This photo collage shows some pictures of my little book’s journey.
Here’s my finished book, I hope you like it as much as I do.
Just as life isn’t perfect my book isn’t perfect but there is beauty in imperfection.
When I was out for my jog I decided to try a longer distance, the first 5k in ages. I took it slow and steady, and I got to the finish without having to resort to walking, I felt I had achieved something. The tortoise approach definitely works.
I’ve found being a tortoise is a good thing during lockdown. Slow and steady gets things done. This week I have been working on occasional custom orders, champagne bottles flattened and returned to their owners. I hear some interesting stories from my customers as to why they want their bottle flattened to hang on the wall as a memento of a special time in their lives.
I am stocking my shop, I list something daily trying to keep stock levels up. I’ve slowed production down now, it’s not a time to get stressed with the workload. I still have more items to list over the next week or so. Here’s a couple of gift ideas that I added last week.
Ceramic soap dishes, I love the way this glaze breaks over the texture.
Recycled bottle spoon rest this one has gold sparkles to add a bit of bling to the kitchen.
Slowing production has given me more time for packing up parcels, time for jobs round the house and also most importantly a bit of ‘me’ time to get through this strange situation we find ourselves in. I’m trying to get out and enjoy nature, and burn off some sourdough calories, I’m knitting and reading and I have been working on my little ecoprinted book but that will be revealed later.
How are you coping with lockdown? Are you taking the ‘tortoise’ approach?
I’ve been trying to get out for a walk locally every day weather permitting. I go out with the intent of finding something in nature that lights me up. This week has been all about the leaves. I am a kid again crunching through piles of dry crisp leaves. I explored a disused quarry to get amongst the trees and to smell the damp earth and foliage, am I weird in loving that smell?
While I was looking through the leaf litter I discovered badger and deer tracks in the mud.
I definitely found my happy place in the woods.
As the weather has been good we had a raku firing on Friday. I use dry leaves in the combustion bucket, they spark and crackle as they catch alight, I have this idea they impart something of themselves onto my raku leaves.
There was some ecoprinting from the leaves I collected last week on the way into town.
All in all it’s been a very leafy week, I think it’s amazing that something so humble as a fallen leaf can provide me with so much pleasure.
The leaves have kept me in my happy place this week, I want to pass that on so I am having a giveaway on my Facebook page Kiln Fired Art, pop over and leave a comment on my giveaway post for the chance to win one of these 4 ecoprints in the “Woodland Floor” series.They come in a mount ready to frame.
I will announce the winner next weekend. Enjoy your Sunday.
The UK is about to start a second national lockdown, this time we won’t have the sunny weather and relaxing in the garden to look forward to. But it’s not as bad as it seems.
Imagine how you would feel if you had the opportunity to go on an art, craft or wellbeing retreat for a whole month. Well now you can even if it’s just a small part of your day or one day a week.
Plan your ideal escape, whether it’s reading, meditating, writing, cooking, art or craft related, you can make your retreat anything you want it to be.
I love the idea of nurturing oneself at this time of year, it may be cold and dark outside but little things can make such a difference, breakfast in bed with a book, snuggling up in a blanket by the fire in the evening, and spending some of my day doing all those art and craft projects I’ve wanted to try out. Do as much or as little as you want to, no pressure.
I am working on my little book of the garden and what went on there during the summer of 2020. My garden and all that went on there helped me enormously in dealing with the pandemic. My book has ecoprints using plants from my garden, as well as other happy things I will talk about later. Today I want to show you my pocket pages.
Firstly I should say I’ve never made a book like this and I am learning as I go. In hindsight I think it would have been better to have folded the book pages after printing, although it’s thick good quality paper the handling of wet paper has made some of the folds a bit worn and fragile. Some have been reinforced with wet strength tissue paper, kind of like sticking on a plaster, then I added some metal leaf to emphasize the imperfections which kind of echos the fact life isn’t perfect right now but we are making the most of things. Finding pleasure in small things.
I have added some prints from little sketches I made of some of out garden visitors, I was going to add the sketches but I felt the image transfers were more in keeping with the look of the ecoprinted pages, I used the same technique to transfer text to the pages as well.
I haven’t quite worked out how I am going to stitch these signatures together and bind them, I haven’t had much free time this weekend but I will let you know what I decide in my next update when hopefully my book will be bound. I do have some haiku to add written by each one of us.
I’m preparing early for Christmas in these uncertain times and I suspect many people will be doing the same this year.
At the time of writing this blog post I have filled my shop with over 200 items, most of these are suitable for gifting. I hope to encourage my customers to shop early as I’ve decided I won’t be making any more stock before Christmas, so when it’s gone it’s gone.
I am happy to reserve items for customers, and also I will post direct to the recipient maybe adding a note from you, just add a message when you order. I hope this will take some of the stress out of Christmas shopping this year. So let’s see what’s available.
I have some gorgeous hygge hanging ceramic hearts with raku glaze, each one is different. These are lovely small gifts and will be well packaged to post through a letterbox, they are like a little hug to let someone know you love them. I think they will also look great on the Christmas tree where they should sparkle in the light.
I have hanging moon gazing hares, these wall hangings are raku glazed and each one is different, they feature a hare gazing up at the phases of the moon.
I have also added some of the ever popular hosta leaf ikebana bowls, a great gift for those who love their gardens or flower arranging. I love using mine, just a couple of flowers and some foliage or twigs from the garden makes a lovely arrangement.
Hosta leaf soap dishes and ring trays.
I have a stocked up on items such as bottle dishes, eco prints and silk scarves which are always popular as gifts, and there’s a lot more besides.
I’m taking a little break from making to pursue some painting but I will tell you about that another time.
The swallows left last weekend and we had a ground frost yesterday. This week I decided to hold onto what’s left of summer, enjoying the odd sunny day in the garden collecting leaves to print as a constant reminder of sunny days.
Deciding to take my botanical prints onto another level I used some dyes along with the natural plant pigments and tannins from the leaves which produce the leaf prints.
Serendipity couldn’t have been kinder, I got some gorgeous colours, and even some yellow sunlight captured in a lot of my prints, I wish I could say I planned this but I didn’t expect to get these gorgeous yellows, a constant ray of sunshine to hang on the wall.
These results were just perfect, expressing that particular day. I feel so connected to these prints, it’s the ritual of going out and looking at nature, picking, then layering up, printing and finally after what seems like a long wait unwrapping and seeing the results. It feels like capturing that moment in time. Consequently I could happily keep them all to myself but instead I will spread a little sunshine and just enjoy looking at them now while I mount them. There are quite a lot more botanical prints to come, I’ve added some paper packs for scrapbooking / journaling / card making to my shop too.
Soon I will get my head into Autumn mode, hopefully there will be a lot of good things to discover on my Autumn walks, it’s my favourite season. For now I will leave you with some scrummy botanical prints to enjoy.
These are individual prints with mounts to fit a frame size 8 x 6 inches.
These are framed, I did intend keeping these but I think I will add them to my shop so I will see if there’s a need to order more frames.
Some closeups, it’s hard to capture the detail and the colours when they are behind glass but I forgot to take photos I was so eager to see them framed.
I hope you like them, I think I’m hooked on making these : )
Now the days are getting shorter and the weather cooler I am spending less time outdoors, it’s time to tap into my creativity in order to find my ‘happy place’.
Thinking back to an art course that I took during lockdown called ‘Find Your Joy’ with Louise Fletcher I decided to do exactly that so I’ve spent the past few weeks just going with the flow to find my happy place again.
I found ‘my joy’ when I turned to ecoprinting, bringing the outdoors indoors the connection with nature continues. I decided to make a pictorial memoir of the time spent in my garden during 2020 making a book of ecoprinted papers, something just for me. This started with a simple idea for a concertina book but the idea has grown into something on a grander scale with pockets to put things in, I don’t know quite where this is going to end up but I am enjoying the journey.
This seems to be the correct path to be going down right now, I’ll let you into it as my little book evolves.
Here’s a video revealing the first set of prints for the concertina pages.
It’s that time of year when I have a little flurry of ecoprinting activity before the leaves fall. As you will have read in my last post, like a squirrel building a dray I’m collecting leaves when I’m out and about, I’m also using what’s in my garden.
I do love this time of year, foraging gives me great pleasure and the fact I can capture the emotions I’ve had when I’m out somewhere (also memories) gives me a lasting connection to a place.
I’m saving the leaves from my walk last week to print some linen when it arrives, meanwhile I’ve gathered leaves in the garden to print on paper.
The first batch of ecoprints were ok but not as good as I hoped for.
The next batch were made on a different paper, I didn’t use a mordant, just a rusty pan and some vinegar in my water. I love the results.
As I printed on both sides of the paper it’s difficult to decide which one I like best. Which do you like, A or B ?
My cotinus did a great job, this plant never ceases to amaze me, I’ve never had blue prints before, or yellow green. Most of the time it prints a dark colour, often purple. So far this year it hasn’t printed with much colour so I was delighted when I got this pretty blue.
I shall be printing using mordants this week so watch this space 🙂
Here’s just a few of this weeks prints, they are gradually making their way into my shop.