This is the last page I did, for the month of February. It's probably the simplest piece in the book (I think I was getting tired!) and uses only 2 pieces of fabric and black thread. I just wrote the words on by hand with a fabric marker. The haiku reads "In bleak midwinter, dreams of spring make hearts flutter; wafting breeze beckons."
Below are the two rings I created out of brass wire to keep it all together. Each one goes through all 12 pages with their grommets and the cover. I tried various other rings, like 10 mm jewelry jump rings and loose leaf binder rings, but there were problems with them. Creating my own out of wire seemed like the best solution.
This is how it looks from the back:
We were directed to leave the bar code on the back visible, so I didn't wrap the fabric all the way around the cover. They also suggested to avoid using any kind of closure, even if your book seemed very thick. I felt the fabric pages made my book an exception to that rule, so I stitched a piece of 1/2 inch elastic to the top and bottom edges of the front cover. It stretches all the way around the back of the book to keep it together neatly when it's closed. You can see the elastic from the top in the previous photo.
It looks neat and secure, and lays pretty flat when open to the center. I'm happy with the finished book and glad it's done in time!I shared it with my FANE group tonight and got many positive comments. One person said it will be hard to part with - yes, it will! It was kind of a risk on my part investing so much into the book, but I'm hoping I will reap some kind of benefits down the line from people viewing it, maybe a few more readers for my blog, at the least! So that's something! I've updated my profile on the Sketchbook Project website and you can read it and see the entire portfolio by clicking here.
I had a few revelations from creating this book:
- I thought I didn't like starting with plain white fabric and painting, stamping, stitching - whatever. But after working on the plain white canvas for most of these, I found my work was more individual and unique.
- Because the pages were not layered and quilted, I was able to complete them more quickly and easily. I don't think the lack of layering and quilting detracted from the surface design very much.
- I had an unofficial goal last year of creating a page a month with poetry and art for a potential book proposal. Although I won't use this as a proposal as is, I did create a piece of art for each calendar month, and seven of them contain poems. I can see two of these pieces being good enough to send to publishers for consideration (January and December). I may have to recreate them to send out.
- Doing something like this on a regular basis, quickly without over-thinking it, has many benefits. Because there is no pressure about the outcome and you are just doing this for yourself, you are more willing to experiment with new techniques or just explore a color, shape, combination of materials or whatever.
Which brings me to my next revelation: I think I have actually formulated a list of more concrete and measurable goals for 2011! Here they are.
- Join SAQA. I've been avoiding this because it's on the pricey side and I'm not sure if the benefits will outweigh the cost. But I'll give it a try.
- Create a weekly 8x10 as I did with the sketch book. Count 'em - 52! Possibly limit the time spent on each one to under 2 hours.
- Submit one or more pieces to be considered for at least one show.
- Keep a calendar with submission dates posted so I know what my time line is and can plan accordingly.
- Invest in lights or other equipment to upgrade my photograph quality, to improve my chance of getting work accepted into a show.
- Create a large piece for a good friend who is a doctor in a busy new office with lots of empty walls!
- Work through The Creativity Book with many of the exercises.
- Hone in on my "style" and "brand." Begin to select colors, fonts, representational pieces, maybe a mascot.
- Get business cards printed using new style and brand decisions.
- Complete at least 5 additional pieces besides the weekly sketches and large office piece.
- Update website (and blog?) to reflect new style and brand decisions.
- Open an ETSY shop!
It's ambitious, I know. The last two will definitely be stretches for me, but I think the other ones are doable. And tomorrow I am not working at the library, and weather permitting, the girls will be off at school. I'll have the whole day to get started!