A New Sketchbook

Snow came the other evening and the yard looked like this the next morning.  All melted off by noon. I finished my sewing and after a bit of mending will put the machine away. The second shirt (blouse) was pathetic. By the time I finished it and tried it on, I really hated it! So I opened the sewing trunk and tossed it in…shoving it all the way to the bottom! The lessen learned is if you like the two shirt patterns you have, use them. Don’t try anything else with too many pieces and too many confusing instructions.

I have been missing my sketching every day or so. The house book has been finished. The meadow book has stopped until I see something out there like a different bird or interesting plants/bugs. Now everything seems frozen and lifeless.

So I had told friends in Australia who are getting ready for one of their basket gatherings that I would weave or stitch along with them for the next several days. All of my basket materials were given away when I changed house….and I definitely don’t need any more baskets. I thought I would do some small stitched patches like I did in one of my other books from almost two years ago.

But I needed to make a book for them and drawings as well.

Yesterday I dug out some paper from a Claudia Lee surface designing papers class for the covers, and folded folios from mixed media paper.

I folded over the fore edges thinking I could attach fabrics, etc there but seemed to forget until the middle of the night that the book would never close no matter how many extra filler folios I put in the spine area.  I ripped all the folded sections off this morning…

Anyway I finished the book yesterday with the help of some old familiar tools. The beautiful bamboo awl was made by the young man I gave my board shear to.

Golden needles from a general store in Richmond, Tasmania that friend, Jude, took me to.

And the large wool blanket needle case Jude made me many years ago. Bits of her embroidery on every page. I finally removed all the ends of wax linen threads from this book and with the leftover Coptic binding threads from putting this book together, made a small basket to put inside.

Then knowing that stitched cloth bits would be added, I decided to cut out pages to allow for the additional bulk. You can see below that the book was not going to close!

The front page was cut out to show the basket.

I drew an Anna Lizzotte basket I bought years ago when I was with them at their gatherings. I am sure Anna will be at this one, too. And then on the inside cover put the small note from Jude (who will also be there) on the inside cover to line up with the hole.

Now I can draw baskets, stitch patches of cloth and cut holes where needed. I will also fill it with writings, so added straight lines on some pages.

Now to get its flatness back after spending a night kept from closing, I have weighted it with a stone I covered with kangaroo hide….how fitting!

Now I have something to work on this week as I join the basket makers in Tasmania.

*Note: In case you were wondering the 3 1/2″ x 4 3/4″ brown stone was patterned using my Dremel tool before encasing it in the hide that was stitched along the edges (the bottom is one piece cut to fit the shape of the stone). The top is cut to expose the design and grip the stone inside. I learned the basics from Jian Frontini (exceptional book binder and friend).

When he used to come south from Canada to teach locally we would always get together to share ideas and work together. I learned so much with his exacting attention to detail and technique. Now he does not come this way anymore and I am so grateful for the time we did have. He and Lee would sip red wines, preferably from the Tuscan Valley, and his wife, Pat, and I would have our single malt scotches while catching up on news and what we might be doing next,

As I unpack my tools in this cozy little studio I am surrounded by the friends who have always been there. Another tool that barely left my hand but is not in the pictures is Kent Stewart’s Delrin plastic bone folder. Absolutely nothing sticks to it and it does not make a shine on the paper when used to press folds. Kent and his wife, Catherine Ellis, came down to visit me during the hard times adjusting to Lee’s dementia. And he faithfully sent at least two hand drawn postcards to Lee every week. I kept them all. Those, Barbara’s fun postcards and the many, many cards and notes sent to Lee from Australia.

I keep my most favorite tools in this tool pouch I made from a pattern sent by a friend in Australia.

And all zipped in…

Well that’s enough for today…

Til later….