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Wedding card book

23 Mar

This book contains a collection of wedding cards bound together as a keepsake. The highly-customised book is packed with special wishes from friends and family and is an original way of keeping these precious memories together.

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My client had saved many memorabilia from their wedding day – from the bridesmaid dress material, wedding ribbon to the wedding invite. Each of these details provided inspiration for me and were incorporated into the design of this unique book.

The red material which I used to line the inside of the white leather was spare material saved from the bridesmaid dresses. The vivid red creates a beautiful contrast against the white leather and other hints of this red are used throughout the binding.

This wedding was a winter wedding and the motif of a snowflake was used on the invitations. I embroidered this motif on the front of the cover tying in the winter theme once again.

Get the bunting out

11 Nov

For a recent commission I was asked to make a guest book, using the wedding invitation as inspiration. The invitations were quirky, giving me plenty to work with. The invitations – wrapped with a cream ribbon with a bunting pattern – had a lovely vintage feel, using letterpress-style type with an image of an old bicycle saying ‘We do’.

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I decided to use the patterned ribbon on the cover of the book as it really captures the playful nature of the invitation. I repeated the pattern of the bunting on the inside page, using brown paper cutouts. This introduced an element where the hand of the artist could be seen.

Pigna guestbook

30 Sep

This couple were getting married in an Italian village called Pigna – which translates as pine. As a result, they decided to theme their invites around the symbol of a pine cone. They used an orange-brown colour for the text and the pine cone motif was dotted throughout.

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I originally tried blind embossing the pages with a pine shape but it was a little too subtle and unclear what it actually was. Instead I drew a pine cone on the inner page, mimicking the one found on the invitation. The autumnal colours of the guestbook worked well with this motif.

Marbling magic

7 Aug

This summer I did a paper marbling course in West Dean College in Chichester. This college was set up by poet and artist Edward James as a centre for conservation and crafts such as bookbinding and clock making.  The house (or castle in my mind!) is set in 6,000 acres of beautiful countryside with an orchard and walled garden beside the house.

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Marbling was originally used as an anti-fraud measure: if you had a written contract with somebody, it would have been written on marbled paper. Each party would receive one half of the contract which was torn down the middle. As each marbled paper is completely unique, it would be impossible to forge or make an imitation of the marbled sheet.

I learnt a great deal on the course – from traditional patterns and modern takes on them, to different paper and bookcloth possibilities, to text block edge marbling.  My favourite pattern was the Fern with a modern twist. For the last section of the course, I focused on reproducing this pattern using different coloured papers. It was amazing how just changing one variable resulted in a whole range of contrasting papers.

These papers can be used as coverpapers or as endpages (i.e. the first and last pages of a book) and I hope to develop my marbling skills so that I can offer made-to-order marbled papers for my wedding albums.

I would like to thank the Crafts Council of Ireland for giving me funding to do this training.

NIVAL Collection

27 Jan

I recently found out that two of my artist’s books are part of the NIVAL collection in NCAD, Dublin. The National Irish Visual Arts Library was set up in the 1990s with the aim of documenting all aspects of 20th century and contemporary Irish art and design and providing public access to the collection.

The library has a large collection of artist’s books and often exhibit them at fairs. It was at this year’s Dublin Art Book Fair that I came across one of my artist’s books on their stand!

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There are many definitions of what an artist’s book is but simply put, it is a work of art realised in the form of a book. They are usually published in small editions and sometimes are one-of-a-kind books.

Above are photos of ‘Roll call’, an artist’s book containing an alphabetical list of Ghost Estates in Ireland and ‘Invisible Lines’, an artist’s book based on a participatory art project I organised.

Woolly book

26 Apr

Over the past few months, I have been working closely with the Sheep and Wool Centre in Leenane, Co Galway. The Centre has recently made many changes, including commissioning three books as part of its new display.

The idea was that the first book would display a range of Aran knitting samples, with information about each type of stitch. The wool samples had originally been part of the old display. They were a range of different sizes, colours and thicknesses, which meant it was a challenge to bind them.

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After some experimenting, I decided to crochet a wide border around each sample, using white wool, in order to create a uniform page size and thickness. I resisted the temptation to mount the samples onto another material, as this would have complicated the look of the book and would have restricted the viewer to only seeing/touching the front of the stitch sample.

There was a concern that the pages might be too floppy and might stretch over time. In order to avoid this, I inserted a thin flexible wire around each of the wool pages. I used a nylon-coated fishing wire as I didn’t want it to rust in the salty sea air – Leenane is on the Atlantic coast. The wire is hidden inside the wool and provides a subtle frame for each page.

Before each woollen page, I designed a transparent sheet, which outlines the stitch and gives its name and some information about it.

The book is covered with a highly durable, waterproof book-cloth. The raised design is a ball of wool running from the front to the back of the book. For the front page and end pages, I decided to use Aran stitch patterns as a motif – I was intrigued by the language of knitting patterns.

The book will be on display in the Sheep and Wool Centre in Leenane, Connemara, Co Galway if you happen to be passing by!

Walking journal

4 Jan

Recently I was asked to make a book that would be used as a diary to record walks taken. The person is an avid walker who wished to keep a journal of routes taken and points of interest on the walks after he has finished his journey.

I decided to make a ‘bible-style’ book and to include a map of the West of Ireland, where pretty much all the walks were taken. The book is quite large and hopefully will record all his walks for a long time to come!

The two circular images on the cover are maps of star constellations; one for the Northern Hemisphere and one for the Southern Hemisphere – handy if he ever gets lost on a walk at night…

 

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I was originally going to include a series of Ordance Survey maps that had detailed sections of the area but I figured that he probably had these maps already and that a map covering a larger area would work better. I found a map of the whole west of Ireland area which was much more suited to the journal’s function.

I re-folded the map to suit the size of the book. It folds out to twice the width shown in this photograph. The inscription on the first page reads ‘I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me’.

Foot box

8 Apr

This is clamshell-style box that I made. The two halves fit into each other – and make a great Whoosh noise.

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The inspiration for the foot on the front came from an old auction guide. In this guide there is a section on ‘folk jewellery’. This jewellery consists of various body parts depicted in metal e.g. legs, lungs, eyes, etc. I loved the way these body parts were shown isolated from the rest of the body, revered as something greater than the body to which they are attached.

I use this box to store A5 sketchbooks that I use for note-taking, ideas and drawing.