Saturday, 29 September 2012

Hebden Bridge adventures

Can't believe the weather we've had this week.  It's hard to believe that last weekend we were happily trotting around the delightful Hebden Bridge, and although admittedly quite cold, it was relatively dry.  It was also quite sad to witness the impact that the floods of earlier this year have had on so many businesses in the Hebden Bridge area.

Our first stop was the Blitz war-time tea room, a fantastic cafe above a shop, kitted out in 1940s war time memorabilia, a big band soundtrack and an appropriately attired waitress.  There were some wonderful examples of war time posters on the walls, newspapers dated from the era on all the tables, and a hat stand in the corner, holding a German helmet, fur stole and gas mask.  I was a bit nervous about the menu, with British war time food not exactly my idea of a treat, but our 'Blitz rarebit' (with an added layer of Spam) tasted wonderful.

Other delights on the menu included Homity pie, corned beef hash and macaroni cheese. 

Next stop was the Heart Gallery, showcasing some wonderful examples of British contemporary craft and jewellery.  Special mention must go to Heather Wilson, who describes herself on her business card as "Maker of mad and beautiful things".   She creates lovely personalised name pictures, which bring together a range of personal details regarding the recipient, such as hobbies, family, pets and occupations.  They make beautiful and unique gifts.  I also loved her range of hats: highly original, and with more than a touch of humour, they were also extraordinarily beautiful.

Off to Chester today - will report back soon.

Have a great week everyone!

Heather Wilson's 'Lying Cow' hat

Friday, 21 September 2012

Experiments in Copper Etching

I'm always interested in discovering new crafts, especially when I can incorporate them into my books in some way.  Recently I've been experimenting with copper etching, with the help of some wonderful tutorials on the Internet.  Basically, a design is applied to the surface of a copper blank, and this acts as a resist (meaning that areas left untouched will be etched, leaving your design as a raised surface).



A number of suggestions were put forward as to the best resist to use, ranging from a Sharpie permanent marker, to acrylic paint to nail varnish.  I experimented with the Sharpie and nail varnish, and got satisfactory results with both.

After covering the back of the copper blank with resist, the etching process begins by suspending the piece in a tub of ferric chloride.  I purchased my ferric chlorid from Maplin, but I would imagine this would be available at art shops.  Opinion varies as to how long to leave the copper in the solution, but keep checking, and after 30 minutes or so, the solution should have worked its magic.

This is my first attempt, and admittedly, it looks a little 'rough', but I quite like that.  I added it to my most recent book creation, and I love the effect of the etched copper against the luxurious velvet effect covering.

Burgundy velvet postbinding journal by GlassRoofBooks

As always, searching around on Etsy, I found some amazing examples of 'proper' copper etching, which brought home to me how much of a beginner I am when it comes to etching, and also how many talented people there are out there.

I love these dragonfly earrings by KismetStudiosOnEtsy
Such a simple design, by highly effective

MarieOfSweden has some truly beautiful items in her shop.  I was spoilt for choice, but this etching is typical of her style.  Simply stunning.

These Shooting stars copper etched earrings are another of my favourites, by CabariBeads.  I love the patina effect, which adds depth to the imagery.

So there we have it.  Any tips by those in the know regarding copper etching, I'd love to hear from you.  And anyone who fancies having a go, I found the Internet tutorials below very helpful.

Happy etching!

Copperheart - Tutorial: How to etch copper

Hodgepodgerie: Etching Copper

Autumn Equinox: Copper Etching Tutorial

Monday, 17 September 2012

C is for Cancer Research

My legs have just about returned to normal following my epic half marathon walk on Saturday 8th September, in aid of Cancer Research UK.  Taking part in the 'Shine' walk through the night in Manchester city centre was an amazing experience, despite the aches and blisters, not to mention the two hour wait before we even started walking.  But it felt good to be contributing in some small way to a very worthwhile cause. 
Before the walk - all smiles

The number of people taking part who had obviously been personally affected by cancer in some way was staggering.  Up until now, cancer had not directly impacted upon my life - I knew some people who had survived cancer, some who had died, but the 'C' word still felt far enough away for me to feel somewhat detached from it.  Like witnessing distressing news reports, you watch and feel for those affected, but you can still sleep soundly at night, safe in the knowledge that it won't directly affect you.  How ironic then, that I should learn the news, whilst still basking in the glory of completing my half marathon, that my own mother was suffering from cancer.  It's been a shock, but we're taking one day at a time, and hoping for a positive outcome.  So next time someone tells you they're raising money for Cancer Research, please donate - you never know, one day cancer could personally affect you.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

'The Raven' post-binding journal

My latest project is this A5 size landscape book which is crafted in the post-binding style.

The main advantage of this style is that pages are refillable, and the journal has more longevity, and can be used again once the pages have been replaced.  I also like to think that the replaceable nature of the pages helps overcome the reluctance one often has to begin writing or sketching in a beautiful journal for fear of 'spoiling' it.

Chunky Raven Leather Journal with Black Paper by silverwillowstar

Nevermore Raven Journal Notebook 
by KandysKeepsakes

This particular journal was influenced firstly by Edgar Allan Poe, whose work I have dipped in and out of regularly in the past, particularly 'The Raven', which seems to have inspired a number of wonderful book designs, (see above) and a number of Treasuries on Etsy.  The 'bird on a branch' image was placed under a glass cabochon, and anchored firmly in the bottom right hand corner of the slightly padded front cover.

As so often happens when creating new designs, the ideas I had in my head (the same ones which kept me awake at night) didn't translate into reality quite as I had wished.  The original intention was to create a detachable brooch, influenced by the wonderfully inspiring 'Gothic Jewellery' by Harriet Smith, with pieces of black linen and lace forming a 'dead corsage' within which I was going to place the cabochon.  When I actually got around to doing it, I wasn't happy with the result.  It worked wonderfully as a brooch in its own right, but on the book, it just didn't work.  So I placed the cabochon on its own on the cover, and now I actually quite like the simplicity of the look.

Inside the book, I've lined the boards with some faded blue and grey vintage-style patterned paper, and added a handy pocket in matching paper for the inside back page.

I'm planning to make more journals in this post-binding style, so I'll keep you posted for any updates.

Have a great week!