Mamebon 豆本 – Mini Art Book

Finished my first mini Art Book! A nice little mamebon, which means bean-sized book in Japanese. At a small 6cm x 6cm when closed you can see how it compares to a 100yen coin:

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It opens to a length of 16cm…

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The mini modern map piece measures 10cm in diameter with the hand-embroidered old sailing ship about 5cm in height.

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The back cover:

IMG_0300Thank you for looking!

Migration? Navigation? – Embroidery & Fabric Art Book

This time I’ve chosen a modern map as a base for my latest Art Book, juxtaposing it with an old world theme titled, “The World is Flat.”  *Update: The more pieces I complete in this project the more it speaks to me, whispering that this is not a good title. Words such as, migration, or navigation feel like a better fit this project that covers the movement of people and animals around the world.*

Using a map of western Mexico that includes a bit of Baja California and the ocean for variety,

IMG_0289I’ve hand embroidered an old world, Aztec-style design of a compass rose onto the map in deep turquoise, gold and lapis blue colors.

The best part of this project is I’ve been able to use materials already in my studio stash! A thick upholstery fabric for the book body, coordinating threads, maps and glue mediums. Over the years I’ve collected a large stack of beautiful maps and feel like I’ve finally found a use worthy of them.

IMG_0290 A Chain Stitch Spine.

IMG_0291 The book cover includes a pocket to hold the map edge, for a pen, or other navigational tools.

IMG_0292It all folds up into a neat roll approx 25cm x 11cm using a bit of natural  string and strategically placed buttons to wind it closed for safe keeping.

Testing, Testing…My First Art Book!

This is a post of fun with mediums, stitch work and mistakes. Lots of mistakes!

Using the theme of a creative octopus filled life, Tako Life, in which tako, 蛸, is octopus in Japanese. I picked up a meter of a lovely linen/cotton blend fabric and set about determining a good size and shape for my book. 25cm high and using the full 100cm length I thought I was being smart and could create four books from each 1 meter piece. As you’ll see in the following layouts that 25cm is just too high, it leaves way too much open space for the elements I want to include.

IMG_0283I pushed on to see what more I could learn.

The title is hand embroidered on the cover page, there is a thin layer of quilt batting added to the front cover along with a piece of cardboard for durability but not enough of either. That mistake will be corrected in my next Tako Life Art Book. It may be another mistake but I would really like to overstuff that cover!

After printing the photos I wanted to use, I immediately placed them in my new book using Liquitex Matte Medium not using any forethought as to how they should be framed within each layout. Oops. Being a bit sloppy with the medium I now have hard, crusty “frames” around each photo. They are clear so it doesn’t seem too bad but really is not a look or texture I’m going for.

This did give me a great opportunity to test those fancy stitches my simple Singer Sewing machine offers and I’ve tested most every one of them at varying stitch lengths and widths. I feel most of them worked in the way I’ve tested in my Tako Life Art Book except for the thick black zigzag stitch. It seems like an overused texture and not very creative.

IMG_0284I improved on the machine stitching in some areas by adding hand threaded colors into the embroidery project photo frame, and used a sharpie-type marker instead of thread to frame the Stuffed Yakiimo photo.

IMG_0285For looks I added the chain stitch onto the spine, it would interrupt the layout of the inside pages if I pushed it though all the pages. Using hand embroidery work to provide the charted crochet edging pattern is a look I’d like to continue in the next Tako Life art books.

In the meantime, while I wait for more printer ink to arrive, I’ll still be playing with more mediums using paper and fabric and whatever else that’s fun from my studio stash!

Working hard but nothing to Show: Stitch Experiments

For all of my hard work this month I don’t have much for completed projects. My disappointment with my art book ideas has led to a lot of experimenting. Mostly fails, but lots of playing with lots of different mediums.

A friend introduced me to Liquitex Gel Mediums as a better alternative to Mod Podge and I’ve really liked the results much better. Super quick drying and non-sticky. Plus, I had a 30% off coupon from Yuzawaya.

IMG_0248_2My machine needle easily goes right through and hand stitching is also possible. Markers, too!

Finding the balance between the super, awesome time-&-money is no object ideas and the reality of deadlines has left me plowing through my entire studio for any materials not nailed down to be the next great idea.

IMG_0247_2My 14 yo simple Singer Sewing Machine has now learned how to use several new stitches at several new widths and stitch lengths.

IMG_0249_2Leaning back on my hand stitching roots I chose to present my charted crochet edging pattern in embroidery. I really like to look and hope it is understandable to other crocheters.

How do I create a fabric book without all the work of stitching each and every single page and then binding it all together? And what size will be the most economical yet will allow for an eye-catching presentation of my content?  I have an idea that may work….but I suspect more experimenting is in my future. Wish me Luck!