Friday, November 25, 2016

Mining for Creativity

A journal I made - cover photo with my Grandfather, my friend Lillian and me when I was 5.
The workshop, Journaling for Creativity, led by Carolyn Dahl was inspiring! We brought past journals to share, plus a blank book and colored pencils. Carolyn is the author of 3 books including Natural Impressions. 

After everyone shared from a past journal, we talked about journaling techniques, such as: making lists, gluing pictures from magazines, bullets, free association; then we started a writing assignment.

We wrote for 15 minutes about an evocative object that had special meaning to us. We mined for creativity by using our colored pencils to circle objects in blue; actions in red; emotions in purple, etc. Using colors in this way helped us to visually inspect our writing.

Carolyn asked us: what phrases can be used for quotes, for poems, for artwork, or to expand your thoughts? Some rare gems may be buried beneath a phrase.

Carolyn also had a reading list for us to continue our writing momentum. Especially helpful to me are Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down The Bones for finding writing topics.

And if you have writer’s block - try changing your environment by going outside - or bring your journal to your favorite cafe. What are your thoughts about creative journal writing?
©Anne Rita Taylor 2016

Friday, November 18, 2016

Nag Hammadi Bookbinding

Leather books were found in the Upper Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945 with Coptic writing from the 4th Century, one containing the Gospel of St. Thomas; housed in the Coptic Museum in Cairo.
From The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding by J.A. Szirmai
In a Nag Hammadi Bookbinding workshop I learned how to make the book from Jana Pullman at the Focus on Book Arts in Oregon. We created a replica using tooling techniques on the leather cover. Jana referenced this book: The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding by J.A. Szirmai.

I cut the outline from a piece of leather, and wet it to emboss the design with a butterfly leather stamp from Tandy Leather

I used my Japanese Book Drill for the turquoise mat board to show through the design.

In the class we glued several papyrus sheets to make the cover boards. At home mat board worked - covered with bookcloth - adhered to the back of the leather.

The outer side glued first, then the top and bottom tabs. I was going to cover them with end sheet fabric - decided to leave it open. 

Next I used my new sewing cradle bought from Missy Bosch last week. I love it! 

Missy sells them on Etsy here:

Lastly, I hole punched and sewed the tie plus sewed the text block to the spine with tacket binding making the text block refillable. I am pleased with how it came out too! 
Making the Nag Hammadi did not take me as long as I thought it would. The most time-consuming part was embossing the wet leather. I made additional books with red leather and blue leather covers - for sale on my Etsy site:
Please let me know if you tried any type of historic bookbinding. Makes me feel connected to the 4th century!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Designing Zines

As I mentioned last week, a Zine is a self-published magazine with a small circulation. Zines are printed booklets held in your hands. I have Zines about crows, hands, colors, work spaces, risk, fabric, collage, compilations, and poetry.
A small part of my Zine collection with Zines from Alaska, Hawaii, and all around the United States.
Design suggestions include:
  • Make a Zine that opens newspaper-style.
  • Do a faux version of a popular magazine, such as Time or People.
  • Use brown paper bags, binding on one side to pen with pockets.
  • Use cut out words for headlines like a ransom note.
  • Use a photo album, write on index cards and insert.
  • House your Zine inside of colorful file folders.
  • Put your Zine in a bottle; make sure it can be removed for viewing.
  • Write on fabric pieces and make a quilt.
  • Your Zine can be a puzzle with the viewer putting it back together.
  • How about using toilet paper, call it potty mouth and fill it full of expletives.

Here are 20 uses for a scarf, a brain teaser from the book: How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci by Michael J. Gelb:
  • Leash for a dog
  • In hair for ponytail
  • Tie children together
  • As a tablecloth
  • Tie on Purse for decoration
  • Gag
  • Blindfold
  • Temporary fix for broken sofa
  • Tourniquet
  • To carry books
  • To cover face
  • Curtain on a window
  • As a skirt
  • As a halter top
  • As a bedspread
  • Sling for a broken arm
  • White surrender flag
  • Seat on the ground
  • Tie on car antenna
  • Christmas tree decoration

A couple of fun books to explore directories and reviews:

Please let me know what Zines you enjoy. And remember the Zine Fest in Houston will be held at The Lawndale Art Center on November 19, 2016.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Writing Zines

A few weeks ago I talked about my Zines. When I teach people how to make Zines I use creative writing techniques. These self-published magazines are really fun to make! 

This week: suggestions for what to write about; next week learn how to design your magazine.
Suggestions for writing themes:
  • Rant & rave, let the world know what ticks you off.
  • Create characters and an interesting story line; make it visual with artwork.
  • Pretend you are from outer space; give mundane earthly items a new purpose.
  • Trends: Fashion, home decor, jewelry…pick an era.
  • Choose one letter of the alphabet or one number, base your writing on that choice.

More writing themes:
  • Interesting signs: snap photos of them. Some are really fun to write about.
  • Bring song lyrics to life with photos or drawings.
  • Use interesting fonts or lettering with your quotes or poems.
  • Write about things that make you happy or sad and why.
  • Describe an odd dream or daydream you had and your interpretation.

One of my creativity books is Michael J.Gelb's “How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci.” An exercise balancing your logical and creative side is: Think of different uses for a scarf. I’ll start you off: use as a belt or necktie. Next week I’ll include 20 more uses.

If you are in the Houston area, remember Zine Fest is happening at The Lawndale Art Center on November 19th. - In the Comments below, let me know what books or techniques you use to get your creative juices flowing.
©Anne Rita Taylor 2016