Friday, September 15, 2017

Halloween Books

Even though Halloween is a month away, it’s fun to show books I made recently. I also have suggestions on how to use them.

My friend, Liz Constable of Book Art Studios in New Zealand, used skull paper for her book covers. She inspired me to make books with two prints of skull paper I had in my paper stash.

This book is an ode to Liz, who taught me a form of Coptic binding last year when I won her Facebook contest. See my blog about winning - here. Liz will give online classes soon and she is a fabulous teacher, very patient!

The other book I bound with a French Link Stitch to fit into a box. Art Supply on Main in Houston (where I taught last July 2016) sells box kits, the box below I made with their kit.

Important to keep in mind the needle catches under the thread closest to the next hole (or station) to make the French Link. Also be sure to use a Kettle stitch at the top and bottom so your book covers will not wobble.

I came up with these uses for a Halloween book:

1. Visitor book for Trick or Treaters using their costumed character name, such as Wonder Woman, Batman, etc.

2. Halloween party guest book using visitor names and scary comments about horror movies they love!

3. Personalize: write their names on book covers for family and friends.

When would you use a Halloween Book!?! 


©Anne Rita Taylor 2017

Friday, September 1, 2017

6 Ways to Get Published

I enjoy writing - I published 22 Zines (small magazines for family & friends) from 2000 to 2015, before starting my blog. 
Following are 6 ways I shared my writing in print, was paid for a few, and you can do it too!  
- Basics are listed at the bottom: how you can send your writing to magazines.

1. Submit to a major magazine
I submitted my article to several women’s magazines and received rejections. My husband noticed the celebrity magazine, The Star was having a series on ways to improve your life. 

My volunteering article had the same theme: Help Others, Help Yourself, about how you can learn doing many jobs by volunteering. I submitted, they edited, and paid me $300.

2. Submit to Trade Magazines also called industry newsletters or journals.

In 2001 I learned White Vine Letters, a type of calligraphy. Fast forward twelve years, I thought about writing an article to include historical facts. I asked the teacher I had in 2001, Karla Hamilton, she said to go for it. 

I added a short how-to and was accepted in the book arts and calligraphy trade journal, Bound & Lettered. I was paid $100 in supplies from John Neal Books, White Vine Letters, 2013.

RubberStampMadness is a rubber stamp trade magazine. For the article I wrote, Sculpting the Image, 1992 - I was paid $40. - how carving a rubber stamp compares to sculpting in clay.

3. Write instructions 
I wrote instructions for a class I taught July 2016 & made $300 for one session teaching people how to make this book. 

4. Write for Newsletters 
Association for the Calligraphic Arts - Newsletter, Artist Demonstration at The Getty Museum, 2004. Before I visited The Getty I checked the Event Calendar online and sent an RSVP to attend the demonstration.

For Ampersand, the journal for The Pacific Center for Book Arts, I wrote The Thrill of the Swap, 2008 about the joy of swapping my handmade books.

Also, for the Houston Calligraphy Guild's newsletter, Handscrit, I wrote Eraser Carving, about how carved rubber stamps can be used with calligraphy. I just re-submitted my article to another trade journal.

5. Write an anonymous article for a Public Relations Rep. I wrote an article about the Cinco Ranch Ladies Club Craft Group meeting that I led for The Cinco Spirit, Crafting in Katy, 2017.

6. Print your own magazine
I wrote Zines for family & friends, see my 3 blogs I wrote about publishing, writing & designing ZINES:


Go to the Magazine’s web page to be sure what type of articles they print. After you found out if the magazine is right for your masterpiece, go to the About Us page where you will find the various Editors listed.

Writers Market, updated annually, is especially helpful. The 2018 edition sells for $25 from Amazon.

Please let me know if my suggestions helped you in any way!
©Anne Rita Taylor 2017

Friday, August 18, 2017

Medieval Techniques Up Close

By Max Ehrmann - Artwork by Anne Rita Taylor ©2017

I was recently invited, along with a few bookbinders, calligraphers & artists, to visit the Rare Books Collections in the MD Anderson Library of the University of Houston. It was very inspiring! I highly recommend visiting. Be sure to schedule a tour!

My biggest surprise was actually handling this Medieval book from the 1400s: Reims Book of Hours. When I visited The Getty Center and The Huntington Library in Los Angeles, their books were under glass and opened to a particular page. By the way, the medieval period lasted from the 5th to the 15th Century.

Lisa German, the Dean of Libraries at UH and Christian Kelleher, the Department Head of UH Special Collections were very informative about their Special Collections. So exciting to learn about these treasures! Go here to learn more about Special Collections at UH:

When I attended a demonstration at The Getty Center in Los Angeles, white gloves were worn while handling a piece of ancient art. Sylvana Barrett demonstrated how gilding and paints were made in the 1400's - here is her website:

I authored an article in the Newsletter for the Association for the Calligraphic Arts in 2004 about the two hour demonstration. Focusing on the painting of St. Andrew by Masaccio in 1426, Sylvana showed us how historically authentic materials: gold leaf, egg tempera, and terre verde pigment, were used.

Sylvana explained that distemper was pigment mixed with rabbit glue. Painted on fabric - it has a dry look such as The Annunciation by Dieric Bouts in 1450. It looks as if the paint could flake off, and is kept under glass.

Artwork by Anne Rita Taylor ©2017

With their limited art supplies, unlike the range we have now, it is amazing what the Medieval monks were able to accomplish six hundred years ago! 

Please let me know if you have any thoughts about these historic treasures.

See more of the UH Digital Library here:
©Anne Rita Taylor 2017

Friday, August 4, 2017

Learning Copperplate Calligraphy

Last year I took a class with a Houston calligrapher, Terry Hausner, to learn Copperplate calligraphy - wedding invitation calligraphy - also called English Roundhand. See Terry’s website:

My name on top written by Terry Hausner - on the bottom written by Heather Held

I have not practiced - I should if I want to get better at it. I also took a Spencerian calligraphy workshop with Michael Sull a while ago. See his Facebook page:
For me, Spencerian is a tiny bit easier since I do not have to write thicks and thins with ink, but there are more swirls which are called flourishes.

One of my many Copperplate practice pages. Terry taught us to write in various sizes, increasing and decreasing the dimensions of our written letters. I think smaller for this type of calligraphy is slightly easier for me. Plus the slant, when practiced against the slanting lines, made me realize what mistakes I was making.

I find it difficult to be light when making thin lines and then heavy by forcing the tines of the  nib into a thickness. In the class we started with learning how to hold an Oblique Penholder - I’m still learning. I prefer a staff.

Terry supplied many different nibs for us to try. As noted, I have a heavy hand when I write, so I need a nib that can withstand pressure. After much trial and error, I like to use the Nikko G and Zebra G, plus the Speedball 512 nib. 

I have written a form of Copperplate with a water soluble pencil, then sprayed it with water achieving a blurry effect as in the quote below: There is nothing else.

Like anything, the more we practice the better we get. I’m not a professional calligrapher for that reason, I do not practice enough. But I do enjoy writing as an end in itself. How do you feel about it?

And here is a photo of the many writing instruments used in calligraphy - shared on Facebook by Tom Lane - known as Ginger Monkey.  Find him on Facebook here: 
©Anne Rita Taylor 2017

Friday, July 21, 2017

Finding Inspiration

Lovely Lady - Sculptural Plaque by Anne Rita Taylor

I visit the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston for inspiration. They have a treasure trove of Impressionist art to rival museums in Paris.

The Sculpture Garden is very welcoming.  You can sit, bring your lunch or coffee & visit with friends. It is a lovely area with a few shade trees. Below is the walkway from the auxiliary parking.

I was surprised to learn - not everyone gets inspiration at museums - but that is where I fill up my well for my future creations. 
Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) was the architect for the Sculpture Garden which opened in 1986.

My favorite sculpture in the garden is actually a four part sculpture by Henri Matisse (1869-1954). A woman’s back is represented in a classical pose showing the history of art called Backs I - IV.  Below is one of my efforts at sculpting a back in clay:

When I was sculpting in clay in the 1980’s I would take the day off on my birthday & spend the whole day visiting the museum. See more about my sculpting here:
I was in paradise just roaming around, visiting the exhibits, truly inspirational! 

I can easily become preoccupied all day looking at Adam by Émile-Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929), sculpted in 1889. What a beautiful human form! 

Although my favorite sculptor is Auguste Rodin (1840-1917).

When I was in Paris I visited The Rodin Museum which was a dream come true. 

Houston’s museum has his headless Walking Man sculpted in 1889.

Another Rodin in the Sculpture Garden, Spirit of Eternal Repose, was  modeled in 1899 & cast in bronze in 1982. 

You can see Matisse’s four-part sculpture in the background.

Leave a comment and let me know - Where do you get your inspiration?
©Anne Rita Taylor 2017

Friday, July 7, 2017

My Woodcut

Several years ago I took a wood cutting class where I did not learn anything. I made this woodcut prior to the class as I tried out my new cutting tools. It is my only woodcut!

For the last two years I’ve been a member of the Rubber Amateur Press Society and we have a quarterly swap of hand-stamped images. Click here for my October blog:
Since I had not carved anything recently and the due date of April 30th was approaching, I thought of my wood carving. 

I could have used the Press at The Printing Museum in Houston, but they are renovating due to a fire last May. How would I print? I tried printing using my Arnold Grummer Paper Press and it worked OK.

I carefully lined up the paper and placed the inked wood as close to the middle as possible and lowered the press.

I used water based ink and rolled it on a piece of copper side-taped glass before rolling the ink on the woodcut. My first one came out great, pictured up top.

The third time came out too light, so I added ink and rolled again, great images for 3 of them, so I added more ink - then it came out too dark.

It took me 24 prints to have 15 OK prints to swap. I'm experimenting with the lighter ones to add some color. I tried coloring in the circle to have the Sun but I like the black & white Moon effect better.

I bought the Wood Carving tools at Walmart plus I already had the extra V-shaped cutting tool in my carving supplies. The piece of wood is from Hobby Lobby.

All in all, I think they came out OK. Although I plan to do more experimenting. Any thoughts from any of my blog readers is appreciated.
©Anne Rita Taylor 2017