07 May 2007

Finally... revealing part of a Visual Anthology!

"Of elephants and dreams"

This is how I titled the book I have just completed.

Gina, a friend of mine who I have known since early childhood, commissioned the book for her partner Karen. To celebrate Karen turning 50 (sorry Karen, but you don't look a day over 30) Gina arranged to go to the Zoo in Sydney. There, an elephant presented Karen, via it's trunk, a huge bamboo cylinder. Inside the cylinder was the itinerary for the surprise trip. The book I just finished was about their elelphant trek through Thailand's Golden Triangle. Karen has loved elephants since she was a child so imagine the surprise when she recieved the itinerary from one.

Fortunately, I am able to share this Visual Anthology with you.

I feel it is befitting to state that having done one of Nina's classes at Artisitic Journey , it certainly influenced this book. So thankfully some of the techniques I learned, whilst rushed, as they are in a one day workshop, were honed well here. Nina is an not only an artist whom I greatly admire but has become a lovely friend as well. If I could only produce as well as Nina does - we all live and dream.

I would like to make special mention of Christine Cox from Volcano Arts. I have been a customer of Volcano for some-time now. I emplore those who do book arts and any artisitic endeavour to look at what Christine has to offer. She has an abundance of helpful information on her site too in "The Muse". Her service is amazing, fast, efficient and very personal when needed. I do not know too many people in the industry who answers calls at all hours - and rushes to the post office whilst trying to teach workshops and run a shop - for someone desperate for product from the other side of the world. Chrisitine does and did - so thanks, you are a life saver. I could not have finished it without your amazing products.

Befitting an elephant story, the book took on mammoth proportions. I had to bind the front and back last as I was not sure just how big it would be. When I first saw all of the pages stacked up, one on top of the other, I nearly collapsed from worry - what if I could not bind it all so it would sit correctly?
How was I going to stitch the signatures in?
Do I start from front to back or visa versa?
I took a mega logical approach and worked through it bit by bit until it worked.
It was so wonderful to work in unlimited dimensions. Being a perfectionist, whilst I ummmed and ahhhed over how the signatures of the book would fit to the binding and whilst it was a struggle, the struggle was indeed worth it.
Working in these dimensions and being able to adapt any part of the book myself was sooooo liberating.

Alot of the treasures within the book came from the haul Michael and I received from my ex Bob (see earlier post). The metal piece on the top of the front cover looked to me like an elephants trunk, a perfect embellishment to adorn the front of the book, I thought.

Ah yes! I went through copious amounts of Liquid nails. My dremel and soldering iron got a good workout. And it was only on the very last of hundreds of setting of eyelets did I manage to smash my index fingernail which is now an unsightly blue! I managed to go through an eyelet setter and the punch because the vintage book covers used were sooooo thick. Liver of sulphur stunk the house out for 2 days as well. i almost went through an entire stamp re-inker of walnut ink - and that was alchohol ink which goes really far - so you can imagine just how much I went through.

As with all my Visual Anthologies a hand is always featured - usually on the first or introductory page. Why a hand?
In Judaic and Middle Eastern customs, the hand or "Chamsah", as it is known, is the symbol that wards off the evil eye. It is a protective amulet, as it were. My VA's usually tell a story of someone's life and involves a celebration of some-sort. The books are usually seen by many people and I put the Chamsah in so as to protect my client from any jealous eyes.

The hinged frame, when opened, reveals the Chamsah. Under this one I have featured an elephant's trunk and leg. I symbollically wanted to protect not only Karen but the elephants she holds dear. As we all know, elephants are poached for their ivory and are taken from their environments/habitats for a number of reasons - so I felt to combine the hand with the image would be befitting.

Thanks for looking.

To be continued...

Thinking Blogger.

On that Thinking Blogger thing that is whizzing around blogs at present I have recieved three.

Not sure why really and I have been avoiding it but thanks to Ruth Rae for the latest one. At least I think it was on of those... Ruth and I have indeed become good blog mates. I absolutely adore her art. Her fibre works are soooo inspiring and so much thought goes into each piece. She is such a deep and spiritual person - something that I very much appreciate in her and her work. I was initially attracted to her work as I stumbled upon her blog and noticed that the background was opaqued out Hebrew Text. I became curious and more and more of her art was revealing the use of Hebrew texts - which I do as well. So one day I just had to ask her why she used them. I am such a busy-body sometimes. Anyway, so started a lovely link between us, her love of the look of the hebrew letters and my knowledge of all the texts she was putting in her art. I am so grateful to have found Ruth and hope to meet her one day, maybe at Artfest next March.

Then there was the nomination from Ro Bruhn - thanks Ro you were the first of two in one day. It was so nice of you to nominate me - as stated previously, not really sure why as I do not really reveal, or so I thought, the thinking side of me on this blog. But alas maybe I do without even realising it. Anyway Ro and I met at the Artistic Journey retreat earlier this year. What a giving person, what a great blogger and a very very talented artist. Lately we have been doing lots of shopping for each other and I even recieved a magnificent piece of Ro's art, a gorgeous necklace, which I will take a photo of soon and post. Ro even incorporated Red Velvet into it - How nice was that - my favourite. You are such a darling Ro, so thanks.

I happened to be checking out what Fibre Artist Extraordinaore Barbe Saint John was up to and there I was, listed on her Thinking Blogger list. It happened to be on the same day as Ro and I thought what is happening here. Anyway I met the ever so lovely Barbe when I was in the USA last year. She is a great friend of Michaels and he really wanted me to meet up with her so we did. Barbe is a great girl, "shoots from the hip" and that's what I love about her, my kinda woman. Yes she is another of the talented bunch I have met and, boy, does "she spin a good yarn"- lol. Well actually, go check out her blog, she really does spin her own yarn - delicious stuff. Anyway, thanks Barbe, hope we can catch up soon.

Sooooo, not sure about the 5 links I am supposed to forward on... still thinking... will let you know.


Ro Bruhn said...

Judy, what an absolutely fabulous book, Nina would be more than proud, she would be stunned, it's just fantastic, you should be teaching a class. I love all the layers of pages and embellishments. Your friend must be over the moon, and I love the symbolic meaning of the hand. What a terrific way your friend presented it to her partner, this is a birthday she'll never forget.
I agree with you about Volcano arts, I ordered copper mesh and some micro eyelets last Monday and they arrived on Friday, I couldn't believe it and they are so friendly.
Congratulations on all your blogger awards, I won't say I told you so, but others obviously think your a thinking blogger, not just me.
Glad you liked the necklace.

Marie C said...

Wowzers Judy - your book is an absolute stunner! Can't wait to see more.... pretty please! :)))

Megan Pickwell said...

Judy, un-bloody-believable!
What an artwork that is, and I havn't even seen inside. You incorporate so many elements in your work and marry them together so wonderfully.
The symbolism you use is so meaningful, I love, love , love it!

Lissy said...

oh my Judy - this is just stunning...even more so in real life I imagine! They must love it :) What a treasure to own! You should be well and trully chuffed with yourself :) Superb :) Looking forward to seeing more!

R2artstudio said...

This is the most amazing book I have ever seen! I think Nina would be envious of your creation. I hope you will show us more of the pages soon. And now I'm off to Volcano arts to see what I can find. Thanks so much for the inspiration.

Sharon Manning said...

Wow this is so removed from the albums we have been doing! I can't see you going back now LOL. Looks stunning and can't wait to see the treasure trove inside.

Julie H said...

Hi Judy. I actually looked at this last night and could not find words. Judy this is so far outside of what I imagined when you began to talk about this book. I can not imagine putting the time into this and then passing it on. And yet, what a treasure for the recipient/client.

The colours, the texture, the dangles - all just calling to be touched and experienced.

Coby said...

Judy, I am amazed at your visual anthology. In my mind I had imagined that you created beautiful scrapbook albums for your clients. I did not realise the depth of thought or how much of yourself went into these anthlogies. This is an amazing work of art and I have only seen the cover. Your client and the recipient of this anthology must be absolutely overjoyed with your beautiful creation. I too would love to see a little more. Well, I lie, I'd love to see a lot more!!

As for the thinking blogger award, you deserve it based on this post alone.

Much love


Susan Tuttle said...

Hi Judy,
I had time to visit blogs this morning before the kiddos awake--I came straight to yours! What an incredibly beautiful book--it is truly stunning! I wish I could hold it and turn the pages--I know my jaw would do a lot of dropping.

Thank you for your kind words regarding my book--i think it will be an exciting adventure.


Megan said...

wow wow wow Judy!!! What an incredible treasure you have created...I just love the hand on such a special book too. Fantastic work, you blow me away.

Megan xx

Debbi B said...

Hi Judy - What a magnificent book you have created - the detail is incredible and I too am totally intrigued by the layers and meanings you have incorporated. So looking forward to peeking at some of the pages inside. Now I can also understand why you haven't been blogging! What a mammoth job this must have been.Debbi B

Ev said...

Oh Wow...this book looks amazing, I await with baited breath for more of the reveal. I can just imagine the work that has gone into this. I am sure that you must have a hard time giving these babies up.

izabella said...

OH MY GOSH!! Judy this is awesome!!

I know if I received that as a gift I probably would faint

Brilliance my dear!

xo ~Bella

kelsey said...

WOW! WOW! WOW! Absolutely amazing piece of artwork you've created there Judy, such a lot of work has gone into it and it just oozes.....ummmmm....well...something that I just can't describe. Take everything that everyone has posted before me, triple it and that's what it oozes! ;-)

jo said...

Wow, Judy that book is awesome!!! I am sure that Nina will be sooo proud of you, geez you are a quick learner!
Can't wait to see more of that amazing book!
P.S. Thanks for your kind words on my blog.

lindaharre said...

OMG what a TRIBUTE!!!!! WHAT A GIFT!!! I can't even imagine her reaction...............can't wait to see more:) Thank you soooooo much for sharing:)

Jen Crossley said...

WOW Judy this is indeed a master piece of art work you must be thrilled with the finished piece,stunning is all I can say
Thank you for sharing

Anonymous said...

Judy, this is fabulous, love the way you have made it look so old, my favourite style.
Loved the peice on the front, thought it was a miniature elephant tusk.
Have you given the book to your client as yet, what is her reaction. What a lovely gift, I am sure she will treasure it.

Janine said...

Judy, this is truly a masterpiece! What else can one say that hasn't already been said! Look forward to seeing more of your artwork!


Chris Millar said...

I'm so glad I dropped by tonight, although I've been sitting here reading your blog and examining your masterpiece for quite some time now, when really I should be off to bed!LOL But seriously, Judy, this is absolutely amazing! I'm almost lost for words! I can't imagine where to even begin with a project like this and you've mastered it magnificantly! Congratulations!

Saints and Sinners said...

How sweet of you to mention me! I liked you straight off, and I bet if we lived closer we'd be like evil twins LOL

this book is so amazing-the layers and layers of meaning, emotion, colors, feelings, etc...is so rich and deep. It blows me away. One page is such an amazing piece of art, and you create pages and pages of stuff.. WOW! I wish I could hold it and get the full sensory effect of it.

Anonymous said...

Judy, this book is phenomenal!! Just look at all those pages! As you know, I'm catching up on all your posts so I'm reading them backwards from Day 1. I can't wait to see the inside detail of each and every page.

I LOVE the way that you used the chains and clasps to hold the book shut. How clever! And that piece that you used for the elephant tusk is perfect! I also love the way that you incorporate the hand into your pieces, especially due to the meaning behind it. Even the piece of fabric that you mounted it on is shaped like an elephant's trunk. Awesome!

Lumilyon said...

Judy, your work is exquisite. thanks form dropping by my blog - i shall visit yours amny times x

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This is absolutely beautiful. Going through it is like going through a treasure chest that tells a story. I am looking forward to seeing more.

Anonymous said...

Love this. So inspired to create my own. Thanks for sharing.

盛豐 said...