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My Etsy shop has launched!

>> Sunday, February 28, 2010

I want to share some exciting news with you: my Etsy shop is now officially up and running!

If you haven't visited my shop yet, please take a look at the handmade books I've been working on for the past two months. I currently have six mini books for sale in three different styles: Coptic, Italian Longstitch, and Concertina. I also have several larger Coptic journals that I finished last week, and I'll be listing those on my Etsy as soon as they're photographed.


Flashback Friday: My First Coptic

>> Friday, February 26, 2010

This is the first book that I bound in the Coptic style while learning the art of bookmaking in Italy. It soon became one of my favorite binding styles, and one I've focused on lately. This one is almost four years old now, but my newest Coptic books should be up on my Etsy by the end of the weekend.

Coptic binding allows for pages to lay flat when opened, and the chain stitch connecting the pages is lovely and functional. I first learned to sew Coptics with one curved needle, and later learned to sew them with multiple needles, but my current style is most similar to how I first learned. This is the most enjoyable way to bind books, I'd say.

The decorative paper used for the covers and the guards (the paper wrapped around the sections of pages) is my favorite part of this particular book. I purchased the paper at a little shop in Cortona, Italy and it well represents the style of paper found throughout the country. Although I'm usually not fond of floral prints, this one struck me. I love the bright hues mixed with the delicate gold details and the intricate patterns. Seeing prints like these makes me nostalgic for my summer in Cortona.


Flashback Friday: Modigliani concertina

>> Friday, February 19, 2010

Less than a month before my trip to Italy was the first time I'd ever heard of the Italian artist Amedeo Clemente Modigliani. With her usual sense of adventure at Blockbuster, my mom rented a little-known movie on a whim, and this movie introduced us both to someone who is now one of my favorite artists. And as it turned out, there was an exhibit of Modigliani's paintings on display in Rome while I was in the city. Seeing the vivid portraits in person, especially the haunting absent eyes, solidified his work in my ranking of favorites. I soaked in the experience, and was one of the last in our group to leave the gallery.

And as if this Modigliani coincidence wasn't enough, there's more to the story. Several weeks later, I was wandering through a flea market in Perugia, a city in Umbria known for its chocolate, when I found a lovely vintage book filled with images of Modigliani's work.

I was taking a book arts and papermaking class in Cortona that summer, and decided to reconstruct the book into several creations of my own. I ended up using four of the color images from my flea market find to make this double concertina book, with several smaller black and white images serving both structural and decorative purposes. The covers were made using some informative pages from the book, and a cutout of Modigliani's signature serves as the title.

This is one of my favorite books that I made during my time in Italy, for both aesthetic and sentimental reasons. It was displayed in La Mostra, an art exhibition in Cortona, as well as a show at the University of Georgia once I returned to the States.

While in Italy, I also made another Modigliani book, which I will include in a future Flashback Friday post. I still have the original covers and some of the pages from the original antique book, and perhaps I will use them to make a third book in the future.


The "flashback" series

>> Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Last weekend Tony and I traveled to South Carolina to visit my family and celebrate my grandfather's 95th birthday. I used the opportunity to photograph many of my handmade books that are still at my parents' house. I have decided to start a series called "Flashback Fridays" where I feature various books that I created years ago, many of which when I was first learning how to bind books in Cortona, Italy. Here's a sampling of a few of the books I'll showcase. Stay tuned for my first flashback post this Friday.


Roses and chocolates and doilies... Oh my!

>> Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

In honor of the holiday that embraces all things red and pink and frilly and girly, I decided to get a little crafty and make a few Valentine-themed books. While sorting through an old box of scrapbooking supplies, I found a few packs of doilies from Valentine crafting of years past. I found that the heart-shaped doilies, when cut down to size, actually worked pretty well for making covers of my mini accordion books. And an assortment of other red and pink textured papers helped to round out my set of romantic books.


Photos by Chase Purdy

>> Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My friend Chase Purdy has started out the new year with a quest to take a photo each day, part of Project 365 that he's showcasing on his blog. Last week he and my good friend Lauren decided to focus on portraits for their daily photos. I posed for a portrait for Chase, and while he was at it, he took some pictures of me with my books as well. Chase also took the photo that I'm using in the "Katie Gonzalez" box at the top right of this blog. Thank you, Chase!


The perfect fit

>> Monday, February 1, 2010

I bought this pair of red leather pants at a thrift store in Athens, Georgia a few years ago. I never wore them, nor did I ever intend to. (Although Tony did try them on briefly and they fit surprisingly well.) Rather, I bought the pants to use as covers for Italian Long Stitch books. Now, years after the initial purchase, I am putting these pants to use.

I am making a series of books using pieces of the suede pants as the covers, and quite perfectly, the decorative leather strips seen in the first photo have become the ties that close the books. I've recently ordered some new book binding thread, so I am planning to make more of these mini leather books in different color schemes and using different papers for the interior pages.


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