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Book arts classes at Watkins College

>> Monday, January 23, 2012

After the success of Handmade & Bound, the first book arts festival in Nashville, Watkins College of Art, Design & Film is expanding their book arts and printmaking classes in their community education program. I'll be teaching two of them in the next two months.

I think I've put together a pair of really creative classes, and you can get a sneak peek below. And if you're local to Nashville, you can sign up at the Watkins community website. Books are just one part of the course offerings; view the full course catalog here

Decorative and functional journals
When: 1 to 5 p.m., Saturdays, Feb. 18 – March 10 (4 weeks)
Where: Watkins College, 2298 Rosa Parks Blvd., Nashville
Cost: $100, plus $20 materials fee. 
Description: Learn to bind your own unique and functional books, perfect for journaling or sketching. Beginning with simple folded and sewn structures, the class will work toward more complex bindings with exposed stitching that is both decorative and functional. The class will explore traditional techniques with an emphasis on using quality papers with interesting patterns and textures. All materials and tools will be provided.

Keepsakes turned into sculptural books
When: 6 to 9 p.m., Thursdays, March 15 – 29 (3 weeks)
Where: Watkins College, 2298 Rosa Parks Blvd., Nashville
Cost: $100, plus $20 materials fee. 
Description: Maps, postcards, ticket stubs, letters, and vintage photographs become works of art in this sculptural bookmaking class. These books may look simple when closed, but they open to reveal surprising folded structures and intricate plays of light and shadow. Binding styles include double concertina, lotus fold and flag book. All materials and tools will be provided, but students are encouraged to bring personal paper items.

   Click the image above to view the full course catalog.


Chatty Crafty features independent artists in Chattanooga

>> Sunday, January 22, 2012

Warehouse Row in Chattanooga

Our first visit to Chattanooga took us downtown to Warehouse Row, a redeveloped series of buildings on the site of a former Civil War fort, and now home to boutique stores and a great event space. Chatty Crafty, typically an outdoor show, brought together more than 50 artists for holiday shopping and selling.

Reuse First at Chatty Crafty

Reuse First at Chatty Crafty in Chattanooga

While wandering through the show, I especially liked the upcycling ideas by husband-and-wife duo Reuse First, including their use of alcohol bottles as succulent planters and re-purposed bingo cards and photo slides for blank books. And here's a neat connection: They grew up in a Chicago suburb not far from my hometown.

Knitlaces by Katie Vance

I also saw some familiar faces and friends, including fellow Nashville artist and Porter Flea founder Katie Lynne Vance. Her screen-printed T-shirt necklaces are great (I bought the polka dot necklace seen above.) I was also happy to see Liz from Liddabits (below). Liz and I are proud University of Georgia art school grads. She makes banners and notecards, but her biggest hit in Chattanooga may have been her photo booth mustache props.

Liddabits at Chatty Crafty art show

Button Florist at Chatty Crafty art show, Chattanooga

This photo shows a button bouquet by The Button Florist, who we first met last spring at the Handmade Market in Raleigh.

linenlaid&felt at Chatty Crafty, Chattanooga Tennesse

Chatty Crafty allowed me to debut my handmade book ornaments. Because of their interesting structures, I gave many demonstrations over the weekend. To display them, we put to use an IKEA shelf from our dining room, which has perfect mesh shelves for hanging the ornaments.

Handmade book Christmas ornaments

Handmade book Christmas ornament


Teaching bookbinding with The Skillery

>> Saturday, January 21, 2012

Skillery Nashville book arts class

The holiday season was filled with teaching classes, selling at shows in Tennessee and wrapping up special orders to be given as gifts across the country.

In early December, I taught a one-day bookmaking workshop through a partnership with The Skillery, the new Nashville company I've mentioned before that encourages locals to teach and to learn new skills. My class about books that can hang as tree ornaments was The Skillery's first event, and it sold out! (Oddly enough, a power outage almost thwarted the whole thing. You can read about that at The Skillery blog. The workshop photos shown here are by Matt Dudley, professional photographer and founder of The Skillery.)

Skillery Nashville book arts class photos

The two-hour workshop sent each student home with two handmade books: a hardcover pamphlet stitch book and a folded paper star book. Like in other classes, I cut paper and bookboard to size in advance to give students a head start so we could jump right into the fun of making books. Unlike some of the other classes, Matt from The Skillery wisely thought to provide wine and snacks for all students, a nice touch for a cozy night class.

The books that students made will be long-lasting keepsakes, and because of their blank pages, they work well for writing messages to family members. When visiting my husband's family just before Christmas, we used one to write memories of the weekend together, then we found a home for it on the tree.

Book Christmas tree ornament

Book Christmas tree ornament


Holiday shopping at Porter Flea in Nashville

Porter Flea Handmade Market 2011

The photo above captures the brief calm at my book booth at Porter Flea Handmade Holiday Market in East Nashville, just before a large and lively crowd made for a busy day. With rock 'n' roll DJs keeping the beat, I met at least as many book-minded shoppers as at any other show. Great event planning and promotion by the Porter Flea folks — see their amazing screen-printed posters — have quickly made their shows a success. The holiday market was their second effort. You can look back at my write-up of their first show, and find them on Twitter and Facebook to learn of future events.

Porter Flea Handmade Market 2011 Nashville

Porter Flea Handmade Market 2011 bookmaker

One of the unique things about this show was the diversity of handmade items on display, including a strong showing from male artists who brought their woodworking, leather, letterpress prints, poster art and T-shirts. I'm sure most shoppers found something of interest, which created a great buzz inside the East Park Community Center. You can see a full list of Porter Flea vendors online, and some crisp photos of the show by Nashville fashion blogger Under the Guise and by Sabrosa Vintage.


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