Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring has sprung!

I think it's safe to assume that spring is finally here. (Although in Rhode Island, you never know!) Today when I was walking from the East Side to Downtown, I passed so many buds and splashes of color, it made me so happy. I love buds, this little sign of something about to burst. It makes me happy.

Monday, March 30, 2009

My Monday Posting

Read about one of my favorite sources for journal keeping inspiration over at the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team blog in the latest in my Monday series. Here's a hint:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Elin Noble, Layered Affinities

This afternoon, I went to see an inspiring exhibit at Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, MA. Hanging in their gallery is an exhibit by Elin Noble, a New Bedford artist, showing some truly stunning pieces. I had met Elin through a mutual friend (and now blogger bhakti Ziek) a long time ago, so I knew that I'd love this exhibit. When I was looking up directions to the gallery and read this description on the gallery website, I couldn't get there fast enough.

"Elin Noble plays with space. More specifically, she explores the billowing, breathing, and transformative qualities of cloth in space . . .
Her work on cloth involves layering pattern by adding and subtracting color repeatedly, leaving hints and marks of what was there before."

Elin is an expert dyer, and the show combines several different techniques. There are her dyed pieces, often on gossamer silk with two layers of fabric hanging together, so the light goes through them and both layers form the whole piece. They almost seemed designed for this space.
There are also amazing quilts. She first dyes the fabric, then machine quilts intricate patterns. These pieces run in various sizes and all are very detailed and just gorgeous.

Some of my favorite pieces were these fun smaller pieces (which are a steal at $100, framed, if you're looking for some gorgeous, original art for your walls). They were called "Illuminated Pages" and give you the sense that they had been pulled from an ancient manuscript.

Also, were these interesting small pieces that were called alternative marbling. They were done on cotton, and I guess the technique is similar to marbling done on paper. These were all inspired by cells and natural shapes, and were so detailed I assumed they were pen and ink drawing. I'd love to see how she does this, I can't imagine marbling (how I think of it being done) and getting this amount of detail.

What struck me about this show was the expert dyeing, she truly is a master of her craft. Her color palates all had a comfortable and natural feel to them, and the way the light and space worked with these pieces was if it were another element she was working with while making them. If you're near Fall River, definitely try to get to this show. (Tip: If you're interested in buying any of the pieces, ask the curator to show you the ones in the back that there wasn't space to hang.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Humor Me

It's better if I just tell you now, while the blog is still new and we're just getting to know each other. My name is Kristin and I'm a huge U2 fan. I'm wildly excited today because I secured my tickets for this tour. It's not happening until September, but I can rest easy knowing I'll be seeing them once in Boston and once in New Jersey. Woo-hoo!

Since I couldn't purely indulge my U2 craziness on you, I thought I should at least include a book. Here's one of my faves, U2 by U2 . . . signed for me by the band. I do have some self-control, so I'll save you that story, but let's just say: booksigning, me there, band there, spelled name for The Edge, hugged Bono.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Second in a Series

My second post in a series on journal keeping is now available to read over on the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team blog. I'm trying to make this a Monday series. Here's a sneak peek:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Friday!

I've got my work cut out of me this weekend. I'll be binding some books for an upcoming show (more details next week). I'm trying to do a wide range of different places, with a lot of East Coast and New England places. Of course, lots of Rhode Island maps too. You know us Rhode Islanders, we love anything that mentions us. Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Bookshelf

I'm a bit of a bibliophile, as you might have guessed. This blog seems like a good place to share some of my books. Last week my cousin (and blogger) James had a question for me about these vintage "Fast Color" bandannas, and their elephant logo. While I didn't ever find a good connection between elephants, fast color, and indigo (if anyone knows of any, let me know!) I did uncover an old book on my bookshelf that I hadn't opened in ages.

Matthew's Textile Fibers, from 1947. It's an old library book, chock full of in depth info on fibers and their various properties. Good reference for all fibers pre-1947. Kind of dry, but thorough. Love the library card and pocket on the inside back cover.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Style Book

Lately I've been feeling that I've gotten into a little book rut. I have been binding like crazy and selling well, but also feeling like I needed some other options for types of books. It occurred to me that I have no books that are the type I most often use myself when traveling. I've solved that problem and just listed a book that I absolutely love, it has a South America map for the covers.

What I love most about this type of journal is the different types of art papers inside. It has pastel paper, watercolor paper, plain paper. I actually find it kind of fun to see what paper comes up next when I'm using it. If a sheet of really great watercolor paper is next, then it's hard to pass up using my watercolors.

I also love to have some little envelopes scattered throughout the journal. It's perfect for stashing bits of ephemera I pick up along the way. Business cards, sugar packets, brochures.

I'm happy with it and plan to make more in this style. You can see more views of it or pick it up for yourself right here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day!

Or as I like to call it, "The Day Everybody Else Drinks." I always have mixed feelings about St. Patrick's Day. Why is it my culture has its day celebrated with all-day public inebriation? Sure, Ireland is known for its beer, but France is known for its wine and no one spends Bastille Day getting tanked on Bordeaux. It's a strange thing. I like to joke that I enjoy good beer all year long, so I'm not forced to consume my entire year's worth in one day.

Still, I do like celebrating. How will I do it this year? I started out by baking some delicious Irish soda bread. I'm by no means a cook and don't particularly enjoy spending time in the kitchen (unless I'm eating), but I do love Irish soda bread and make some every year.

Plus, I get a kick out of my annual use of my pastry blender. Doing this, of course, involved listening to a playlist heavy in U2, Van Morrision, the Pogues, Thin Lizzy and a smattering of silly Irish drinking songs. (Maybe that's why everyone thinks the Irish drink so much, they were always singing about it!)

Tonight I'm going to make some potato leek soup, and continue with the above playlist. In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I'm offering a special to my blog readers: anyone who buys my Ireland pocket journal today will get 2 free surprise Gocco printed cards included in their package. Just say Happy St. Patrick's Day in the notes to seller.

(And yes, in case you're wondering, that is a handknit Aran sweater my iPod is wearing. Knit by me and super cute.)

Monday, March 16, 2009


I'm a big fan or knowing how to say thank you in the native language of any place you're traveling. Even though Hawaii is a state, they still retain a lot of Hawaiian words in everyday speech. So if you're going to Hawaii, you'd better learn to say Mahalo. You'll hear it everywhere you go and if you're like me, the sound of it will start to make you happy.

I've been to Hawaii twice, to the Big Island in 2004 and then in January 2008 I spent two weeks on Kauai. Ever since, I've been trying to figure out a way to get back. That Aloha spirit really does get under your skin.

Inspired by the hanging heliconia, the beautiful tropical flower that you see all over Hawaii, I designed and Gocco printed these thank you cards. I simplified a photo I had taken into a two color illustration and printed it along with the word Mahalo. They make me happy. (These cards are now listed in my Etsy shop.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bookbinding Etsy Street Team

As someone who sells blank books, I thought I'd start an occasional series on filling up all these blank books you've been buying. I'm a member of the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team and posted this originally in our team blog. Since people appear to have actually liked it, I thought I'd post it here too.

My idea is to post a different journal-keeping idea, along with some examples from some of my favorite books and inspiration or from my own journals. Sound good? Hopefully you’ll find it inspiring.

I’m going to start with one of my own journals. One of my favorite things to do when traveling, especially to some place warm and beautiful, is to
paint the sunset. Since this can be daunting, especially to me who is not a painter, I limit myself to quick 5 minute paintings and only use a cute, tiny watercolor kit. Allowing myself only 5 minutes per painting frees me from feeling like the painting has to be perfect, my colors painstakingly correct, or in any way finished.

What it does let me do is focus on the sky and the moment, quickly capture the colors in the sky, and focus on how the beautiful colors. It’s amazing how fast the sun goes down when you’re doing 5 minute paintings. It’s also amazing how you absorb the sky and the colors when you’re really focusing on it.

This page is from the journal I took with me to Cost
a Rica in February 2007. Aaahhhh . . . it was warm there.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New Blog!

Welcome to my new blog! I finally bit the bullet and started a blog. I'm a bookbinder with an Etsy shop and a love of books, textiles, repeating patterns and travel. My aim is to have a place to share projects that I'm working on, sneak peeks at new products for my Etsy shop and hopefully some fun and inspiring things.

I hope you like it!