Friday, May 01, 2009

Flaunt It x Phrenology x Frenology Friday

Are there any good words that start with F?

I've gone off the idea of calling my Friday posts 'Flaunt It Friday'. I only chose it on a whim because it had a nice ring to it. Now I feel a little silly putting up a post that is categorised as flaunting every week. But I just don't know what to call it! These posts are a little dip into something behind the scenes. Well that is what I originally intended. Turns out that in the ensuing weeks very little has occurred behind-the-scenes what with my back, visitors and trips away. So today when it came time to flaunt something from behind-the-scenes, well, there is nothing.

Definitely time to change the name of my Fridays! But what to? While I was away I found a Phrenology head. I love it! So here is a post from in front of the scenes (now I know why that phrase has never become popular) but you must notice my phrenology Frenology friend in most of the shots!

The really avid reader may recall a very long long long time ago I excited announced that I was make THE book for Community Sketchbook's foray into the analogue world. This book will be sent from one sketch artist to the next where it will be slowly filled with eclectic sketched delights. Slowly over time it will be come something of incredible value, to the artists and hopefully the viewers too.
It is finally finished. I'm quite embarrassed at how long it has taken. Ah, but I'm very happy with how it has turned out! It has been made by rebinding a 1955 edition of Robert Ruark's "Something Of Value" published by Hamish Hamilton Ltd, London. The particular book was chosen for it's title, the size of the book and the fact that it was in reasonable condition. I have never read the book and don't really know what it is about! But it seemed apt for this project to me.
I began by disassembling it, removing the original book block from the covers and reinforcing the covers to help it to last its future journeys. Then I separated each page from the book block. Unfortunately it didn't contain much of interest (to the sketch artist!) in its pages, so while I selected a few to go back into the book later, I also dipped into my stash of pages from other old books to add a bit of visual interest with different sizes of papers and different subject matters. I cut the new pages from a variety of art papers - Arches 185gsm, both hot and cold press watercolour papers, my favourite sketchbook paper Art Spectrum Draw & Wash, Canson Montval watercolour paper, Stonehenge drawing paper, Canson acrylic sketch paper and some found papers including grid, exercise book and pages with writing guides. I stitched the new book block together with waxed linen thread and I am happy to believe it will make a wonderfully eclectic basis for a wide variety of sketches. Artists will be able to select a page that will support their kind of artistic expression. Text pages can be gessoed over or collaged onto. Watercolour pages can take other wet media and the drawing papers are very versitile.
I added 2 ribbon page markers to the book and new endpages. These I made from some really rustic handmade paper I found in our local artisan market down by the harbour. I really wanted to leave their deckle edges complete but they were just slightly too large for the book. A little bit of exercising the grey matter later I came up with what I think is an ingenious solution! I used the excess width to create a tab that I could sew envelope pockets onto both front and back. I made the envelopes so they still function well even after sewing. They will be great for artists to slip their cards, notes or info into so it is all kept together as the book travels the globe.
Once the book was firmly reattached to its covers I added a little pocket that holds a card of mine that documents the rebinding. I usually make these envelopes out of discarded pages from the book itself, but this time I was lucky enough to have the crumbling remains of the original dust jacket. I used the spine section with the title showing. To me it's a lovely way to keep in mind the origin of the sketchbook, which over time will look less and less like a novel and more and more like an artists sketchbook! I really can't wait to see what happens to our book now!

Check out the Community Sketchbook project blog and Flickr group!


SCB said...

Cool book Jan! Glad you're up and about again. Sara x

Shirley said...

What a fabulous book - with such an interesting title! I still love recycling books and remain indebted to you for both the idea and the generous sharing of technique!

Chrisy said...

Lovin that phrenology head...and that artists's beautifull...the title fits it so exciting to know that it will be drawn in by maybe you could call it Undercover Fridays...

Jan Allsopp said...

Thanks Sara! Shirley you are, as always, welcome. It is a LOT of fun isn't it! Chrisy, thank you. I like your suggestion - undercover Fridays!