Sunday, January 10, 2010

Buttons and more Buttons

Paper Buttons!! How wonderful! I've been planning to construct a Button Book for some years now but never quite satisfied with what I had sketched out. Of course I love buttons, doesn't everyone? But how best to make an artist's book on the subject?

I found a small punch for paper buttons then a larger one and couldn't stop making them. I brought the first few (smaller ones) to the Dard Hunter Paper Conference in Atlanta last October along with sea grass paper from my new Moon Tide Paper Studio and found the attendees were almost more interested in the buttons. I'm going to make bags of them for the next conference. I tested all my paper and found that the banana skin and corn husk papers were best especially if dipped in wax. So my button book will be of paper and wax. I finally feel I have the right idea for this little passion of mine.

So cute I could just about eat them.

I've always been drawn to buttons and never quite realized how much - until I packed up the house last year for my big move from New York to South Carolina. I had jars of buttons, bags and boxes of buttons and a bowl of white shell, bone and glass buttons.

I found buttons all over the place... could never pass a notions department or button shop. I spent many years on Long Island digging in old dumps for bottles and found the most fantastic things along with bottles dating back to the 1850's. One of those small little extras were bone and glass and shell buttons, many in this bowl pictured above. I found metal buttons, a little rusty but fun. I have horn buttons, coconut shell buttons and bakelite buttons, cloth buttons, fur and leather buttons, rhinestone buttons and knotted buttons and clay buttons but until now NEVER a paper button... Are there other closet button people out there? Truly did not know I was collecting them until I had to gather them in one place. Wow... but fun.

I have to finish my copy of "In The Trenches" about Hart Island one of an edition of three in collaboration with Pat Sahertian. Pat's copy is finished, our joint edition done and on YouTube but mine still needs more work. Our primary goal for the next few months is to promote the book and find some book art shows to exhibit them. Then I can have fun with the buttons !

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Banana Skins and Coffee Filters

Holiday cards are done and mailed, this year's wrapping gathered and stored, new projects and thoughts for a new book beginning to form .... saving coffee filters and banana skins for making a beautiful rich dark textured paper - several ideas for this as well... just need enough bananas for a vat full of pulp !! etc etc etc. My mind is racing and I'm looking forward to a very productive new year.

The word is out among my neighbors that a papermaker lives in the area and requests for visits and classes are trickling in. We commissioned our neighbor, Rob, to build my studio along with other neighbors in the construction field last year. I invited Rob and his family here to help make the first official sheets of paper in my "Moon Tide Paper Studio" (actually I should call it a cottage... it's so perfect) word spread from there. I guess I will have to be ready to "go public" in my new community of Bluffton. There are still some kinks in the studio layout – we're adding a deck and work table alongside the building for cooking and hand beating fiber out doors since I use the studio for bookbinding as well.... less mess inside and our beautiful weather pulls at me to work outside. I checked with town officials and there is no restriction on collecting sea grass (spartina) from the beaches here. So full speed ahead on MOON TIDE PAPER for the new year.

TIP: for those looking to teach classes - home schooled groups of children are always looking for something different - papermaking and studio visit is perfect for this setting.

My year long project with friend Pat Sahertian - "In The Trenches" a book about Hart Island Potter's Field is ready for its debut ... looking for artist's book shows to exhibit this amazing book. Pat has details of this book on her Studio PS blog. I will eventually have detail photos of the pages as well.