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Artistic + Inspiring: Altered Books

August 18, 2008

I was flattered and honored when Holly asked me to be a guest blogger on decor8 for a few days while she settles into her new apartment and part-time life in Germany. I just want to say what a great resource and friendly voice you are here in the design blogosphere Holly. I don’t know how you do it really, every day there are a whole bunch of great new finds with informative, casual blog posts. You’re an inspiration – you make me a better blogger – and I’m sure many of us have nicer homes and studios because of the encouragement we find on decor8. I don’t know how you do it really, but thank you for doing your decor8 thing! [Holly – don’t remove this! : ) ]

Holly asked me to introduce myself: I’m Jason Thompson, father of two, blogger, bookbinder and the founder of Rag & Bone Bindery, a small bookbinding studio based in Providence, Rhode Island. Rag & Bone has been designing & manufacturing handcrafted Albums, Guestbooks, Journals and other books for 18 years now [where does the time go?] and you can find our Albums through retailers across the U.S. and Canada.

decor8 readers can save 20% on all Albums & Books at the Rag & Bone Bindery boutique, simply enter this discount code during checkout [good through Friday, 08/22/08, enter code: decor8].

As a bookbinder, I love books, paper, bookbinding, book arts, paper craft, origami, altered books and art made with books as objects. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by books all day, but sometimes I forget how beautiful they are, which is one reason I’m drawn to book art and artists’ books. I’m inspired by the different interpretations artists find with their art, whether it still retains its “bookish-ness” or is inspired simply by the book form. Here are a few of my favorite artists and journalers who use books as muse and/or medium.

Artistic + Inspiring: Altered Books

Sabrina Ward Harrison
Artist and journaler Sabrina Ward Harrison published her first book at the age of 23, “Spilling Open; The Art of Becoming Yourself”. This was one of the first published journals I discovered [together with Dan Eldon’s, The Journey Is The Destination] that inspired me to journal myself. What is it about journals and journaling that encourages such self reflection? Sabina’s confessional journal pages are visual treats and a reminder of how fragile, inspired, confused, creative and individual we all are. Sabrina’s art has since moved off her journal pages to encompass photography, collage, installations and performances. She recently spent two years living in a former one-room schoolhouse.

If you’re in the Southern California area on September 20th & 21st, you can join a two day creative workshop with Sabrina at Carol Park’s studio. You can view more photos of her workshop here.

Artistic + Inspiring: Altered Books

Teesha Moore
I first met Issaquah, Washington artist Teesha Moore while writing my first book and was blown away [I still am…] by her textured, layered and colorful journals. I was fortunate to have three of them to myself for a few weeks for photography and have to admit, I was inspired and a little intimidated. They’re so complex and dense. Teesha runs Artfest and Artfiberfest every year, two retreats with one-of-a-kind, unique art classes and events focusing on handmade art, book art and journals. Teesha also publishes “Art & Life” and “Play” ‘zines. She’s an inspiration to book artists and journalers and her love for art shows in everything she does. I’ve only met Teesha once, we’re on opposite sides of the country, and she’s just as lovely and generous in person. Check out her colorful art studio…

Artistic + Inspiring: Altered Books
Artistic + Inspiring: Altered Books
Artistic + Inspiring: Altered Books

Artfest 2008 took place in April, however the 2009 schedule is in progress and dates are yet to be announced. Visit her website to stay up to date and join the artfest mailing list.

Artistic + Inspiring: Altered Books

Lisa Kokin
San Francisco Bay area artist Lisa Kokin has her feet firmly planted in the world of fine art but her book work is approachable and playful. Her altered books maintain the book form, creation through destruction, and have a unified look and feel. She maintains a visual continuity throughout her work but finds new life in old books by reshaping them, shredding pages and even sewing books inside-out. In addition to altered books, Lisa also uses buttons as medium for her unique collages.

Artistic + Inspiring: Altered Books

Georgia Russell [Georgia doesn’t seem to have her own website, but is represented by England Gallery]
Scottish Artist Georgia Russell uses a scalpel [and obsessive patience] to create altered books which have been cut, very meticulously, into strips and shreds and carefully arranged into beautiful compositions. This kind of work gets me excited to create myself. There’s just something about particular types of art that sparks the, “I can do that!” feeling which inspires me to create something too. Though frankly, there’s no way I could make something as beautiful as this no matter how sharp the scalpel and how many band-aids I have on hand. Georgia is continually refining her art, creating new and unusual book forms.

Artistic + Inspiring: Altered Books

Su Blackwell
UK artist Su Blackwell creates enchanting book art by externalizing the pages of books into three dimensional representations of their content. Sue says, “These works can be seen as metaphors for language. I use non traditional art materials such as books and clothes to create work which evokes a sense of dreamy melancholy or magical enchantment”. Dreamy and enchanting indeed! If books have dreams they would look like this!

Artistic + Inspiring: Altered Books
Tracey Bush
[Tracey doesn’t have a website, but is represented by Art*Star]

These collaged, paper-cut dioramas by UK artist Tracey Bush combine entomology and lepidoptera with traditional letter writing and mail art. Each butterfly is sewn together from layers of paper using a bookbinders pamphlet stitch and secured into Museum boxes with entomological pins. Each is an actual species presented life size and created with an allusion to its name or habitat, IE: the Scotch Argus butterfly shows a Scottish Loch on its wing, etc. Beautiful!

Stay tuned for Part Two of this post. I’ll return to share some of my favorite paper artists with you on Wednesday.

(images linked to sources above, text by jason thompson)






Books + Magazines

New Domino Book!

July 28, 2008

Did you notice in the decor8 book shop today that I’ve added the new Domino book? Oh yes, it’s ready to ship in the Fall and can be pre-ordered online at a discount. I’m sad that I’ll miss it since I’ll be overseas and I know the book won’t release there while I’m away… So I have to wait until December when I return back to the states. But all of you are the lucky ones — you can order it now and see it way before me. :)

New Domino Book!

This looks so great, I can’t wait to peek inside! Way to go Domino magazine. I have a feeling it’s going to be my new favorite design book.

(image from amazon.com)






Arts + Crafts, Books + Magazines, Etsy Faves

Because Sometimes Things Cannot Wait…

July 20, 2008

Just look at these darling handmade books (in English) for children that double as art — pretty enough to display on a shelf or frame. I could not wait until tomorrow to share them. They are made with love by La Pomme Stories in France.

Because Sometimes Things Cannot Wait...Because Sometimes Things Cannot Wait...Because Sometimes Things Cannot Wait...
What little (or grown up) girl would not love one of these… A special thanks to Shelly DeVous/heartlandart for the tip!

Also… If you are looking for a little inspiration today, I’ve posted some images from my binder over at haus maus along with a few of my finds from shopping at Red Chair Antiques yesterday…

(images from la pomme stories)






Books + Magazines

Ecologique: The Style of Sustainable Design

July 7, 2008

Vanessa from Turquoise in LA wants to tell us about new book she’s loving so I’m handing the mic over to her for a moment… Take it away, V!

Ecologique: The Style of Sustainable Design
Ecologique: The Style of Sustainable Design
By: Vanessa De Vargas

I am so happy to blog about Ecologique “The Style of Sustainable Design” a new self-published book by interior designer Kelly LaPlante of Organic Interior Design. Kelly LaPlante is an eco designer located in Venice Beach, CA. Kelly?s retail store and design firm showcases custom eco-friendly furnishings while mixing recycled and vintage pieces. Her new coffee table book is a wonderful display of how green design looks polished and oh so chic! The many pages are filled with impressive images from classic style to tradition to eclectic and is printed on acid-free paper with soy-based ink.

Ecologique: The Style of Sustainable Design
The book is available through Organic Interior Design and 100% of the proceeds go to Global Green the national green resource center and The Blank Theatre Company, a playhouse in Los Angeles – which are both very important causes to Kelly. The book is $50 (or $55 including shipping) and all orders can be placed right here.

Ecologique: The Style of Sustainable Design
Just a couple months ago Kelly designed suites at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and in Washington in partnership with Lexus Hybrid. Her classic design merged perfectly with the style and sophistication of the history of the hotel. In my opinion I have seen a lot of green design and I can fully say that Kelly not only has the eye for interiors but she has the knowledge to showcase exactly how eco design can look timeless and refined. For more design inspiration please check out her website.

Ecologique: The Style of Sustainable Design
And if you’re interested in more sustainable design, be sure you check out upcoming appearances of Kelly on Discovery Home Channel?s Greenovate and Sundance Channels Big Ideas for a Small Planet!

Vanessa De Vargas






Books + Magazines

The Cocktail

June 26, 2008

I wrote about the illustrator of this lovely little book called The Cocktail over at Real Simple yesterday (link here). Her name is Kat Macleod and she has a few pillowcases and a pretty handkerchief for sale at Third Drawer Down right now.

The Cocktail
I must confess, I purchased the book soley for the illustrations… Although the boozy concoctions look truly delicious. Some of the illustrations are so nice that I’m almost tempted to remove and frame them. But then there is this whole uncomfortable feeling I have about destroying a perfectly lovely book… So for now I will display the book on a shelf in my kitchen.

The CocktailThe Cocktail

(image top: holly becker for decor8 bottom: third drawer down)






Books + Magazines

Style Statement: Live By Your Own Design

April 28, 2008

I recently dug into a new book called Style Statement: Live By Your Own Design by image consultants Carrie McCarthy and Danielle LaPorte. As I started into the first section, the ideas sounded vaguely familiar and it was then that I remembered columnist Cynthia King first introduced these ladies to us awhile back in Domino magazine in the May 2007 issue, “Phone date with (style) destiny”. Since I like what I’m reading so far, I’ve decided to make this read the decor8 book of the week.

Style Statement: Live By Your Own Design
I can still recall how intrigued by McCarthy and LaPorte Cynthia was, and their ability to take in all this information about a person and using only two words, describe exactly their style, or as they call it — your Style Statement that defines your authentic self. Self-branding if you will. Cynthia is Cultivated Wonder.

“In a culture obsessed with image and materialism, it can be hard to feel like yourself. Amidst the craze of ?bigger, better, faster?, living real takes some determination. All too often, one?s best self gets buried beneath conformity and confusion. You wonder if the real you?the life-loving, juicy, most dynamic parts of you?can be excavated, re-invented or finally pulled together all in one place.” – Style Statement.

For instance, author McCarthy calls herself Refined Treasure. She has styled and designed homes, hotels, and magazines. LaPorte’s style statement is Sacred Dramatic. She brands companies for a living. You can learn more about the authors on their website, Carrie & Danielle, Inc. I often think I’m too complicated to be described in only two words, which is why I purchased Style Statement: Live By Your Own Design because I’d like to see if after reading this book I can actually do it. The book is loaded with profound (sometimes funny) questions and mini tests, if anything I’m up for a little self-discovery and fun. I’d even love to have a phone consultation with them as did Muse Marian, wouldn’t that be fun?

What can self-branding do for you? These ladies feel that it can help you to be more confident, make wiser decisions, and even dress and decorate with more confidence. In other words, to be more authentic — to be exactly who you are without fear, to live your life in full color.

Has anyone read this book yet or have an interest in uncovering your Style Statement? Your thoughts on this?

(image by holly becker for decor8)






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