Handmade Book Continued

Handmade Book Continued

About a month ago, I showed you my handmade book that I created at our annual art retreat. I have since then been slowly adding “stuff” to the book. The theme is the forest and I am having fun finding things to add to the book.

Handmade book open to page spread with fabric photo of trees in morning light stitched to page and small torn piece of paper below photo with definition of woodland.

I had this photo of morning light on trees printed on fabric for my class homework but hadn’t used it. I decided to hand stitch it in place on this hand dyed page. I then glued a piece of handmade paper to the page spread and added a definition of woodlands scrap of paper that Paula gave me. She had a bunch of definitions printed out on “old paper” and she kindly gave me the ones relating to the forest. As you can probably tell, I am not starting on page one and working through the book. I am adding things randomly through the book depending on what the page looks like and what I think works best. This way, I’m not stressing about each page being wonderful. I just find something that I like and add it in. So these pages may have more things added as I go along or not.

Handmade book open to inside cover and first page. Specimen label on cover and small piece of handstitched "moss" on first page.

Paula also had some “old” labels and I used the Specimen Book label on the inside cover. And then I took a small piece of machine stitched “moss” that I had made for my moss covered branch and glued it on to the first page.

Handmade book open to page spread with a charcoal sketch of an aspen tree on plaster coated page.

The pages that have been covered with a mixture of plaster and gesso will all end up with some type of drawing or sketch. This Aspen tree sketch was done with a charcoal pencil and then I sprayed the page with a fixative so hopefully the charcoal won’t smear.

Handmade book open to page spread with lattice type handmade paper and feathers woven into paper.

I collect a lot of “stuff” when I walk through the woods around my house. I have a lot of turkey feathers but they were a bit too big so I used these smaller orange veined feathers to weave into the page of hand made paper. I’m not sure what bird these are from but they are much more rare to find on the ground than the turkey feathers.

Handmade book open to page spread with a torn edged photo of chickadee artwork pasted on dictionary page.


I wanted to try a photo transfer on some pages. I thought this would work on the regular paper of the old dictionary page. So I tried to transfer a photo of this painting that I did of a chickadee. The transfer did not work out so I ended up printing the chickadee on to regular copy paper, tearing it out and gluing it on to the page.

Handmade book open to page spread with transfer of a photo of a sketch of an Oregon grape leaf.

Here’s another attempt at a photo transfer on to a watercolor paper page. It worked slightly better but came out very lightly. I used a black marker to outline the Oregon grape leaf but decided to just leave the lighter colors as they were from the transfer. I am not trying for “perfection” in this book. It’s about collecting “stuff” about the forest in one book. The rocks on the page in the photo above are just there to hold the page in place so I could take a photo. But perhaps I need a sketch of the rocks added in? I’ll keep that in mind for another page idea.

I’m enjoying this process of working randomly in the book. It’s a storage vessel for all my forest “finds”.

14 thoughts on “Handmade Book Continued

  1. I had to go back as I missed the post when you showed your book creation. What an inspired idea! Reading through, I felt a calm come on me, (I love forests) and then an excitement. I really love the idea of a place for thought, slow creativity and the variety of mediums. My mind goes to the place represented on the page, and then my hands want to feel how it is done! Just a lovely walk in nature for your eyes and hands. All I can say is wow. This really speaks to me. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you Deb, I love the forest too (as you can probably tell) and a calming effect is a good result. If only we could all take a walk in the woods together and absorb all that nature has to offer. The book is very tactile and it “longs” to be picked up and handled. πŸ™‚

  2. I love these scrappy notebooks, where you can let go and not worry about how it ends up, where to start or whether “it’s pretty.” Yours certainly is looking gorgeous, and I think sticking to a theme is also going to prove great for an overall sense of aesthetic consistency, but my main take on this is: play around, have fun, use what you have and let the journey take you where it may.

    1. Thanks Leonor, it is great to not worry about the finished outcome and just play around. Sometimes my analytical brain doesn’t want me to do that so I have to “make it” go out and play.

  3. Lovely work Ruth, the idea is inspiring to create a book as a memento for so many things, places and people, using nature as the basis. Thank you.

  4. I love β€œtactile” and this book is definitely asking to be handled! The nice thing about this kind of book is that there are no rules so I can see you having a lot of fun adding to it over time. I like the addition of the wording too.

    1. Thanks Karen, I wish our blog could be “touch friendly” so everyone could pick up the book. There will be more words added as I go along. Who knows how it will turn out?

  5. It’s a good idea to add things randomly rather than working front to back! The new pages are lovely and each one is so very different from the others.
    You’re creating a book of beauty that many people will want to look through for years to come.

    1. Thanks Ladies, working front to back always seems like such a “school book” way to go. So here’s to not following the rules!

    1. Thanks Cathy, I am really having fun and liking the random outcome. And the forest is my go to inspiration, my favorite place to be.

  6. I’m going to keep this short Ruth. For some reason I have found myself outside the site when I was leaving a response. Happened twice. So, I love your work here. So many beautiful techniques and so tactile. Yet calming. It totally captures the imagination. Especially the feather. πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ‘Œ Helene

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