Monday, 25 January 2010

My Magic Carpet Giveaway 2010

14 Feb: Okay, this is the moment when I cut off comments on this post. Any comments past number 490 will not go into the random number generator. That sounds so unfriendly but that's the rules, sorry to anyone who makes a last minute visit. Thank you all for visiting, I hope to get around to everyone eventually and I'll announce the winner tomorrow at this time.

MEMO 13 Feb: this was meant to be my cutoff date, at 6:00 p.m. Due to an electrical storm the time has passed so I'm now going to extend to Sunday 14 Feb (Valentine's Day!!), still at 6:00 p.m. Sydney time. I will announce the winner in my blog and by email to the winner on Monday 15 Feb, 6:00 p.m.

I'm a Magic Carpet Ticket Holder 2010 - One World One Heart - join me in this adventure!

I'm giving away my Magic Carpet journal. With its luxurious paste paper covers, exotic 16 needle Coptic binding with Celtic overtones and 216 pages, it's just waiting to be filled with your thoughts, dreams and desires. And just one of my lucky readers will win this potentially magical book (you have to supply the magic, of course) simply by leaving me a comment on this particular post. What could be an easier way to become the owner of a Magic Carpet to your dreams? Please be sure that your email address is in your comment or a link that I can use to contact you. I'd be dreadfully upset if YOU won, and I couldn't contact you. The winner will be chosen by the completely impersonal "Random Number Generator". Apart from that, this exercise should be a warm and friendly experience allowing bloggers from all over the world to make contact with one another.
The hand made paste paper covers of my Magic Carpet journal.

While visiting Lisa at A Whimsical Bohemian I learned of her  project "One World One Heart", an event for bloggers world wide. Here is an opportunity to meet other bloggers and possibly win one or more of the many give-aways offered. Every contributing blogger lists a prize which will be given to one lucky reader when names are drawn on the cutoff date, which in my case will be at on Saturday 13 February at 6:00 p.m. [This is Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time which (I think) equates with midnight California time. I'm sure someone will tell me if I'm wrong.] I will announce my prizewinner on my blog and by email at 6:00 p.m. on Monday 15 February. Visit Lisa for a list of other participating blogs and check some out, leave comments and put yourself in the running for other prizes.

Just a note about the Magic Carpet book: The paste papers are my own and the covers are wrapped and non-adhesive. The binding is Coptic, sewn with 16 needles, using Irish linen thread, and embellished with a two colour Celtic stitch. The pages are torn edged, the paper is very basic cartridge, which makes it more suitable to writing in rather than water colours or other really wet materials. I'm rather fond of this book but feel that this is an occasion when it really is nice to be able to give away a favourite.
Lisa started One World One Heart in 2007, when she had over 85 participants. In 2008 this number was tripled, and in 2009 there were 911 participants representing 28 countries. The chance to win something is a great draw card but in the end, as Lisa puts it "it's about finding kindred spirits." Personally, I'm all for finding kindred spirits and as I've already found a few wonderful people through blogging, I'm sure this is a way to find some more.

Remember, a comment on this post gives you a chance to win this book. Visit other participating blogs and leave a comment for a chance to win their giveaway. Good luck and have fun. I hope you meet some great bloggers.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Book Art Object and some unrelated photos

Gardening is sometimes an excuse not to make books. At other times making books is the excuse not to work in the garden. Both are a reason to avoid housework.  First a cucumber photo -  one moment they are tiny, the next too big.  The girls love them.

We also have an great harvest of tomatoes, so totally different to the bought ones. This became tomato soup, which eaten cold was just fabulous.

 Now to something bookish...
About 6 months ago I joined a group called Book Art Object. The original idea came from Double Elephant and, in her words, (far more coherent than my attempt to explain) - "a group of artists interested in books and book objects is using different texts as a starting point for making a small edition of artists' books. This is the inaugural project and about eight artists are going to make an edition of nine books each; participants will get a full set of the books and the final set will be available for exhibition."

Originally one set of the books was to be entered in the 2010 Libris Awards but we later decided to work towards an exhibition later in 2010. The eight participants are Double Elephant, Amanda, Ampersand Duck, art and etc. , Ida Musidora, DinamowPrecious Little Birdy, and myself.

The theme chosen is a poem by Rosemary Dobson titled Learning Absences, 1986.  We have all come at this from different directions and I could see that it possibly concerned the loss and absence of another, perhaps through separation, divorce or death.  However, my primary feeling was something that concerned me personally, and that was the loss of the other person through dementia; the virtual absence of the other while still physically living in the home, and the heartbreak of living with and loving someone who no longer recognised you. I wanted to produce a tribute to my father, a loving, gentle and talented man who just drifted away from us. I wanted to do it for my mother, who never stopped loving him, even when he didn't remember her.

My head was filled with ideas, sleepless nights were a pleasure as I worked out my book in my head,  wrote pages of notes, developed text, made so many plans - but it was an emotional roller-coaster. A normally quite private person, I was about to make all my feelings public. That's where I came unstuck. The deeper I went into the experience the more panic stricken I became until I realised that what I was planning was way too big for me to handle, both technically, financially and emotionally. So I went back to Square 1, where I found I was out of ideas. Lots written down but I could no longer contemplate them because they weren't my Big Idea. Two months ago my mother passed away and I almost reached the point where I thought I would abandon the project altogether.

However, the wonderful Double Elephant, under extraordinary difficulties, produced her set of books and my copy arrived in the mail. An exquisite book, in an embossed handmade (of course) box - my spirits lifted immediately and I knew I couldn't drop out.

It has taken months for me to finally admit that I need to simplify, pare down, and - for goodness sake - make a book. Not only one book but an edition of at least nine! So, I'm again planning, drawing diagrams, making models and I think this time I'm on the way. I'm not ready yet to share any pics (I am a loner, after all) but putting this in writing is something of a committment. Now I'm still doing it for Dad and Mum but most of all I'm doing it for myself because you can't call yourself a book binder if you stop making books.

I recently bought a really beautiful, very tiny book from Eva at Lady Artisan. I bought it for a gift so I'm not about to show a photo of it but I'm very tempted to buy something for myself.

And for no reason whatsoever, except that I love the little buildings we have on our property, and because I'm so impressed by my son's ability to transform timber into useful things, I'm ending with a photo of our rustic garden shed.  I may well end up being the old-timer sitting on the verandah, talking about the good old days with my equally old friends. I can only hope...

Thursday, 7 January 2010

On my shelves

Over the years I've collected quite a few books made by New Zealand bookbinders.

One of my favourite books is made by Michael O'Brien, a traditional binder making wonderful books in Oamaru, South Island. Michael's description: "This Hand Bound Book is made from Recycled New Zealand Paper. It is Hand Sewn with unbleached thread on strong tapes forming ties at the foredge. This style is a variation on the Sixth Century Monastic Tradition of Saint Benedict and carried on in the Arts and Crafts Movement of the Nineteenth Century by William Morris. This Book was made in my Bindery in Oamaru's Historic Precinct in response to the need for sound Ecological values in contrast to the market forces of the consumer age."

Michael's description again: "Old Age Book. This Hand Bound Book is made from Recycled New Zealand Paper and boards reminiscent of old book covers in aged materials. Hand sewn in the flexible style with unbleached linen thread on five raised cords. This method of binding evolved in the Monasteries of the Dark Ages. It is very strong but seldom used today as it is considered overly labour intensive. This Book was made in my Bindery in Oamaru's Historic Precinct with an awareness of the value of Age Old Contemplative Traditions."

The above two photographs show a Paste Paper book as described by Michael: "This Hand Bound Book is made from high quality Acid Free Paper, hand sewn with Irish Linen Thread on strong tapes. This style of binding first came into popular use during the 1830s with the advent of bookcloth. Paste Papers, which were one of the earliest forms of decorative papers, were used for both cover papers and endpapers from the 16th century. A mixture of Starch Paste and Pigment is spread on paper which is then Patterned or Textured by drawing or printing onto it. Each sheet is unique and cannot be reproduced. This Hand Made Book was bound in my Bindery with Care and Contemplation in contrast to mass produced commodities."

 I haven't met Michael but I believe his values and care show in all he does. I hope you enjoy this video about his Oamaru shop and the man himself. I hope he feels I've done him justice in this brief look at his work.

I want to mention two blog sites that I really enjoy. The first is Judy's Red Velvet Creations. Judy, a Sydney artist, makes the most sumptuous creations and her other site Visual Anthologies is simply stunning. These are places I go when I just want to be inspired. To go to one of Judy's classes is on my list of dreams to be carried out one day.

Also from Sydney, Shey, is one of the most prolific and multi talented women I've found on the net. And she shares a great many of my interests so I love visiting her blogs. See her here at Have Journal Will Travel and then explore her other sites.

Do leave a comment when you visit. I love to know what you're thinking, even if it is to tell me my interest in spiders is over the top.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Christmas spiders

Here's our Christmas spider, sitting outside the window (probably the best place) for a couple of days between Christmas and New Year. The photo is dodgy, as I tried to get the spider and my hand in shot to give an idea of size. We decided this was a gravid female huntsman spider but I'm happy for anyone to come up with a better ID. She was way too high up to get a close look, except through the window. I know huntsmen have eggs in a sac and they stay with them for a while after hatching but could this huge abdomen be pre-egg laying?

If you have a real problem with spiders maybe you won't want to click on this next link but we keep it on our desktops for quick ID and treatment advice. I am certainly not an authority on spiders but maybe could be called an admirer. If I ever kill a spider I'm wracked with guilt and feel just terrible for ages.

Spiders do rule here, funnel webs, trapdoors, wolf, mouse, redback and window spiders - and the children have learnt that shoes are necessary in the evenings out of doors. We all grew up in funnel web country along the eastern edge of Australia, and when I think about it now I realise what freedom my parents gave me, and that I gave my children, to explore and be enthusiastic naturalists. Now that I'm a grandmother I'm much more concerned about the spiders but we collect everything that moves, have a good look and identify if possible, then let them go. I have a collection of already dead-when-found spiders in a bottle of gin, just so we can remind ourselves what a funnel web looks like when we fish one out of the swimming pool. Trapdoors, basically harmless,  are unfortunate in that they are hard to identify when they are on the bottom of the pool and I think quite a lot meet a sticky end because they look pretty much like a funnel web. Spiders don't just fall into the pool and drown - they are often quite stroppy when they come out of the pool and you have to be careful not to get on the biting end. Most spiders aren't deadly but many have a good bite which can be painful and best avoided.

That's enough about spiders. I think there have to be some Christmas photos of the children, just to even up the score. Christmas was a delight for the two little girls, and the red-headed boy just enjoyed the attention.

A new tutu for Christmas for the big big sister

A Christmas dress for the little big sister

First Christmas for the little red-headed boy
Christmas with children was magic, followed by new year fireworks reflected in water. Beautiful. Now it's time to settle down and get our lives back on track. But we must never, ever, forget the magic.