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i have had such a blast working on little handmade books with some of my favorite arty kids over the past month and a half or so, and finally, they are pretty much done!

during our first book get-together, the kids covered some bookboard with masking tape and then sculpted their covers with paper clay.  i had some photos of this but i seem to have lost them, so you’ll just have to see the final phase photos instead.  during our second get-together, they collaged the inside covers of their books and prepared the pages (this was a sunny day and the kids were distracted by playing so we didn’t get much done on the books, but it was such a fun day none the less!).  finally, this past weekend, we painted our covers and started binding.  here are some fantastic photos of elie, jack and finn working on their creations:

autism spectrum art group
one of our favorite places to meet is the st. john’s mcmenamins.  love the huge table upstairs with all of the natural light AND the fact that they don’t mind us getting messy.  🙂

elie is the master sculptor of the group and made a precious snail, flower and mushroom on her cover:

aspergers art group

jack is more focused than finn.  🙂  notice finn hasn’t even started painting his cover (we’ll be finishing his oringial book this week)…

aspie art group

elie’s gorgeous front cover is now complete!  snail in the snow.  i love it!

art group with kids
here is a picture of the precious little mushroom — i am so in love with the way she painted it:

mushroom detail
and her easy binding was started with some of her favorite fabric and embroidery thread (we’ll probably get to finish this next weekend else she finishes with her mama):

asperger's art group
here is some detail of one of the other books (i probably did more work on this than finn did, at least with the paint, and of course it’s not done, but you can peek at it anyway).  we will be painting some more on it, filling the holes with black and adding some crackle:

art group, kids, aspergers
i think finn’s favorite part was embedding objects into the clay while it was still wet.  not sure what happened or why i didn’t get more photos of the other two books, darn it.  i’m easily distracted sometimes.

of course there was plenty of time to play on the cozy couch once we washed up (here you can see one of the more calm moments — should have gotten some shots of the pig-pile they made on top of each other).

play time at kid's art group

and last but not least, their almost completed books — love them!!

kiddo art group -- completed books
thank you audrey for some of these fantastic photos!!  (she took all of the good ones)

during our next art group, we’re going to be making holiday trees.  the boys are making minecraft inspired trees once we can figure out what to do for the blocks and i don’t think elie has decided what she wants to do yet, but i think mine will be created from fabric-wrapped wire and will be in a wooden base.  then of course we’ll have to make some ornaments to decorate them.  we always have so much fun together!  with our other group of kids that we get together with from our neighborhood, we will probably just make some ornaments for their parents.  last year we did special boxes, some with drawers, with treasures inside like handmade books and ornaments.  whatever we do, we’ll be sure to have heaps of fun.  i’ll share more photos, of course.

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i am getting soooo very close to completing the tallest handmade book in the world!  once it’s done, i will be emailing all participants so we can all shout out to anyone and everyone who may be interested in seeing it completed, and bidding on it silent-auction style.  i am so excited!  hopefully you are too.  i had things on hold because there were about nine people who kept promising to send pages but life is buy and i don’t hold that against anyone, of course.  just was hopeful that some of the late pages would come in.  one of those people was my husband, who is a musician and not a visual artist, but he wanted to do a page.  did he?  nope.  i still love him anyway.

i have to be honest.  i had no idea so many gorgeous pages would come in and i’ve had about 78 panic attacks thinking i would ruin the book that so many people put so much love and creativity into.  i’m dumb sometimes and have to tell that self-doubt to shut the hell up, of course, but sometimes it still creeps in.  so, to ensure i haven’t forgotten how to bind, i created three new books in practice.  it’d been a year or longer since i’d made one, after all.  wanna see?  if so, scroll down.

first, i created a little apothecary book.

handmade apothecary art book, alicia caudle

from left to right, the tiny bottles contain echinacea petals from flowers from my yard, a poppy pod and third, some dried english lavender flowers.  the pages are created out of cold pressed water color paper which is great for painting, collaging or whatever as they are sturdy and tough.  the paper on the front is more like fibrous fabric.  it’s really, really cool and i think it was hand-made in thailand but i could be wrong.  it’s covering black hand-made paper and i kind of like the effect.

apthecary book, hand made book, art book, alicia caudle

i have recently gotten quite a huge amount of these insanely cool middle eastern tribal coin charms — they are authentic vintage coins with metal loops soldered on.  i have been using them like crazy in my books and assemblages.  (i have some new ones up for sale here — they sell pretty fast though ’cause they are gorgeous: http://alteredbits.com/metal-glass-objects.php)  i really need to retake some of the photos, but that’s a side note to self.  anyway, the book has a tie closure like most of my books to help keep secrets safe inside (not that others can’t untie a ribbon and get hella nosy, but you get my point).

handmade art book, artist book, art journal, foremother

next, i was so inspired by this gorgeous carte de viste photograph which is one of many i received from my sweet friend emma in the uk, that i had to create this book with her image on the front.  i want to do a series of them because i think it would be fun.  i call this a “foremother” book because i’ve been hugely into genealogy lately and i always wonder what all these wonderful ladies and gentleman look like from my ancestry.  (another side note: i am a princess.  well, not really, but i should be — i am a decedent of a king in scotland.)  here i have used one of the more rusty and old coin charms along with some tribal metal beads and some tribal chain.  i am so in love with these new finds!  and i’m so not in love with how crap-tastic the above photo looks.  i’m not good at photography when the sun isn’t out, sadly.

handmade art book, artist book, art journal, foremother
this book ties shut too, of course, and to give credit where credit is due, all of my ribbons come from the gorgeous and talented lisa jurist of mudhound studio.

detail of pages from handmade artist book or art journal

each of the pages are dyed and i have tattered the edges because i really wanted it to look as old as possible to give that feel of something handmade that had been passed down through the generations.  kind of like an old relic or family heirloom.

handmade artist book, handmade book, moth book, bug art

finally, this one, which is called the moth book.  if you know me, you know how damn creative i can be with my naming!  (that’s a joke — “the moth book” is not a creative name at all.)  but the book is pretty darn cool if i do say so myself.  there is a silken bookmark with one of those gorgeous coins again, another tie-closure from lisa jurist’s amazingly beautiful ribbon, and on the spine, some of the lovely tribal metal buttons (again).

book spine, metal tribal buttons

detail of the moth book cover

this little moth died on my front porch and he was so pretty that i decided to immortalize him (or her??) in this book forever, under a piece of mica.  the wings are so pretty!  i love bugs (well, dead ones, sorry to say — some live ones scare the crap out of me), and am going to do a whole series of entomology books.  i have some crazy horned beetles and other such things to use.  the frame is a product of the first mold i ever made, and created with aves apoxie resin clay — i’ve just painted it to look a bit like metal.

hand made bookpages detail
each of the 130 pages of this book have been hand-dyed with coffee, tea and handmade dye, most with the imprint of leaves and other bits of nature.  i have never put that much work into actual book pages before — it was so fun seeing all of the pages hanging around my kitchen to dry, like little tattered paper flags.  i’m definitely going to be creating more of these soon!

hand made bookpages detail

i am so in love with the way the pages look together in the book.  i intentionally offset some of them so it gave and older tattered look.  oh, and some of the pages were originally white and some brown paper bag paper (not actual bags, but the nice reams i used to be able to buy from paper zone before they went out of existence).  i’m secretly going to miss this book — it has sold and will be flying off to virginia.  (the other two are available and have just been listed in my shop — trying to stock up for the holidays this year.)

speaking of books, i have been trying to get two new book tutorials done.  one being a waxen two-story book and the other being a specimen book with a test-tube as part of the binding.  i’m going to get the tallest handmade book in the world project done first, of course, and then jump on it.  here is a peek of those two books (click to enlarge if you want a better view):

handmade artist book and art journal tutorial

please stay tuned, book lovers — my favorite art kiddos will be done with their handmade books soon and i soooo can’t wait to share photos.  you will be so impressed!  all we have left to do is bind and paint.  the covers are clay-covered book board with embedded objects and sculpted bits.  they totally rock already but they will be even more magical once they are completed.  with any luck, i will have four to share within the next week or three.

also, stay tuned for more peeks at the tallest handmade book in the world because it’s getting so much closer to being done.  the drawers are complete, the binding sort-of started, the covers almost done (back done, front is going through a bit of an identity crisis).  i also still need to take photos of all of the pages.

heart

as promised, here is a peek at the drawers in the “tallest handmade book in the world {project}” book.  i have much more paint to add, things to bind, a cover to finish, etc., but it’s moving right along — i should share more completed photos but this is an in progress shot.  i will keep posting updates and peeks as the project progresses so everyone will know when i am ready to start the auction and participants can start spreading the word.

book-drawers

just to give you a frame of reference, this is the back cover/bottom of the book.  i have to decide if i should hide some secret items in the drawers.  probably just a thing or three.  but for now, back to painting cover bits — the back cover needs to have more continuity (promise i’m not leaving it like this).  my time was too busy trying to figure out how the heck to get drawers in and be able to “easily” bind it all while having a big ribbon closure as well.  (i’m a freak — i just envisioned feet on the bottom of the book!)… now my brain-gears-are-a-turnin’.  i could do it.  but…?

can’t wait to show you all more.  this has been such an awesome collaboration!  i wish i could clone myself into three people though ’cause it’s taking wayWAY longer than anticipated.  sorry folks.

what a grand summer!  arting both alone and with the kids, camping, traveling to see properties (that we can’t buy — more on that another day), weeding my ass off in the garden.  it’s all around good times.

i’ve been spending a lot of time painting over the past couple of weeks while gearing up to break out piles of assemblage supplies (i like painting in the summer because it’s more portable — i can sit in the sun, or shade if i’m smart — i fry in the sun).  here is a peek at some recent girlies.  i call them my imaginary friends.  well, four of them at least.  the others are a bit standoffish.

paintings by alicia caudle

these are available in my shop, here: http://alteredbits.com/alicia-caudle-art.php

the “tallest” handmade book in the world is slowly but surely coming to fruition and more resembling an actual book than a pile of gorgeous pages.  i’ve just added drawers to the back cover but no peeks yet!  i shall post some in the next week or three.  i don’t know what it is with me and drawers and secret places in books, but i like it.

in the meantime, i wanted to share some of the fun art some of the kiddos and i have been creating.  we’ve been trying to get together with a couple specific friends every friday for art, and have another couple of friends who come here on an irregular basis.  friday before last, we made collaged “special boxes”.  we thought we would make them so they can put other projects they’ve made into them to keep them save, along with other treasures.

finn (my 10 y/o son) reminds me of myself sometimes.  somehow a nude stamp got into the pile of goodies which i thought i had edited well, but i hadn’t.  his friend elie turned it up-side-down and diverted her eyes when she happened upon it, and finn snatched it up before a word could be said.  here is the top of his box with the nude stamp and some skull beads (AND i am the lucky recipient of this box!):

finn-art-box

miss el started to create a box house for some of her tiny dolls.  i wish i would have gotten photos of the completed box house but i was too distracted.  they both had so much fun collaging, painting and finding random items to glue on.

elie-art-box

here is the table — think i brought enough stuff for two kids to make boxes?  (this wasn’t even all of it!)

art table

after that, finn was quite inspired to surprise elie with a doll house the following friday, and look what he made, complete with popsicle stick hardwood flooring, wainscoting, etc.  i helped, but shhhh.  she loved it and we had super fun making it.  good times all around!  this is a bad angle — there are photos of birds on the walls on the lower level.

mixed-media-doll-house

soon we’re going to be working on some sculpted covers for handmade books (i’ll probably bind them for them).  i love sculpting with the kids!  in fact, here are two bird dolls el made before summer.  these weren’t done when i took the photo, but you can tell she is an amazing talent!

els-birds

here is a detail shot of their super cool heads:

els-birds-detail

anyway, having lots of creative fun both alone and with the kids, and loving every minute of it!  hope you’re having a creative summer too.

tallest handmade book in the world project

i have truly and sincerely not meant to take so long on this project and feel like an ass.  i could make excuses about it, but i won’t, however since today is the last day of school i am back in action on this!  (i spend a good 7 hours a day homeschooling in addition to everything else, so summertime is the time to get stuff done around here!).  i’m very excited!

currently, all pages are ordered and the intro page is written out with all names, locations and either urls or email addresses except two people who did not provide contact information.  (this is part of my delay — trying to track them down.)  so, here i will list the participants and if you know either of the two and can provide me with their email address or blog/site url, i will send you a virtual kiss.  i want to get this up fast so not adding urls right now, but don’t fret — i will of course include them in the book and the pdf version so everyone is properly credited as they should be.

alicia caudle (that’s me)
mum and finn (that’s my son and me)
marni smith-gentry, usa
jill zaheer, usa
marit barentsen, the netherlands
patty szymkowicz, usa
hermine koster, the netherlands
jo murray, austrailia
bonia rose, usa
dave hayes, usa
bernie williams, usa
maggie mannwieler, usa
erin perry, usa
darline campbell, usa
janette gregson, uk
isabelle favre, france
sarah harris, uk
amanda kuykendall, usa

update: have tracked everyone down and gotten all info.  woohoo!  (and proper spelling)

tallest handmade book in the world project

for those who don’t know, the tallest handmade book in the world (which is really only about 4 inches thick) is a book made from donated pages that will be auctioned off to benefit my art group for children on the autism spectrum — click the link to the left in my side-bar to read more (but please note that i no longer have that PO box address).  for the summer we are bumping up art groups from one or two a month to one or two a week.  many of these kids’ families can’t afford contributing to the art supply fund and i can only buy so much.  currently i’m working with four kids on the spectrum on a regular basis, and a small handful of others here and there.  i cannot tell you how amazing it is to see their work!  i will seek parental permission and post some things soon.

what’s left to do?

make covers for both front and back.
finish my last spread (i did the rest of the pages in the intro spread and helped the little man with his four pages at least!).
take photos for PDF upload.
bind the whole thing up.
post it up for auction.

not sure if i should do a silent auction here on my blog, or if i should do it on ebay.  what do you think?  there are pros and cons to each option.

what can you do?

once it’s all complete, i will spread the word for a week or so and you can help.  tell anyone you know who may be interested.  i’m so excited to see how many people are interested in this book.  i cannot even begin to tell you how gorgeous it’s going to be!  the work in it is amazing and a half, squared!

i will try not to sleep much for the next couple of weeks so i can get this done, however i’m not stating a date of completion because i don’t know how long it will take.  i do hope you understand.  just stay tuned.  🙂  you can sign up for email alerts somewhere on my blog if you want to make sure you don’t miss anything.

check back soon for peeks!  i’m revving up my camera to get shots of all pages (wish my scanner was accessible, but i kind of lost it during some remolding projects — totally dumb!).  also, i’m going to have a give-away associated with the book but not sure how i’m going to do it just yet.

some of you know that i recently had the idea of starting a non-profit art group for kiddos with aspergers syndrome and autism… and it’s finally happening!  i’m super excited.  we’re getting bids to remodel the garage and make it our little group’s “art shack” and touching young lives with art and expression.  right now we’ve just been having tiny groups of two to four kids at a time at the dining table but soon we will expand (in the spring) to being an open group with up to eight or ten kids at least twice a week.  it will be donation driven for supplies and things, like “pay if you can” sort of thing, but no one will be turned away if they can’t afford it.  one thing i’ve noticed is that the kids feel so comfortable with teach other and can totally relate to one another.  one little guy told me that he liked that he wasn’t picked on at our house for being “different”.  happy tears for me!

in preparation of trying to file the non-profit paperwork, getting the garage remodeled into the kid’s studio, and setting up website hosting (shameful admission: i can’t afford to do it all myself money-wise), i’ve created a few pieces of art with the kids to make a little start-up money, in a joint etsy shop with the boy called mum and finn (our monsters will be going there soon, too, but i thought it would be a good fit for this stuff as well).  100% of profits go to the kid’s art group, of course.  the first three pieces below were based upon the kid’s talking about feelings and some of their favorite things to do.  they picked the colors and things and i painted the pieces as best as i could based upon their descriptions (according to six to nine year olds, i’m “really good” at painting their words — they are so sweet!).

piece one: i love skipping rope in the rain
4×6″ canvas
available here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/90242520/skipping-rope-in-the-rain-mixed-media
sold. thank you. 🙂

i love skipping rope in the rain

piece two: kicking a ball while wearing a funny hat
4×6″ on canvas
available here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/90239254/kicking-a-ball-while-wearing-a-funny-hat
sold. thank you. 🙂

mixed media portrait

piece three: watching orion (in bunny ears)
5×5″ canvas
available here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/90238257/watching-orion-in-bunny-ears-mixed-media
sold. thank you. 🙂

mixed media portrait

stuffed monster (based upon my son’s drawing): eunice traded her right art for george’s intestines. she survived… but he did not.
(not intended to be a child’s toy — small parts — removable intestines)
available here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/90244911/stuffed-monster-bunny-eunice-traded-her
sold. thank you. 🙂

salvaged textile stuffed monster

and last but not least, a special playful but weirdo mixed media book/journal.
available here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/90248419/two-story-book-mixed-media-art-journal
this one is special in that it’s a “two story” book™ (© alicia caudle, 2011, all rights reserved) which is one of my recent creations (i will be posting my other two story book creations soon and will be hosting a small workshop on how to make them but more on that at a later date):  THIS PIC MAY TAKE A BIT TO LOAD.
sold. thank you. 🙂

mixed media art book, journal

all of these pieces have been added to our new etsy shop (with LOTS of new monsters coming soon): mum and finn on etsy

note: both the girl and the boy above that are listed as 4×6″ canvases are the same brand of canvas but for some reason the size is a tiny bit different.  what’s up, winsor newton!?  the girl is about 1/4″ taller… and i didn’t notice until i finished each of them.  hmmmph.

my oh my, i’ve been itching to share!  my dang camera broke though and i was unable to fix it until today.  it almost feels like the world stops when the camera breaks.  silly, i know, but i’m so very dependent upon it as i’m sure most of us are as blogging artists.

so, our “tallest handmade book in the world” project is still going strong.  sir finn, my eight year old fireball has requested that the end date be april 27th, 2012.  that is his ninth birthday.  i said sure thing!  so, let’s see how tall we can get this — it’s not currently very tall but it’s gorgeous! click the tallest handmade book image on the left to read the full post and requirements if you’d like to play.

here are some peeks of less than half of the unbound pages.  i’m a tease ’cause i want you to be surprised with the whole thing at the end.  🙂

tallest handmade book in the world project peek

(i just realized i forgot to put a peek of my page in there.  ha!  at least finn’s is there… can you guess which are his?)

so, i have officially purchased a domain for the website of our wee non-profit asperger art group.  did i even tell you that i have finally started it!?  i’m so excited!  i’ve got four boys so far but couldn’t possibly take any more until we get the studio done for them (have 7 more interested kids, two volunteers lined up both with backgrounds in asperger’s syndrome and autism).  right now we’re kitchen tabling it… tight squeezes but heaps of fun!  it’s called little bug’s studio.  or bug’s art shack.  i bought both domains ’cause i couldn’t decide… and my bug isn’t going to be “little” for much longer.  next step: set up the 501c3 non-profit status stuff through the state.

it’s so amazing how much these kiddos can fight and argue while trying to play soccer or wii games or legos but you put an art project in front of them and they are so very calm and sweet.  and quiet!  my son is always one of the most audible children on earth but while doing art, it’s a different story.  ahhhh!  blissful silence.  🙂  my camera broke just two weeks before solstice so i didn’t get pics of most of our projects, but here are a couple for now.  each of the kids made a “special box” for themselves and one for a holiday gift for mamas or aunties or friends.  here are two progress photos of the 8 year old created “special boxes”:

mixed media art box, altered box

this bird part was black and white paper he colored in/painted.  his aunty said her favorite colors were “purple, red and sparkle” so the box is covered with so much glitter my house looked like a faerie had exploded in it.  it was fun to see their faces light up with their finished projects.

mixed media art box, altered box

here are the two completed boxes finn made for his aunties for solstice/christmas (the left one was a memorial box for my sister who’s dog recently passed away — he’s such a tender and thoughtful boy!):

mixed media art boxes

i wish i had shots of the rest of the boxes from the other kiddos.  there was a space box, an einstein box, another footed bird box and a pirate box.  apparently i didn’t even take cell phone pics of those!  another fun thing we did was posters of ourselves (i traced them on five foot wide paper pieces and they painted/collaged/embellished/etc. with their favorite things).  that was a hit — they all loved it and expressed so much through their art about what they like, love and appreciate in the world.  art with kids is so much fun!  especially seeing their eyes light up — such a gift!

but i must get back to adult-hood soon and finish some of my own projects.  xx

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