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(oops, i already posted the hawthorn spirit journal a couple of weeks ago so this title is inaccurate. sorry!)
within the past couple weeks, i’ve completed a couple more spirit journals. i’m kind of obsessed, but anyone that’s known me since i started this blog 7? 8? years ago? …knows that’s i’ve always been book obsessed.
this one is entitled “faery writing and forest runes” (because books need titles, you know). all of the twigs were found on the forest floor in the oregon rain forest and taken with both permission and gratitude.
the front is adorned with western red cedar and douglas fir twigs that were been nibbled by tiny forest creatures whilst the branch was still living and covered in bark. i call these twigs forest runes and like to think of the markings as faery writing because that feels more magical than a bug or a worm in a lot of ways. if you listen carefully, you can hear their messages.
here is a close-up/more detailed shot of the stunning little twigs. they are just as i found them, except that i oiled them a bit with some organic coconut oil to bring out their gorgeous hues:
the energies these trees carry and the messages they convey to us are: strength, virility, presence, and knowing (western ted cedar), determination, purpose, achievement, and reaching new heights (fir — i do know that doug fir is not actually a fir). on the spine is a gorgeous curving piece of pacific madrone which teaches us individuality, adaptation, and how to step into our unique, individual greatness.
the covers are made from a thick luscious paper called bird’s nest paper that was handmade in thailand, with some thick natural cotton weave between the layers to add to its rustic and ancient feel. the spine of the book has yet another twig (the madrone as mentioned above) and it love the way they meander as it grow, as well as the stunning reddish hue of their wood (can you read the faery writing on that one?).
the tree of life, or world tree symbol on the back is actually a lined pocket where you can stick your notes or pen. i made this using reclaimed, naturally dyed fabric and natural hemp twine.
this book is available in my new but not quite fully complete website, here: http://aliciacaudle.com/art/shop/faery-writing-forest-runes-journal-alicia-caudle.php
thanks for allowing me to share another one of my spirit books. xx
i’ve been on a book-making kick lately (and shaman rattles, but that’s another story) and finally completed a new spirit journal last week. it’s been a busy time of adventures, company in town, drum circles and shamanic clients, so i’m only now finding the time to post it. (thanks to my husband picking our son up from school instead of me having to do it!)
due to the lack of finding a more creative alternative, i am simply calling this spirit journal “the hawthorn journal” (though i do affectionately think of it as a faery journal — i’ll explain momentarily).
the cover was very carefully constructed of fallen hawthorn branches we’d been drying in the garage for the past year or so. hawthorn representing abundance and duality in the celtic tree ogham and is also often referred to as “the faery tree”. if you are unfamiliar with hawthorns, they are in fact quite thorny and potentially brutal. one day, about six years ago, my son literally caught his ear lobe on a branch and half-pierced it. they’re sharp! thankfully i suffered not even a scratch (hawthorn and i are great allies).
instead of my typical two-strand tie closure, i opted to do a wrap-around closure with a holey stone on a piece of gorgeous silk ribbon that i purchased from lisa jurist’s etsy shop (you can find it here — alert — you will want to buy a LOT!). holey stones are stones that have natural holes in them from water. they are also often referred to as hag stones or faery stones (yep, another reference to those beautiful fae spirits!), and they are very protective, just like the hawthorn.
detail of some of the twigs, which have been attached to my very favorite paper in the world called bird’s nest paper. see the thorns? i think this would deter people from looking at your private writings.
the binding is just one of my typical “i don’t really know how to properly bind so i just make up my own methods” types that incorporates more of that gorgeous brown silk ribbon. it’s a bit rough and primitive, just the way i like it. i see that i accidentally shot this photo before the cover was actually affixed to the book, but you get the idea. that gap? it doesn’t exist anymore. oh, and that stunning burlap type paper is actually 1940s wallpaper. i love the rough but natural feel and the tight weave of it.
each of the pages were hand-dyed using organic coffees and teas, and then i deckled each of the edges myself. (it is called “deckle”, right? spell check always hates that word for some reason.) i always love the look and feel of things that appear old and handed down through the generations. i pretend one of my old witchy german great grandmothers or scottish shaman great grandmothers made this to be handed down to me. well, not really to me, but to you… since i just listed it in my etsy shop. you can take a look at it here. the description is much more thorough and informative, especially if you’re interested in learning more about trees and rocks and their metaphysical/magical/other uses and characteristics. you can peek at it here >>
(sold, thank you)
since i have to work cyclically lately between different mediums, sometimes i can’t decide if i want to create an assemblage or a book. they are, after all, the two things i’m most passionate about creating (though i’m still overly obsessed with the idea of creating a portrait i don’t hate). so this time i decided to create both in unison… a book inside an assemblage. it’s funny how i say that as if i’ve never done that before. i’m totally laughing right now. this is probably my forty-third assemblage with a book in it.
meet the second gal in my doll box series (the first, “exhibition of self” can be found in seth apter’s book “the pulse of mixed media” where i was one of the featured artists). i fell instantly in love with that little face of hers and had to create something special. at least i feel she’s special. ❤
like most people, she has her secrets; some are kept in the little drawer just above her heart, and others can be kept in the book within her belly. the drawer is actually not empty. can you guess what’s inside?
the book is made with bones upon the spine and a metal and shark tooth closure i fashioned out of miscellaneous found objects.
what did you create today?
omg, the zine is almost done! i have a couple/few extra additions to add this week, bios to do, then it’s done. i had to take a break from it this week though because my studio is a shit hole. i’m sorry, but it’s true. it was so messy and cluttered that there was literally a path to the desk and i had to hoist myself over boxes of bones and doll parts, canvases and other junk just to get to the other side of the room. not cool. so, it’s almost all the way tidy now and a clear space makes for a clear mind… and the ability to do MUCH better design/layout work. want a peek of another one of the pieces? here ya go (betcha you could never figure out who created this piece):
during the whole cleaning and crap excavation, i realized that i do way too much. seriously. there are only so many hours in the day and when i cook a bare minimum of 18 hot, nutritious meals per week, do a load of dishes or two a day, home school for 6+ hours per day (more like 8+ when you take breaks and attitude into account), do web design for existing “old” clients as needed, tend to my shop (that’s kind of a lie — i don’t think i’ve added anything in a year), do the zine, have two art groups for aspie kiddos (one for homeschoolers, one for public schoolers)… it’s just all too overwhelming. and that’s not even the half of it, but you get the gist. when i have “free time” or force free time by neglecting laundry, i love to create my weirdo assemblages, make handmade books, paint (i’m not that good at it but i LOVE it so who cares), make journals and cuffs, collage, art journal, etc. too much. so i decided that i need to go on an art diet. i’m hereby no longer making wrist cuff bracelets or fabric art journals unless by special request. instead, i’m limiting my art to painting, assemblages and books… and collaborations, but only one at a time (jilly!!). there is only so much time in my life and only so much space in my studio. i’m also nixing my ancient desire to learn to knit and crochet. as a result, i’ll probably be getting rid of about 472 pounds of fabric and yarn… and crochet hooks and knitting needles. et cetera. i’ll save the good stuff for give-aways here. 🙂
cutting out the excess time-suck stuff means more art time and just as exciting, more time to catch up on what everyone else is doing! it’s going to be like blog christmas, or whatever gift-giving holiday thing you’re into. i miss my arty peeps (and nights of a full 8 hours of sleep). slow down, alicia!
on the painting note, i love paint! last year or so i started wanting to learn to paint portraits and figures “right” so i could start doing them wrong… i love the odd and disfigured for some strange reason. my people often look dumb still, but it’s so much fun creating them. anyway, i was recently commissioned to do a nude portrait, which scared the crap out of me. recently is also a lie — it was over two years ago but he reminded me recently because i gracefully “forgot” due to fear. so i created one this week and was a little surprised by the fact that i didn’t totally hate it. the face is wonky, the limbs are uneven (love that), the hands are deformed (intentional), and her hair is abnormally red (among other things), but i don’t hate it, so i’m going to keep playing. i can only post a peek because he who commissioned me to create it hasn’t seen it yet. i’ll share the whole thing at a later date if anyone is interested in seeing a weird naked lady painting. i’ll take good pictures once the recipient has received it so you can see all of the texture.
i’ve also been getting about an email per week requesting more art tutorials, namely texture techniques (without the use of chemical art supplies), recipes for my inks and dyes since i’m allergic to 98% of the universe and often create my own goodies, and some of my strange books and bindings. so, i’ve started a new “two story book®” tutorial. i haven’t written it yet but the steps are all photographed and ready for me to create some free time to compose it. this one isn’t super decorated, but one of the couple i’ve recently created (click to enlarge):
here are some of the inside [coffee stained] pages, all deckled and purdy on the outer edges
and here is some close-up detail of my binding. i’m totally binding illiterate when i read other people’s instructions so i just make up my own, clearly. looks like an ancient book to me.
once the zine is complete and i’m working on the tallest handmade book project, i’ll be whipping up this tutorial for all who are interested. and painting lots more nudes. i think i’m obsessed.
pardon me, but omfg! i received the most delectable, most divine, most gorgeously, stunningly beautiful parcel EVER last week (or the week before)! what is it, you ask? my book from the pulp redux collaboration! for those who don’t know, the pulp redux collaboration is/was an international handmade/altered book collab with five gals: two from the US (lisa jurist and myself), two from new zealand (debie price-ewen and lisa sarsfield) and one from austrailia (kim palmer). we each started our own books, and each participant created pieces to go into said books in the theme of the originator. to see all of our contributions to date, visit the pulp redux blog. my book’s title is “the museum of forgotten things”.
i had had the privilege of seeing all of my completed pages after lisa j. worked her divine magic as she sent it to me so i could post it all to austrailia. so, kim’s contributions were new to me. and omg, she created the most amazing things for my book!! not only is it a book, all bound in gorgeous leather, but it’s a HUGE art quilt when you unfold it! i cannot say or share too much as we’re having an unveiling exhibit in a few months, but i’ll share a peek.
in the spirit of stacks (see previous post), i will share this photo first. i took this a mere 7 minutes after the book arrived a couple/few weeks ago and planned to post it all right that very second.
initially, we were all going to bind our completed books into one huge book, but this thing is TALL. so, i have decided that although it’s a bit more work, it will be easier to view and enjoy if i bind them in volumes. both deb’s and kim’s are pretty self-contained so i may just bind the other three. then, i shall be getting a 2 foot wall shelf to display them on in my living room — i am so in love with all of the amazing work that has gone into this!!
look how tall it would be if i bound it into one huge book (i still may, but the volume idea sounds so cool!):
here’s a cheater shot of each of the five pieces laid out on my couch:
i am slowly but surely finishing lisa j’s book. i’m not trying to go so slow but that is life sometimes… waiting for pieces once i find the perfect “thing” online, etc. i HOPE to send it to her within the next couple of weeks. how many times i’ve said that i do not know, but it will happen before the holidays, that is for dang sure!
how tall is your tallest book or art journal? (i actually have a reason for asking — check back in a few days for my splendid and huge collaboration idea i’ve been toying with for a few months.)
the amazing and brilliant seth apter of the altered page is hosting paper stacks, an online collaboration, starting this very day. you can see how stacked he is here: http://thealteredpage.blogspot.com/2011/09/stackoholics-anonymous.html
to be totally honest, i’ve been so sucked into “the first two weeks of home school mode” while also getting our house painted (HUGE drama there) that i didn’t even know about this until today when dave of clearer reflections emailed to to ask “hey, where’s your stack!?” whoops! but of course i could never ever pass this up so here are some of my stacks.
first, a stack of journal pages, waiting to be completed and bound into book form along with a small handful of collages:
aerial journal page stack view:
this is a book i started last year, with stacks of ghostly pages. someday i will complete this book and share it with you — all true “ghost stories” and other creepy facts:
and lastly, a stack of fabric covered journals i made last year that i have since sold (except for the top one, which i gave to my dear, sweet friend jilly of jazworks — i love that girl!):
how stacked are you? (i’m off to find out now!) go to seth’s blog (linked above) and you can see bazillions of other gorgeous stacks too!
we pulp girls have certainly been slacking with the book posts lately, but i have a sneaking suspicion that we’re consciously or sub-consciously trying to prolong the whole event. i also know that we’ve all been some busy girls with HUGE things going on in our lives as of late. i have been instructed to keep the peeks of the last book i work in (this very book) kind of cryptic as we have some secret future exhibit plans where all will finally be revealed, so i’m not showing as many photos as i typically would. this is, however, round one of two posts i will be doing.
originally i had NO idea what i was going to do. this was in part due to the fact that no natural bits (branches, flower bits, dried leaves, moss) could be sent overseas to new zealand or austrailia due to very strict postal laws and of course, particularly with a title like this, it was a necessity. THANKFULLY i ended up being the last one to receive and work on this book so i’ve cheated and included heaps of nature bits in this so far.
this is not the end result of the compartment, but i wanted you to see how deep it is — that is a deer knuckle bone or something odd like that, and of course a little vial. not sure exactly how i will complete this section, but it will come to be soon enough, i’m sure.
i hope i don’t get in trouble for showing this much of the page. BUT you have no idea what’s on the back, or any of the other secrets that alice and her friends hold, so that is good… for now. every single little bit of this book has been hand-stitched — no sewing machine was used for any part. AND i only bled once while creating it (so far).
i had SOOOOO much fun working on this first part of lisa’s book that i couldn’t stop. my mind kept going and going. as it now turns out, lisa’s book contribution is the first piece in a series of several alice-inspired nature/victorian/steampunk/forest/taxidermy/apothecary pieces. they are so very alicia and contain all that i love. none are 100% done, but i’ve started 6.
here are some very tiny peeks at my very first one that i started, called “finding the rabbit hole”.
i started mine on a 6″ x 12″ canvas — this is the 12″ side, with similar nature bits as in lisa’s book, twigs, dried flowers, moss, and other secrets.
here is alice’s key — all rusty with the number 41 on it. maybe i’ll actually finish these 6 pieces before i reach that age? it has no significance, of course… i just like numbers. next to it, a real white rabbit taxidermy paw.
on the top left of the piece, there is a hole with a glass ring framing it. if you peer inside, you will see a teeny tiny mouse skull and jaw. this was taken while the adhesive was still wet, so there will not actually bit any shiny bits. if there are, i shall fix that!
i’m totally cheating right now… writing this at 2:40 PM on the 17th, to be posted sometime in the morning of the 18th (didn’t want to compete with my winners post, plus am not going to be home tomorrow). i’m probably out to breakfast at the big egg right now — it’s so yummy that you should be quite envious of me. it’s not even a block to paxton gate from there either, and omg, you know how i love that place!! (if not, scroll down a few posts.) shall i buy myself a birthday jackalope? hmmm.
i’ve been working on a series of new mini-books for a little gallery that’s interested in having them. to me, they are “little objects of affection books” in that i’m putting all of my favorite things into hand-made little wooden boxes and frames on the front. this is the first, and isn’t done (though the 3rd, 4th and 6th are complete), but soon. victorian doll parts, glass vials, dried flower petals from my garden, porcupine quills, vintage medical book text. (you can barely make out “delirium and insanity” inside the top of the box i made, and “a disturbance of the mental processes” on the paper underneath. didn’t plan that, but it makes me smile.)
of course it has a funky alicia-style rustic-woven and tangly binding too:
but way better than a silly little book — i received a WONDERFUL package the other day from the generous (and extremely talented) donna watson. i share her affinity for rocks, and she shares mine for frozen charlottes, so we swapped. how perfect that i had plenty of room in my new printer tray from miss lisa! for now, this is a little collection on my coffee table, “objects of my affection”. i’ll probably relocate it all later to do an assemblage in the box, but for now, this pleases me to no end. though i think i’ll take the red “mars” marbles out.
aren’t these just divine! look at the top two-toned, smooth and gorgeous oblong stone! and the one with the white ring! and the speckled one. donna has a real knack for rock finding for sure!!
the following six are perfectly round and absolutely lovely. they look like marbles — which i also have a huge thing for so these are double-perfect!
thank you so much, donna! i LOVE these wonderful stones!
speaking of “objects of my affection”, i keep forgetting to post this fantastically sweet shirley temple doll i found at the flea market a few weeks ago. look how crackled she is!! she came that way naturally (imagine my surprise to have found her!). she’s missing an arm and it looks like a creature chewed off half of her opposing foot, but she’s divine none the less. i’m guessing about 15″ tall or so… maybe more. i want to create a creepy motorized piece out of her, maybe motion detection style so she waves when you walk by or something. i wonder how hard that would be. (oh, just hollered to the husb and he said it would NOT be hard a’tall. rad.)
right now she’s just hanging on the wall in the hall, greeting people as they pass.
happy february 18th to you all!
i’m book obsessed. i think i’ve made about 30 in the past two months, but this one i made for my shop since it’s been so barren over there that i could practically hear crickets. the others were for art fairs and gifts, but this one is for you. 😉 my camera is weird and tries to make things look more pristine than they are.
i like to fool around with different weird binding techniques that i dream up but this time i was going to just cover the spine with fabric. however, when i was done, i liked the rough and rustic look of it so i altered my original plan.
oooh, alicia-style crackle! you can click to enlarge, if you’re interested.
and… a classic back pocket. gotta have a place for those secrets, i always say!
i also spent some time working on my butterfly for the butterfly project. if you haven’t heard of it, here is the short version: the holocaust museum in houston, texas, which is dedicated to educating people about the holocaust, remembering the 6 million jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors’ legacy. fast forward to their project, the butterfly project is to remember the 1,500,000 innocent children who perished as a result of the holocaust by collecting 1.5 million handmade butterflies. i’ve started mine and will be finishing it this weekend with my family. both the husby and the son wish to make one because we think this is such a beautiful tribute to a horribly tragic historical event. many of the husb’s ancestors were lithuanian jews. two dresses studio has graciously offered to forward the butterflies to the museum and we’ll be sending ours off soon.
this is the start to mine (lace, embroidery, recycled sari silk, salvaged fabric from a once-gorgeous dress from the 50s, etc… and i think i will cover the black stitching ’cause i may now hate it):
now, i have to plug my sweet friend lisa jurist because i adore her and her gorgeous products have facilitated my whole book-making extravaganza lately. without her, my binding would be ever so bland! if you do not know her, you must visit her blog and etsy shop and i assure you, you will adore her too. i have a mudhound shopping fetish so a couple of weeks ago when i realized i was low on her amazing recycled silks, i popped over to get more. see how amazingly lovely this silk is!!
and in the package, that super sweet, ever-so-generous girl sent me this amazing miniature vintage printer’s drawer (she sells these in her etsy shop too!). i’m in love and can’t wait to get some of my wonderful little victorian babies and poison bottles into it. thanks so much, lisa!!
i actually finished lisa sarsfield’s book labyrinth last sunday, but since she had just posted i felt i should let her contributions to kim’s book stew a bit before i posted my contributions to her book. i think now enough time has passed that i don’t feel as if i’m stepping on toes or anything…
part one of this post is on our pulp blog: http://pulpredux.blogspot.com.
so, if you want to see see the first pages first,
pop on over there FIRST then come back here to see the rest.
the book is called labyrinth so i’m creating a maze for you to go through if you want to see all of the pics. i’m mean.
detail/side shot of the back page of the pieces i created for lucky dip lisa’s book. i like making random boxes and compartments from scratch so i created one here. had no idea what i was going to use it for initially, but i figured it out later. 😉
detail of the top of the boxy page, with a nice old “labyrinth” of pretty brass knotwork.
a little abacus of old beads, rusty wire and rusty brads (remember, my camera is evil and makes rust disappear — it’s way better in person). lisa likes things that move, ya know…
close up of the mica covered, twine tied box:
untitled and uncovered box… a wee little nest i made with 5 1940s vintage beads nestled inside and a secret scroll note to lisa.
the nest in my cute hand. the cute nest in my hand, rather. my camera actually shows the rust this time if you enlarge. ‘about time!
side view from the spine side…
side view from the page side. love the threads atop the whole thing! (that’s my pretty chocolate colored new couch it’s on, by the way).
all done! that is my contribution to lisa’s book. i will be sending it off to lisa jurist tomorrow (if i can find a large enough box!). woohoooo!