If you have been reading this blog for a while you will know that I am on a mission not to buy any supplies or materials for a year from 1 October 2011 to 30 September 2012. It’s going pretty well. I did buy some plastic bottles for putting paint onto quilts which cost three pounds for six, and I also bought some of the paint, but the whole lot came to just over £10, which when you think about what I would normally spend, is pretty much nothing. I bought a folio and some large sheets of paper on Saturday, but that’s been about it. I am very proud of myself. Two months in and it is more or less holding up as a challenge.
One of the exceptions to the rule is that I am allowing myself to pay for classes. Stretching this a bit I have signed up to Linda and Laura Kemshall’s Design TV which I am enjoyed enormously (www.lindakemshall.com/). These are short videos of various techniques or ideas which you watch on your computer. You subscribe for a period of time and can watch the shows as often as you want. I really like them. They are full of good ideas but not pretentious and not in any way irritating in the ‘take seven antique bottle tops and a pan of liquid acrylic, an industrial thermometer and a kevlar apron, oh, and a second-hand copying machine that you can easily get on ebay for under £500’ way that a lot of how-to articles and books are.
I watched the one on making collector’s books for putting small flat things like fabric samples in and realised that it was a much simplified method of doing coptic binding that I did on my course over the summer. So, I decided to have a go, using some of the big sheets of paper I mentioned above. I used a remnant of very thick wool which is almost like felt that I got in the mill shop at the gorgeous Melin Tregwynt when I was on holiday in Pembrokeshire years ago (www.melintregwynt.co.uk/). I applied a sample piece of cloth for the Death Quilt which I had coloured with Markal/Shiva paintsticks over a rubbing plate. I absolutely love the effect. It’s very much like being a kid for me, and reminds me of ham-fisted attempts at brass rubbing as a child. Then I applied some paint with the squeezy bottles, also mentioned above, and finally stitched into them with a very sparkly variegated thread:
Oddly, whatever I am doing, it always looks infinitely better with some of the garish lime green you can see in the photo. Why this should lift the other colours I don’t know, but it always works.
I stitched the book up with black linen thread from the horse-riding superstore which inexplicably has opened up in urban Bristol just down the road from me. I was pretty much watching the television while I was doing it, which shows you how demanding the stitching was. I added in some elements from my bookbinding course over the summer because I thought it would make the whole thing stronger. It came out quite well, but I am always so inaccurate, that I couldn’t possibly give something so slapdash away as a Christmas present, which I thought I might at one stage. So this will become another sample book. I like coptic binding because it is flexible and the books always lie flat.
My next Kemshall project will be to put a facing on the Death Quilt, which I have never done before, but I think a neat faced edge will look good on such a busy quilt.
I recommend Design TV to you – their work is wonderful and the videos are clear and inspirational. A bit of a treat in the deep midwinter.