It started sixteen or seventeen years ago. Christmas was coming. Rick and I had now been together long enough to know that this was no short-term romance and I wanted to give him something totally unique, something totally from the heart. So, I made the first of what would become many poetry collections.That first book remains his favorite. It may be the least polished of all of them -- a pre-made journal of natural papers, hand written, very simple drawings. And yet, some of the poetry remains in the all-time favorite category.
In the years since, I have made tiny books, accordion books, flip books, pop-up books, you name it. Many are in pre-made journals, some in scrap books, some stitched together by this woman with a stitch-aversion. They've reflected moments good, bad, frustrating, joyful, fun and not-so-fun. The 2001 book was 9/11 and probably one of the most depressing.
After the first year or two I realized that with the Christmas holidays, I simply couldn't do a good job with it. Too many stresses, too much else on the plate. So I moved the schedule to Valentine's Day, where it remains today.
Fresh from my Jacqueline Sullivan workshops, I decided to use some of the techniques I'd picked up over the two days -- and one that I picked up on my own.
For the cover, I used a 140 pound 11x15 cold-pressed watercolor sheet, folded in half. The techniques on the cover included modeling paste used with (and without) stencils, painted in an earth-sky palette. The star, button and beads were affixed after the book was completed.
Inside, I used a parchment cardstock (8 1/2 x 11), folded and distressed with Tim Holtz inks. The poems were printed on a cream stock and glued in place. Each page was embellished with washi tape, lace paper, tea bag papers or photo transfers.
Now and then a button would be used -- like these vintage French buttons that reminded me of bicycle wheels! Perfect for the poem about Rick's bike hikes.
The "key to my heart" was one that blogger Linda sent when she was going through her mother's old crafting supplies. She knew it would find a good home -- and it did.
All in all, I felt it was probably one of the books that best exemplified the art part of me (and better technique than a lot of them).
The poetry? Well, no one is going to make me America's next Poet Laureate. Despite years of listening to Stephen Sondheim's clever lyrics, the rhyming is routine at best (though Rick liked "aisle" and "smile" in the poem about Kevin's wedding!).
And damn. A typo. I thought I got all of those.
But he was happy. And I was happy. And another year of joyful moments burst onto the page -- bringing smiles.
(Some of you have asked about the photo transfer paper. Watch this space -- I'm working on a post on that!)
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