Last weekend I picked up a some collage paper collected together by artist Anthony Zinonos. I have bought one of these little collections of collage papers before (they are available to buy on his website) and found them to be quite inspiring and a good starting point for new projects. These little packs are good for if you don’t have the patience, or know where to start looking for interesting paper. Also good for seasoned creative types for whom this is the adult equivalent of a lucky dip, well deserving of irrational childhood excitement. From experience I know that once you start scrapbooking or creating collage art suddenly you start acquiring stamps and tickets and other interesting bits and pieces from everywhere, the materials start to breed and you stop being able to close your drawers.
I quite like the work of Anthony Zinonos, but my plans for the paper were quite different. The first thing I did was to lay out all the pieces on the floor to see what goodies I had and start thinking about how to use them.
I think if there had been a spare white wall going I would have been tempted to just stick everything up because I thought it all looked great already, that’s not really engaging my creativity though! What I actually ended up doing was using the graph paper and sewing up a fake graph:
I stuck this into a small Moleskine notebook with the idea of creating a scrapbook. The next page I created was a clear follow on colour/theme wise:
I actually went to buy a copy of the Financial Times specifically for this, to get the printed shares and the specific orange colour. Buying the Financial Times to turn into an project is exactly the sort of financial backwards that seems to follow me around! It looks great here though. I thought a bit of a theme was developing, so here is what I have created so far:
As you can see the collage papers were just a starting point and I had to go in search of specific things I wanted after a certain point. It’s always quite difficult to showcase a book as it can be quite laborious to photograph every page so I also made a video, but now I think this gallery works better. Books are difficult things to exhibit in galleries, they always seem to opt for turning a page every week or so (so you would have to visit a lot to see the whole thing!) The sort of scrapbook I’m working on is also quite a tactile object and I think that gets lost in the photographs, the best way to see it is really to flick through it so you can enjoy the different textures of the paper, thread, ink painting and especially the coin rubbings. If you have ever seen hand illuminated manuscripts in galleries or museums then you will know what I am talking about, the gilded scroll work always appears slightly raised, a delightful feature that you completely miss in photographs or prints.
I mentioned before that I managed to pick up a mixed bag of old stamps from an antiques fair last year. The same stall was also selling bags of outdated currency, and I really wish I had bought some now as the banknotes would have been great for this project. Ebay and Amazon do sell old banknotes, but they seem to specialise in rare expensive ones which aren’t really what I’m after.
I didn’t consciously develop a financial theme for my scrapbook, although it came about by accident I have no shortage of ideas for what else to do (currently I’m cutting out Monopoly money). I find craft projects and drawings to be very therapeutic, and I think something in my subconscious has definitely come out here. Like many of skills I seem to endowed with I have no idea how scrapbooking might be turned into profit, although I sure would like to have an epiphany on that one. If I could do this all day and make money out of it I would be a very happy person. For the time being it’s just an activity for evening stress busting, my own itchy fingers and sense of satisfaction. It’s a work in progress and I hope to fill all the pages but I’m very pleased with what I have created up to now.
And with that:
Freelance scrapbooker, embroiderer extraordinaire, and general creative person available for hire! Will work for tea, gratitude, interesting paper and modest amounts of actual money.
Earlier this year one of my friends took a night school course on bookbinding. I was really impressed with what she’d created so I thought that I’d give it a go myself. Bookbinding can get very complicated depending on how ambitious you are, and for that reason I’m going to suggest that actually taking a class might be a good idea as it can be tricky attempting to follow instructions off the internet (it’s also good to get inspiration from others/learn from their mistakes!). Nevertheless, here’s my first attempt:
It’s all very rough because this was a trial and I didn’t concern myself too much with the very fine details, but on the whole I’m very pleased with how it turned out. The sewing was quite shoddy from me (I usually sew very neatly) because I didn’t mark up the pages as I should have done. I was also irritated that the spray glue I’d bought marked the end papers, I’m quite exacting about the craft supplies I buy but went for the cheaper product this time and definitely regretted it. Making the book was quite satisfying though, and it gives me an excuse to indulge in my penchant for pretty paper.
What sort of materials do you need for bookbinding?
1. Glue! Spray glue that won’t mark your paper, superglue, a glue stick etc.
2. Ribbon, so that you can tie your covers together
3. Charms or beads for the end of the ribbon. This is quite a nice little (unnecessary) touch, I also add these charms to the end of the ribbons in notebooks
4. Scissors/craft knife/ needle and thread
5. Stamps/photographs/ephemera to stick onto your pages. I bought a large bag of old stamps from all over the world at an antiques fair this year for £1. They’ve been an excellent addition to notebooks and other artwork, my favourite stamps are the ones from countries that don’t exist anymore like Rhodesia and the DDR. You can buy mixed bags of old stamps online if you can’t find them in the real world.
6. Stiff cardboard for your covers
7. Good quality plain paper. I’m not sure what your preferences might be with that, but I’d veer towards something off white rather than plain white as it can look a bit harsh.
If you’re feeling fancy then it is possible to buy offcuts of leather for your covers, but this is still a bit too ambitious for me.
Just another note on paper – I used some quite thin, almost tissue like paper for some of the inside pages and this was a mistake. The paper was very lovely, but just to delicate for this sort of thing – I was worried it would tear while I was sewing it, and then I’m worried it will tear when I flip through the book. Rookie mistake. I’m sure there are a lot of other materials you could you use, as always you’re only limited by your imagination, but this is a good start if you’re only starting out and playing around like me.