'curiosity cabinet' fabric available @ spoonflower

Since making my ‘Curiosity Cabinet’ repeat pattern design and having a test length of fabric printed by Spoonflower w-a-y back in their beta days (2008!!), I have received lots of positive responses from kind folk, and requests to make the fabric available to buy on Spoonflower. I hadn’t been completely happy with my original test piece so before making it available for purchase I wanted to tweak the design to incorporate some different creature drawings, and to make some minor colour adjustments (for better light/dark contrast when printed).

'curiosity cabinet' fabric available @ spoonflower

I finally got around to making these changes towards the end of last year and was very happy with the new test print I ordered from Spoonflower. The fabric shown in the four pictures above is printed by Spoonflower on their ‘silky faille’ – I chose to test print on this fabric (despite it being 100% polyester – my preference ordinarily being natural fibres such as cotton and linen) because I was advised by another Spoonflower user that dark/light colour contrast works particularly well on it. And indeed it does! (thanks Chris, a.k.a. pricklymonkey)

You can find this design available to purchase, printed on any of Spoonflower’s numerous different fabric types, here >>

'curiosity cabinet' fabric, blue variation

I have also experimented with a dusty, teal-y blue colour variation (above), although this is not currently available to purchase as I have yet to order a test swatch (a Spoonflower ‘quality control’ requirement). If you’re interested in purchasing the blue (which you can find here >>) let me know, and I’ll do what’s necessary to make it available to buy.

And if you do make anything using this fabric I’d love to see some pictures of your completed project(s)!

hmmm... tasty, individually packcaged snacks!

hmmm… tasty, individually packaged critter snacks!
now… how do i get into this jar?

i love handmade books, by charlotte rivers

“i ♥ handmade books: timeless techniques and fresh ideas
for beautiful handmade books” by charlotte rivers

This very pleasing little tome was published in September last year, and I was excited to receive a copy as a gift from friends at Christmas time. It’s full of beautiful & inspiring handmade books by book binders, artists and designers from around the world, and I am delighted to have a little accordion fold book I made featured in it.

i love handmade books, by charlotte rivers

sakurasnow, accordion fold book

"13 wonders from a cabinet of curiosities"handmade accordion fold book by sakurasnow

The projects shown in the first four chapters of the book are wonderfully eclectic and beautifully illustrate the unlimited creative possibilities of book-making. Book ‘types’ covered include folded bindings (such as accordion, flag and carousel books) and many sewn bindings (including pamphlet, long, coptic, japanese stab and french link stitching techniques). There is also a section on interesting page and cover treatments (e.g. suminagashi paper marbling, natural plant dyeing, woven covers etc.) and a chapter entitled “Experimental Packaging” which shows some innovative and fun book cover / packaging projects.

Below are just a handful of the many inspired and inspiring makers featured in the book…

i love handmade books, by charlotte rivers

leah buckareff of coldsnap bindery incorporates printing, painting and embroidery to beautiful & atmospheric effect on her books’ (linen) cloth covers
(incidentally, she also produces beautiful, darkly atmospheric music as one half of the band nadja, which you can check out here)

i love handmade books, by charlotte rivers

i love these wonderfully structural, experimental stitched (and even knitted!) bindings by luisa gomes cardoso of canteiro de alfaces

i love handmade books, by charlotte rivers

lotta helleberg‘s indigo-dyed book covers are quite exquisite!

The fifth and final chapter “Book-Making in Practice” features very practical and comprehensive step-by-step tutorials for a range of different binding / book-making techniques used in the projects featured.

i love handmade books, by charlotte rivers

These are complemented by simple, clear illustrations that are completely unintimidating and make even very complex looking methods seem perfectly achievable…

i love handmade books, by charlotte rivers

… I’m definitely inspired (and now also better equipped!) to try my hand at some more book-making.

February is upon us already and I still feel like I’m scrabbling to catch up with the second half of 2014. Moving home can do that to you, apparently. I have moved between countries and continents in the past but this last move – just to a new city, and not even that far away, in the same country – really seemed to take its toll (go figure?!?). Anyway, while I scrabble, I’ll focus my next couple of posts on some fun projects from the latter half of last year that I’m not quite ready to assign to the trash heap of history (i.e. the dark and dusty, forgotten crevices and black holes of my computer’s hard drive ;)

ink your skin, amsterdam

ink your skin, amsterdam

First up, a tattoo design requested by a friend: he wanted a design inspired by cherry (sakura) blossoms and, as a ‘design brief’, wrote a brief ‘personal history’ describing the meaningful and important life experiences each blossom in the design would signify. It was a pleasure to work with someone who knew what they wanted (and, perhaps more importantly, why they wanted it) on this very permanent design.

Here are some work-in-progress pictures of the design, ranging from the very stylised to somewhat more naturalistic…

sakura tattoo design

sakura tattoo design work-in-progress

He chose for a smoother, more stylised version of the gnarled and knobbly qualities of ancient cherry trees – which gave me lots of opportunity, while finalising the design, to draw the fluid, serpentine lines I so enjoy drawing!

sakura tattoo design

sakura tattoo design

We opted for a deeper, redder colour than the soft pinks and whites usually associated with cherry blossoms, and the ‘branch’ has been designed to ‘grow’ over time, i.e. to seamlessly continue up the arm so more buds or blossoms can be added in the future (as those important life experiences stack up… as they are wont to do :)

During the design process we checked in with the tattoo artist who would be doing the actual ‘needlework’ (Mick at Ink Your Skin) to ensure the design could be feasibly translated into ink on skin.

And then it was time for my friend to take the plunge! I tagged along for moral support and, as it wasn’t my skin being pierced between 50 and 3,000 times per minute by a super-sharp needle, I really enjoyed observing the tattooist at work (steady hands and steady eyes a must!) and learning more about the skin-inking process.

getting inked

remarkably relaxed under pressure!

sakura tattoo

freshly pressed

ink your skin, amsterdam

customised vinyl critter and airbrushed mandala painting
in ink your skin’s window gallery

You can find Ink Your Skin here or at Kerkstraat 115, Amsterdam… if you’re looking to get your skin inked!

It has been icy cold

papercut snowflakes on window

outside

gira and papercut snowflakes

Inside we are mesmerised

gira... mesmerised by fire

by fire

fire

colour grids
gira wishes y'all a very happy new year... as do i!
colour grids
colour grids

some of my work, available on etsy
support worldwide wild cat conservation

Photos on Flickr

'Octopus & Anemones' Screenprint

'Octopus & Anemones' Screenprint

'Octopus & Anemones' Screenprint

'Octopus & Anemones' Screenprint

'Octopus & Anemones' Screenprint

'Octopus & Anemones' Screenprint

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