Thursday, January 20, 2011

India: a stop in the 6 X 6 round robin

You don't have to tell me how HUGE these photos are. I saved them and didn't resize them. Why you ask? Because I wanted to show all the detail in them. It's no secret (at least if you have been reading my blog for any length of time) that I'm not good at collage and I struggle with composition. And, I have been in a real slump in my art since Thanksgiving. For those of you who live outside the US, Thanksgiving was late in November. So even though I made several mistakes on these, I am still pleased with how they turned out, at least for the most part.

These pages are for Patty S in our 6 X 6 round robin. Patty's theme is India, which is evident by the title. I know these pages are a bit convoluted, so allow me to explain what I did. First, Patty's pages were to be 10" X 9" and when folded in half would be 5" X 9". For those of you who work in cm, that is 12.7 X 22. 86 cm. If you want to see these pages, you are going to have to click ONCE for the smaller version.

I began by cutting 110 lb watercolor paper to size, then folded it in half. Next, I began cutting a couple of panels the size of each side (5" X 9").

What you are looking at is page 8 on the left and page 1 on the right. They are on the same side of one sheet of watercolor paper.

Next are pages 2 (left side) and 7 (right side). These comprise the other side of the first sheet. I hope I haven't lost you!

I used the same measurements for the second page I created for Patty. These are pages 6 (on left) and 3, or the mountain side of the inside page. Did I confuse you? Probably. I don't really know how to describe these pages very well. Suffice it to say, they are on one side of the second sheet of 10" X 9" paper.

And these are pages 4 (left) and 5 (right), the other side of the second page, which will be on the inside.

Now I'm sure I've confused you, so let's pretend these are already bound in a book.

What you are looking at is page 1 of the book. Last week, as I was stuck, not liking where I had planned to go with this theme, Patty left a link to the New York Public Library's (NYPL) online digital collection. See my right sidebar under free images for the link. I searched for Indian elephants, something I know Patty collects. Although I copied all the Indian elephant images they had, some of them didn't print well, even though I saved them at 300 dpi and printed on highest quality available AND in color. Even when some images are black and white, they print better on the color setting.

I wanted some bright fabric to go with the theme, but I'm probably the only altered artist who sews, who has practically NO fabric reserves, except some hand dyed bed sheets. So I took a scrap that I thought looked like something that might pass for India and sewed it to a piece of black paper. Then I prepared the dictionary page per instructions I found on Dianne's blog. According to Dianne:
I coated the paper with gloss medium & let dry before sewing onto the base fabric, which gave the vintage paper more strength.
By first coating both sides of all the pages I thought I might use, I actually did improve the strength of the old, brittle paper. Thanks, Dianne!

Next, I sewed the small computer generated images to the dictionary page. Finally, I sewed the entire assembly to the fabric and substrate, then glued that to the watercolor paper. I was so happy to see the word "Elizabeth" on the same page, so used it to show I made the page. I left the embellishment, the tiny elephant, till after all the pages were assembled.

When you open the page, now you see what I'm calling pages 2 and 3. They will sit next to each other. The one on the left started with a gessoed and painted background. I then added pages from a 1940s Book of Knowledge, which was not too flattering to the poor Indian elephant, and more computer generated images from NYPL digital collection.

On the page sitting next to it (page 3) the background is from an old Geography book. I colored it using Pearl Ex and a bit of white glue for the binder. Of course, most of this doesn't show on a scanner. I found a picture in a book of an elephant and copied it on tracing paper. I then cut the elephant from a page on India from a World Book that I had prepped as above. I glued these onto a piece of black paper, but for some reason (maybe because it was so cold), the glue didn't want to stick. I wasted precious time trying to get papers to stick onto other papers. I finally gave up, found a bit of ribbon I thought went OK with the page, and sewed it along the side to hide my gluing failures. Again, the little elephants were only added after everything was finished. I used E-6000 on these, and it was the only glue I had any success with.

I found every one of the images for page 4 in a travel magazine. It was my attempt at collage. I ended up sewing everything together after more glue failures.

Although this page is on the opposite side of the one above, the two pages were NOT intended to go side by side. When Patty binds her book, there will be other pages in between these two. For this spread, I started again with black paper, added some painted paper I punched holes into. I added a paint chip, a material I decided to use throughout the swap, and an image from a travel brochure. I sewed everything together to hold it in place. There was no glue used on this spread. And since Patty is a stamper, I even added one stamped image! I love this one by Tim Holtz, because even if you mess up on it, it doesn't look bad. And no, I didn't mess up for once.

The image is from the Jaipur Elephant Festival, an annual (and quite popular) event. Because I didn't have room for a title, or maybe I didn't want to clutter the collage, I used a file folder tab to hold the title and the date of the festival for 2011. And unfortunately, I hate my printing even more than I hate my writing, but I hope Patty can read it.

Of course, page 6 tells the whole story: with Patty, it's all about the elephants! I made this page at least two months ago, because I was so excited about Patty's theme. However, I made it too large, so that's why I had some of the painted paper for the other side. I almost didn't include this one because of the pages Gina made, but lack of time to complete this project forced me to use it. I admit, it's my least favorite of all the pages. I found the image of the Ganesh, readily identifiable by its elephant head, in a Somerset magazine and turned it into a tape transfer. But the tape was thick because I used clear plastic book cover vinyl. So it stood out over the Mehndi hand I found on the internet and printed. Of course, it's not nearly as beautiful as Gina's, but it is also an internet image, not a hand drawn work of art. To try to minimize the glare of the transfer, I covered the entire page with gloss gel medium. I added some bling to the top and a stud on one of the nails.

Another page from the 1950s Geography book was the substrate for page 7. I used several color mists on the page, after seeing a video Diane put on her blog. The author of the video was coloring the pages with color mist through stencils, but the same technique applies to wet pages, whether you use stencils or not. On top of the book page, I sewed a sheet of gold joss paper (which doesn't scan well), then an image of another Ganesh I found on the internet. For this one, I used chalks to either enhance or subdue the colors of the image. I got a little carried away in the upper left hand corner, but maybe Patty won't notice! This is another page that has no glue, only sewing.

OK, I know I said page 6 was my least favorite page, but page 8 ranks right up there. It was the last one I made, and it simply wouldn't come together right. I used the elephant that I made from tracing paper and tried to use my Xyron as the "glue" for the page. Well, part of the elephant didn't get enough sticky stuff, part of it was patchy, and the whole cartridge came out while I was trying to "stick" the elephant. I ended up with a sticky mess that wrapped around my hand and other places. Remember what I said about problems with glue this time? Just one more incident of frustration. Of course the elephant tore as I was removing it from the Xyron mess. I also got some of the sticky Xyron stuff on the page, just to the left of Gandhi. Add to that the fact that I tried to glue the little metal "moons" onto the page using E-6000, and I replaced them twice when they slipped. I thought I had them on correctly the third time, but now I see they had slipped once again. And of course, I didn't bother measuring the bling at the top as I was attaching it, and that glue was so strong (they were self stick), nothing budged them. Note to self: never make or use anything again that requires the use of glue!

And now for the tag. Just a few images and scraps I didn't use while making the pages, along with one of those tiny elephants I used to embellish some of the pages.

24 thoughtful remarks:

Julia Dunnit said...

I cannot fail to shake my head and wonder at your lack of belief in your ability to compose - these pages are a lesson in compostion if you ask me. I'm quite sure that Peggy will love it - not just for the subject matter but for the work and research - it really is fab and has all the rich and lively 'feel' of India about it. Gorgeous.

Lisa said...

Wonderful pages! Be proud.

Nancy said...

Just outstanding! You may feel as if you are glue-challenged, but the sewing adds such a great accent and texture. I love what you've done.

olive said...

Elizabeth FANTASTIC pages, so colourful, interesting and great eye candy, the sewing is so 'kewl' we want more:) hugs xxxxx

fairyrocks said...

Wow that is one gorgeously detailed book.
Thanks for sharing :)

oneoff said...

Colourful, vibrant, busy: I think that's the real essence of India. There was so much to look at, I had to go back over the images to take it in again. Love the use of text, too.

Bernie x

La Dolce Vita said...

E, these are stunning and Patty will love it!! just wonderful work!! xo

Karen said...

These pages are amazing, you should be very proud of them my lovely! XXX

Steph said...

I love this theme!! In fact I'm in the process of collecting materials for an Art Book on this....these pages are awesome!!

Susan Allan said...

It is a stunning piece of work, almost an advertising campaign for travel to India. I am definitely have convinced me. You have incorporated so much wonderful texture and I like the way you put on the large photo version with an instruction to click for the whole piece on one screen.
Very clever and totally interesting
Sue xx

voodoo vixen said...

Yay! You completed India!! And not only did you complete it, you rocked it... it has all the colour and life and emotion that India evokes, so you had a bit of an adhesive problem along the way... you made up for it by using the sewing machine! Sewing machines are as much a part of India as curry is! On every street corner is a wee mannie with an old Singer who will make you up a set of curtains in no time at all.... so you see? They are beautiful and successful!!

Halle said...

These are even more fantastic in the full close-up detail. So glad you did that!

ooglebloops said...

You captured Patty in these pages - she will love it - and I can't wait til she and I get together to see this in person!!!

~*~Patty S said...

Your pictures and descriptions are wonderful E!
I must say your pages are gorgeous to hold and enjoy again and again.
Many thanks for sharing your creative talents and techniques!
p.s. hoping things are going smoothly now with your basement issues!

Terri Kahrs said...

I, for one, am thrilled that you left these photos "large" - you CAN see every little wonderful detail. Gorgeous pages and wonderful techniques! Hugs, Terri xoxo

Margaret said...

Awesome project Elizabeth, I can't work out which page I like the best, they're all so fab! I can just imagine them together, what amazing texture and detail!

Doone said...

I want to hold the book in my hands and see it for real - it looks so beautiful.


Miss Kitty said...

Greetings Elizabeth and Bleubeard,

It has been far to long since we last visited you and upon our return we are greeted with an incredible post of yours. Like the previous reviewer indicated, it is something I too would love to hold and savor.

Wishing you all the very best,
Miss Kitty and Egmont

sandra de said...

Such beautiful detail and colours in all the pages. I love the sewing which obviously comes naturally to you. The tag is gorgeous.

see you there! said...

You underestimate your ability to compose. I love these pages and they really fit the theme. Beautiful and complex.


Liverpool Lou (Anne) said...

More fantastic pages Elizabeth and lots of wonderful detail you've used on them ;-)
Anne xx

Cath said...

I could not get to see the photos yesterday so thought I would come back today and see if it was any better. OMG am I glad I did, these pages are wonderful. Your work is amazing.


Dianne said...

E-these pages are really outstanding!! we would totally not notice anything imperfect about them, except that you point it out! I know, you are helping us learn...but I think you are too hard on yourself. they turned out really fantastic. and I think the texture that the stitching gives is especially effective. so well done!!

Marlynn said...

Your pages have left me speechless! Holy son-of-a-gun, Elizabeth, for someone who was worried about those India pages like I was when I created mine - you just knocked it our of the ball park, literally, just amazing!