A Snowy Night in Memphis

When it comes to snow, I’m not a babe in the woods.  I grew up in Boston and as an adult lived in upstate NY, PA and NJ.  So I have to chuckle when a few inches of snow is predicted for Memphis.  For one, snow here never amounts to the blizzard conditions I have experienced, and it always disappears within a day of falling.  Nonetheless, panic sets in, and there is a run on milk, bread, beer and diapers at the grocery stores.  Streets become gridlocked even before the first flake appears.  Kids are glued to the tv in the hopes of missing a day of school.  In Boston, we rarely had a day off from school.  I remember walking through 2 feet of snow (really!)  to get to my 7th grade class at Western Jr. High!  Of course, the snow plows were plentiful and out in full force, so the gridlock that we experience in Memphis, rarely happened in New England!  But no matter, I’m much older now, and my bones seem to complain with the first mention of snow here.  It wouldn’t matter whether I’m in Memphis or Boston, they still manage to complain.

camellias in the snow

camellias in the snow

It was a pretty snowfall though, while it lasted!  And the best part is that the snow gave me a chance to “hunker down” as they say here and concentrate on being creative.  So I decided to work on some handmade books that I plan to sell at an upcoming Fine Craft Fair sponsored by MACA, Memphis Association of Craft Artists.  I usually sell my handwoven purses and scarves when I sell at shows and fairs, but having done so for thirty years, I decided to expand my horizons a bit and venture into the world of book arts.  Eventually, I would like to incorporate  my handwoven fabrics into my handmade books.

I had taken workshops from book artists in the past, and the process really whetted my appetite.  Currently I am taking an online class from Sue Bleiweiss of  Two Creative Studios.  It is called “More Journal Making for Fiber Artists”.  Here are examples of two books that I have completed in this class:

coptic stitch book with handmade cover

coptic stitch book with handmade cover

fabric covered gatefold journal

fabric covered gatefold journal

With my supply of handmade Thai mango papers and several pieces of matte board, I retreated to my weaving/bookmaking studio (which is a finished room in our attic).  During the snowfall, I produced enough handmade covers to make 11 bound books.  Here are the results.

book covers made with handmade Thai mango paper

book covers made with handmade Thai mango paper

inside of handmade book covers

inside of handmade book covers

The handmade paper is really lovely,  there are actual pieces of mango leaves and stems embedded in the paper, and the paper itself feels soft and velvet like.  I glued various papers to the insides of the book covers.  These include designer wrapping paper, colored card stock scraps from previous book arts workshops and inkjet copies of scenes from nature copied on cover stock. Now I will have to cut paper for my text blocks and add my signature covers.  With so many books to work on, I will have a chance to try out different binding stitches.  I need to work on my coptic stitch, kettle stitch and long stitch.  New stitches I would like to try include chain stitch, French twist and herring bone stitch.  I can see this will take quite awhile.  So, here I am in Memphis with these old bones wishing for snow…….

snow covered lamp

snow covered lamp

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