Happiness is a Warm Dremel

My new best friend is my Dremel stylus.  At the Art and Soul Retreat in Hampton, VA, I learned how to use it and that it’s more than “just a drill”. I took two book arts workshops with Daniel Essig who uses the Dremel to drill holes in mica which we used to create our books. I was skeptical at first about getting my own Dremel, but my potter friend Gail assured me that I will find more uses for it than I can imagine.  And I’m sure that’s true. So  at the end of my trip, when I picked up my checked luggage in Memphis, I was quite relieved that my Dremel was still there and my bag was tagged with this lovely red sticker from TSA.

TSA sticker labeled CLEARED!

TSA sticker labeled CLEARED!

One can only imagine what TSA officials were thinking when they saw this going through security:

A Warm Dremel

A Warm Dremel

Now, about the workshops.  The two day workshop was “Book of Mica” where we learned of the properties of mica, both in its natural state and as a composite.  Mica is a naturally ocurring mineral also known as bookstone.  In our class, each student  created  a book with at least 5 pages of mica and a front and back cover.  Many of us inserted a collage or pictures between two pieces of mica to give the imagery a “haunted” or ghost like effect.  Here is Daniel’s mica book which he showed as an example:

Mica book by Daniel Essig

Mica book by Daniel Essig

Inside pages of mica book by Daniel Essig

Inside pages of mica book by Daniel Essig

Daniel was a very generous and patient teacher with all of us.  Anyone interested in book arts and wanting to explore the properties of mica would greatly benefit from a workshop with him. He is also a talented woodworker and sculptor.

Books and Hand Carved Tools by Daniel Essig

Books and Hand Carved Tools by Daniel Essig

In my own mica book, I cut out a window in one of the pages, then drilled holes at the top and bottom of the window to anchor down my warp of black perle cotton.  I then used the warp to weave a weft of  paper strips cut from a picture which I covered with a small piece of natural mica.

Paper woven image in my mica book

Paper woven image in my mica book

Paper woven page in my mica book - opposite side

Paper woven page in my mica book - opposite side

Daniel also showed us the steps for sewing a decorative centipede stitch, which he calls  a caterpillar stitch.

Book with Caterpillar stitch by Daniel Essig

Book with Caterpillar stitch by Daniel Essig

The evening workshop addressed the herringbone stitch bound on a book with paper signatures and mica covers.  We had the opportunity again to insert images between two thin sheets of mica for both  front and back covers.

My book with mica covers and herringbone binding on tyvek tapes

My book with mica covers and herringbone binding on tyvek tapes

The mica book that we constructed during the two day workshop had a different binding. We used four needles to create a coptic stitch.

Covers and binding of my mica book

Covers and binding of my mica book

Being a handweaver, I found that I really enjoy the stitching and binding process of  creating a handmade book.  I purchased some books by Keith Smith to inspire me to be more adventurous with my bookbinding stitches. And it will give me a reason to use my beauty of a Dremel stylus.

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2 Responses

  1. Wow did this ever look like fun!!! I was blown away by Daniel’s fish with the portholes at Vendor Night. Did you see that piece? Wow!! He is so talented.

    Since I’m here I should tell you about a site I just launched a few weeks ago. It’s at MixedMediaArt.ning.com and I think you will really like it. Well take a peek and you decide!

    Hope to hear from you soon!

    Kerin

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