The Art of Book Design: The Fairy Housekeepers

Norma Bright Carson. The Fairy Housekeepers. Illustrations by Hazeltine Fewsmith. Boston, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard co., 1917.

I fell in love with this book! There is only 1 coloured illustration in it, however, the plain drawings are charming and delightful and entirely typical of the Art Nouveau Period. I’ve included all of the full-page illustrations, plus a few others, but if you get a chance I encourage you to check out the entire book. (The address is at the end) There are small illustrations on most pages and the story is a sweet look at how the fairies work as the seasons progress.

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A Bit of Good News from Australia

Lofty is back out on his bike and has sent us some photos of the early stages of recovery in fire-ravaged Australia,

Our bike club has returned to the fire ground as the roads are safe and the local bakeries need customers. Here are a few pictures of survival and recovery one month after the visit from the fire breathing dragon of climate change.

Merely a flesh wound, ©Lofty, all rights reserved

Oasis, ©Lofty, all rights reserved


Rain brings green, ©Lofty, all rights reserved

Tour down under, ©Lofty, all rights reserved

Resin Art: Wood You Love Me?

When Marcus sends out boxes, they are always two things: treasure boxes and challenges. There’s all this wonderful pieces of wood and they’re asking: “What am I?” and then it’s me who has to figure it out. For some of them the question could be answered.

First two pieces of burl:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

As you can see the wood is very thin, at the most 2mm, which made sanding quite difficult. I made them by firmly wrapping tape around the wood to create a container and then I filled it with resin. This, of course, creates a rather cylindrical resin shape which then needs to be evened out. I’m pretty happy with how both of them turned out, fire and water respectively.

The next three pieces look rather different but are all from the same piece of wood. The last parcel Marcus sent contained some bog oak with which I instantly fell in love. It pretty clearly told me that it wanted to be SOMETHING so I took the first piece and tried SOMETHING. I have some golden pearl pigment I am not completely happy with, as it is heavier than the resin and sinks to the ground, but which for the very same reason became idea for this project.

The original piece of wood was maybe 2″ by 3″, already sawed into a disc with that sharp angle on one side. I cast it in a big slab, pouring the gold pigment resin first and then filling up with mostly clear resin.

This is the “central piece”:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

I cut off all the resin around the wood and cut the top into a rhombus, matching the angle at the bottom. The gold pigment sunk into the gaps in the wood, filling it with veins of shimmer. As you can see there were still some bubbles trapped in the wood, but they’re actually more visible in the pic than in reality. I’m sooooooo happy with how that turned out because I was quite afraid to ruin the gorgeous wood.

An speaking of the precious wood, it would have been a crime to throw away the scraps:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

This used to be the top of the wood. I cut it into an oval and rounded the sided before polishing. The wire lies in a groove to keep it from slipping, but I still need to glue it to the cabochon with some resin. Same goes for the next piece.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

This one’s a bit smaller and only a tiny bit of wood remains, but the colours are so gorgeous. It’s fascinating how the same cast yielded such different shades. All that was left after that were small pieces of resin, but even they got used, but that project isn’t finished yet, so you’ll have to wait. Those five pieces represent about 15 hours of sanding and polishing and sawing between, not to mention an open wound the size of a big bean on my left palm because I’m stupid.

Always wear your protective gloves, kids.


These Orchids are Stunning

Our weekly flowers from Nightjar have arrived, and they are glorious and a bit other-worldly.

This week I have garden flowers to share, our first Boat Orchid or Cymbidium bloomed! They are beautiful, but depending on the perspective they are also really weird-looking flowers. We have many more varieties and all of them have flowering stems developing that will bloom over the next few weeks, so I’ll probably share more of these soon.

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

The Art of Book Design: Uncle Wiggily’s Rheumatism

Howard R. Garis. Uncle Wiggily’s Rheumatism. New York, A. L. Burt company, 1920

It’s Children’s Book Saturday and I love the cover of this book. Uncle Wiggily is a very dapper looking rabbit with sparkling pink eyes that shine. I took the time to read a bit of this book and the stories are just as charming. Uncle Wiggily is a rabbit who has adventures and he and the other characters in the book are sweetly portrayed for a young audience.

Unfortunately, the artwork inside the book is a bit disappointing. The animals are more realistically drawn and lose some of the charm of the cover. The colours are also dull and uninspired. There are also only 4 illustrations in the book. I had hoped for more from an edition of this date. If you’d like to see the artwork, I’ve included it below the fold. There are apparently more Uncle Wiggily books out there and you may see another title down the road.

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TNET 37 – Wish I Could Fly

I do not give names to my paintings, this is just an association that has popped in my head when I took this one out of the pile to photograph. The painting is 450×715 mm, distemper on hardboard and, as you can see, in rather a bad shape. That is the result of two things. Firstly, I did not have access to high-quality art supplies twenty-five years ago (and anyways, I lacked the knowledge to use them or the money to buy them) so it was done with the only distemper available at the local stationery store. And secondly, the painting hung several years in a room adjacent to a badly ventilated kitchen. The fumes from burning propane do “wonders” to everything in their vicinity. When I finally got round to buying varnish to help to stabilize the painting, it was already heavily damaged.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full

And since I got nothing else to offer for a new open thread, let this be one. Usual rules apply – talk whatever, just don’t be an ass.

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