I just used one of my designs to create a skin for my iPhone. I think it looks fantastic and am so pleased with it. Must try some more. See for yourself.
a little box called fantasy is as descriptive as saying that chocolate is brown. While factually true, it does nothing to describe the sensual pleasure and the explosion of flavours and sensations that putting a piece of chocolate in your mouth brings. Terry Pratchett's books are funny, and I mean laugh out loud on the bus funny. They are satirical, perceptive, honest, revealing, intriguing, touching, informative. In my modest view, Terry Pratchett was a genius.
One of my favourite books of his is "I Shall Wear Midnight", which is actually part of a parallel series to the better known Discworld series. It is my tribute to him. The world is a poorer place without his brilliant writing. I hope he is in a better place.
After almost two months away from my workshop due to knee surgery (ugh!) I finally managed to climb back up to it - at the very top of my tall, narrow house. Great light and views, but impossible to get to on crutches! Spent most of the weekend preparing cartons for the slipcases of four books that are in the final stages of production. What a relief to be working again!
This is quite a lengthy process: first the cardboard are cut roughly to size.
The special flannel that will be on the inside of the case has to be dyed to match the leather, or one of the design elements of the book, and left to dry thoroughly.
In the meantime, the carton receives its first layer of brown packing paper and it is left to dry in the open. The humidity in the glue causes a reaction in the cardboard and it curls in on itself as the glue dries and pulls the paper tight (that's why we use the packing paper - it's light but tough). Then you wait 24 hours, and repeat the process, so now you have pieces of cardboard that are completely arced. Like this one in the photo, which has been glued in preparation for the last step - gluing the flannel on.
So the end result looks like the photo below.
Some artists can toil away in freezing attics for decades without recognition. Not me. I love a compliment, I love seeing the look of wonder in people's faces when I hand over their book, transformed beyond recognition, I like to see their happy smiles. Does that make me shallow? I hope not.
Don't get me wrong. I do work on a lot of projects that I do not have a customer for - books that I just fall in love with and feel a burning need to transform. The Russian Legends book I blogged about earlier is one of those. Maybe they will only ever be loved by me. and that is OK too. In fact I am working on a series of projects now that I am terribly excited about, that are not commissions, but just the fruit of my meandering mind. They will take a while to bring to fruition, but I can't wait to share them with you all.
Back to work after a long spell of illness - caught a really nasty bug in New Orleans. It feels so good to be working again - I have such amazing projects going on at the moment. Today I have been using one of the most humble - yet most satisfying tools.
I am working on a fabulous edition of Walt Whitman's the Sleepers, with the most fabulous woodcuts, as you can see below. And I think I have designed a cover worthy of it. I hope you think so too!
In New Orleans for Mardi Gras ....CRAZY! The vibe in the city is amazing, and some of the sights eye-popping. Lots of fabulous, quirky, eccentric and eclectic creativity around. LOTS of feathers. My friend Charles took a photo of this mask for me.
And here it is, my beautiful headband, with the real pearls, taken from the remains of a Victorian choker which belonged to the great-aunt of my teacher, mentor and friend, Jacqueline Liekens. I love it, and think it's a great start to an opulent work of art. Hope you like it too - let me know!
While many people are happy enough to have a portrait of themselves on show, most people would be a little self-conscious to have many photographs of themselves displayed in one place. So I came up with my idea of portrait books.
I have been dreaming of things Russian since I saw the Anna Karenina film. last year. The sumptuousness of the costumes, the jewels, the architecture. And then I found this book, in Pierre Coomans' wonderful antique books shop. Instant coup-de-foudre.
How fitting that I should be working on a Russian book during the Sochi Winter Olympics. Funny how life sometimes does that to you, themes and ideas converging. Just look at the illustrations.
And this is just one of them. I have created an exquisite headband, with real pearls - I will add a photo shortly. And these will not be the only real jewels. I have some diamonds, and some rough cut emeralds, and I am trying to source some rubies and sapphires.
And the leathers? Kingfisher blues, emerald greens, burnt oranges, drawn from all my favourite suppliers: Norro in Brussels, Peausserie Poulain and Relma in Paris. This is going to be one hell of a binding, I promise.. Technically devilish, but worth in in the end.