This blog has moved! Please visit my new website:

Anniversaries, the traditional way

>> Sunday, July 31, 2011

Earlier this month my husband and I celebrated our two-year wedding anniversary. We exchanged gifts made of cotton. Last year, we exchanged gifts made from paper. 

We've decided that we're going to follow the year-by-year categories of traditional wedding gifts. Since I'm a bookmaker, I was especially excited about year one's paper gifts and that's probably why we started off with the tradition. I think the themes make the gift giving so much fun. The materials give us a place to start with the gift-giving brainstorming, and then we get to come up with a contemporary idea to fit within the traditional boundaries.

Last year, Tony surprised me with a little handbound book made by Ruth Bleakley. The book features hand-drawn jellyfish illustrations, which was especially fitting because jellyfish are some of my favorite creatures and they often appear in my own artwork. (Ruth is a book artist and illustrator living in Cape Cod. To see more of her work, visit her etsy shop or her blog.)

I know I've mentioned before that my husband loves maps. (He couldn't resist getting one of the East Nashville maps at Porter Flea a few weeks ago.) So for his paper gift last year, I got him a silkscreened world map from These Are Things. We also own their map of Europe, so between all of these we have quite the map theme developing in our home decor. 

This year, the theme was cotton. Tony picked out a bird pillow for me, which is now adding a lively splash of color in our new living room. The pillow was made by Janae Easton of Platypusfile, who I met back in May at the Athens Indie Craftstravaganzaa. Each of her bird pillows is made from vibrant fabrics and a vintage button, and each one is named after an opera singer. My bird's name is Josella Ligi. 

I got my husband two cotton t-shirts from Out of Print. I settled on the To Kill a Mockingbird and The Catcher in the Rye shirts, because I liked their designs best, they are some of our favorite classic novels, and because we read them together in high school back when we first started dating. The shirts from Out of Print are based on book cover designs, and with each shirt sale they donate a book to a community in need. 

Next year our theme will be leather. I've already got my eye on these lovely handmade leather bags...


Congratulations, Jaclyn and Ryan!

>> Saturday, July 30, 2011

While working on this custom wedding guest book, I realized that I had a lot in common with the couple.  Just like my husband and I, Jaclyn and Ryan are high school sweethearts.  They started dating when they were 17, and when they finally decided to tie the knot their guests were absolutely ecstatic.  

As Jaclyn and I chatted back and forth planning out the design for her book, we also enjoyed comparing notes about our relationships and noting how refreshing it is to meet someone else who met their partner at such a young age.  The couple also lives in Chicago, just about a half hour away from where Tony and I grew up.  

Jaclyn and Ryan were married in a rose garden, and they selected a rose theme for their invitations.  I based the design of the personalized nameplate off of the same imagery to unify the look of all of their wedding paper goods.  

The couple chose red and Tiffany blue as their wedding colors, so I used a red lokta paper for the covers of this book and then used a beautifully textured blue paper for the guards (the pieces of paper that wrap the sections of pages and are visible along the spine of the book) and for an accent on the book's cover. 

I'm thrilled that Jaclyn loved the way the book turned out as much as I did, and I'm glad I was able to make a keepsake for the wedding of two high school sweethearts. 


Packing for the art show

>> Friday, July 29, 2011

Artists may exhibit their handmade wares in "trunk shows," but the suitcase is the real darling of art show booths. The bigger the clasps -- and the brighter the stitching -- the better. Serving as Katie's heavy box lifter, snack gopher, and bookkeeper (as the tax department refers to me) it's this sort of acute observation that I bring to the table for linenlaid&felt. I'm Tony, the newspaper reporter husband, and in this exclusive guest blog post, I bring you a special trendspotting story. 

The suitcase photo that leads off this post comes direct to you from Porter Flea, a handmade market that debuted in East Nashville this month. Although not immediately involved in the displaying of crafts, its presence alone adds style to the whole affair. I am, of course, only half joking. I really do like the style of vintage suitcases, but I'm not totally sold on the best way to use them.

The pictures immediately above hail from the Athens Indie Craftstravaganza in May. The quadruple stack was something new to me, practically a monument dedicated to the indie art show suitcase. Joking aside (sort of) both of these photos show off what happens to be the most beguiling part of the suitcase: the bunchy and silky interior divider. From the first time we considered using a suitcase, that interior has always given me pause. That area is designed for storing socks, I think, and making it practical for anything else may not be possible.

This photo shows another Athens effort in putting the suitcase to work. Such displays really are handy for browsing, even if I haven't yet met a suitcase that can pull off "classy." Which is not to say that we haven't given the suitcase a chance as well, as seen below, displaying prints and photographs.

For the moment, this is the best that we've come up with. When hauling art to our booth, I love being able to easily carry considerable weight inside the suitcase. And once it's there, I think we feel obliged to work it into the display in our own booth.

We got ours for no cost at a church "free sale" back in Virginia, so there's no pressure, but I'd like to see your great ideas for putting a vintage suitcase to work, so please share links or descriptions in the comments.


A gift from her bridesmaids

>> Thursday, July 28, 2011

This book will be making its debut at a wedding in upstate New York this weekend.  The cousin of the bride contacted me about placing the order for this custom photo album, and it will be a wedding gift to the couple from her and the other bridesmaids.  The bride's cousin also designed the wedding invitation suite, so she supplied the artwork for the custom nameplate on this album so it would coordinate with all of the other printed materials. 

Like all of my albums, this book is built with a double-thick spine.  This allows for photos to be added to the pages without the book "yawning" open or appearing over-filled.  I bound the album with orange waxed linen thread in the Japanese stab binding style.  

I selected a light blue bookcloth for the edge of the book closest to the spine, and I used a navy paper for the covers.  I actually ended up gluing a slightly transparent piece of navy paper on top of a blue lokta paper to get exactly the shade of blue I wanted for the covers.  

I wish Anne and Kevin a joyous wedding day and a lifetime full of happiness.  Congratulations to you both!


A book for an Irish wedding

>> Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This wedding guest book was made for Raminta and Shaun, a couple in Ireland who married in May.  The color scheme for their wedding was sky blue, yellow, and white, which I carried into the design of their guest book.  

This was the first custom wedding book that I'd made for a couple outside of the U.S.  And I'm currently working on my second international wedding guest book for a couple in Norway.  It is so exciting for me to be able to share my work with people all over the world. 

The book was bound in the Coptic style with yellow thread, and a matching yellow grosgrain ribbon was threaded through the covers of the book so it could be tied shut when not in use.  When untied, the book will still lay flat on a table so it's easy for guests to sign. 

I printed the couple's names, wedding date, and wedding location on the first page of the book.  All of the interior pages were printed with matching blue lines and the word "guests" on top of each page.

I included a little matching booklet along with the guest book when I sent it off to Ireland.  My husband and I used a similar little book on our Portland, Oregon honeymoon two years ago to record all of our wedding memories. While on the airplane or sitting in coffee shops, we would pass the book back and forth, taking turns recording little details we wanted to be sure not to forget.  I like sending little books off to the other couples, and perhaps they'll do the same. 


Porter Flea

>> Monday, July 11, 2011

On Saturday, Tony and I discover yet another thing to love about our new neighborhood.  We stopped by Porter Flea, the first of hopefully many handmade markets in East Nashville.  We've only lived in Nashville for about 10 days, and we're already falling in love with this city and all that it has to offer.  

The Porter Flea art show had a top-notch group of vendors selling all sorts of goods from jewelry to furniture, and everything in between.  Friendly Arctic was printing awesome East Nashville map posters right then and there.  Because of our love of maps and our growing collection of silkscreened map posters, Tony couldn't resist buying the very first completed print.  We're looking forward to getting our new apartment set up so we can get our new poster on display. 

Alongside Andy and Brendan of Friendly Arctic, the show was also organized by Katie (who makes upcycled t-shirt necklaces) and Jessica (whose linocut prints can be seen below, and in her Pine Street Makery etsy shop).  Of course I'm partial to Jessica's book prints, but my husband was loving the El Camino print. 

Some of my other personal favorites at the show were Modern Arks (gorgeous coffee tables and end tables made from crates and other reclaimed wood), Studio Fjord (I really enjoyed chatting with Tracey about her jewelry), and 400 Moons (they sell terrariums filled with all types of succulents).  Succulents are some of my favorite plants because Tony proposed to me in a greenhouse filled with succulents, and we also used them to decorate the tables at our wedding reception -- exactly two years ago today!


Reconnecting with the past

One of the best parts of starting my own business has been getting to meet so many new people, from talented artists at art shows to the inspirational bookbinders of BEST.  But I've also had the chance to reconnect with people I've know for years.  This journal was commissioned by one of my high school classmates, Kendra, as a birthday gift for her sister.  (While working on this project for Kendra, I also got to hear more about her own business, Connected Healing, specializing in holistic horse healthcare.) 

This book is a 6" x 9" leather journal, bound in yellow thread using the Italian long-stitch technique.  Usually when I make smaller leather journals, like this one, I use a thin leather strap which is attached to the cover by looping it through a series of holes in the leather.  However for this large journal, I felt that the book needed a thick strap to aesthetically balance the book.  

This lead me to try a new way of attaching the strap, resulting in the double X stitching pattern.  While certainly nothing groundbreaking, I loved the extra bit of visual interest that the simple pattern brings to the book.  I wonder how it would look to continue the stitching pattern along the entire length of the strap.  I may have to try that on a future book. 

The inside of the book features colorful bits of paper from a vintage world atlas.  I selected an assortment of maps from around the globe to wrap each section of pages.  And since all of the maps I used are printed on both sides, no matter how you flip through the book you can get a little geography lesson. 


linenlaid&felt studio moves to Nashville!

>> Saturday, July 9, 2011

The moving truck has not yet carried our belongings to Nashville, but we're already loving the vibrant city that we now call home. By next week, my husband will be working at the city's daily newspaper and I'll be taking this bookbinding adventure "full time." The first order of business is to organize the studio, as many exciting custom book requests have arrived in the past week.

From our apartment in East Nashville, I'll be a short walk from coffee shops where I can work on Etsy listings and blog posts, the post office for shipping orders, and art galleries to glean ideas.  

The one upside of having a nearly-empty apartment this week (due to delays by our moving company) is that my husband and I have been out and about exploring our new city non-stop since last Friday.  We enjoyed stopping by The Green Wagon, an eco-friendly general store, and we had some amazing ice cream at Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream.  (How could you resist flavors like riesling poached pear and wildberry lavender?) 

Also exciting is the news that the city's first-ever handmade book festival has been scheduled for the end of September.  I was thrilled to find out about the Handmade & Bound festival hosted by Watkins College of Art, Design, and Film


A wedding memory book for Tiffani and Nathan

>> Friday, July 8, 2011

In my last post, I shared a few photos of this guest book that I made for my best friend's wedding.  My husband was able to take a few pictures of guests signing the book at the reception, but I also wanted to include some pictures of the book's details.  

I still haven't tired of this gorgeous marbled paper, and it was a perfect fit for her oceanside wedding ceremony in Hilo, Hawaii.  I purchased a large sheet of this paper, and then carefully selected my favorite portions to use for the covers this book.  I like how the swirling patterns on the front and the back of the book each seem to have a different personality.  

I was pleased to see that many of the guests took the time to write lengthy, heartfelt messages.  By the end of the wedding, the pages were filled with well-wishes (in several languages!).  I prefer using blank pages in my guest books, instead of lined pages, because I think the blank canvas of the page invites guests to do more than just sign their names. I love flipping through books and seeing elaborate messages in elegant cursive mixed in with light-hearted doodles and more casual congratulatory notes.  This variety adds such character to the book and makes it so much fun to flip through years later. 

I also made a large set of photo corners to accompany this book.  The opening page of the book was reserved for Tiffani and Nathan to display their favorite wedding photo.  On the second page, I included one of their wedding invitations.  And then on the rest of the pages that weren't filled with guests messages, they can add more photos from their wedding.  I think this guest-book-plus-photo-album is the perfect solution to keep all of their wedding memories together in one handmade keepsake. 

Congratulations, Tiffani and Nathan!  I wish you all the best in your adventures together. 


  © Blogger templates Shiny by 2008

Back to TOP