Bookmarks VII

For the third year, I’m taking part in the Bookmarks project run through the Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of the West of England in Bristol. Book artists around the world sign up and agree to contribute an edition of 100 bookmarks each. These are then distributed to venues around the world, where they are given out free. It’s been fascinating, and, I must say, I’ll never look at a bookmark the same way again.

My current submission is due in Bristol soon, so I’m working on them now. They are designed to plant nagging neurotic thoughts in peoples’ minds as they settle down to their books. Did you remember to turn off the oven? Is that iron still on? Door really locked?


A while ago I mentioned my design idea to my acupuncturist. She was horrified and accused me of being not very nice to people with OCD. In reality, I was thinking of my own tendencies.


This reminds me of a story. One day as I was leaving the house and had just locked up, I had to go back in to double check that I’d really, really remembered to turn off the iron. As I unlocked the door and walked back to the room where I’d been earlier, I silently chided myself for my compulsive neuroticism. Of course I’d turned it off. And as I entered, there it sat. The iron was turned on and steaming away….


All of the previous years’ Bookmarks projects are archived online. I was involved with Bookmarks 5 and Bookmarks 6. Links to previous years are available from those sites.

Internet Woes

No email for a day (thank you, incompetent rural ISP). Domain host shuffle (my other site, the “Picture Factory” link to the right). Deleting the latest version of my old web site that I was still needing for a while off my hard drive, after I lost access to it online. My horoscope probably said to avoid technology this week, but I missed seeing it. Just wanted to poke my head in. I haven’t given up on my poor little new blog.

Now back to cursing at my ISP and my stupidity for not backing things up more often. It really is true. You should back up your files. Often.

Decorative Drawer Fetish

This is so Martha Stewart-ish it’s embarrassing. I decoupaged the knobs on my little plastic organizer drawers. Since I recently got another one, I thought I’d provide a tutorial.

First, mask around the knobs.

I use Golden Self-Leveling Clear Gel as both adhesive and final coating. It holds up well. I’ve had a set of these drawers in my bathroom for years, and the knobs are still fine. Since these particular knobs are a little rough in texture, it holds the gel and doesn’t flake off.


Tear up bits of paper. Thin papers that are easy to mold around things when wet are best. This here is Nepalese Lokta (a fabulous all-around paper). Various Japanese papers work great too.

Brush on a coat of the self-leveling gel.
I recommend wearing rubber gloves—it makes this much easier and neater.

Begin to layer on the paper, using a thin, even coat of the gel.


After you’ve completely covered each knob, let them dry overnight. At this point, you could finish up by applying another couple of coats of gel, drying completely between each one. However, I had some nice Italian paper sitting around, so I thought I’d add a final touch with it.

I cut out pieces shaped to fit on the knobs, and adhered these on top using the same self-leveling gel. I then brushed another coat of the gel on top. I left them to dry overnight. I then added another couple of coats, drying thoroughly (preferably overnight) between each.


Scherenschnitte Extraordinaire

papillon dans le cube
Originally uploaded by hinaaoyama

I love cut paper. I used to make detailed collage pictures from little bits of paper—very different from traditional paper cuts, but I have a deep appreciation for anyone who can wield a scissors with skill. So I was quite taken with this Flickr stream I stumbled upon, thanks to a tipoff from Green Chair Press.

Aoyama Hina cuts paper the traditional way, with a tiny pair of scissors. Her Flickr stream is a delight.

I found myself thinking about an old, detailed scherenschnitte-style paper cutting I saw many years ago at the Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England. I think it was Victorian—I can’t remember—but it might have dated all the way to the 18th C. At any rate, along the bottom border the artist had carefully incorporated a visual explanation into the paper cutting, using words and pictures. I unfortunately don’t have a picture of it, but will attempt to describe it: (the word) All, carefully cut out and followed by a cut out silhouette of an open scissors; (the word) No (silhouette of a quill pen); No (silhouette of knife).  (All scissors. No pen. No knife.)

Cleaning and Organizing

Much to my amazement, we didn’t find many black widows in the studio the other day, but instead found all kinds of other things that had fallen behind furniture and storage boxes.

Cleaning my work space feels as futile as going down to the beach and attempting to bail and organize the Pacific, but I guess one has to start somewhere. Part of the problem is that I sometimes do use things like leftover packaging and scraps of paper, so I can rationalize having things like that around. But one needs limits.      

I discovered a while ago that those 3-tiered plastic bin organizing things designed for kids’ bedrooms are useful for messy, visually-minded artists. I’ve had one for a while and have grown fond of it. I keep rulers, inks, glues, small toys (for assemblages, of course), etc in it, and it works great. I like having things out in the open where I can grab at them.


Spider Abatement Day in the Studio

Several of these ladies share my studio (which is a converted garage) with me. I have nothing against them. They don’t actually bother me much (I like spiders). However, given that black widows like to live and hide behind boxes, and that my studio is filled with . . . er, boxes, I’ve decided it’s time for the arachnid equivalent of U-Haul (well, that and the fact that one was running past my toes when I looked down the other day). So, tomorrow I’m hiring somebody to come over to help with black widow removal (nobody wanted to volunteer—go figure).

The last time I cleaned the studio and evicted spiders, I fell so ill afterward that I wound up at the hospital the next day. My husband, aided with a home health manual and the Internet, came to the conclusion that I must’ve been bitten by a black widow. (More likely, it was food poisoning.)

I’ll let you know how it goes.