My Inspiration Book List #3

Segment #3: Support for Living the Creative Life:

Fearless Creating Coaching the Artist Within

Fearless Creating: A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting and Completing Your Work of Art and Coaching the Artist Within by Eric Maisel

Letters to a Young Poet

Letters to a Young Artist: Building a Life in Art by Julia Cameron

The Artists Way

Artists Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, Julie Cameron

Home Based Business for Dummies

Home-Based Businesses for Dummies

Centering in Pottery, Poetry and the Person

Centering in Pottery, Poetry and the Person, by M.C. Richards

Wild Mind

Wild Mind: Living the Writers Life, by Andrea Goldberg

SARK's New Creative Companion

SARK’s New Creative Companion: Ways To Free Your Creative Spirit, by SARK

My Inspiration Book List #2

Here is segment #2: Journaling!

The Diary of Frida Kahlo, Carlos Fuentes

Diary of Frida Kahlo

How to make a Journal of Your Life by D. Price

How to Make a Journal of Your Life

Spilling Open: The Art of Becoming Yourself and Brave on the Rocks by Sabrina Ward Harrison

Spilling Open Brave on the Rocks

The Journey is the Destination ed. Kathy Eldon

The Journey is the Destination

Wreck this Journal by Keri Smith

Wreck this Journal

The Artful Dodger, by Nick Bantock

Artful Dodger

My Inspiration Book List #1

Good books are incredibly inspiring to me and are a great resource for when you’re feeling stuck. I’m always on the lookout for not too cheesy books about bookbinding, craft business, journaling and living the creative life.  I created a handout to give my students at the close of a class and I’d like to share it with you in segments.

Segment #1: BOOK ARTS

Happy Reading (or just looking at pictures)!

Penland Book of Handmade Books by Lark Books
Penland Book of Handmade Books

500 Handmade Books by Lark Books

500 Handmade Books

A Degree of Mastery: A Journey through Book Arts Apprenticeship by Annie Wilcox

Degree of Mastery

Making Memory Books and Journals By Hand by Kristina Feliciano, Jo Lethaby, and Jason Thompson

Makind Memory Books By Hand

Bookworks by Sue Doggett


Books, Boxes and Wraps by Webberly and Forsyth

Books Boxes and Wraps

Cover to Cover by LaPlantz

Cover to Cover

Any books by Keith Smith

Books By Keith SmithBooks By Keith SmithBooks By Keith Smith

Bookbinder on Local TV

A couple of weeks ago I was approached by Ursula Gullow, producer of our local Art Seen Asheville cable tv slot, to participate in an upcoming episode. Her projects typically feature artists, musician, writers and performers of Asheville. Her theme for this project was needles and her chosen artists were a tattoo artist, a DJ and a bookbinder. Can you guess which one was me?

As you might expect I felt a little shy about diving into my first tv experience, but it was actually lots of fun (luckily my performer within kicked in and left my shy self in the dust). Ursula is herself a painter and very involved in the rich artist community here in Asheville. Her goal is to create a show that is sensitive to artists and produced in a down-to-earth style that’s meant to be engaging and informative. The result was just that.

To checkout the 8 minute “bookbinder” portion of the show:

*For the complete version, tattoos and all, go to:

*To find out more about Art Seen Asheville visit or write to [email protected]

*If you are curious about Ursula and her fabulous paintings check out

Sing Behind the Plow

Me, as a mini-garland dancer, heading a wedding processionalAs you will see from my bio I was lucky enough to grow up a few miles from the John C. Campbell Folkschool, a non-competitive learning community located in scenic Brasstown, North Carolina (the picture to the right hangs in the history center, I am the very determined little dancer at the front of the procession). The school offers year-round weeklong and weekend classes for adults in craft, art, music, dance, cooking, gardening, nature studies, photography and writing. Though you would expect that I am considerably biased, it is a woooonderful and welcoming creative place that everyone should have the chance to experience.

I began teaching at the school last year; book arts and beginning clawhammer banjo. Part of an instructor’s payThe John C. Campbell Folkschool sign on Brasstown Road for teaching at the school is a free class. I was missing home and decided to cash in my free class and while I was at it, surprise my mother who was teaching a Sheep to Shawl class the same session. There began my week of silk paper making with Kathy Hays.

The exciting thing about silk paper making, besides the bright colors and sculptural potential of the medium is that the actual process of making the “paper” is rather simple both in terms of tools and materials. All you need is: silk roving (white or dyed), two pieces of tulle, a piece of fiberglass screen (what you would use to repair a screen door), soapy water and watered down Liquitex Acrylic Gloss medium.

First, sections of the silk are drawn out in small feathery sections that overlap each other on top of a piece of screen and tulle. Overall design and color combinations are determined at this point. Next, it is important that the silk fibers are completely wet through and through with soapy water so that they will accept the adhesive. The wet sandwich of screen, then tulle, fiber and tulle are then blotted dry and adhesive is confidently applied to the front and back with a brush, ensuring that each fiber is coated so that it will stick to its neighbor. It is then hung to dry and later the layers of tulle are pulled away to reaveal a completely flat, not fuzzy, colorful, almost interfacing-like in texture “paper.” The last step is to iron it between sheets of parchment paper which returns the silk’s natural gorgeous sheen.

Jean applying adhesive to her wetted silk sheet Sheet Hanging to Dry Between Layers of Screen and Tulle

Kaye peeling the layers of tulle away from her finished piece Kaye\'s finished piece

Once we had the basic paper making down Kathy encouraged us to add other elements to the silk sheet while it was still wet, such as feathers and pressed flowers and also to add embellishment once the sheet was dry, stitching, beads etc. I am, and probably always will be addicted to hand stitching and also really love transparent layers, bits of fabric, dusty colors and such. The following images are examples of my experiments.

Checkerboard Patterned Piece made with Pre-Dyed Color Scheme Bits of Fabric Sandwiched between 2 White Silk Hankies Then Stitched Detail of Patchwork Piece Detail of Stitching Rows of Pressed Leaves and Flowers Adhered and Stitched to a Piece of Natural White Silk Paper Criss Crossed Peach Silk Fibers Maroon Sewing Thread and Thick Silk Yarn Between 2 Silk Hankies Detail

Thanks to Kathy for her organized instruction and color. Thanks to the Folkschool for supporting people of all ages in living creative lives and upholding their inspiring yet humble motto, “Sing Behind the Plow.”