Tag Archives: artfire

Art Journals, Finished Books, Artfire Update

My fingers aren't working well so I'll probably edit this in the afternoon, so bear with me for the day…

First off head over to my online buddy's site The Artistic Biker. He's started his first art journal this weekend and he's off to a fantastic start. He's got his daughter started too. Way to go on starting kids off with a lifetime habit that is both educational and very good for emotional well being. I'm sure she'll look at her journals when an adult with fond memories of her father. I htink I was around 10 or so when I was given my first journal. I was one of those orange red locking 5&10 (five and dime) 5 year Diaries. I wasn't artistic in it at all, just wrote my pre-teen angst. Infact I didn't start to journal on a daily basis until I was 12. Which is when I filled the little journals and bought a 6×9 college ruled spiral bound notebook. I decorated the cover with a collage and over the next year filled it with dreadful teen angst. I have all the journals I've ever written. I'm missing 1 from my college years but over all they are all here, somewhere in my home. I digress.

This weekend I created what I'm calling a basic journal. 128 pages of great cardstock, smythe sewn, and a simple cover made of board and decorative papers. they measure 5×8 inches and 1 fat inch thick. The cover is soft and flexible but not too too soft. the cost of them is low, but they are great quality. I've priced them at $12. Find them here on my artfire shop.


Some Artfire news. I'm stoked that they are offering a holiday season free-for-all. All members can list unlimited items for the holiday season. They stay up until January1st, 2010. No fees, no gimmicks no catches. Sell stuff for free and hold onto all that cash you'd be spending on fees. Your saving $36 on the verified subscription price. As a way to pass on all the savings I'm offing a $2 coupon code for all  the reader's of my blog, enter PASSITON at checkout.

Blank Books for Journaling

I've been watching more videos on youtube, looking for stuff to post here and also for inspiration. I've also been looking at photos of art on flickr. One of the things that I've noticed is the overwhelming amount of unique journals people are using. Of course there is the ubiquitous moleskine, one of my former faves. but there are also large quantities of other books being used. There is the reclaimed or re-purposed hardback book in which the artist gessoes the pages and works on a printed page. There are spiral bound books, which I've never been a fan of for art journaling but was for sketching- they lay flat, come in a variety of papers and are easily found. The are also great if you focus on writing in your journal. There are the coptic and long stitch handmade books, I've also noticed  and interesting phenomenon in which people are working on a plain flat page and then punching 3 ring binder holes and binding the pages in big giant 3 ring binders or into scrapbook covers. Whichever style of book you choose there are lots of options out there.

Take for instance, you can get a unique decorated moleskine on artfire for not too much more than you would pay for one at B&N or Borders. These are pre-decorated by an artist in many styles.

To find a reclaimed hardback book one needs only go to the local library and look for a book in the sales pile, ask your librarian for help. Also the Salvation Army and Goodwill have book section which you can go through. My local Saver's store has a section of some cool and wacky books, many of which would make great altered books. Also don't look past some of those "employer schwag books" these are the books that employers give out at interviews and job fairs to try and get people interested in coming to work for them. Some larger companies have some really nice schwag books, perfect for manipulation and editing.

Coptic books are a favorite of mine, They are great for sketching outside becuase the binding easily folds over on itself, they are often hardback, which makes for great sketching support, the binding looks really cool, the thread binding is sturdy. The bast part of all, you can stuff the pages full of extra glued in bits and goodies and the won't stress the spine too badly. A search in artfire brings up pages of great and well made one of a kind unique coptic bound journals

The long stitch books are one of my favorites. they come in a variety of leather cover, recycled covers and interesting stitches. They fold over on themselves, can be hardcover or a limp cover, the stitches are visible on the spines and can be very decorative. Best of all they are tough. I've been making and using almost exclusively long stitch bound books for the last 10 years or so and they survive abuse like you wouldn't believe. You  can toss them in the bottom of a bag, stomp on them, spill coffee on them, drop them in a lake and they come out looking pretty good and the binding survives. 

While I'm not a fan of 3 ring binders you might be interested in trying the binder method out. There are some very fun and unique 3 ring binder covers on artfire. I found them by searching for 3ring binder. Very cool. I also found some neat rubber stamps that way.

Whatever you chose try something handmade and unique to get you through this holiday season. By careful Artfire shopping you might find that you make it through spending less than if you bought mass produces crap made overseas.

New Items on Artfire

I loaded some new items up to my artfire shop. 2 more art covered journals filled with 100% cotton sketchbook paper and original art on the covers. 


I listed a dozen new jotter sets with mixed paper inside. The paper ranges from lined paper, graph paper, pink, blue, green, to all sorts of natural shades I usually use. I had a box, a large one, from 10 years of binding of various papers I just didn't have enough of to make a full book. I literally shuffled the pages together to mix them up, and used 15 sheets for each jotter, for a total of 60 pages. Each of these jotters is unique and the mix of papers is individual.


I also listed one NOS or new old stock hedgehog/ moleskine journal. It's covered in this old school leather that reminds me of those old time leather basketballs. I can't find this leather anymore and I used this last piece to make this book, back in 2007. The journal has sat in a wrapper, in a drawer since then. I considered using it, becuase I like the leather that much, but decided against it and listed it again. I've got it up for less than normal.


I also listed 2 more brand new hedgehogs, one with a chocolate brown leather cover filled with cream paper and another with a bomber jacket brown leather filled with pale green paper.


I also re-listed the palomino pencils. These are the last packages I have of the HB and 2b, my favorite sketching softness. After I finish with those I'll list some of the other pencils I have left over from my old website. (Does anyone remember when this used to be a website with stuff for sale? Me either.) 

You can follow the links in the text to any of the mentioned items, as always feel free to ask me any questions or for more picture if you're interested.

seriously limited edition one of a kind journals

I've been working on some special journals. What I've done is take one of the posters I make the jotters out of, cut it up into smaller pieces and then I've journaled on it. So each chunk looks like a giant page out of one of my journals, or is a giant journal sheet. It's what I've been working on over the last few days which explains the lack of real blogging, tweeting and facebooking I've been doing. I'm really excited about these journals.

I'm working on 4 of them right now or rather I've got 4 covers completely finished. So far I've got one book completely finished and one more almost done. They are filled with 50lb, 100% cotton bright white sketchbook paper, 200 pages of it and are stitched with a linking long stitch. I used bright red Irish linen thread for the stitching.

The journal art is sealed with clear acrylic varnish, that allows you to feel the texture of the art but wipe it clean with soap and water if you spill coffee on it, and the art should be undamaged.

I'm still working the details of the pricing out but they will eb listed on my artfire account this evening.




The journal picture is titled "Super Star." I've got more pictures up on my flickr page.

Facebook Me

I've set up a page on Facebook, you can find it here. I link to my new items and put up some pictures. All good stuff. I also have been experimenting with some online contests. Follow me on Facebook to find out more.

What I really want to write about today is Etsy's new Facebook feature in which when you heart an item a link pops up under the "heart this link" that says "facebook this item." Very, very cool.You have a chance at link an item for your friends to see, it could be a neat way of telling friends "hint hint I'd like this in large for my birthday" or it could just be a fantastic way of linking to an item so lots of people can see it.

I read on the forum (I know I know, I hate taht plce but can't resist  a link to it from twitter) that a lot of people were looking at this as spam for their facebook account. In a way I suppose if you abuse it, it is, BUT I look at it form a customer's perspective and not a seller's perspective, as in "How cool is it that I can link to all these awesome items?" Etsy should have rolled this out to  buyers and not so much sellers. It hink that etsy sellers are an easy sold to target. Let's face it the buyers spend less time on the site than we do, they might spend hours browsing the items but they aren't listing items and don't have the same involvement on a day to day basis that sellers do.

What I'm saying is this: wicked cool feature but not so much for sellers, email that stuff out to the buyers etsy and yo've got something cool on your hands. It would b nice if you set it up so we could send a link to Twitter in the same breath. I tweet way more than I facebook.*

SO if you are a buyer on etsy or even a seller, go on there and heart a few items today and put them up on your facebook for the world to see. Sellers get your friends to SIGN UP for etsy today and start linking to items!

*artfire has a tweet this item link on the left side of each items page, pops up with a micro url and some text already in it, I'd love it if they did a facebook link too. It's super easy to use.

Book blocks, glue and leather

Whew. In addition to mowing the lawn* I managed to finish that fat stack of 7 hedgehog/ moleskin notebooks I've been sitting on for close to 2 weeks. The elastics and envelopes went in in no time and pressed for a few hours. In that time I glued 6 more blocks into leather covers.

I pulled the finished books out of the press, signed and dated them, stuffed business cards in the pockets and then shot pictures. Edited said pictures and then listed all the items to my artfire shop. It went smoothly and everything looks good.

Thursday I visited my friend in Swampscott and she had been hoarding some paper and advertising posters for me. I walked away with 20 or so posters and about 2 reams of paper. I'll be able to use the guillotine to chop them up into nice matchbook notebooks. The posters are already chopped to size and will be stored until the next time I make a big batch of jotters. I also got some plastic posters that I use for jigs. I set up a jig to make covers with some of the left over scraps as the spine with some great backer board as the cover. I picked up some 30×40 sheets of backer board at the Charette clearance sale in Woburn.So I'm going to try out some new books and stitches. Fun stuff planned.

Tomorrow I'm headed to Western Mass to help a friend set up an ArtFire and an Etsy shop. I"ll spend the afternoon testing out my skillz.

*no small feat considering that it's rained every weekend for the last 3 weeks and I've not been able to mow for that whole time. The grass was halfway to my knees and I"ve got an electric lawn mower… It wasn't pretty.

quality matters so represent

Here is something that bugs the hell out of me: when people
put badly done work out there. I was searching on Etsy and came upon a seller
making Coptic bound books. The covers were fantastic. So I looked at a bunch of
their work. I found several books in their shop that I’d have been embarrassed to
list myself. Why? Loose and sloppy stitching, crooked stitches, and spines that
were lined up with the holes in the books and not the spine edge of the cover. This
was selling for top dollar too. The seller had listed it with the rest of their
listings as if it were the same quality.* ARGH.

I have 2 main issues with this practice by sellers. First it
gives sellers of handmade goods a bad impression. By selling that book that
seller is making all bookbinders look bad in the eyes of the buyer. As sellers
of handmade goods we have to remember that we represent ALL the other makers of
the same goods. When that book fails it will leave a bad taste in the mouth of
the buyer. That seller is looking to make a quick buck but ultimately will
tarnish his/her image.

Here is my second issue: Its bad customer service. Pure and
simple putting out a subpar product will only damage your image in the eyes of
your buyers. Craftspeople have a hard enough time selling our goods without
people selling badly done work. No matter where it’s sold it doesn’t matter
when you put your work out there you represent your work and all the other
people who make something similar. Buyers who learn through use and looking at
other handmade items will soon learn the flaws of a poorly made item. They will
be unhappy. They will not be back. They will feel scammed.

A note to buyers: If you’re looking for some Coptic bound
books where the seller has pride in their craft, does great work and has some
spot on design skill? Check these sellers out:

KateBlack.Etsy.com Her books are amazing, well designed and
well made

MyHandBoundBooks Very well made and fun books

Kristincrane.etsy.com Well made fun and funky and a lot of

Additionally, buyers should feel like they can ask a seller
questions. ASK questions of the binder. Ask how long they have been making
books. My suggestion ould be to not buy books from anyone who been making them
less than 6 months. Bookbinding is not an easy to learn craft and one that take
patience and practice to get good at. I’ve been binding for close to 10 years
and when I take a break from a particular binding style, I always make a few
screw up books, and Coptic is one of those styles you foul up on. Even when I
am making them on a regular basis I screw up regularly.

So for those of you who are sellers, if you must sell a
piece please label it as a second, list the quality faults, be honest with your
buyers and represent all of us well.

 *One could argue that perhaps the seller didn’t know that
this was a flaw, but before going on my tirade I looked at the rest of the shop
and found several books made properly and many books with different designs.
This was obviously a seller who knew better!