Creativity: Party Guest Book

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I’ve got a birthday not far off – one of those landmark ones, and I’m having a party…A book for guests to sign as a memento is fairly standard on these occasions, and being an artist, I made my own.

It’s quite simple, with only one signature. The pages are 110gsm cartridge paper, and the cover is repurposed card with the printed magenta card glued over it. The cover design is a variation on the cover of the invite ‘zine I made, and I used the same orange thread to stitch the booklet together.

I couldn’t just leave it at that, of course! One of the pages already had this quote on it – an alternative verse of Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissings”. Since it’s a birthday party, and there will be cake, and my guests are invited to dress up in Punk Rock Style (there will be cliches) the words seem oddly appropriate. So I added a cake.

I’d bought a packet of pretty scrapbooky sheets, so I added some of those. Where I liked both sides, I hinged them with washi tape. When only one side fitted my theme, I stuck them down, again with washi tape. I picked two designs to use, a pretty one, and a punkier one. In the back, I put a copy of the invitation, and an old envelope to put some photos of the night in later. Camera and balloon stickers from Kikki K illustrate its purpose. I also put in a peony stamp, which I coloured with watercolours, and my Peace Love Empathy rainbow heart design.

I hope that the scattering of interesting inserts, stickers and drawings removes the terrible White Page anathema, and that the fact that something is already there will encourage my guests to be more adventurous in adding their names for me to remember the occasion.

Creativity: Escape XXVII


I have come to the last few pages of my altered book, “Escape” – next week I’ll have to find something new to share! On this page, I simply crossed out most of the text with a medium-tip sharpie, and painted it out with watercolours. I’ve stuck on the frame from a sheet of postage stamps, then filled the spaces in various ways – redacting words from the original text in some of them, and stamps and a sticker for others.

I didn’t do this all at once, coming back and adding more from time to time. I generally work over several pages (at least) at any one time. This tends to unify the whole book, I think, since colours, stamps and styles of doodles etc are repeated through it.DSCF9445

I like what happens when a macro shot of a detail blows it up so much bigger than the original, and tiny details become visible.DSCF9446

This page was a simple matter of the Kikki-K sticker, lots of colour and a reminder of what I love to do – Create! Plus a butterfly, which, although I used black ink, has gained colour from the paint underneath.DSCF9447

This is the second last page of the book. Most of it is covered with a big yellow sticker. My late father-in-law loved garage sales, and buying all sorts of (potentially) useful things, and I think that’s where the multiple sheets of yellow stickers (various sizes) came from. The key – a jewelry charm – is held in place with a piece of wire. You can see the ends twisted and stuck down with tape next to “create” in the previous image. The music notes suggest joyful freedom to me.DSCF9448

Last of all, the inside back cover. Out of a  stack of maybe 15 pages, I cut an arch-shaped hole, working through several at a time, after which the whole stack was glued together, to create a niche. It so happened that the old novel had a character called “Kurt”, which I didn’t know when I bought it in a junk shop for it’s cover (50cents, if I remember lately). The name appears from an accidental tear beside the niche, so the last page went from there. The image glued into the niche is printed on a paper made from a mineral rather than tree pulp, which has a pleasing matte finish. I coloured it in with felt-tip pens. The arrangement of seven hearts, drawn in a continuous line and rainbow coloured, is a symbol I have been using for years for Peace (the rainbow) Love (the hearts) Empathy (the blood drops). I left the last sentence on the page, because it fit with the drawing of Kurt Cobain.DSCF9450


Creativity: Escape II

Some more pages from my creativity journal/altered book –Escape 10

I do believe that daydreaming is an important part of the creative process – it might be about how to approach a particular project, or have nothing to do with your art practice at all. It is one of the things that school as we know it discourages, and one of the reasons that children become less creative as they move through the system.

Escape 11


I covered much of this page with yellow stickers, plus a home-printed one of a teapot – cross stitched on handkerchief linen by my daughter, Zoe, and made into a brooch by me. Plus thoughts about my creative process.Escape 12

I spotted the words, “You’re an artist?” amongst the text on the page as I was obliterating it, and of course I preserved it. The answer is YES! Do you feel you need some one else to affirm that for you, or is it for you to decide?

Creativity III: Altered Postcard Books

booksAltered postcard books are a fun ongoing project, using up a lot of little bits of paper detritus and odd bits of time.Be Inspired

I collect postcards – mainly the free advertising kind, for an appealing image, or maybe for the text, or part of it, and I keep them together on my worktable .Amazing You

I also save stickers and labels, the ‘frames’ from postage stamps etc, and randomly add them to postcards – front and back – as the fancy takes me.Return love

Covering part of the message makes a new message. Maybe I add new words.Happy Teapot

Stickers can add to, embellish or obliterate images.Bread and Pop

Paint, stamps (rubber), markers, inks all add new layers of meaning, sometimes deep, sometimes frivolous.Touch

Once I’m satisfied with the alterations, I laminate the cards. This means that some additions only need a little double-sided tape to hold them, and ensures that nothing ever falls off!Laminator

I then punch a pair of holes on one short side, in order to bind with rings, or, sometimes, safety pins.bindingsTags, beads etc can be used to embellish the rings – this helps establish a ‘front’ page, apart from the decorative value.wire

One of the books (I’ve made at least eight, I find) was made to hold an interesting article about creativity from ‘The Age’

I cut it up and divided it between several postcards, adding extra pages to make a small book.selection

The one I’m putting together at present has the popular theme of “Happiness”.You deserve happiness