Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Something Different

Last night I finished working on a Steampunk Journal for an artist's swap starting in July. Each of us will add artwork to the other artist's journal and then send it on to the next artist.

For those of you who don't know what Steampunk is (I didn't know until recently), Wikipedia defines it as:
a sub-genre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date.

I haven't made my own journal before, so it was a bit of a challenge figuring out what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. I started with a vision that my journal would be about inventors and their inventions.

I started with an old book that I bought at the thrift store. It was nothing special, but it had a neutral color on the outside cover (typically steampunk artwork stays in the gray/black/cream/rust/neutral color range), and it had interesting maps on the inside cover. I cut out the pages inside and reinforced the binding area with heavy-duty canvas. I painted a piece of wood from the craft store with antique gold paint, and I added a wood disk from a checker board project I did a long time ago and watch parts from an old watch of mine. I added a handle (this didn't make the final cut - it was too hard to work in the book with the handle sticking out), papers, and the edge from the original book binding.
The canvas didn't want to stay put, so I ended up using some hardware to hold it down. I ended up not liking the look of the screws, so these are covered in the final product. I also glued black ribbon on the top and bottom edges.

And here it is! Here's the front cover:

A detail view of the front cover:I found some cool papers at Michaels that were organic in style, but neutral. Some of them had die cut edges that I thought would make the side of the book more interesting. I used the papers as a mini-cover for each artist's double-page spread of watercolor paper. A view from the side:(Now open the book and turn it sideways...) There's a little waxed paper (tinted with Timber Brown StazOn ink) pocket with an invitation, and the first page is the cover to a note to the participating artists.Detail view of the invitation "You're invited to invent":

I "sewed" all the pages together (twice) and then attached them to the cover with some ribbon. There are photos of all the inside pages and the back cover over at flickr. Here's a link to the flickr photo set with all of the photos.

Lessons learned:

I am not a book binder. Well, at the very least, I'd need a class to really know how to bind a book properly.

StazOn ink is just about the coolest stuff ever made. It inks on almost anything!

Gel medium isn't as strong of a glue as I thought it was. Or maybe canvas just doesn't like to be glued down.

I'm sure I could have made this easier on myself, but I enjoyed the challenge!


Lea said...

It's beautiful! :) I hope we get to see some of the final version! So fun.

Cassandra said...

Looks great! i can't wait to see it in person. :)