art, Art & Soul, art retreats, book arts

Art & Soul Virginia – Albie Smith

Saturday night was vendor’s night at Art and Soul. I don’t handle a crowd well, so I got in and out of there pretty quickly. Dan Essig was vending (not teaching) and he said that the company near Asheville where he bought his mica had gone out of business. I bought some very translucent sheets from him, and I hope that he bought enough from that company to sell mica sheets for a long time! I just started using my hoard of mica to make books for sale.

I also bought some colorful yarns spun from recycled saris and banana fiber. Don’t know what I’ll do with them but I’m tired of resisting the urge to own them. If I just hold them in my hands it will be worth it.

And I bought a small book made by Albie Smith, whose class I would take on Sunday. I spent an hour and a half cutting bookboard and tearing Stonehenge paper in preparation for the class that night, since I waited until the very last minute and almost forgot about it altogether!

Albie is a bookbinding instructor who is much in demand, as I found to my dismay when all her classes were filled early. I had heard so many people rave about her that I was thrilled when she opened up more seats in her classes, and I managed to nab one in her Episodic Journal class. Her use of fearless rich color is breathtaking.

Again, I spent the morning painting paste papers, but with the different tools and items available to us my results were quite varied from Diana’s class. Albie and Christine, her daughter, circled the classroom and offered advice and help when needed. We designed papers for the covers, inside and out, and four signature covers to go inside the text block. The text papers were painted with a quick acrylic wash. I swear that the papers I spent the least time and effort on were the most beautiful! I guess that there might be a lesson in that, but maybe it was just luck.

We made spine covers with bookcloth, which I had not done before, and it made me very enthusiastic to make my own bookcloth when I got home. Doing so at home this past weekend, I recalled a very important lesson. Be very careful to keep the glue off your hands and your work surface so that you don’t get spots on the bookcloth. It is much easier said than done. In the class, Albie called this mistake “a collage opportunity.” I spent Sunday trying to salvage what I screwed up on Saturday. Next time I will have a cleaner workspace and be more mindful of my process when I do this.

Anyhow, here are photos from the class. Albie is an awesome teacher and I will try to get into other classes of hers one day! Her blog is Adventures in Albie Land.

A classmate binds her book.

The books above: all from the class!

The book above was Terri’s first book. Ever. I loved her patterns and textures.

Another beautiful creation from a classmate.

I think the book above was my absolute favorite of all my classmates’ work, although I was blown away by nearly everything done in this class.

This classmate’s binding is still in progress, but aren’t the covers gorgeous!

MY book from the outside above, and from the inside below.

Albie and me!

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