DCA Bookbinding (Part 5/6)

Last session we were stitching up our copticly bound hard-cover books…. this session we finished them!!

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Awesome , huh?

We made another book this session too! And it only took 30 minutes!

Japanese Stab Binding (3)Japanese Stab Binding (4)Japanese Stab Binding (5)

I didn’t take any photos of the making process for this wee book because we zoomed through it so quickly! but if you google Japanese Stab Binding you will find lots of instructions on how to whip up this quick little book, and lots of different patterns for stitching (as shown below).

I think this technique is great for using up scrap paper. I’m never going to throw any paper away ever and i’m never going to buy a sketchbook again! You could save all your junk mail envelops and stitch them up, or go on a shopping spree and bind all your receipts, or save all your train tickets for the year or or or or or the list goes on… awesome sketchbook ideas floating around now!!

Here’s a few examples of this binding that i love (check out my Pinterest board for more):

See you next time.

Chloe out.

DCA Bookbinding (Part 4/6)

Following on from last week, we continued with our coptic stitch in this session.

Our cover boards were beautiful and flat for us, as they had been in the press all week, and more importantly they were also super dry!

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Like before with sections, we used our little guide to mark out holes for the cover stitches.

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Almost straight……………..!

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Holes punched using the braddle. Why this pattern? Well you’ll soon see!!

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Awesome huh? The little v’s are just decorative, and looking up some of the stitches on pinterest there are loads of wonderful stitches you could decorate up a book with.

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Sorry for no stitching description…. but it was complicated and hard to photography… just google coptic stitch and you’ll get the jist!!

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As i said…. complicated…. so we didn’t quite finish it this session…

See you next time!

Chloe out.

20 One Second Every Day

Watch this wonderful TED talk One Second Every Day by Cesar Kuriyama:


I’m not the first to be suitably inspired by such a glorious idea, just google one second every day and loads of lives pop up, and hopefully i won’t be the last either!

I think it’s such a beautiful way to capture a life, preserve tiny little moments, and give me a whole year to remember… so here is my 20th year…..


And here’s to many more…..

See you next year…

Chloe out.

To The Moon And Back…..

Happy Birthday MrsCupcake.

To the moon and back faery wings earrings and full moon pendant.

Finished (11)Finished (4)Finished (5)Finished (6)Finished (7)Finished (10)

Packaged in star dust, cosmic swirls, spacey wacey moon fragments and tied together with a candy pink bow.

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All brought together and made sense of a in a little handmade booking shining with millions of stars and bound with my heart strings.

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And gifted to my wonderful mother on her birthday :)


She was pleased :)

We also made her cake…. and for posterity reasons i must mention i had no influence in the decoration of said cake! i just provided the rather tasty recipe…..!



Happy Birthday wonderful cupcake lady.

Much love and sparkly moondust kisses.

Chloe out.

Geometric Starling Murmurations

Following on from my last post, i’ve found this beautiful artwork…

Flocks by Catherine Ulitsky

In the photographs of European Starling flocks, I have painted connections between the birds to show the entire flock as a faceted geometric shape.

These images are gouache paintings on top of  photographs of murmurating starlings.

Aren’t they beautiful?

I love the contrast between the dulled, neutral colours of the sky and the intense bright colours of the lines. The geometric shapes created are both obviously man-made yet ultimately organic, which is such a wonderful idea to think of these shapes as natural when looking upon something so linear and structured.

Chloe out.

Starling Murmuration and The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman is one of my next stories to start working on in Lexicon, in particular i’m focusing on the idea of the hunger birds.


I won’t spoil the book for you and copy out the plot, but the hunger birds are ferocious and frightening and quite mysterious. The eye can’t see them properly and they swoop down from the sky like the birds in your nightmares.

I want to capture this odd bird that you can’t see, i want to capture the terror.

But first, for inspiration, i’m looking at something rather beautiful:

Starling Murmuration 

A murmuration of starlings literally means a flock of the birds.

A “murmuration” of starlings, as this phenomenon is known, must be one of the most magical, yet underrated, wildlife spectacles on display in winter. Impenetrable as the flock’s movements might seem to the human eye, the underlying maths is comparatively straightforward. Each bird strives to fly as close to its neighbours as possible, instantly copying any changes in speed or direction. As a result, tiny deviations by one bird are magnified and distorted by those surrounding it, creating rippling, swirling patterns… The logic behind this spectacular behaviour is simple: survival. Starlings are tasty morsels for peregrines, merlins and sparrowhawks. The answer is to seek safety in numbers, gathering in flocks and with every bird trying to avoid the edge where adept predators can sometimes snatch a victim.

Read a little bit more about the Science Behind Starling Murmuration and The Mathematics of Murmurating Starlings.

Looking at the patterns and shapes and movements created by this mass of birds will be a wonderful starting point for trying to pin down the hunger birds. The starlings, on mass like this, are no longer individual beautiful birds but a whole and unseen blackness… yes, they are beautiful, where the hunger birds are not, but twirling and swirling masses are a useful drawing source for this story.

Some stunning images i’ve collected together on pinterest of starling murmurations:

Chloe out.

DCA Bookbinding (Part 3/6)

After last session’s successful binding! we’ve moved on to a new stitch in this week’s bookbinding class.

Coptic Stitch, and to make it more exciting (and learn more skills) we are also making a hard cover, covered with book cloth.

But first, a little background on the coptic stitch before going into the how to’s……..

Coptic binding or Coptic sewing comprises methods of bookbinding employed by early native Christians in Egypt, the Copts, and used from as early as the 2nd century AD to the 11th century. The term is also used to describe modern bindings sewn in the same style. Coptic bindings, the first true codices (a book made up of a number of sheets), are characterized by one or more sections of parchment, papyrus, or paper sewn through their folds, and (if more than one section) attached to each other with chain stitch linkings across the spine, rather than to the thongs or cords running across the spine that characterise European bindings from the 8th century onwards.

And this is the sample that we were shown to aim towards:

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And here are a few more image examples, i’ve been collecting up on pinterest, of coptic stitched books i adore:

After that wonderful inspiration, on to the making i go!

First step: folding the paper into sections. For this wee book, we have 8 sections, and have used three different colours of paper.

Must ensure paper is properly folded by using the end of the cutting utensil, a butter knife, to smooth down each crease.

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Turning the knife over, and cut along the crease. Some of my cutting was a little dodgy, it’s hard to get into the rhythm of it and some of my edges tore… in future binding i must work on ensuring that i don’t tear my paper (especially as i don’t have a handy guillotine to trim down the edges!).

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After all that creasing and folding and cutting, we have 8 little sections each! As you can see, i was cutting the vanilla white paper!

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A little bit of swapping and we soon had different coloured sections: vanilla white, caramel cream and mushroom grey!

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Using the handy guillotine we trimmed down the edges into smooth, neat sections. And we trimmed little covers to fit using thick card. It’s important at this stage that the card cover fits exactly flush to the book as when the cloth covers it a millimeter or so is added and if it isn’t a flush cut cover the whole thing ends up looking a little wonky!

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Next we set our sections to one side and picked out our book cloths. There were so many to choose from, but i, naturally, settled on this wonderful purple! But isn’t that yellow magnificent too? and the cream?

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We cut our cloths to fit the covers, just a centimeter or so larger on each side.

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Next the glueing process… i didn’t take any photos of this part due to sticky fingers! but basically we were sticking cloth to the cover.

Couple of tips: glue from the middle of the sheet out, ensuring your cover is pressed firmly against the table surface, this way no glue gets onto the front/underside of the cover. Also, use a bone folder to ensure the cloth is firmly stuck along the edges and corners.


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These covers will go in the press for the week and they will be all flat, dry and lovely by the time we’re ready to start stitching next week!

See you on the other side…..

Chloe out.