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Not long ago, I had a chance to interview Megan Winn of www.bindingbee.etsy.com about her fabulous handmade journals. I enjoyed visiting with her and was delighted to find that her personality is as charming as her work.

Rae:  Okay, Megan. These are some things I am curious about.  I have been wondering what inspired you to first make books, and then what brought you to Etsy?

Megan:  When I was in high-school, I loved pretty journals and used to go through them so quickly that I could hardily afford to support my habit.  So, I decided that it made sense to go ahead and try my hand at creating my own.  I checked out a ‘how to’ book from the local library and it all started there.  The first ones were terrible!  Most of them ended stuffed with my own thoughts, or as gifts to family and friends.  All of them now are held together by rubber bands as my sewing skills were definitely beginner back then!  Since then, I have had lots of practice perfecting my technique and have taken some workshops and private lessons to learn more binding styles & to get a better grasp on the history and art of book-making.

I came to Etsy a year ago as a buyer, not seller.  It was amazing to have access to so many artists and their work!  I was inspired and delighted, but at the same time too scared to open my own shop.  At that point, I had been making and giving away greeting cards and journals for years, but only to close friends and family.  I stalked the forums on Etsy and with a few of my favorite sellers, and after a few months finally decided to give it a go.  I had my first sale within a week or two of opening my shop, even though I only had about 5 books for sale.  After that, I was hooked!  I have not stopped since.

 Rae:  Who or what inspires your work now?

Megan:  I get a lot of visual inspirations from the materials I collect and salvage.   I am a huge antique store junkie and love the weekend summer garage sale scene as well.  I am forever in search of gorgeous old books in need of TLC, and I collect bundles of old fabric, lace, leather, pattern pieces, skeleton keys and photos.  I love taking very old things and finding ways to work them into a new design.  

Rae:  There is a number in the back of my book…what does it mean?

Megan:  That is just an id. #.  I keep track of every book I make and sell.  After each one is finished, they get a final once-over, a sticker, and a number.  I make a little note of the materials, size, and price of each book and literally keep a journal of my journals.  Obsessive, but true.  

Rae:  What kinds of material do you use to make your books?

Megan:  Salvaged leather, vintage fabric, antique book covers, buttons, lace, ribbon, old photos, salvaged mat board, pattern pieces, and lots and lots of love and good energy.  The only thing not up-cycled is the interior paper.  I buy archival, blank paper for the inside text block of each book.  

Rae:  What is the strangest or most unusual/creative material that you have uses?

Megan:  My favorite unusual material so far has been used tea bags.  For my Thesis in Undergrad I made an entire quilt out of them. I collected bags for months prior to the semester, and it took my almost 4 months to complete the sewing. It turned out really beautifully, and still hangs in my dining room. In that show, I also had a piece made out of apple cores, and another of egg shells.  I was trying to focus on the fact that art is in the daily… in the mundane. For photos check out this website: http://www.twinenfp.org/gallery/meganwinn. 

Rae:  Have you ever gotten to see one of your books after it was fill?

Megan:  Yes.  Many of my favorite people are avid writers and journal keepers. Quite a few of my journals live with my closest friends, my husband, my mom, and my little sisters.  It is always fun to see my books tucked full of secrets and on people’s bookshelves.  

Rae: Finally, what role (beyond bookmaking) does (or has) creativity played in your life?

Megan:  It’s everywhere and inextricably tied to all aspects of my life.  I love getting to be a part of the creative process, and feel like “art” and creativity extend way beyond traditional bounds.  I participate and experience this while nurturing my garden, canning tomatoes, doing laundry, or by being in my studio.  It’s the mundane, the daily, and yet it is transcendent because of the accessibility. 

As far as how that connects for me to the craft of book making, I think that is why I love using such a variety of materials, many of which have already been used for something else, and may or may not be considered “art worthy”.  I like to tie them back in, make them functional again, and cause people to take a second look… it is in the little things. 

 

I would like to thank Megan for allowing me to visit with her and for being so gracious in sharing her story.  I have been adding to the pages of my book here and there.  For such a “little thing”, that journal has made a big difference in my life.

sweetmeats.etsy.com

sweetmeats.etsy.com

I think it is popular to be a vegetarian. There is something romantic about sacrificing your own cravings for animal flesh to uphold your value of life for the furry, scaled, and feathered ones among us.  I watched Twilight a few nights ago and felt myself wanting to move closer toward that place of purity.

But this evening while logging onto the net, my homepage (Etsy.com) featured the handmade art of SweetMeats.  I was mesmerized by the plush, huggable meat items.    

sweetmeats.etsy.com

sweetmeats.etsy.com

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Who doesn’t need a little meat for their couch?! 

And check out the bacon earrings!

sweetmeats.etsy.com

sweetmeats.etsy.com

I just know if I had a pair of these, I wouldn’t be able to keep my husband off me!  He would be trying to nibble on my earlobe all day long!

(These clever little earrings are made from polyshrink/shrink paper.  That makes me love them even more.  I have a special affinity for that craft. I posted an entry featuring my own shrink art last month.  I think it is still on this page.   I am glad to see more people using it.)

 Maybe I will get me a pair!  It’s guilt-free meat. 

The owner of the shop seems to be working on some other designs, so check out what they’ve got.  If the creativity and humor shown thus far is any indication of what is to come, we are all in for a sweet treat….or should that be sweet MEAT?!   

Check it out! Find her shop at www.sweetmeats.etsy.com or her blog at http://bizmiss.wordpress.com/2009/06/30/whoa-those-are-shrinky-dinks/

 

It has been years since I have done shrink art, but recently I fell in love with it all over again.  While perusing Etsy, I came across   www.LittleAngelsJewelry.etsy.com.  I was delighted to find such exciting images.  So I bought a few.  The little ring featuring a ribcage with a heart has become my token reminder to tend to the emotional, spiritual and physical health of my heart.

Ribcage Ring

Last night, I even had a dream in which a Wise Woman told me to relax and open my heart to the world.  It is amazing what effect a tiny work of art, done with love, by a stranger across the country from you can have on your life.  We just never know how we touch one another.

Shrinky Healing Art

 

So in celebration of  my renewed, growing love of shrink art, I decided I would offer a few tips for working with it.  I even have a few of my old pieces that I think will be fun to revisit.

Shrinky Fairy2

The tips for ONE of MANY ways to do Shrink Art:

  • I start out by using an artist grade of shrink art paper called PolyShrink.  It is available from www.LuckySquirrel.com.  The paper is treated by sanding it with a light sandpaper in a crosshatched pattern (horizontally and vertically). 
  • Color can be applied a number of ways.  I prefer Prisma Color Pencils and Sharpies. 
  • Once the piece is colored, it can be cut out.  I prefer to do it this way if I have shapes to cut out so that my pencil doesn’t accidentally catch the edge and goober up the piece.  (Is “goober up” a technical term?) This would also be the step in which you could use a hole punch for jump rings or dangly things.
  • Pieces are baked in an oven (300-350 degrees F or 148-175 C according to Lucky Squirrel) on a piece of cardboard, resting inside a cookie sheet.  For more cooking directions, check out Lucky Squirrels General Instructions. 
  • To glue on any backings, I used E6000.  I have since heard others use a 2 part epoxy, but I haven’t tried that.  I would love to hear from anyone who has.  The trick with E6000 is to apply a small amount to both parts, let it dry and then glue those parts together.  You also want a tiny bit to well up over the edge of the stud disk or pin back to help hold it on. 
  • As for sealing, I used acrylic spray.  The trick there is to keep your layer thin, especially with the matte or it will get cloudy. Without some kind of sealant, the pieces tended to scratch up a bit.

Shrinky Fish

Well, I would love to hear from those who are doing Shrink Art.  I am looking forward to playing with it again.  What a fun Summer-time project!

My Etsy Shop

http://laughinglane.etsy.com Photobucket

Robert Alan

The creative spirit is one of the most powerful driving forces in human history. Creativity in the arts can inspire new insights and understanding for generations. Inventive creativity has helped transform our society time and time again, helping to make life better for countless lives. Creativity helps bring meaning to one's life through unique self-expression. When focused on uplifting humanity, creativity can help to create a more peaceful, just and sustainable world. How will you use your creativity to help create a better world?

Henry David Thoreau

The world is but a canvas to the imagination.

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