Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Debrina's Book - Through the Eye Glass

Update #6

Finished portfolio cover - I'll get a less fuzzy photo up tomorrow hopefully

Beginning of page 2 with feature window (hmmm...I need to lower that bottom right stud...)

Window feature open (yes, I definitely need to fix that stud!)

Page 1 will remain a surprise - you'll see it when it comes in the post!

Update #5

Portfolio - stitching commences (with a cup of tea for fortitude)

I've been so busy doing other projects since my last update (altered matchboxes, aceos, atcs, an art exchange, my exhibition pieces and mail art) that I actually had to put the book aside for a little while.  Now that these things are out of the way, I've had much more time to solely concentrate on our project.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE this project, but I also don't like unfinished business.

Stitching finished (yay!)

So, a lot has happened since I last posted.  Firstly, the portfolio got a good going over with paper, paint, dye (lots of texturising you could say) and then, finally, crackle medium.  I wanted to achieve a real shabby but interesting cover: antiquated and a bit Victorian Sci/Fi.  The herringbone stitch (above) isn't just decorative - it has a practical purpose to it to.  Basically it holds the portfolio together, lol! 

Folded up and finished, now, the portfolio looks like this:

Finished portfolio

The writing is of course, the title: Through the Eye Glass.
Here's a close up:

Close up of eye piece and title of book

Now I'm working on my pages of the book.  I've manufactured an eye-glass (one of those old fashioned ones favoured by the Victorian gentlemen) by busting up an old pair of doll's spectacles and attaching a silver chain.  I've also found a photo that represents my invented heroine, Maude Newton.  Maude's a recently widowed 32 year old, who's found a new lease on life.  With her husband dead and buried (oooh that sounds so callous), her newly found freedom and small fortune have afforded her a trip around the world.  Also with the money left to her by her late husband, Maude has invested in an eye glass.  Maude's always had poor eyesight but out of vanity refused to wear spectacles in front of her husband (her husband, in fact, was never aware that his wife had poor eyesight - she kept it so well hidden).  Now that Maude has her eye-piece (an eye piece is so discreet when you can just tuck it into your pocket or purse), the world has taken on a different meaning...and that, my dear artistic chums, is where you fill in the gaps!

Here's Maude (and her belated husby), her eyeglass, an excerpt from her diary (and the diary cover) and peeking through all that - the first page of the book:
(CLICK on the image to enlarge)

And here's the diary excerpt (and the first page of my book - which has barely been started) in its entirety:

As you can see, Maude is quite atypical of her generation.  She's a bit of a messy pup (look at the stains on that diary entry) and a real adventuress.  She's aware of societal norms, of course, and keeps up the ruse on the surface, but deep down she's a tiger!

Update #4
If you've read my other blog, you'll know that I've been busy this weekend working on all sorts of art projects, but did manage to fit my book in too.  I've decided NOT to bind my book until you guys have finished doing your thing to it.  That way I can accomodate it's new thickness (eg, any dimensional work you guys do).  My plan is to create an encasing for it - a bit like a portfolio cover that opens up to reveal the book (see the one I've mocked up below).  I have set the eye piece onto the top part of the portfolio (the flap), just to set the theme and I will use this mock-up in the final version of the cover.  In the meantime I am starting to work on the first two pages - you each get two opposing pages to play with.  I've also set a margin (which you can paint over but must not embellish, as that will be where I bind the book.  Anyway, don't panic with all these "instructions".  I'll put a set of notes in the parcel before I send it off!

As you can see, the brown cardboard is the inside of the portfolio.  It will latch together when folded up.  Currently it fits "the book" quite snugly, but it will need to be remade in order to accomodate the actual book as we build it up with our artwork. If you blow this picture up larger, you can see where the margins are for binding. I've also alternated the page layout so that the circle is not in just one place on every page...

Ooooh and the miniature book is for each of your autographs and a little vignette that represents you as an artist: be it your work, inspiration or your muse...

Update #4a here's some more pictures to help clarify things:

Here's the eye piece...

Open the top flap...

then the bottom flap...

Open up the book and turn the pages.

I've thought some more about the hole placement.  I'll let you decide in which position you want to have it.  You just need to flick the entire page over.  I hope you experiment with it.  Also, the portfolio is temporary.  It will only be enclosed in your parcel to inspire you and tickle your fancy.  I think it's really important for us to see each others work up close and you can hold it, touch it, sniff it, look at it...etc.  That's SO important don't you think?

Update #3
Not really an update as such; more inspiration.  Look what I found at Brian Dettmer's Book Autopsies

Update #2

"Through the Eye Glass"
Copyright 2009  -  D.Price-Ewen

Ok, I am so darn excited about this project that I just haven't been able to stop thinking about it in the last 48 hours!  I'm zinging with creative zinginess and it's so bad, I'm not sleeping that well...ha ha.  Look at the time will you: 11:30pm (NZ) and I have to get up at 6.30am tomorrow for work!  But I just had to join in the fun and post my theme!!!

Well, I had the most amazing photographs of the work I'd done on my book to date (as in just this evening), then my camera died.  I hate my's old and cruddy and I want a new one.  Damn it, I need a new one!  Problem is I'm as poor as a pauper right for the time being, these photos - taken on my cell phone (yes, I know, tragic isn't it?) - will have to suffice.

I promise you I will beg, borrow or possibly steal a camera before the week is out, so that I can match the standard of photography you guys are doing (Lisa, your close up is astounding). here's my theme:

"Through the Eye Glass". 

I made my eye glass out of cardboard, paper, metal, plastic, and laminate.  I've dyed and painted the circular cardboard frame to give it its rusty metallic colour.  The book is made from scratch (hand bound) and is tiny (1.5" x 2" or 4cm x 6cm).  This book accompanies the larger book (the board book I'm busy gessoing), which the eye sits upon.  The larger book still needs a lot more background paint to get it nice and opaque.  The cover will be aged and antiqued with crackle then painted an off-white, almost cream, colour...
My head is still whirring with heart is beating a bit too fast as I write this...if I don't die from a heart attack tonight from the sheer excitement of this project of ours, I hope to do MUCH more tomorrow.
Nighty night everyone....

Update #1
Ummm...yes, well, I kinda have started mine already, Alicia (LOL!) did you know? I've just put on the first coat of gesso....can you see the bear peeking through?

This book measures 6" x 7". Postage here to the States and Aussie is not cheap - so I haven't gone huge. Just kept it small and lightish.


  1. Omg Debs! You are just to flippin clever! This is looking so cool already and it's not even finished! Way to go! The eye is down right creepy/clever/weird/awesome btw...really feel's like it's staring it me. I'm dying to see how you did that! and the little that sepreate? I love what you did with the cover too..

    My camera is a good camera (thankyou) a bit under-utilised lately though I am sad to say! These are pretty good for a cell phone though!

  2. holy crap! i didn't know you'd posted anything new until i got the notice that lisa had comments. this is flippin' fantastic!! holy crap!! you are so clever indeed!! i lovelovelove it and it's so very stinkin' cool and i sooooo can't wait to play with it! i actually ordered something online that i thought might work with your book (unsure of sizing) and got it yesterday and although i think it's too big, it would have been PERFECT now that i know your theme! omg, i will have to find a way to make it work! i lovelovelove your eye! you created the eye itself?? how the heck did you do that? i love eyes!

  3. and double wow. Your eyeglass piece and little handmade book are fantastic. I found myself in stitches at one point because in my tired state I thought your book measurement was 1.5 x 2 and was wondering how on earth we would all contribute to this little gem. When I cleared the fog from my head I realized it was an embellishment to your board book. LOL. :)

    For some reason I am unable to post to this blog from work. I can post to all other blogs but this one. Not sure why. My comment seems a bit underwhelming now. I tried to post this 6 hours ago. I'm home now. Beautiful work Debs! ~Andrea

  4. Hello my wonderful friends! I didn't make the eye! It's the only thing I couldn't make by hand (if I could, I would though!). The eye is a plastic doll's eye. I just backed it with cardboard so that it sits properly, but everything else is all put together by me...but that's only because I've got a real vision for this book and I'll do make this book look exactly the way I want it to look!

  5. haha, i thought that too about the wee book at first!

    your work is just fantastic and perfect and awe-inspiringly divine! are you sure you want it in my hands!? you are such a talented and artfully devoted lady!

  6. Well you may not have crafted the actual eye ball but you not only concieved this great EYE-dea (sorry...had to!) but you also constructed it all my hat's still off to you!

  7. No fear: I've saved the best:

    altered bits said...
    i didn't get a notice that you'd post this, sorry. fantastically fun! i'll post what i started for mine, though i may change mid-way 'cause i'm me and that is just what i do. ;) how the heck did you get that circle so dang perfect??

    October 10, 2009 10:08 PM
    The Artful Eye said...
    Debs charged the starting gate and I'm choking off the dust cloud.:) Way to go! I spy a snuggly bear.

    October 10, 2009 10:10 PM
    Lisa Sarsfield said...
    How come I didn't get an email saying new post...hmmm. I just saw this because a comment notication came through. This looks like a fun size Debs, like the idea of drilling holes in it too. Do you have a theme yet?

    October 10, 2009 10:17 PM
    altered bits said...
    i got no email about this, now i'm getting TWO emails every time someone comments. i'm so confused.

    how big is this, sweets?

    October 10, 2009 10:28 PM
    Debrina said...
    Matey - I've put the size just below the image. How strange that notifications don't come thru then do, twice? Let's have a look at the settings....

    October 11, 2009 3:44 PM
    altered bits said...
    i see the size now! i think i was initially distracted by the perfection of your hole.

    October 11, 2009 3:52 PM
    Debrina said...
    My hole is quite perfect, isn't it? Although to be honest, I really think this matter probably shouldn't be discussed publicly.

    October 11, 2009 4:02 PM
    altered bits said...
    omg, i guess i did not word that very well, now did i!! (blush!!) i meant your circular cut out is quite skilled and fantastic looking.

    October 11, 2009 4:18 PM
    Lisa Sarsfield said...
    Oh you are bad Debs! lol

    October 11, 2009 6:15 PM
    Debrina said...
    I wouldn't get too excited about my hole, was actually already like that when I bought it second hand. (Ok, that actually sounds even worse...if you can get worse than that?).

    October 11, 2009 11:52 PM
    altered bits said...
    you've got me all giggly! probably you plus the two beers plus the fact that i should have gone to bed long ago because i have to get up in... omg, five and a half hours. nighty night!

    October 12, 2009 12:22 AM
    Lisa Sarsfield said...
    If word gets out that Alicia is giggly over Deb's second hand hole they're be rumours flying all around blogsphere...

    October 12, 2009 12:53 AM
    altered bits said...
    hahahaha! too bad the link to this blog has been shared and can be freely read by whomever wishes to. it may be too late.

    October 12, 2009 8:19 AM
    Kim said...
    Too late.
    the rest of the world now knows that Alicia is a fervant admirer of Debs previously loved cavity!

    October 13, 2009 11:57 PM
    Debrina said...
    Ha ha...we have to keep this post, girls. We crack me up!

    OMG! Will you look at the time? It's now 12.37am. I NEED to go to bed!

    October 14, 2009 4:37 AM
    altered bits said...
    oh yes, we must keep it. i'm the one that looks like the "bad guy" here. lol.

    sweet dreams! it's 3:27 AM your time so i do hope you're sleeping soundly!

    October 14, 2009 8:29 AM

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  8. i almost wet myself there for a second. i though you did that. i love him -- he's super inspirational, isn't he! i wish i were so patient!

  9. you make me laugh and smile!

    oh, i can't call you tomorrow because we're going to the beach. i can call you on my sunday/your monday though. we'll be home around 6 and paul works at 8 or 9, so... (calculating!) 3 or 4 your time monday. just let me know. sorry about last night -- got your email late and wasn't sure if it was tea time or if i should ring, etc.

  10. this is so creative Deb.. i used to work across the hall from a doctor who made glass eyes for people who lost was a very intriguing yet creepy process but i think you all would have enjoyed it! love your ideas and that book at the top.. got lost on that website for quite a time!

  11. oooh glass eyes! that would be so fun to make! or to buy the imperfect ones to use in our own creations. :)

  12. Hi guys! Just done a new post - nothing too terribly exciting, but thought I'd explain my plans for this book in a little more detail.

  13. Hi Debs, help I am confused! I guess I will work it out when your book gets here but where is the eye going? I thought it was going on the back page and the hole being in the same place on each page allowed it to peak through all the layers...
    Oh and are these pages arriving separated because you've removed them from the spine?
    Told ya I was confused...sorry!

  14. woohooo! this will be fantastic fun! i'm guessing the eye will be on the cover, and we each have our own hole, right? fun times! our hole can be filled or peek through to the next person's page if i understand correctly. i was thinking of using a peatree dish (not that i know how to spell the dang word) but i'm guessing that's too big/thick now, huh? hmmm. i had to buy 24 just to get one for your project but if it doesn't fit i'm quite certain i can find a use for them. they're pretty cool! love the portfolio encasing idea!

  15. I guess I was confused too wondering how I was going to match up the hole with the eye, I think I have it now though DAH!

  16. Hey you lovely lovelies you. The hole thing doe s seem confusing, doesn't it! Well, I haven't made anything permanent yet - kinda just playing, but the portfolio stays!! I'll post some new pictures now to let you see what I've been doing. I did this last post at work and I only had the one picture on my work computer.

  17. Right o, I've posted some more photos to help clarify things. Plus some more thoughts on the hole placement. I love the fact that we can discuss these things this way! It's so cool!!!

    Ooooh and I've just noticed that Kim has posted her theme. I'm too excited! I'm gonna go and have a gawk right now! (So much for doing more art tonight!)

  18. Oh and btw! You can go to town on what you do with that hole! The reason why I haven't bound the book is because if you want to go all 3D (and I hope fervently that you do) you can! Go the petree dish, Alicia! Can't wait to see what you do!!!! Also - if you are desperate to put something dodgy in (like bones, sticks, etc) I'm willing to risk it on your behalf. Let me know what you REALLY want to do and I'll ring contact customs/border control to clarify exactly what we have to do to get it past customs.

  19. OK, slightly less confused now Deb's. Thanks! Are we creating our own eyes or using what ever we want to fill the hole? (hehe, not really open to suggestions! lol)

  20. Should I really be telling you all that my son is currently watching True Blood on the dvd and some guy is currently waving around his prized bone from a possum penis, ROFL! Make of that what you will! I'll be good now and stop... well maybe!

  21. i wish i still had some raccoon penis bones, but i sold the last one. so sad! didn't know that opossums had penis bones too. so weird! (like our topic of penis bones and hole filling and such!)

    i'm not sure what i want to do yet, sweet debs. i just knew that i wanted to use a petree dish and am SO glad that i can! a "snow globe" with floating glass eyes would be super cool but i could see it as a potentially problematic feat. for some, obtaining miniature glass eyes.... and the other obvious bits. i will surely let you know if i find something dodgy to go into your page! but i'll wait to hear back from you before i do anything for sure, just in case. and lucky for me, i'm the one who sends it back to you last! i'll take good photos of things and not post them until after you get it. hehe.

    you guys have had me typing for the past 2 hours straight and my fingers are numb!

  22. Read all about it: Maude Newton buys an eyeglass after husband dies in a tragic accident!

  23. Well I am seriously impressed with what you've done here Deb's! I shouldn't be looking at it, this late but I was just about to click the shutdown button when the bing bing noise told me I had a new email..and ofcourse I couldn't resist a peek!
    Love the story you created to tie in the theme of your book, I get the feel for it now! Such a clever story too... oh and the lovely stitching and crackle bits too! This is looking FABulous!

  24. oooh, i love all that you have done, lady! how fabulous! and how fun that we both have widows and dead husbands and diary pages! i love all that we're doing!! your gal didn't kill her husband did she? mine did, but i don't think i let that be known yet, hah. you'll have to read about it. i LOVE the eyeglass piece on yours and the chain and everything is sooooo fantastically beautiful and creative! the cover is YUMMY and the stitching divine!

  25. now that i see your gorgeous portfolio, i don't think that my petri dish will fit in there, lol. i do, however, have another goody that i think will be perfecto!! maybe even two. this is soooo much fun, all these fantastic books!

  26. Wow Deb, this has come together beautifully. Love the theme and story ideas, now I have lots of ideas to carry on with for your book! I must say she doesn't sound one bit sorry her husby's gone at all! LOL! What an adventuress! Love the distresses covers and how the eye sits in them, great job you clever girl!

  27. Aww shucks, thanks guys. Just letting you know, I'm not sitting on my hands, he he. Oh, Alicia - the portfolio is expandable, so it doesn't matter how fat you make the pages in my book!

  28. okay cool! then... since i ship to you, i will cram myself into it and post it... maybe overnight. that's pretty fat. i mean for a book, lol. but since it's expandable...

  29. Just updated my post folks...I managed to get a bit done today while Jason slept and played (I was home looking after him today).'s always so nice when I manage to go out on an art date in my studio....

  30. wow, lady, it's looking fantastic! i love the new page and the hinge and the texture and colors -- lovely!!! if i feel a little better in a bit i'll take photos of my three completed pages and the start to my 4th. i'm sicky though and feel like shite so may just curl up into a ball for awhile.

  31. Oh Alicia you poor thing! That might explain your unsual "quietness" on the email front, lol. Well, let me know how you are on Saturday (your Saturday) and if you're feeling better I'll give you a ring (that's what my emails were about). In the meantime, I'm sending you healing vibes and warm fuzzy feelings of mellowness. If I had some morphine, I'd give you a little injection of it just so you can float on cloud 9 for a little while...
    Of course, what I really want to say is: "you really need to HURRY up and get better so that we can all see your book pages!!!"

  32. i finally just responded to them, sorry. i watched a movie yesterday and stared at the wall most of the day. i will be up for talking no matter what but omg, why are you up? it's like 4:30 in the morning there?!! right? or do you not have daylight savings time and it's actually 5:30? i'm easily confused today.

    thanks so much for all of your sweetness, lady. i should be posting at least three pages soon. have to fix one, finish another, then i can show you ALL of them. i suppose a little interim peek couldn't hurt though, huh? i'll try to hurry. ;)

  33. Wow Debs, can't wait to see this baby in person! Great covers love all the effects you have going on there! Love the window that opens and the pic of Maude inside.

  34. This keeps getting better and better and you all have just started!!

  35. This has got to be the best altered board book ever Debs! I am so inspired, love the little door you made and all your textured layers!

  36. Oh you're all just too kind! It's such a buzz to be a part of this, and so very nice of you Seth, to stop by and take a look at all our progress! Lisa - did you ever imagine in your wildest dreams that it would turn into something so magical as this?

  37. i know i, for one, am not nice. just honest. and i adore your book and everything i see here.

  38. Debrina you're a hoot! I love your quirkiness. Wish I could read a whole novel about Maud Newton's adventures (I'm giggling at the snippets you've included here)and my biggest wish would be to examine this altered book, when complete, from cover to cover.