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Library of Memories Masterclass

Last week I had the privilege of attending Art is You - Stamford where I had the opportunity to take several amazing classes.  The first of my classes was a 3-day masterclass - Library of Memories with Seth Apter. I'd always heard wonderful things about his classes, so I was really excited to get to take one myself. It did not disappoint! If anything, it was even better than I'd anticipated.

The morning of our first day was a group expedition to New York where we got to do a little shopping and see some of the sites. We took the train into Grand Central and then spent most of the time in or near the Garment District - M&J Trimmings was like heaven! (I was too busy shopping to take many pictures... LOL.) We also found beads, paper, and spent some time shopping for metal findings to take back and use in our projects. It's probably for the best that I didn't know about some of those shops while I still lived in Branford - it would have been dangerous!

This is one of the few shots I got - we were in the basement of a very cool Japanese bookstore across from Bryant Park.

Japanese Bookstore ShoppingBack in Stamford, we got to work on our projects. The main goal of the 3-day class was to build and complete the box, as well as assembling the handmade book and then hopefully at least getting a start on it. There was such a great vibe in the class. There were twenty of us, and it was so fun to see the evolution of everyone's projects! Here's a quick little shot that Patty got of Donna and I during our second day of class:

Seth's Masterclass 3

After our last day of class finished, there was a mini exhibition for all of the projects in each of the masterclasses so we could see what everyone else had been working on. There was so much wonderful art made in these classes! We went around oohing and ahhing at all of it. Of course, I still think that our class was the best ;)

Patty, Seth and I(Me, Patty, and Seth.)

I kept working on my book pages a few evenings in the hotel after class was over, and have pushed to finish it at home before I move this week - I didn't want to lose my momentum since I know once I get fully into moving mode, it's going to be a few weeks before I'll be able to really get back into the studio.

In any case, I finished and so with no further ado, here's my completed project.

First up is the front cover of the case that we made:

Library of Memories - Cover 1 - Gwen LafleurI haven't done much of this type of collage and assemblage, but I'll definitely be doing it a lot more from now on.

Library of Memories - Cover 2 - Gwen LafleurDifferent pieces of metal, findings, paper, book covers... all kinds of fun things found there way into this project! I found that carved face on our expedition into New York.

Here's what it looks like after you open it up:

Library of Memories - Inside 1 - Gwen LafleurThe left side was more collage with just a few bits of assemblage type work. I really loved blending lots of different styles and types of materials into a single piece. (One of the women in class told me after it was over that she'd watched me making this and didn't think I'd be able to pull it off. Once it was finished though, she loved it! She thought it was very Bollywood. Not quite the vibe I was after, but I'll take it!)

Library of Memories - Inside 5 - Gwen LafleurThe right side of the case cradles a little handmade book. We actually brought in our own book covers and made a new book from them. I used a vintage copy of Kenilworth by Sir Walter Scott. It had some cool debossed areas on edges of the cover that you can still see under the collage.

Library of Memories - Book Cover - Gwen LafleurHere's a view of the completed book so you get an idea of the layers on the cover:

Library of Memories - Book Cover 2 - Gwen LafleurMoving to the inside pages... I used some wrapping paper printed with Turkish patterns for my end papers. The pages themselves were all originally just kraft cardstock. I started working on them in class with what I had and what I liked - initially there was no rhyme or reason to what I was doing, I was just looking for things that would look good together and keeping in mind some of the tips Seth gave us in class for making the pages.

Library of Memories - Book Page 1 - Gwen LafleurI started out doing the patchwork technique that Seth showed us on a few of the pages. This one has a few other bits collaged on top, rubons, liquid pearls, and a bit of stenciling on top.

Library of Memories - Book Pages 2-3 - Gwen LafleurI mainly worked on the foundation of the pages first and then went back and added most of the words later - I had pulled out a bunch of French vocabulary cards thinking I'd use them in one of my other classes, but I ended up liking them here better. The page on the right was a tipped-in transparency. I had a whimsical moment where I decided to add this soldier stamped on vellum (an old Stampington stamp that I've had for years.) I went back and colored him in with colored pencils and used a tiny piece of a stencil to make him talk. It seemed fairly a propos and now he's one of my favorite parts of the book.

Library of Memories - Book Page 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Library of Memories - Book Pages 4-5 - Gwen Lafleur

The "hope" didn't get added until toward the end... I thought it fit nicely with the sentiments on the tag. As for where the inspiration for THAT came from, I couldn't tell you... not quite my usual thing, but it worked! More stenciling and rubons on the top layer here.

Library of Memories - Book Page 5 - Gwen Lafleur

Library of Memories - Book Page 5b - Gwen LafleurI just randomly pulled the image on the left hand side from some Japanese block print book pages that were in my stash. All of the pages were built in stages - I didn't work on any of them from start to finish. I really like how well it all integrated into the book as I kept working, though!

Library of Memories - Book Pages 6-7 - Gwen LafleurThe right hand side images are from a quarter repeat hand-carved stamp that I made a little while ago. It's painted with acrylics with some other detail work on top.

Library of Memories - Book Page 7 - Gwen LafleurI'm going to say that I totally planned the way everything lined up through the opening even though I didn't.

Library of Memories - Book Page 8 - Gwen Lafleur

Another random Japanese block print - I initially used it because I thought it was cool looking, then I found this sticker in my stash that said "Eyes Wide Open" and I thought it fit my Samurai so I went with it.

Library of Memories - Book Pages 10-11 - Gwen Lafleur

Library of Memories - Book Page 11 - Gwen Lafleur

Library of Memories - Book Pages 10-11b - Gwen Lafleur

I love all of the flaps and folds - the interactive aspect of this project was very fun!
Library of Memories - Book Pages 12-13 - Gwen Lafleur

I don't usually like to use red as a main background color, but it ended up working pretty well here, I think.

Library of Memories - Book Pages 14-15 - Gwen Lafleur

Aesthetically, this ended up being one of my favorite spreads in the entire book. Again, totally by chance. I had the different pieces that ended up on the left-hand page on my desk and they kind of fell on top of each other. I would probably never have put them together on my own, but I love how it turned out!

Library of Memories - Book Pages 14-15b - Gwen LafleurI stenciled "Time" with one of Seth's stencils and embossed it with gold. (For those who are interested, all of the stenciling I did in my book was done using his stencils.)

Library of Memories - Book Pages 16-17 - Gwen LafleurFinally, the last page and the inside of the back cover. The flap on the right was painted red and then I used another hand-carved stamp and heat embossed it in gold. You can't tell in the photo, but the texture is very cool!

Library of Memories - Book Page 17 - Gwen LafleurThat's it! My completed project, and one of my favorite things that I've worked on in quite a while. I'll be back soon to post the projects from my other classes.

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