Thursday, February 23, 2012

Palm Leaf Book

One of my favorite book formats is the palm leaf book. It is a very ancient book format prevalent in India and other South-Asian and South-eastern countries. Palm leaves were one of the earliest writing materials to be used and initially they were used for religious texts. Eventually their use expanded to include art and other subjects. The leaves were made into a book by stringing them through either a single hole or two holes. Often, the top most leaf was covered with panels of wood, ivory, or other hard material that were often elaborately decorated with carving, inlays, painting, or precious stones. Even today, one can still find in some Hindu temples the resident astrologer  reading astrological predictions from palm leaf manuscripts. The format continues to be popular in folk art.

Anyway, I decided to make a palm leaf book myself. Obviously, I did not have access to palm leaves. Instead, I used Arches rough 140 lib watercolor paper. I painted the paper first using a combination of olive and sap green to give it a look of palm leaf. Then I antiqued the edges using distress stains. I cut the paper into 13 strips of equal width and length. On each strip, I adhered a scrap of vintage music paper and a thin layer of mulberry paper. Then I sewed the strips together. I wrote a a quote by Indira Gandhi, carefully spreading the lines across all the strips. I adhered a piece of vintage looking ribbon on the top most strip and attached a length of string to wrap the manuscript. 

The quote is biting and true and appealed to me:

"There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first. There is less competition there".

Indira Gandhi

This piece of mixed media art is in response to Ginger Snap Words of Wisdom Challenge

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Yarn Wrapped Decorative Box

Sometimes, inspiration and a good product come about unexpectedly. Like the box above. Last night after dinner, I had about two hours to kill before going to bed. I decided to try out a new idea for decorating the box. I have seen bottles wrapped with knitting yarn and I wanted to see if it would work on a wooden box. I already had all the supplies on hand including time. So, I set out to play a little.

Two and a half hours later it was done and I absolutely loved how it turned out.  Here is how I did it:

Supplies and Materials:

1 small box (wood, cardboard, paper mache etc.)
Knitting yarns of different colors, fairly thick
Glue (I used Sobo, you can also use Modge Podge); craft stick for applying glue
craft paints and scrap papers

I first sanded and painted the sides and the insides of the box and lined the inside top and bottom with scrap paper. Then started applying the yarn to the sides with the glue. It is easy to wrap around if one works with a long string of yarn. To cover the top of the box, I cut and glued single strands of yarn lengthwise. I finished the piece with a piece of embroidery from a discarded top.

Went to bed very happy!

This and several other decorative boxes are available in my Etsy shop.

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