Monday, 13 May 2013
Making Spiral Books
My spiral books are long triangles of firm paper glued to a batten of wood. It is an interesting concept because the inside as well as the outside is on show. Consideration needs to be given to the design and to the means of linking the outer and inner surfaces.
The basic method is very simple. Just cut a long tapering shape from firm paper or card.
I use Bockingford water-colour paper, weight 140 lbs/300 gsm. The diagram shows the
shape I used for the book shown. This was cut from a sheet of paper measuring roughly 56 x 76 cm (22 x 30 in). Don't worry about being too precise. Wavy lines are to be encouraged. Books can, of course, be cut to any size but the angle needs to be as shown for the shape illustrated.
Both the inside and outside surfaces will need to be coloured. Never one to paint on a flat surface when a more interesting one is available, I add texture using a Texture Gel and gesso before painting. These can be found in art shops - Liquitex or Golden brands are very good. In the piece shown below. Blended Fibres Gel was used, together with gesso which had salt sprinkled into it.
You can see below the process of applying the gesso with a palette knife. It is scraped into lines and textures with the flat of the knife. Gesso can be hard to paint if used in its pure white form so I always mix a little black gesso or black acrylic paint with it – see left pic, below. The blended fibres were also applied with a palette knife – see right pic, below. In this case, the fibres were worked around into swirls with the flat of the knife.
As the work was inspired by the Philip Pullman trilogy 'His Dark Materials', I wanted this piece to represent the abyss and the folds of the paper met to form it. This design was, to some extent, worked out beforehand and you can see my texture sketch below, right.
The piece did however take on a life of its own when the folding took place.
Allow the work to dry and then paint with water-colours, inks or acrylics. If you want to achieve a blended effect, use no more than three colours and first wet the surface of the entire piece. Just spray it with water before you paint. If you are using water-colour, you may find that a little acrylic paint is also needed to work into the textured gel area. Finish any further work on the front of the scroll. This could mean working into the textured areas with coloured pencils or soft pastels – see below, left. If the subject is suitable, use metallic waxes or a dry brush of gold, silver or copper acrylic paint.
Painting The Inside
Don't forget the inside. Paint this too with a suitable toning colour or perhaps with walnut ink, tea or coffee. This area of the book could be used to contain messages.
Don't forget that some of the inside will be viewed from the outside. In the book shown below, the inner surface is painted with walnut ink. Strips of lettering with suitable phrases, some hand-written and some using torn strips of computer printed hand-made paper, were attached. The strips were stitched roughly together before the bottom layer was glued to the inside area of the scroll.
Hope you have enjoyed this and will experiment with gesso and texture gels.