Book Papers & Stories & PaperSpirals

I love books! Since I first learned to read in first grade, I have not stopped reading. I was the odd little girl that did not play with dolls but instead read one book after another, devouring them like candies. I remember how I waited my mother to return from work each day so I could rush and tell her that I finished three books that day and needed more for the next. My Sweetheart, she always opened her bag and had yet another treasure for me. Together with my husband (and now my son seems to have catched the bug) we have a huge collection of books. And really there is no place your eye can fall in my house that you won't find a book lying in there somewhere.

It's no big surprise that I am fascinated in turning them into art and I bet you have seen some of the things I do with old book pages. Book pages always carry stories, the written stories and the stories of the people that read them. That gives them an atmosphere, an aura, that I find most intriguing and an authentic vintage look with irresistible charm to my eyes. Not to mention the relief it brings to the ocd part of me which hates letting a book go to waste. Every story deserves respect. And I learned that the hard way, when nobody was willing to listen to mine. Breathing new life into old forgotten book pages is such a rewarding art.

Thus, I have a huge stash of vintage books for my own art adventures. And I am thrilled to introduce you to my new line of products called BOOK PAPERS. I mean, I already cut my own, why not prepare some for you as well and save you from all the tedious work? Currently the line includes square 12x12cm origami sheets, a Kusudama Flower Ball Kit that includes all square papers needed to make one of your own and quilling strips of 6mm and 10mm width. I use old books, especially encyclopedias and dictionaries, carefully chosen for their appropriate weight, feel and dimensions and then hand cut them personally.

I hope you enjoy BOOK PAPERS and I look forward to seeing what you create with them!

But that's not all.

I told you I love books. Which really means I love stories. Fictional, philosophical, personal, the written word has such fascinating power. Destructive Or Constructive. The more we close our ears to our stories, the more they define us. Detachment is not a solution but part of the problem and so to rise above a story, to be non attached and genuinely waterproof, you first need to own it. Hear it, read it, accept it with an open heart and compassion. However hard, painful, distorted even, a story deserves full attention and respect and the expanse to take it all in. Transformation is a fine art, even if a pain in the butt at times.

I love stories, mine and yours. Being a lover of stories, a listener and a quiller, I am happy to introduce a new column in my blog called Stories And PaperSpirals, where I will be honoring a story that moved me into quilling about it. All stories are welcome, so long as they spark something creative in me. Some will be in English, some will be in Greek. All will have something to say. Hope you enjoy this marriage of Stories And PaperSpirals and ride along with us in this journey. First one coming up soon, so stay tuned!

All Love!

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Trick Or Treat? Gimme Both!

Halloween being right around the corner, it is that time of year to have fun with pumpkins and witches and all things scary and sweet. My son hates halloween and my husband... well, let's just say he is too serious to break character. No offence dear! So, with my party poopers I am left to vent off my seasonal sillyness alone. Just me and my trusted paper strips. Since I am a bit conflicted as to which I prefer, tricks or treats, I went for both. And thus, my mismatched halloween earrings came to life :)

If you want to have some fun with them and give rise to a few laughs, you can find the bat and candycorn set at my etsy store.

if you want to have some serious fun and get creative, you can check out my brand new tutorial. It is my first and I super enjoyed putting it together for all of you! You will get full instructions on how to create one pair of your own, including detailed list of supplies, photographs for every step and tips. You can download the tutorial from Etsy or my all new pattern store on Craftsy.

I look forward to seeing pictures of your own "trick or treat" earrings!

Love & Light & PaperSpirals ~ Anama

There Is A Field

Out beyond ideas of wrong doing & right doing
There Is A Field
I will meet you there

These past days I had the pleasure of hanging out with an amazing group of quillers in the first ever Quill-Along, hosted by my beloved friend Erin Curet of Little Circles. With her guidance we all plunged into the exciting world of quilled mosaics and set out to create our very own Retro Flowers.

As soon as I enrolled, inspiration struck and I knew this field of retro flowers screamed Rumi at me. Flowers and stems are all made with the best damn quilling paper available (yes, it's Culture Pop) but for the background I chose to cut my own strips out of old book pages. The strips are full of words and concepts, a metaphor to our ideas of wrong doing and right doing. Among them, beyond them, a vibrant field of flowers, color bursting with life awaits. 
I will meet you there.

This is my first ever mosaic and I enjoyed every little spiral of it! Girls from the team, I have to say, it's been fun working along you and I loved every piece of art posted on the group. It's so weird... At first I thought that we would all come up with similar mosaics, following the same steps and all. It was a delight seeing the uniqueness of each piece, the different atmospheres and characters brought out through this creative process. 

Some of you wanted to know more so I'll let you in into some of the tricks I used to create this.

First off, I have to admit that I never buy frames and never hire a professional framer. There have been a couple of exceptions to that rule over the years, but no, I stick away from framers. It is very expensive and I prefer to offer art for money instead of frame for money. Plus I enjoy crafting my own. That means that I am a big time hoarder of old frames, salvaged from all kind of trash and have a fairly good stash in my studio. This one just fit the required dimensions and so I gave it a little care and a few coats of chalk paint and varnish to make it all pretty and new. Giving life to old, dead things is quite rewarding!

Then there is the mat, which also raised a few questions. It is also hand made. Simple, really. I just cut a cardboard, painted it and then sealed it with a coat of varnish for extra protection. Perfect to hold the little Rumi quote that inspired me. My signature too... :)

The actual background was watercolored black and sprayed with a coat of fixative to avoid accidents. I know Erin advised against watercolors but I did not experience any trouble whatsoever. The paper strips for the background were hand cut from old book pages with an exacto knife and a metal ruler. That means that the edges of the paper were white and that was out of the question as a background color. To counter that I ran the strips one by one over my black permanent ink pad. So they became aaaalmost black. Obviously the distribution of color is not consistent, some places remained white, others were more soaked black. That turned out to be super cool because it gave the papers a unique ragged look and made for a really organic shading. The pictures just don't do it justice! From an angle all the layers of printed letters, jumbled photos among words and inked edges come together to bring the life and character needed to juxtapose the world of ideas that hides the field we are looking for.

The back of the frame was sealed much like Erin suggested, the only difference being in the hanging system for which I used what shows in the photo instead of wire.

I think that pretty much covers it. If you have any questions fire away and I will be happy to answer. For anyone interested, it is listed on my etsy store.

To all fellow Quill-Alongers, looking forward to rolling with you again!
For Erin there are just no words. There Is A Field & I Will Meet You There.

Love & Light & PaperSpirals ~ Anama
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