Monday, 5 September 2016

Crabby Granny's book of herbs

When I started this project, there was only two things I knew for sure: I wanted to make an old woman with a cane. She was going to be either an old witch or an old female elf. With my family's vote, she became a witch. As I browsed through pictures of old women, I gradually leaned towards a picture of an old woman who did not seem too happy with the world.

And from there, her full character started forming in my mind. She lives in a remote but very cold village. She's a traditional witch in a semi-modern era, who discovers natural cures around her and she wants to pass this knowledge down. So one thing that's very important to her is her book of herbs.

This is a big leather book – well, big for her size – is where she records the kinds of plants, their properties, when to harvest them, where to find them, how to prepare the potions and what ailments they cure. It's a work in progress. She discovers new ways of preserving the roots and herbs every time.

To make her book, I took out some handmade paper and cut them to size. I folded the paper and cut them by tearing them apart to give the edges a rough look. After scoring it some more, I stitched them together with brown thread. When I had four sets, I covered the edges of the sewn pages with brown paper.

Check out my uneven stitches!

After the glue dried, I took the end pages on both sides and glued those to the leather cover. I wanted it to look simple and home made, so no fancy folding or decorative scoring on the leather. I only scored lines across the spine of the leather to keep it in shape. 

After everything was bound together, I started to age the paper with coffee. Which is a mistake, I found out a few minutes later. I should have aged the paper before binding them! As you can imagine, the liquid watered down the glue and detached a couple of sets of pages. So I had to be really patient and re-attach each set after the coffee dried off. Good thing the individual pages were held together with thread, at least those didn't fall apart!

Once the binding and ageing was complete, I drew on the pages, and tried to make them as small as I can, with what I hope are still legible writing.

I also gave the leather cover a very good beating: scratched it, pulled it and poured different liquids on it (which I should also have done before binding paper and leather together - oh well, these are great lessons for my next book). After some time, it had the decency to look properly old and aged. But looking at it, I felt something was still missing. So I got my thingamajig out and drew this small tree on the cover. I think that made Crabby Granny happy. It captured her book of herbs perfectly!

The last detail I added was given by Mother Nature. While out on a walk, catching Pokemons, I found a tiny feather on the pavement. It was the perfect size for Granny's hand. So as soon as I got back home, I made a small pocket for it at the back. Granny wants her tools in convenient places, this helps her find her quill easily if she needs to jot something down.

Up next, more on Crabby Granny's details. This is just the first instalment. To check out details of this art doll and her WA State Fair ribbons, please click here.

No comments: