The signs of summer are upon us.  There are birds singing, the fresh green of new leaves fluttering in the wind on the trees, and the flowers coming into bloom in between rain and sunshine.  Traditionally, in Ottawa, June is a wet month, making way for a bountiful growing season.  This year we also experienced a great deal of rain and some incredibly warm days in May that contributed to the full bloom of tulips for the tulip festival.  


My friend, Petra and her daughter, Luisa have birthdays in June, four days apart.  One day while Skyping with Petra little Miss Luisa was in the background moving from one activity to another with great joy and a lot of chatter.  Thus, the book, The Creative World of Mistress Luisa was born.  

I bound the book in yellow Merino wool and added some braided pieces on the edge, just for fun.  The book is coptic bound. 

I hand-dyed the papers first and then used a stencil for the cover title.  Since my friends are in Germany, I wrote the book in both English and German.  Petra's niece was kind enough to do the translation for me. 

I took some of the pictures Petra sent me of Luisa and added them to the pages so Luisa could see herself in the book.  This one is: "Some days Mistress Luisa is a busy bee."  I had an old scarf of rabbit fur balls which I used to add a tactile element to the book.  

Petra told me Luisa loves horses. Not surprising since her mother works with horses.  This one is: "Some days Mistress Luisa is a Jockey."  I used horse hair for the tail and rabbit fur for the mane and part of the tail. 

"Some days Mistress Luisa is an artist."  

"Some days Mistress Luisa is a zoo keeper." 

"The best part of Mistress Luisa's day is when she is with her Mama, her Papa and Teddy the dog!" 

The End

My friend, Petra, enjoys working with her family's ancestry.  So for her birthday I created an ancestry journal and family tree. 

I made a case for the journal and family tree.  I found this interesting paper of a city scape which included old and new buildings.  I used a decorative black and white leather for the spine and the tie downs were of the same leather with brass pegs. 

I covered the journal with my Suminagashi marbled paper and added a leaf from some Japanese paper I have.  The journal was Coptic bound.  

I drew this family tree and added leaves from the same Japanese paper.  When I spoke with Petra she mentioned that she was going to put the family names on leaves to add to the tree.  A blending of our creativity - great fun.  I used a large sheet of Masa paper for the family tree. 

The family tree and journal in the case.  After folding the large family tree I understood how maps are folded.  I found it very interesting. 


Since receiving the Merino wool felt I have been making journals, large, medium and small. 

The top two journals are miniatures, their size under the three inch guideline for a miniature book.  The one of the left has a mermaid ornament on the cover and I used the sea horse die design for each page - maintaining the sea theme.  The one on the right has a fairy ornament attached to the cover and I used an abstract die design that resembled the wings, for each page.  For the medium sized journal I attached a cat and used a paw print die design for each page and the back cover.  Each book has 100 pages and is Coptic bound.

I made some much larger journals in a number of different colours: yellow, granite, green and turquoise.  I enjoy working with the wool felt and like the finished product.  Each journal has 100 pages and 10 of the pages are hand embossed with either a tree or hibiscus flower.  


Recently, I was at the local book store looking at books, (something I never tire of) and came across this little book, discretely tucked away on a low shelf.  My eye just happened to catch the title and I was immediately intrigued, given that I am always clothing books.    The book is the author's keynote speech given at the ninth edition of the Festival degli Scrittori in Florence, Italy. 

As I read through the book I started envisaging jackets that could be made for this little gem.  Using the author's words I designed six jackets that can be used to clothe the book when being read. 

The Collection

I created a case (a wardrobe) for the six jackets.  I covered the case with my Suminagashi marbled paper and added two origami paper flowers on the top. 

The case with the book and the six jackets.  

Jacket #1: The Uniform 

The author starts by talking about how, in India, her cousins wore uniforms to school.  She felt that it was much easier wearing a uniform than having to decide what to wear every day and be at the scrutiny of her fellow classmates. 

The front cover (right side) is a girl's and boy's uniform about which she speaks.  The only differences were the yellow tie and trousers for the boy's uniform.  The shirts, shoes and socks were the same for both girls and boys.  She talked about her battle with her parents wanting her to wear traditional clothes versus the jeans, t-shirts, mini-skirts and heels that were the dress code in her American school and neighbourhood. 

Jacket #2:  Elegance 

The author spoke about the covers being elegant, dressing her words in beauty for the readers. 

Jacket #3: The Perfect Jacket for Every Occasion 

I drew a jacket on this jacket and added paper cutting designs on the sleeves and the front of the jacket.  I used decorative paper for the collar and belt.  The left hand side of the jacket are the author's words: "If the process of writing is a dream, the book cover represents the awakening." Jhumpa Lahiri  This quote is on the back cover of the book. 

Jacket #4: Copertina ("The paper or cardboard wrapper that covers a book, notebook, or magazine.")

I used the author's words, of defining the process of writing and what the cover represents to that process, for the front of this jacket.  The back of the jacket has another quote by the author: "The right cover is like a beautiful coat, elegant and warm, wrapping my words as they travel through the world, on their way to keep an appointment with my readers." Jhumpa Lahiri  I created a frame around her quote with paper cut designs.  

Jacket #5:  Matisse 

In the last chapter of the book, the author talks about the Perfect Jacket. She said one of the perfect jackets would be one with a collage by Matisse.  For the front of this jacket I drew the blue nude by Matisse and for the back cover, sailing ships, again by Matisse. 

Jacket #6:  Morandi Still Life

Another perfect jacket described by the author was still life by Morandi.  For the front cover of this jacket I drew a Morandi still life and for the back cover a Morandi landscape.  

So like any fashion conscious person who has a wardrobe that reflects her or his personality, so should books have fashionable covers that speak to their internal stories, as the author indicates.  It was great fun creating a sole collection of jackets for this little book called, "The Clothing of Books". 


I had this clamshell box kicking around with a book that needed remaking in it.  Finally, I picked it up and went to work on the book.  

I made a new cover and used my Suminagashi marbled paper to cover the board.  The front cover is a double board where I framed a beautiful agate.  The clam shell box is lined with a quilted fabric and covered with forest green stamped leather and Hanji paper.  

I used leaves, cut from some Japanese paper and decorated the Hanji covered edges of the clam shell box. 

My work can be found at: 

Ottawa School of Art Boutique, 35 George Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 
Wallacks Art Supply on Bank Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada  

My journals and hand-marbled cards have been accepted for the new Ottawa Art Gallery Boutique when it opens in the fall. 

You can contact me directly at:

That's all for now.  I wish you all a happy summer filled with sunshine, good friends and creativity. 

To view my older work, go to: 



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