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Bookbinding

26 October, 2019

Have had a flurry of making prints to bind into books. These books are the result of making folios with painted paper and paper printed by two gelatine printing plates, one bought and one home made.

This is the latest effort; a book covered with acrylic paint on thick hot press paper (600 gsm or 360 gsm? Painted years ago). The binding is 4-needle coptic – my first one.

The book above has a 2-needle coptic binding. I’m following a video course – at the stage I’m at with bookbinding I sometimes find books hard to follow, and find being able to see what I am trying to do very helpful! The internet is such a wonderful resource.

Inside book block covered with harakeke + cotton rag paper made at the Oxford Papermaking Group.
Concertina book

This is a small concertina book. The cover is old wallpaper from my parent’s house in Auckland. Just love being able to use these odd bits and pieces left over and kept for decades. I thought the butterflies appropriate companions to the flowers, and had great fun using that trick of applying paint alongside a fold and then pressing the two sides together. I tried to be as quick and free as I could to outline the images in pen. I made a mistake though with the last one, as you can see, it wasn’t in the fold… but at least I had the opportunity to create another viewpoint.

These are all books I have made following the Handmade Book Club.

This is a case book that I made as well. In Oxford we have our own bookbinder – which is so great – and I learnt how to make these books from her a while ago. The first image below was created with a collagraph print suggested by the ‘fossil’ rock I have shown in a previous post.

Many of the prints are from gel plates such as the one below. The end paper is an embossed print formed by a piece of harakeke (New Zealand flax plant).

Case binding

This is my’ recycled’ book – made from a beer carton, ghost prints, left over printing ink or paint transferred to sheets of paper, and a cotton scrap from an old shirt to reinforce the spine for the exposed stitch binding – just in case. I consulted Alisa Golden’s book “Making Handmade Books” for this technique.

  • and it even works in a pamphlet binding for 19 A4 sheets of paper. I used the cover of the pad to enclose these sheets I’d dyed, printed or photocopied.
Pamphlet book – one signature

These books are destined to be diaries or journals or sketchbooks. Really happy to have found a use for my collection of paintings and prints.

Pigments and Colour

28 June, 2019
colour working

Seeing how colours change when applied to different background colours. Had been reading at Joseph Albers’ Interaction of Color. I understand why he used coloured paper – no brush marks etc!

Plant fossil in rock

20 June, 2019
Plant fossil in rock from Motunau beach. Another image below.

Can anyone help me identify this plant fossil visible on the surface of this rock?  Research has not helped. I am just curious as to what the plant may be and which geological era it comes from. It would be great to find out!

The rock has been in my studio and unfortunately was splashed with ink and paint, so ignore the grey and yellow marks – the fossil appears in the pale grey markings. One of the leaves (?) bottom left is quite visible.


I brought the rock home as I was interested in the sea creature holes on the other side, and only later noticed the markings when I tried to remove the grey circles and the yellow stain.


The rock comes from Motunau beach north of Christchurch, and I attach some information from a really useful book for the uninitiated about the geology of the area which comes from the “Field Guide to NZ Geology” by Jocelyn Thornton.

Another image of the rock, adjusted to increase visibility of the fossil

14 Day Challenge

9 June, 2019

Being pushed to take risks is one way to new creativity. I am enjoying this Skillshare class “Fearless Art Challenge” by Marie-Noelle Wurm.

This image using oil pastels (which defeated me badly in the past) was again attempted in the two day prompt – Metamorphosis I and II – for days 5 and 6.

Most recently this has been my attempt at Day 8’s “Colours and More Colours”. I used my own handmade paint – Indigo from pigment powder, a local rock pigment powder that was rubbed on to the paper, and Okains Bay watercolour paint.

Love the streak of indigo in the brown pigment.

Day 9 coming up…

Printing with a Cork

12 May, 2019
Cork prints…

Using up gouache paint remaining on the palette by painting the end of a cork – which makes a good print. Bit of fun in a new small sketchbook.

Autumn Garden Colours

5 May, 2019

Autumn is such a colourful time, and especially so when some of the summer flowers are still blooming.

Was really caught up in some artwork based on the plants in the autumn garden.

I recently completed a Skillshare class by illustrator Sara Boccaccini Meadows – and this was the result. My painting is in gouache with a touch of ‘Ultramarine Deep’ watercolour to highlight the delphiniums. I have not really used gouache before, but discovered for me that using it is an interesting cross between oil paint and watercolour – you can layer on top of dry paint and also mix the colours together on the paper.

Catching Up

4 April, 2019

Have not had the time to post much in the past couple of years. So here goes…

Clay, in one form or another seems to keep popping up in my artworks.

Here I was getting ready for the Turanga library workshops in January. Some of the tools of the trade, including at the top right my first muller in 2007 – a stone with one flat side to it. You can still see the colour of the last pigment that was ground with it – it worked ok, but you can get a finer powder using the glass muller to finish the process. I used a concrete tile as the grinding base. I now use a stone pestle and mortar to initially grind the shattered rock or clay. Making paint is the art process I seem to want to return to. To see what colour will appear during the printmaking process.

Pot and vessel shapes are another obsession. I like the quirkiness of painting images of ceramic pots in my clay-based paints.

But I do also use ‘ordinary paint’ – see what happens when I follow one of Peggy Dean’s Skillshare classes! (‘Discover your creative style’.)

But there’s more… like actually making ceramic objects which I have been doing over the past year with Ruth Stanton McLeod’s guidance. It is a tray, not a pot this time however.

A few objects in front of Janie Porter’s landscape painting: My daughter’s papier maché bird; a horse’s leather shoe (used in Victorian times to protect the grass when grass cutting being done, so I was told); pebbles and a slice of rock; an art nouveau pewter pot; and one of my first ceramic pots. On the left is more Oxford chalk and clay watercolour on board.

Below is a rock from near the top of Mt Oxford – and the paint. The colour comes through as a little too green, and I’ve tried to correct it …

Finally, here is a ceramic-watercolour combo: one of my pottery efforts – works great!

Feel Free

An Experiment in Gift Giving and Open Education

robyn webster, artist

webrobynster@gmail.com

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