Friday, February 8, 2013

Her Story: Book-In-A-Day Wk 6

Title: Her Story
Structure: French Door
Dimensions: 3 11/16 x 7

Another great day for BIAD. Even though I set a record for the longest night for BIAD (4AM), I'm happy I was able to get through it. This is the first book I've done where I used handmade papers (I didn't make them) and my memory of them slowly resurfaced as I made this book. Handmade papers can be so fragile and delicate, especially when you add PVA. 

Watch the video of my process.

This book is a nod towards the start of Black History Month. I figured it was appropriate to bring out the handmade stamps I made a while back when I got frustrated trying to find some that I could purchase. While I don't have any real ties to West Africa, I find myself  drawn to the Adinkra symbols. I'm in love with symbols in general, but these are ones I come back to time and time again. And they keep showing up in my life at random times. 

Most recently, one of my students, Rosa Cabera, created a flyer for a free workshop she's giving here in Oakland. Her hand drawn logo is the "aya" fern of the Adinkra. It symbolizes endurance and is a perfect image for the InkRise workshop she's leading. It's Rosa's flyer that reminded me of the stamps I'd made. 

Her Story takes five of the symbols that show up in my life time and time again and places them in a narrative context that tells my story. Without using any original text, I've attempted to tell my story in a way that I hope will speak to other women who experience the book. 

The French door structure allowed me to arrange the symbols in a way that leaves the flow of the book to the reader. There are infinite possibilities for interpretation. 

Embracing The Mistakes

So this book yielded the most mistakes so far and that was a great experience to go through. It was frustrating at times and caused me to stay awake a lot longer than I wanted, but my BIAD definition of a "day" is from the time I wake until the time I go to bed, so I HAD to get it done for my sanity :-). 
  1. The first mistake was in my measuring. For some reason, I just kept measuring things wrong and having to redo and redo
  2. Mistake number two -- my ink sprays were not working with my handmade stencil and it drove me crazy. I tested four different sprays. Made a new spray and tried it; it didn't work either. Then I tried using paint directly from the bottle with a makeup sponge -- NOPE. Finally, I settled on pochoir (my fav technique) and wondered why in the world I didn't just start with that. BLAH!! 
  3. The beads I wanted to use for the "dangle" were too big. Had to find suitable ones. All of my old jewelry making stuff is in the laundry room behind and over and under things. I had to fish it out and that seemed to take FOREVER. 
  4. Stamping blunders -- I should have measured the longest word first to see if it would fit on the largest acrylic block I own and on the page, but I didn't and when it came time to stamp the word "fawohodie" my spacing was wonky. Then I had one word "Wawa Aba" that was really two words but I stamped the first word right in the center, which left no room for the "aba". But it's all good and I'm happy with that page anyway. 
But despite all of this, I LOVE THIS BOOK. I'm happy with my mistakes. I consider them the touch of a handmade, one-of-a-kind book. Not to mention, I am so happy that my stamps (after being in storage for so long), got to see the light of day and stamped beautifully. 

I realized in making this book that I really like the effect that embossing has on a stamped image. I embossed the Adinkra symbols with clear embossing powder and LOVE LOVE LOVE the way they came out. 

To see a list of materials I used for this project, please join the free community at

I'm looking forward to what next week brings. If you're watching the videos, I'm honored! If you're making the books, I'm intrigued, so please post them to the flickr group or on the Giving Hands Creative Community site (where you can view the list of materials I use and see more photos). See you next week!!


  1. I'm amazed that you made your own adinkra symbols. I have stamps you could borrow - a whole set. They're small though. 1"x1"

  2. Really?? Where did you get 1x1 adinkra symbol stamps???? What have you made with them?


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