Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy Valentine's Day


This is what you need. A Valentine's Day Notebook. Looking vaguely like I have nailed it to a pink Artex ceiling.

Take your fingers away from your eyeballs. Blame Sharon. She made me buy this book. It is responsible for turning this house of ordinary home educating horror into an outsourcing factory of paper crafting hell. I am bearing up.

Looking on the benefits side, we now specialise in supplying superior chunks of cut up paper to the floor. We can cut all types of paper and card in all sizes, thicknesses, and run three finger slicing paper cutters to trim anyone's folios at a moment's notice.

And we are highly trained in the use of skewers. We find these are very useful to hold together bits of cut up paper in long lines. We are not quite sure why we do that, but one day something beautiful will emerge from the psychosis.

Having turned this house into a frenzied paper chopping centre, we are, of course, emerging with books. Books you have never seen the like of, but books that I declare are art. Soon I will dedicate a whole sumptuous photoblog to our efforts. Save your tears till then.

And I am Grit, determined not to break. I am resolved not to be even remotely sorry about this present crafting enthusiasm; not for the endless demand for glue, not the way every table in the house has vanished, and certainly not for the pathetic sight of my once dignified husband attempting to cross the kitchen looking for the bus to Nepal but instead sinking in thigh-deep extracts of glitter paper.

Dig, this is the price we pay for superior hand made paper items in an education type environment. Like the delightful Valentine's Day Notebook, above. Yours for a modest £2,500.

I think this price truly reflects the otherwise loss of income and twenty six hours of crafting disability taken for us to create this beautiful item. OK, it does not have very many pages. Yes, I ripped them out in varying mixtures of accidents, frustrations and ineptitudes. The bleeding heart binding also could not follow the original design because when I tried that, the remaining pages fell out and the cover tore off.

The hand finished decoration proceeded quite well. I stabbed myself in the hand (twice), knocked the decorative beads all over the floor and had a big fight with Squirrel because I wanted her purple Eiffel Tower keyring and she wouldn't give it to me. You can see it in the photograph. Obviously that is not included in the sale because when she found me I had to give it back.

But you can tell that I remain unbroken by this enthusiastic engagement with the dark arts of book making and book binding, even though I now sport three plasters on my hands, a missing thumb and an eye-patch. This is indeed what home craft/education is all about. It is all about learning by doing, making the best of a bad job, looking on the bright side, remaining determined to be unbowed in the face of crushing adversity, and proceeding willfully in the face of all signs saying TURN BACK STOP NOW.

In fact, so determined am I to rip a heart of joy from a swamp of sorrow; to find fulfilment from chaos, chemical hazard and misery, that I can now declare, having passed through the burning fires of pain, that I love hand making books, and may continue to make them even after I am dead.

I know this, because the only bleakness of the craft experience I will truly admit to was the moment I realised that I have no Japanese screw punch. I knew then that I needed one of these tools more than I needed clothes, teeth, or walls for the house.

And yet I went on, never giving up, equipped with a sewing needle sellotaped to a pen. A martyr for Valentine's Day; a martyr for book art. And when you look back at the Artex effort, you can think Idiot.

9 comments:

katyboo1 said...

I was actually thinking of e-mailing you and getting you and the gritlets to make me a new a4notebook. Would that just add fuel to the fire or extinguish it completely?

My cousin, who approaches his craft in a similar way to you and yours, also made his own paper when he got into book binding. He did some rather spectacular books with papier mache dragons wings coming out of them and jewelled eyes. Just in case, you know, you need any more ideas.

I'll get my coat.

Kelly said...

Boys. Boys are what you need. Boys do not do craft, especially paper stuff. At least, not too much. They are far too busy strewing nerf ammunition all over the house, stabbing each other with swords, riding down the stairs in laundry baskets, pushing each other off the bunk beds. Boys are much easier. You should have had boys.

MadameSmokinGun said...

I never realized that I was so blessed! All my crafty efforts sneered at by a superior daughter and ignored by my ...well...BOYS! No wonder I have had no effect on them at all. Just realized all the paper mess is actually mine. Damn...

sharon said...

Own up Grit you couldn't get to the recommended website quick enough and you loved spending all that cash on the 'how to' books. I could suggest a machine which will cut paper and card to various shapes and sizes but therein does lay very expensive madness. If you visit I might let you play with it though.

My sons were both keen on craft. Admittedly the elder is gay and fits the stereotype in so many ways but even the younger straight one love painting and model making with Fimo. The elder, now grown up, designs (and makes, he's very handy with the sewing machine unlike me) clothing, some soft-furnishings and jewellery. Can still be a bit temperamental though ;-) The younger stills paints and draws occasionally.

Heather said...

sounds like a very reasonable price to me.

The Dotterel said...

I'll have a dozen.

Kelly said...

Sharon, no, no, no. Fimo and stuff, now that's different. Boys will do that. Because they can make, like, dragons out of it. So that's OK. And paint is good for them too, because they can use up all the red on each other and go and try and convince mom it's blood.

And also Sharon, while it is all true that I am doing some definite gender stereotyping here, and that I do have friends who have girls who aren't a bit interested in girlie things, and with four boys I long ago accepted that each had a different sort of way of communicating with his feminine side (one of them has been most happy to go to all the chick flicks with me, and was proudly the only boy at Princess Diaries), still, when you get them in herds, they just seem to gravitate to the "boy" things and the "girl" things. Why must it be that way? (she says, with her feet propped up on two nerf guns, looking at the pile of baseball bats in the corner).

Kim Healey said...

I have given you an 'I LOVE YOU BLOG' award!!!

Here

♥ xo ♥

Grit said...

A4 and dragons sounds good... v. templar. we might have a go at that katyboo. you can see how far gone we are.

kelly, Dig passed out when he read that comment.

mme sg, let us run off together and make paper things.

sharon, the amazon bill came to ahem. (thank goodness i have dh's account for that one.)

you are right heather! purchaser has to buy their own eiffel tower, obviously.

dotterel, invoice coming your way!

gulp... should i confess kelly i am so secretly relieved not to have a house filled with boys?

thank you kim! and welcome!