My beautiful unicorn of a friend Caylee is teaching a mini book class over at Studio Calico at the moment. It’s a step by step guide to building your own mini book and filling it up with art.

I make minis and art journals all the time, and I still learned a *tonne* from watching Caylee’s process, and seeing how she interacted with her tools and materials. There’s something about the way she breaks things down that makes the process seem so accessible. At each step along the way she has you saying to yourself “I could do something like that!”

I came away full of ideas and enthusiasm, and this is what I produced:

essie ruths mini book from caylee greys studio calico class 02

 

Painting over bright papers with gesso to mute their intensity was a total revelation for me. I can’t believe I’d never thought to do that before. Game changer.essie ruths mini book from caylee greys studio calico class 03

 

essie ruths mini book from caylee greys studio calico class 04

Apologising. Feeling like you have no right to make art, to play, to create. This is the first thing you have to let go of if you want to be creative. And I am constantly having to do it. Every time I walk into my studio and sit down at my desk, I have to give myself permission to stop apologising and start making. Simply smearing paint on paper an be a radical act when you’re overcoming those thoughts.

 

essie ruths mini book from caylee greys studio calico class 05

 

essie ruths mini book from caylee greys studio calico class 06I loved this incredibly simple technique of using letter stickers as paint masks. I’d ever thought of it before, and the effect is rad. Thanks, Caylee!

essie ruths mini book from caylee greys studio calico class 07That quote from Mrs Dalloway holds so much meaning for me.

essie ruths mini book from caylee greys studio calico class 08

essie ruths mini book from caylee greys studio calico class 09

essie ruths mini book from caylee greys studio calico class 10

essie ruths mini book from caylee greys studio calico class 11

essie ruths mini book from caylee greys studio calico class 12I adore these butterflies, pressed so perfectly. The image is from a promotional postcard from Melbourne Museum. Sometimes the best art and craft supplies are the things you pick up for free.

essie ruths mini book from caylee greys studio calico class 13That completely overquoted, but 100% worthy phrase from Mary Oliver’s ‘The Summer Day’.

Incidentally, this page also features my first attempt at embossing. I am very slow off the mark on that one, and goodness it’s fun watching those sparkles bubble and coalesce!

essie ruths mini book from caylee greys studio calico class 14

 

I cut up a bunch of my old watercolour paintings for this project. I always keep my crappy watercolours, because even if they don’t work as paintings, they make brilliant collaging material.

essie ruths mini book from caylee greys studio calico class 15

essie ruths mini book from caylee greys studio calico class 16

essie ruths mini book from caylee greys studio calico class 17I liked the idea of finishing this book on a greeting. The whole thing seemed to turn into an invitation to embrace creativity (much like this mini I made for Paislee Press recently), so the end was kind of more like a beginning.

 

I used: Moleskine cahier journal || ‘My Heart’ vellum from Pretty Little Studio || Gold threaded twine from my friend Vanessa || White square paper doilies from The Freckled Fawn || American Crafts Zap! Embossing heat tool || Zing! Embossing powder in gold