I love doing commissions. Tailoring a book to someone's needs and aesthetic is a great creative challenge and allows me to step out of my comfort zone for a while.
I did this wedding guest book for a friend and former colleague, Lynn Smith. It was for her daughter's wedding, actually, but Lynn asked if I would do it, and I was thrilled and honored beyond belief. Lynn is not only an amazing writer, gorgeous, and one of the nicest and funniest people I know, she's also an extremely talented jewelry designer who uses natural materials such as found shells in her work. I don't even know how she comes up with some of her designs--they are so beautiful and elegant. It's no wonder she sells out at shows.
The wedding had a fall theme, so I did the book in traditional autumn colors. The bottom part of the cover is Cave Paper that was wrinkled, then covered with a thin layer of brown Kiwi shoe polish. I allowed the polish to sit for a few minutes on the paper, then removed the excess with a paper towel. The polish stays in the cracks, and when the paper is smoothed out it looks like aged leather, a truly amazing technique. I learned it from Dan Essig, an incredible book artist and teacher whose works are featured in "The Penland Book of Handmade Books."
The inside pages were stamped with a large open frame stamp (four to a page) that provided enough room for people to write their names and well wishes for the couple--even a sketch if someone felt so inclined. Any left over spaces could serve as a place to put photographs. I'm not a big fan of lined paper, and traditional guest books only leave room for a name and date, which I never understood.
I always forget to photograph my books before I send them out, so Lynn was kind enough to take this picture from the wedding and send it to me. It's also great to see it in context. As a thank you Lynn gave me one of her necklaces, which I wear often and treasure.