jeudi 26 mars 2009

This Tuesday's Story (on a Thursday this time!)

A medical procedure (minor, thankfully) has eaten up a lot of my time this week -- most of it from worrying, I have to admit. Hours of bed rest was prescribed, and because I really have a hard time doing nothing at all, I was thankful to have a fascinating true story occupy me.

One of my favorite jewelry designers on Etsy told me the story of her mother, from the time she was a child in Indonesia to when she moved to the Netherlands after World War II and how she coped with being a widow and single mother in a foreign country thereafter. Because I myself am an Asian woman who displaced herself and moved to a European country, I felt an immediate affinity for the tale. I couldn't resist, and proposed that we take the story and make an Imagined History book out of it.

It took me several weeks to get it done -- this happens when I'm biting my nails about something; I just can't seem to write very well when I'm stressed -- but now the story is finally finished! It's made up of three parts, and ends with an epilogue. You can see details of the finished embroidered book in the mosaic above. Here's an excerpt of the text, from when the mother had just moved to the Netherlands:

Dream Princess

Because life as eldest girl was hard
Arjatun spent all the time she could spare
in the nation of dreams, where she

married a handsome knight,
was taken away to live in a kingdom with roads paved emerald,
lived in a castle carved from rare ebony,
met new people who welcomed her with a shower of lotus petals,
every spring sent a caravan of the season’s sweet harvests
back home to her family,
bore children with golden hearts and with wings on their shoulders,
watched the little ones grow up by her side into magical men and women,
lived happily ever after embraced in the arms of her knight.

But then she woke up:
They had been forced to leave home,
for a kingdom now impoverished,
where the people called them names
and made them live in dark rooms
and where there was hardly any food.

Worst: The knight was dead.
They were taking her children away.

And so the nightmare began for
the princess of dreams.

dimanche 22 mars 2009

This Made Me Smile This Morning

I had a look at Poppytalk's Green Pop online market today and was amused to find my Bird Pillowcase back-to-back with The Modern Hunter's Yellow Sweet figurine. Looked at like that, I have to admit: The Modern Hunter's specimen looks much nicer than my birdy, who seems to have something sinister going on its little head, probably how many pecks it would take to demolish the worm it's been eyeing for Sunday breakfast.

samedi 21 mars 2009

Volume 1

So Bronwyn Lloyd got me thinking about making anthologies again. (By the way, you should see the pop-up book she did based on a fantastic werewolf tale--very inspiring!) I've been telling myself that I'll make one only when I have more material, but it's been an itch on my brain for a couple of days now, so to get some relief I decided to go ahead and make a (very) slim volume featuring some of my sweeter pocket fairytales.

The photos you see here show an edited version of the mess that was my work table this afternoon, as I was playing around with my two favorite materials, paper and lace. Sometimes, a session like that ends with everything chucked in the recycling bin. Fortunately, not this time.

Pocket Fairytales, Vol. 1, the zine, is up at the shop.

vendredi 20 mars 2009

This Tuesday's Story (on a Friday)

Life is a bit rock-and-roll this week, and so please forgive me if I'm listing Tuesday's story three days late.

The new story is called "The Stain," inspired in equal parts by a vintage doll head with a curious coffee-colored stain and "The Juniper Tree" by the Brothers Grimm

It's my entry to the European Street Team's creative challenge, "Back to Childhood." The challenge is being hosted by FebystanDesigns, and she's got a list of the other great entries over at her blog.

And I have to mention: I think that this is the goriest book I've made so far. Children being eaten, oh my!

The Stain
by Apol Lejano-Massebieau

They left her to die under the juniper tree—
the child born with a stain on its face.

The townspeople prayed trembling to their twin gods:
“Save us from this terrible prophecy! Take the cursed
being and let us be done with it,” they beseeched.

The child survived longer than anyone thought it
would, its cold, hungry wails forcing the villagers to
sleep with pillows over their ears for a fortnight; until
at last the wild beasts of the grey forest took pity and
ate the little creature out of its misery.

In the morning, when the villagers came to look, all
they found left of the child was a strip of blue shriveled
skin. The mothers and the fathers of the village heaved
a collective sigh of relief.

But: The wild beasts had thoroughly enjoyed the taste
of heretofore unknown child-meat. They had left not
even the bones of the child under the juniper tree, for
those had been soft enough to eat.

In midnight raids they came, the beetleowls, the
bullbears, and the crocodilesnakes, over a fortnight picking
out the villagers’sons and daughters one by one. They left
not little bones nor even square of skin to grieve over.

Thus, the prophecy came to pass.

lundi 16 mars 2009

Things That Go Pop

Opening today is Poppytalk Handmade's Green Pop! market. Be sure to visit the "eco, spring & Easter themed marketplace featuring recycled, upcycled spring stuff and things that pop!"

I'm happily part of it, and after logging into my table, I took a look around and was impressed by the lineup. So many of my favorite artists and crafters are in there! Here are four (but there are plenty more) on my absolutely must-see list:

Enhabiten: cushions and sachets made from vintage fabrics.

HeliS: fun animal jewelry.

Periwinkle Bloom: heavenly kids' clothes.

Inleaf: home decor items handprinted using real plants.

mardi 10 mars 2009

This Tuesday's Story

Beginning last week, I promised that I'll make a new book with a brand-new story every Tuesday, and so here it is!

This Tuesday's story is "The Key." It started from a found object. What else but a key, lost and forgotten inside a drawer, but with so much character it had to be resurrected, given a story all its own. Click here to have a look at the book's inside pages.

The Key

Elena had spent ten years and twenty looking for the
room that could only be opened by the enchanted key.
Her own father had given the key to her, Senor Maximo on his
deathbed confiding that this would unlock the “chamber
containing the riches of one’s life.”

Too promptly, Elena turned her back on friends and abandoned
all family to search for the place she was convinced contained
wondrous treasures and fulfilled all dreams.

For decades, she toiled alone, spending days inspecting keyholes,
evenings in greasy restaurants plotting her next move, and
nights in lonely hotel rooms.

Meanwhile: her friends passed on one by one, her husband
remarried, her children grew up and moved away.

Bent and grey, not much younger than Senor Maximo was
when he gave the enchanted key to her, Elena at last came
upon the chamber. She inserted the key into the lock and
heard a muffled click. Turning the doorknob, she pushed
the door open, eager to finally behold the riches of her life.

Elena found the room empty.

lundi 9 mars 2009

New Book Cover!

Still on reviving my bookshop, I've decided to change the structure of my handmade books so that it looks a little more polished (to me, at least).

My first go at it is a book I'm making for a friend's child. The cover you can see at the lower righthand corner. I covered thick paper with red gingham, to which I first applied wheat paste. (This little recipe I got from Michelle Maule's great blog.) For different books, I plan to use different fabrics, of course.

The sewing technique for the spine I got from a how-to book.

What do you all think: yay or nay?

vendredi 6 mars 2009

A Revival

When I opened my second shop, La Pomme Stories, last July, I was overwhelmed by the response I got from buyers and blog owners. People seemed to really like my handmade books! It felt great. Unfortunately, the more pressing demands of life got in the way, and just two months after I had opened shop, La Pomme Stories was a neglected corner of cyberspace.

Then these past weeks two friends, on two different occasions, got in touch asking if I could write stories for people close to them. Doing these projects (which aren't yet finished, but I swear they're near completion, Erna and Ianne!) made me realize that I miss doing my books and collages.

So La Pomme Stories is alive again. I'm committing to a new story every week, which I'll be listing on Tuesdays. Artworks and greeting cards based on the new story may also be listed, depending on how much free time I have.

This week I started off with the story of "An Old Pair of Scissors," inspired by a rusty old pair I found in a 90-year-old woman's sewing box that she had passed on to me. I'd love to know what you think of the story, and of the book and the embroidered drawings I made from it.

An Old Pair of Scissors

Today I shared my meager lunch with a man dressed in rags, very thin and very pale,
whom I found sitting beside a dirt road as I was on my long way home from my travels.
In exchange for a fistful of bread and some cheese, he offered me a story:

“I used to be a rich man, one of the most successful hommes d’affaires of the city of Sebu.
In my principal mansion I had a grand room built and filled with a hundred golden beds.
My greatest pleasure was to choose my cradle for the night, lie down in a cloud
plump with the soft hairs of fallen sky cats, and dream dreams fit for kings.

“I dreamt of defeating the Alhambran army with my sword and only a handful of warriors,
of crossing the tempestuous waters of the Azamuth in a canoe of my own design,
of being the Chosen One to finally tame the last surviving Sarimanok.
And then in the morning I would wake up and conquer my own world.

“One evening, after hearing a knock on the door, I found on my threshold an old woman
with a basket filled with needles, different-colored thread, and a rusty pair of scissors.
‘I am but a poor old seamstress,’ she said, ‘I have strayed too far from my quartier and am very tired.
Can the kind sir offer me shelter for the night?’ I had no intention of letting anyone else
climb into my beds, and had her chased away by dogs.

“That night, I dreamt I was flying Mo-tse’s eagle kite, my hands manipulating the silver thread
that connected me to the device with the dexterity of a master. Then, in the abruptness of dreams,

there appeared on my right the old seamstress. With a brief but efficient snip of her scissors,
she cut my silver thread, and I watched Mo-tse’s kite disappear into the sky.

“In the months immediately following, the imagination and the boldness that
have always been my constant companions dissipated; I lost all I had.
And I never dreamed again.”

mercredi 4 mars 2009

And The Winner Is...

It's a pear! My Feel Good Pear, more specifically.

So at the end of my little guessing game, I took out my glass muffin bowl in the middle of Thursday night (Sorry I'm not posting any pictures, the flash made it all look so blech!), put the name of everybody who answered correctly in there, and abracadabra-ed a winner.

And it is -- drumbeats, please -- meplusmolly! I've been looking over her Etsy shop and her flickr page, and aside from being good at guessing games, the woman also makes gorgeous textile work. I'm excited to be sending her a pear.

I'll be having more guessing games in the future, so watch this blog!