16 February 2010


red thread

In High School, I took a field trip to the University of Utah
where I bound a red book in the Book Arts Program workshop.
I was mystified at this new-found genre of "artist's books."
I could stare for hours at everything in their gallery.
(In fact, Ben took me there on one of our first "dates" in High School and I DID stare for hours.)

With my plain red book, I came home and tried to make my own.

When finished, I shrink-wrapped it myself to submit to a Springville show.
It was rejected, and it remained shrink-wrapped for 7 years,
until just a few weeks ago that I unwrapped it in awe.
I did that? Really? I hardly remember doing any of it. :(
So that's why it's going on the blog (and not back into shrink-wrap).

I hereby dedicate this book to my grandmother,
mama jose,
seamstress maven and my embroidery inspiration.

I may not remember stitching this book,
but I remember almost every stitch I made
as she guided me on my first handkerchief.


jenn said...

Olivia, you continue to amaze me. What a beautiful book! I love your style and artistic eye. Thank you for sharing! So, so, LOVELY.

Jordan said...

This blew me away, Olivia. I love the story of the life of Red Thread. So glad she can breathe again out of the shrink wrap.

Rebecca said...

I love that little red thread. What a great idea!

Ann said...

Very cool!

Jenna said...

ohh. I remember you making that! So talented. What a treat to rediscover it!

Julianne said...

I remember it, too! I loved it. And still do! It is beautiful.

k a t y said...


i think there ought to be a series.

ps. how could they "judge" it if it was still shrink wrapped?

Gerb said...

I LOVE it, Olivia! What a beautiful way to illustrate a book. Your creative genius never ceases to impress me.

Seriously, LOVE it. What a treasure.

Kurt Knudsen said...

Can't wait to see green thread, blue thread, saffron thread...!

the farlanderz said...

oh my olivia. red thread.
i see a best selling children's book in your future.

Cherie said...

...I'd forgotten about that beautiful TREASURE! However, I CLEARLY remember when you were making it; your ideas and sewing challenges, and my LOVING each page as you completed it!
GOOD FOR YOU, Mija, for finding it-(maybe by accident as you searched for something else?)and for taking the moment to pull off the wrap, and enjoy it! And special thanks for sharing so we can enjoy! Cool "Show & Tell" presentation!

PS: Now I'm trying to remember details of that printing style, but I'm old, so help me out!

olivia said...


Forgive me if I admit that finding this was timely... I needed a reminder that I could do something I liked (and something you like!) when I needed a little vote of confidence. Thanks for all your votes. ;)

Yes, Katy, I wondered the same thing! Now I can't remember if they returned it to me still shrink wrapped, or if I shrink-wrapped it again after rejection? But the "entry card" was still in the shrink wrap too, so I doubt it.

Momma, the printing style is pretty simple. It's just called 'ink transfer' and works a bit like graphite paper. I inked a transparency with a brayer and a certain dry ink. Then I laid it ink side-down and drew on the opposite side, so the ink transferred.

Ka'piche? Capeesh?

Kristen said...

Dear Olivia-
How I wish I could live in your creative mind for a day. You don't realize how creative your mind is, for example when you said "Momma, the printing style is pretty simple. It's just called 'ink transfer' and works a bit like graphite paper." This in itself shows your creative mind. I have no idea what ink transfer is, even though you explained it, and I have no idea what graphite paper is and probably never will, and you talk of it as if it's a simple thing. I love the book and love more that it's Mama Jose's now. Thanks for sharing your creative mind with me, so I can be amashed by you.

Sue said...

oh i love this little book! Thanks for sharing it... you continue to amaze me!

Carol said...

Olivia, we haven't met, but I am Ben's cousin and your book is AMAZING! You should read about the legend of the red thread from Chinese culture...your book reminded me of it.