Monday, April 14, 2014

Workshop: Knights' Fest

Hello! Today was a very exciting day because Jen and I got to teach our very first workshop! Logos, a Classical Christian school in Moscow, annually hosts a day of extra-curricular events called Knight's Fest. The director invited Opus this year, so Jen and I joined in to offer a brief study of Illuminated Art.

In preparation, we drew four medieval designs--three of them came from the Book of Kells, and the fourth was from an Opus Kickstarter coaster--and then made copies for the workshop. Each student chose their favorite design and learned to illuminate it using watercolor paints and gold/silver leaf.

Here are a few pictures of these awesome young students at work:

We hope that these kids will continue to paint fancy designs, and to make those designs glow by adding metal leaf. At the very least, they now know how to not breathe too heavily while applying said leaf (it tends to float and scatter everywhere from even the smallest gusts of wind).

Thanks to the Logos Knights' Fest hosts for letting us teach, and to these kids for being great students!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Peeks for Sneaks I

Here's a tiny sneak-peek, as promised! We've got new items that will be available on our website soon! More photos on the way....

Kickstarter: Workshop Collage

And, here it is! A little collage of the artworks we made for our amazing Kickstarter supporters. But our workshop wasn't *just* about making art. We paused now and then for tea, or to snap of picture of the Bunch Boys, and even to make an adventurous dinner or two.

Thanks again to everyone who helped to make this project a jolly success!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Process: Wood Cover Journals

And here is Jen and my final Kickstarter process post, which is all about wood cover journals--last but not least!

Just like our leather journal, these wood cover journals have folios, signatures, and book blocks. I made these with a high quality watercolor paper which is ideal for drawing, calligraphy, and watercolor paint.

For the covers, I cut out, planed, and routed 7"x10"x1/4" pieces of maple with the help of the amazing workers at Woodcraft. I then used pyrography to decorate the front covers with our Antha and Emerald designs. Next, I stained and finished each cover, layering several stain colors for a rich effect.

The third and final stage was binding, which is one of my favorite processes. Ever.

I started with piercing holes in the valleys of each signature, and by drilling corresponding holes through each wooden cover. I then bound a front and back cover to each book block using the Coptic Stitch. Then it was just a matter of securing black leather around each spine using an Opus catch stitch and adhesive.

Oh, yes! Almost forgot. I used a Gothic script, the same one used for our Shakespeare Scroll and Illuminated Pages, for the optional personalized next on the first page.

And that's a wrap! We're nearly finished with all of our Kickstarter rewards, and new items are in the making! Look for a collage post and sneak peeks soon!

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Process: Illuminated Christmas Carol


Jen and I decided to include these Christmas carol pages as they were appropriate to our wintery kickstarter project and because handwritten works can be a great way to blend meaning and style into a decorative art form.

The text for "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing" was written by Charles Wesley in the 1730s. "Of the Father's Love Begotten" is a much older text, having been written prior to the 10th century. J.M. Neale's 19th century translation of this chant is a well known version today, however, and so we opted to use a Gothic script which was popular throughout the 1700s and 1800s for our pages.

Gothic scripts are bold, detailed, and ultra fancy, which is really just another way of saying that they're crazy fun to write with.

We stained the paper with a light watercolor wash as a nod to the texts' age, and illuminated the capital letters as a authentic finishing touch.

Handwritten works will definitely be in Opus' future.... Check back soon for our final Kickstarter Process post followed by a Workshop Collage!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Process: Christmas Cards and Gift Tags

Hello! It's been a little while! Making Opus rewards and celebrating Christmas has kept us nice and busy. We're definitely planning a collage Rewards Workshop blog post, but there are three more Kickstarter processes that we'd like to share first.

The Christmas cards and tags were really fun to make. The card process went something like this....

*We cut some really shimmery red and silver paper sheets in half and then fold each half in half. (Actually, this was step two. Step one consisted of 40+ minutes of pealing price stickers off the backs of every single sheet.)
*Then we sandwiched each card in a stamp folder and cranked it through the embossing press.

After that, it was simply a matter of stuffing each embossed card in an envelope and shipping them off in sets of 12!

The tag process was quite similar, but involved a bit more exacto knife and scissor work as the red and silver tags had to be cut out by hand. (The black tags had the sense to come in pre-cut packages.)

We made these tags in sets of 20, two of each design for the red and silver, and one of each design for the black. There are so many packages to label during the Christmas season!

We definitely plan to use embossing for future projects. It's such a jolly process and it opens the door to endless designs and textures!