Saturday, March 19, 2011

Why Book Making And Cheap Canvas Should Be Illegal.....(well, one is...)

There's a reason for that grinning skull in bright on....

Minor Rant Alert dear readers!
This falls under the heading of *Stupid Things Anne Does With Little Thought Attached*.
I apologize for bad pun in the post title, but dang it, it was just sooooo tempting! Without further ado, my experiences this week with:

1. The making of a small sketchbook
2. Cheap canvas.

While finishing up my ArtLab #1 class, I was also trying my hand at a self made sketch journal, and I had instructions (take note here) for an EASY, TEN MINUTE JOURNAL.
Um hmmmm. Why go for EASY??? 
The fact I had absolutely no experience in putting a book together did not slow me down one bit. I wanted a nice book, with covers made from canvas panels, collaged from papers we exchanged during our class, and the panels were sort of mirror images of each other and reflected the course I was just finishing. Then whenever I used it, I would have fond memories of putting the last touches on it, the last day of class.
It fought me all the way. I happened to take it out of the vise where it was drying, for some reason, only to discover that the canvas panels were way too close together and I could not open the book. Okay, about 2 inches, but that doesn't allow sketching or journaling or collage, does it? So I hurriedly grabbed a palette knife and got the heavy watercolor paper OFF the covers as best I could and was left with something that looked like this:

All the papers used in the collage were from our paper swap during the Art Lab Class...even the ones that repaired the insides.....

I decided to let it sit a day or two before retackling the issue. Now I have a nice book with a book marker and little dangly things that will no doubt get in the way, but it OPENS and LOOKS GOOD.

Finished book.....whew..
And the dangly bits.....  :-)
End of horror story one.
Story two; cheap canvas.
Occasionally I succumb to purchasing a pack of *bargain canvas* because I want a particular size, can't find the good stuff locally and don't want to wait on an order. Now, I am not so thick in the skull that I expect perfection, but here was the label:

....Soooooooo, I did not exactly expect THIS:

That thing at the bottom? That is the archival back stapled some universe, just not mine. The top canvas is the one I reworked into something, well, canvas-like.

I ended up with a full morning spent pulling staples (cuss), restretching canvas (cuss), adding a canvas tightener to the LIMP fabric (cuss cuss), adding gesso to whatever slicker-than-you-know-what paint was on there and finally going to town and getting the soothing combo of crunchy Cheetos and a diet Pepsi.
Am I the only one this happens to???
There is no moral to this story. Just read and laugh. Oh how I love being an artist........SOME days!
Now go make art! (on good canvas!)



Elena said...

I was wondering why you've seemed a bit quiet in blogland (or maybe I've been missing)! You've been creating! And what a gorgeous book and great idea using the papers from the swap. It is beautiful and vibrant. That photo of the before canvas...hilarious...I hope they gave it to you free.

yoborobo said...

First off, that journal is breathtaking! Seriously, Anne, it really, really is. Amazing work.

Secondly, you should know better than to buy canvases that have been put together by drunken monkeys.I though we had talked about this? I love monkeys as much as the next person, but when they start drinking on the job, well. Nuff said.

Well my talented friend, you are on a roll! xox

Luthien said...

hahahaha!!! you poor thing!! me bad ... laugh at your misfortune but ... ^_^

well ... at least the sketch journal turned out most beautiful!! i love that devilish deMeng you added to the bottom corner ... says it all, needs no further explanation :)

and at least you KNOW HOW TO rework the cheap canvas ... i probably would just throw it away or as my little 6 year old would say ... "artzooka it" (it's a term 6 year olds who watch nickelodeon use for turning trash to treasure :)

have a nice rest of the day my fren ... making art seems to be a good decision ;)

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

I know I shouldn't laugh - but, well, you know, a little schadenfreude does us all good!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Elena,

The book had me pulling my hair out, but was worth the effort!
That was too funny not to share, and also as a warning to anyone else who things they are getting a good deal.
It's a *deal* alright.... ;-D


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

I thought you were going to TRAIN those monkeys since you have so much spare time on your hands!!!??? I WAS DUPED!!! So, hop to it on the monkey detail, okay?
You ever seen such a MESS??? :-D

Anne of the Monkey-Brain

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Luthien,

I used to stretch all my own canvas---ALL of it. Still have all the tools and supplies for the most part. If I figured labor in *fixing* those monsters, I could have BOUGHT two huge canvas--the deep ones! DANG!!!!
I quit stretching them when I started having trouble with my hands, as they are reminding me this morning.....pfffft!
Have a good one----with no cheap canvas involved!


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...


Laugh my friend....anyone of my age that is dumb enough to buy those??? Well, I deserve what I got; A MESS.
I will say after a full day of work, I have two nicely primed, usable pieces.
I swore at them a lot.
Maybe that helped!
Good to see your comment!


Bunny said...

The end result of your journel is amazing. Happy Accident. Hugs

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Bunny,

Yes, I was happy with the journal, although I don't think I will EVER try one again! (she says...hahaha!)
I'll just *look* at it for a while.... ;-)


Janet Ghio said...

I love your book. I always plunge into things and find out later that it didn't turn out like I thought it would-but hey-that's how we learn, right? So frustrating that how we picture something doesn't turn out that way! And that canvas! Yikes!!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Janet---

That canvas photo should be hanging in my studio so I don't FORGET and get the same fool thing again!
I'm glad I'm not the only one who dives in head first with things. And yes, I learned a lot in the process...which is what it is all about, I suppose! ;-)


Karen S said...

I love the book. I, too, hate reworking things. I would rather make an entire dress rather then repair a hem on a skirt (assuming I still wore such garments) -- but the final product proves it was worth the effort.

I have to agree with the comments above -- I wouldn't have a clue what to do with those "archival back-stapled canvas(es)." I would have had to work them into the design -- or give to my kids to play with. Good job -- grrrrrr.

Gloria said...

Hi Anne. I laughed when I saw the back of that canvas. I can't believe someone would do that. You with your expertise fixed it though and now you have a wonderful book. It's great Anne, I'll have to give it a stab one of these days. Have a great weekend.

Georgina said...

Gawd, Anne, I couldn't stop laughing at your "eco-canvas!!" What a hoot....what schlock!! Made in China, of course!!!

Love your little book, though, especially the dangly thingy. Speaking of China, before Valentines, I was in a dollar store at the mall, one of my fav places to buy embellishments for my arte, and with a purchase of $5, I got a free plastic heart container of chocolate treats. So I bought $10 worth of stuff and I got 2 heart-shaped containers. I thought of giving them to my son until I read where the candies were made, China. Ok, nothing against the Chinese, but remember the dog food, children's toys made with poison based paints, candy, etc. incidents? So what did I do, yesterday, I tossed the candy and soaked the heart to remove the labels...that some glue they use on that plastic...blasting it off would budge, so polish remover was used just to spread the glue around, but then I remembered how you can create all kinds of stuff out of used stuff, so along with your swizzle sticks, sending you a heart container too...weave your magic. So expect your little care package sometime next week with gawd-know-what else I can put into that large padded envelope. Keep doing whatcha doin' and have fun!

Loves ya,

NuminosityBeads said...

Sometimes it's such a steep learning curve on this altered art business. I find that it's so easy to ruin a piece with just one connection that I haven't thought out especially with found objects. so frustrating sometimes. I can't believe those canvases either!
By the way the book arrived yesterday, Thanks so much! I think I'll go sit in the sun and peruse it.
xoxo Kim

freebird said...

I have never seen canvasses like these! Admittedly I haven't seen many canvasses and mostly from Dick Blick but still, this is ridiculous! This is junk! Poor you. It would be enough to have a beginner give up.

Your book looks lovely. I enjoy making them occasionally. What stops me the most is having to pull my paper storage box out from under the couch or my bed to go through for inside pages. Silly thing but it stops me. Maybe because once I do I have to find a table top clear enough to put that big sheet of paper on to tear it down and that isn't easy lol (finding a table top - tearing down is simple).

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Karen,

What you see here is a typical day in my studio. It is a wonder I ever get anything DONE. Or maybe this is why I get so little done.
I think I have low attention span.....LOL!!!


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Gloria,

Yeah, that canvas was a *keeper* all right.....NOT!!! The other looked the same.....oy!
I'm off to figure out what to do with plastic farm toys and some little loofa rounds.....hmmmmmmm...... ;-D


Cathy Bueti said...

Well Anne I have to say that I love the end result! But hello. . . I cannot believe any company would pass that off as wrapped canvas! You are too funny Anne! This post did make me laugh! xo

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Oh lord Georgina!!!

This is one purchase I cannot blame on China--most of the canvas products come from India or Viet Nam now. The ones from Nam are good....and I'm stopping right there! *wink* If I wasn't such a stinking TIGHT WAD, I would have thrown them out.
I don't blame you with the candy---I am much more careful about reading labels and especially after seeing the conditions workers endure when making the mardi gras beads. Unbelievable.....
Well, I thank you in advance for the *art supplies*!!!!


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Kim,

YAY!!! It got there despite my numerous P.O. battles! LOL!! (yes, go sit in the sun and ENJOY...)
My problems is I *assume* I can do anything without any instructions. And most of the time I can look at something once, figure it out and then go.
Not so with the book---I was thinking in terms of everything nicely was funny. Not then, but now!


Dolly Smith said...

now *this* would be a book I could see someone buying on Etsy, *winka winka*.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Freebird,

Yeah, to the uninitiated, the canvas would have sent them running! The actual material wasn't BAD--in fact, it was okay because it handled the tight stretching very well. But I'm thinking a parent gets those for a child??? No one could paint on them....
Oh, I had the same issue with "table space large enough for the papers"---that's always the case here...


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Cathy,

Yep---we all might as well get a laugh out of my little adventure! ;-D
And I thought the label, though the name is removed, is enough to warn any looking for a discounted canvas.......hahaha!


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Oh no Dolly!

Besides, the inside is the maker's head.... :-D


dosfishes said...

The book came out sooooooooo well, after the trials and tribs of the first go round. The canvas, well, LOL, what more could you say...but you creative you made the best of it and I am sure it will be properly corroded in no time soon. xox Corrine

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Thanks Corrine! I'm just glad I caught my mistake when I could still get it apart (love that extra heavy gel...slooooooow drying!)
Omg....I have both canvas reprimed with a nice heavy coat of gesso, looks a bit like plaster with some texture. Everything is good in Anne-Land for the next 5 minutes, or till I start work on something....ah-hahahahaha!!!
I think I'll just corrode myself.....


Jan said...

I love your journal, Anne. You learned from it and it turned out superb! Just gorgeous.

Your canvases, well, I think you already said all that needs to be said about those!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Thanks Jan,

But the problem is I love the journal enough I don't want to USE IT!!! ;-D (you knew that was coming...)
omg.....everyone needs a canvas experience like mine....yeah...everyone! hahahaha!!!!
And the worst part is I am pretty sure I have another pack of those stashed away somewhere...thought I was getting a good buy.


*Ulrike* said...

I can remember making a book a zillon years ago in a long, long time ago art class. Yours looks better! Yes, I have bought things before thinking they would be ok, and they wound up a being a piece of junk. Make the best of it is what you did. Oh yeah, poison ivy still here, but with the banana peel it doesn't itch like crazy. Still working on it. If it does ok I too, will invest in bananas!
Take Care,

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Ulrike, I need to just get instructions before I take off doing things....hahaha!
I wonder on the banana/poison ivy cure; banana stalks used to be boiled to help arthritis, so obviously there is some anti-inflammatory property in the fruit. (that was in the day when you could see the stalk of bananas at the grocers....many times I have considered buying a mess just for the top...)
Hope you stay non-itchy!!!


Carol said...

What a great post, Anne, very funny, and with a good ending. Your journal covers are just brilliant, with the deMeng portrait being the perfect touch.

Congratulations on saving the day with your journal. I've got some canvas boards to make some covers, it won't be for a while yet but when I do I'll try to take photos to show you what I do. I'm trained as a book binder, but moving away from the traditional is my new plan, and I know that I want to have new adventures in book making.

The canvases - wow, you rescued those too. Now I'm off to my studio to see what mine look like under their wrappers. Who could tell?

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Oh Carol, it is SOOOOOO obvious that I am completely UNTRAINED! (especially if you saw it up close! LOL!)
The canvas panel I use all the time for collage, so they were easy and fun. I enjoyed doing them and trying to mirror as many images as I could. Of course, the crackle paint did it's own thing totally, which was FINE!
I would love to know how you do the panels....just in case I lose what mind I have left and try this again!
Life never gets too dull here..... ;-)


marianne said...

nice cheap canvas! i thought that after my lovely experience & your words of wisdom i'd never see you in the same boat! and do i spy a really cool photo on the cover of the book? ;) glad it was put to good use-

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey marianne,

Didn't want you to feel lonesome....LOL!!!
Oh gosh yes--that is a crop of the photo you sent me and I was in such a hurry to write the post I forgot to put in what photos were on the cover...I apologize. I was doing the post before inserting pics; trying to remember what I had taken. I hate the big spaces Blogger inserts when you add text after loading the photos...which would be the easy sensible way to do things.
And BTW, I hated cropping it down that much for the corner!!!


studio lolo said...

wow!! Seeing as you had doo-doo to start with in those pathetic canvases, you sure did make a silk purse out of a sow's ear! It's amazing, really!

I love your rants, but I also love your perseverance! You truly inspire the impatient artist in me ;)


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Lolo, it usually is not is being a colossal TIGHT WAD!!! Unless the surface is TOTALLY unusable---and I have had a few like that---I find a way to fix it.
I think I had purchased these a LONG time ago when I bought s couple of other packs....only to see the *fine quality* when I opened the first. Ugh. Then these got shelved long enough that I had forgotten my little adventure.....


Robbie said...

Yep, you made my day!! I'm so far behind in my dashboard/reading blogs but this made it worth while reading through them!!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Robbie, I am so far behind on everything I meet my rear-end at the door coming and going!
And today is a lost day, thus the week shortened by ONE....ack!
A good humorous rant is important! Laughing at lifes little dilemmas makes it all easier. ;-D
And I seem to attract A LOT.......


Magpie's Mumblings said...

I simply can't understand how they can get away with selling such garbage. Doesn't anyplace have such a thing as quality control anymore? Argh!!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Here's the thing---people who were never taught how to stretch canvas and are just starting painting? They aren't going to know the difference, and will be working twice as hard to paint.
For a lot of folks who don't have access to art instruction---they truly are the ones who get the short end of the stick.
For me? I should know better! And no, obviously there is no quality control other than, is it stapled on the back??? LOL!!!


Janine said...

Your journal looks great but I know how tricky bookbinding can be. I tried this myselfe and made some books and journmals. The first one I hardly couldn´t open (hi hi).
I somnetimes buy cheap canvas too but here are big differences in the quality.
I know a shop were I get cheap but good canvas and I do not buy anywhere else now.
Canvas, colours and brushes are so expensive it is necessary to know where you can getr it at the best price ;0)

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Janine,

Yes! THat was how the book was before I cut it apart...couldn't get it to open! LOL!!!
I have a couple of sources for good, inexpensive canvas--and yes, supplies are ridiculously priced. I have seen no issues with the lesser priced ones I normally use. They certainly are NOT what I pictured here! hahaha!!!


Marie S said...

Oh geesh, that is almost as bad as getting chunk of fat in a can of pork? and beans.

Marie S said...

And... I love the book. Anne it is beautiful.
Must be the meds, I thought this was two posts, LOL!

Serena said...

Firstly, congratulations on making your first looks fabulous!!

Secondly, I have bought el-cheapo canvasses in the past but have never come across ones put together like THAT! I would have been furious!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Serena,

Thanks on the journal! I might consider trying another...when the time is right! ;-)
And believe me....the words flew with the canvas! LOL!!!


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