Bookart Project: Twelve Gifts

To round off January, here’s a bookart project: Twelve Gifts as a kinetic piece of art. If the time for resolutions or intentions has passed you by (yes me too) then this is a touchy-feely reminder of the simple things we can give, all through the year.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Bookart project: Twelve Gifts

You’ll need:

  • Stiff paper
  • Spare paper for notes and practice
  • A pen and a pencil
  • Scissors or a scalpel
  • Needle
  • Thread – I’m using bookbinding linen – wool or thick cotton would work as well
  • A stick or metal clothes hanger
  • Shells or beads or buttons

Step by step:

The Travelling Bookbinder: Bookart project: Twelve Gifts: Draw feathers

1. Draw twelve feathers. Look in a reference book, or search online, for inspiration. Simple outlines work best. Stylised or zoologically accurate? You choose. My lines are very wobbly, and that’s ok.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Bookart project: Twelve Gifts: Cut out feathers

2. Carefully cut out the feather shapes. I used a scalpel so that the sheet of silhouettes could be used for something else maybe.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Bookart project: Twelve Gifts: Write list of gifts

3. On the spare paper, write a list of all the things that you can give this year. My thoughts included: Smiles, Time, Ideas, Books, Platefuls, Cups, Surprises, Skills, Letters, Hugs, Light and Love.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Bookart project: Twelve Gifts: Write each gift on a feather

4. Either print out your words and cut round them, or use a rubber-stamp alphabet, or simply hand write each gift – one for each feather, for each month of the year.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Bookart project: Twelve Gifts: Score each feather

5. Optional: Lightly score a line down the centre of the feather with the non-sharp side of your scalpel. Gently give the feather some shape by bending the sides towards you, as if forming a page in a book.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Bookart project: Twelve Gifts: Prick holes in each feather

6. Depending on the length, using your needle, prick two or four holes on the centre crease of each feather.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Bookart project: Twelve Gifts: Arrange in rows

7. Arrange the twelve feathers in the order in which they’ll be displayed. You could have three rows of four, or four rows of three, or two rows of six…

8. Once you’ve decided on the format, lay the stick or hanger above, and cut thread to size, leaving plenty extra at each end.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Bookart project: Twelve Gifts: Attach each thread with a reef knot

9. Attach one length of thread to the stick (with a reef knot) and then thread the needle.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Bookart project: Twelve Gifts: Sew each feather on to each thread

10. Taking care to stitch in the right order, sew through each feather, sliding them up the thread, into position.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Bookart project: Twelve Gifts: Attach button or shell on each thread

11. Weigh down the end of the thread by adding a shell or button or bead.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Bookart project: Twelve Gifts: Hang in a warm place so the feathers dance

12. Hang in the light where you can see it, perhaps above a radiator so that the feathers dance in the warm air.

If you take a picture or little film, please share, tagging @paperhazell and @thetravellingbookbinder.

Wishing you happy drawing, cutting and gifting!

3 thoughts on “Bookart Project: Twelve Gifts

  1. What a beautiful idea. I’m going to try that and I may even use copper shim (as I have quite a lot of it and haven’t used any for years)

  2. I’m just loving this feather project – I shall incorporate it into a Lent project for our young people. Its beautiful and poignant.
    thank you dear Rachel
    Love from Jill

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