The Snail Journal

Posted: February 26, 2014 by Mo Crow in It's Crow Time
Tags: , ,

snail-journal-by-Mo-2014 Snail Journal (for Richard) by Mo Orkiszewski 2014
4 & 1/2 inches (11.5 cm) H x 6 & 1/2 inches (16.5 cm) W x 1 & 1/4 inches (3.25 cm) D
old cat scratched leather, vintage Silkworm thread, lined with handmade spiral paper from Thailand, cartridge text block with hand deckled and painted edges
snail-journal-by-Mo-Orkiszewski-2014front flap with closure detail
snail-journal-with-distressed-edgedistressed edge hand deckled & painted with layers of sepia ink, “Bark” Derwent Intense water soluble ink pencil, burnt umber & yellow oxide acrylic mixed with Matisse water based antiqueing medium & golden Titanium White fluid acrylic
snail-journal-in-processgetting the edges “right” took about 10 hours but it worked!
snail-journal-inside-front-pagefront page
snail-journal-inside-back-cover-and-dedicationback page
snail-journal-dedication-back-pagededication to my good friend Richard who has taught me so much about seeing in the last 7 years
snail-journal-inside-of-front-flapdetail of stitching inside of front flap (above) and outside (below)
snail-journal-foredgethe amazing Vintage silkworm thread and no 7 crewel embroidery needles
Silkworm-Thread-&-no-7-needlesthanks to Margaret Johnson for giving me these “proper” needles and introducing me to this magic thread !

  1. jstockler says:

    I love love love this, you have such a way with curve and line. And tell more about the Silkworm thread, please

    • Mo Crow says:

      Margaret Johnson sent me a reel of the Silkworm Machine Twist thread back in 2012, I fell in love with it whilst working on the Hopeful Lunacy scarf and then again for the netted & knotted fringe on the Memory Keeper Bag. Found a box for sale online in a country town haberdashery in Victoria (not far from Margaret’s place) & just this morning unearthed a mention of the company in the business section of a newspaper from 1948 when they merged with Rothfield & Co. So I would say this thread would be at least 60 years old, it is strong, has a beautiful hand and waxes perfectly for bookbinding.
      Oh and the curve and line is integral to the handmade spiral paper from Thailand

  2. saskia says:

    what an extraordinary journal! well his teachings must have been something special to inspire you into making such a personal gift; and omg that thread,,,,,

    • Mo Crow says:

      Richard is an artist and teacher with the best eyes but gave up both after teaching at an expensive private girls high school where the parents expected their daughters to graduate regardless of talent… they paid for results after all… but the artistic soul can’t be quelled, he takes the best photographs and we visit art exhibitions most weekends. He should write an art column for the newspaper as he is the most knowledgeable man I know. He was my second set of eyes all the way through the drawings for An illuminated Book of Cats and gently lets me know when I should put the crow drawings away!

  3. deanna7trees says:

    i love this look and the thread is perfect on the leather giving it that aged look.

  4. softly snail….just elegance, perfection

    • Mo Crow says:

      thanks for the good words Grace, must say I am pleased with this one!
      next book is going to be for Old Man Crow… a crow feather and roses book as he is more than a wee bit jealous of this snail book and keeps pointing out that he only has 5 pages left in the last Crow Book I need to go to a florist this weekend and find a dozen Mister Lincoln roses that are just past their best which I will then behead (remember Mortica Addams’ rose stem arrangements?) and then scatter the petals through the pages so it smells of roses… India Flint did this back a few years ago and I have wanted to give it a go ever since…

  5. Dana says:

    Wow! I love the dark leathery outside spiral and the soft, pale stitchy inside spirals equally. They are like the dark and light side of the moon. Richard is a lucky guy.

  6. margaret johnson says:

    Absolutely gorgeous Mo. It’s lovely to make something special for a good friend hey. ox

    • Mo Crow says:

      Thanks Marg, you are one of those special friends who has given me some of the fabulous treasures in our house Your Crow Woman and Blue Star Woman look after everything that comes out of this place!
      & Hey! I’ll send this in an e-mail too one of the NSW Guild of Bookbinders members Karen Vidler is holding an open studio day at her Book Conservation Services Friday March 7th & Saturday March 8th from 10am to 4 pm Room 48/ 1 Halford St Castlemaine, Victoria that’s not too far from your place?
      Here’s a link to her website

  7. Carol says:

    Simply stunning, Mo, and a real treasure. Your spiral stitching is just beautiful and I love the dark edges. Rod’s book sound like a winner too, and I hope you take a photo of your rose stem arrangement! I’d forgotten that Morticia did that!

  8. Dotti says:

    Beautiful and perfect!!!

  9. beth says:

    Oh how beautiful. It looks so fine for holding in your hand and for slow writing. And I’m smiling at Mo-rticia beheading roses…

  10. handstories says:

    so beautiful- especially your stitching, round and round, carrying…

  11. deb g says:

    gorgeous! Loved that you used “cat scratched leather.”

  12. deedeemallon says:

    I just love this piece! The textures, the shapes, everything! Agree with others that it makes for a spectacular gift. The spiral gives me ‘snail’ and also ‘cosmos’ – fitting, I think, for an artist of your vision!

  13. AnnaB says:

    hey mo crow like your snail book, found the link from spirit cloth btw.

  14. Very very cool and it looks like so much work- you continue to amaze me!

  15. Susan C says:

    This is beautiful, Mo. Really, what a special gift.

  16. Ayn Hanna says:

    beautiful work Mo, what a very special gift, a treasure of you for sure!

    • Mo Crow says:

      Thank you Ayn, I was hoping Richard would take it to South Africa this month as a travel journal for his 60th birthday but he said it is too special & will use it to hold his mother’s stories…

  17. alison armstrong-webber says:

    Mo, I found this post of your snail journal, and then, by serendipity ( through the thread! :-)) was led to your illuminated book of cats while on a ‘whim’ looking back through Jude’s February archives.
    I just love what you did with that book. The energy you put into the tail of the cats, which feels so sensitive to the power/energy of a cat–and the verse, and the gorgeous illustrations. All of it. My mother’s birthday is in February, and she is a longtime ‘doorperson’ to cats. I am going to send her the link. Think she will love it. She’s also into cloth and stitching, as I am. I used to do “illuminations” in my twenties, before I ever knew what they were really, so I am drawn to the concept. Cats are very dear to me. You began with an Abyssinian. I was honoured to care for one when my son was a baby, her name was Gabriel. Like the angel. My life is filled with cat-ness. Just wanted to tell you how great it is to have stumbled on your lovely book! I write poems, among other things. I’d like to have your permission to use one of the verses in that book as an epigram to a poem. Of course I would attribute it. To your partner? Not sure which one! They are all good. November is National Poetry writing month for some, as is April. Some call november “National Novel-writing month”, but for me, it’s poems. A poem a day.

    All the best

  18. sue says:

    this is amazing beautifully made.

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