17 January 2011

Featured Artisan - DancingGreyStudio

This aritsan I found on etsy when I was looking for a Christmas gift for my husband.  I wanted something handcrafted, unique, something that looked like "Jeffery", if that makes any sense.  And when I saw these beautiful journals, I knew immediately that Jeff would appreciate this gift.

The artist's name is Eiko, and she lives in Montana.  I asked him to share a little bit about herself:

I was born in Japan and educated in the U.S.A. I've always loved picture books and book forms. Ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted to be a book illustrator or a manga artist. As far as I can remember, that was the only thing I ever wanted to be. So I chose a college that had a strong illustration department. But things happen :D I was introduced to 3-dimensional art. By the time I finished graduate school in Colorado, I was a sculptor! I worked with sculpture installations for some years. I created a scene or environment with organic abstract forms. Sculpture became my first love but I always kept my love for book forms. I decided to take a break from sculptures and started working on book forms. I took a homestudy course a few years ago from CBBAG (Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild), and learned some traditional book binding techniques. I also played with different types of book structures. 

I started making journals because I wanted to make an object that is used & loved by people. A journal seemed like a perfect object.  I find beauty in simple forms. The wear & tear, scratches are the best & the most beautiful embelishments a journal can have, which come from love & use :) I think simplicity in design also promotes funtion & use. One time, I bought a beautiful leather journal on eBay. It was extremely well-made & very decorative. The problem with that journal was that it became a "precious" object. It was so nice & decorative, I just couldn't use it. And that defeated the purpose of having a journal. I want the embelishment to come from use. Once someone writes a word or draws a picture, a journal becomes a one of a kind unique object. Every time I make a journal, I imagine about things that might go into the journal. Sometimes, people would wirte and tell me what they are doing with the journals, like writing a horror story, a novel, recording their kids' activities. It's so much fun hearing about all those things :)

My typical day starts after I drive my 13-year-old to school and spend some time with my old greyhound and a young 3-legged pup. My mornings are usually spent on the computer, communicating & editing photos (oh yeah, shoveling snow, too. so much snow here in Montana!). My afternoons & evenings are usually spent making things & shipping. This year, I am trying to work on a new project. I love paper marbling (both western & Japanese suminagashi). I hope to get some marbling work done this year. 

Here are a few pictures of the journal that I purchased:

Isn't it absolutely beautiful?!  Jeffery uses it as a prayer journal, since his old one is full.  I love the detailed binding at the spine, the thick paper for the inside pages, and the cord is a convenient way to wrap up the book.  I'm planning on getting one for myself as well!

For a look at more of DancingGreyStudio's wonderful creations, go here.  There are a variety of sizes, from mini journals to large journals, and Eiko also creates photo albums with a similar look and design.

As a seller, Eiko is extremely easy to work with; her communication is very clear and friendly.  The quality and beauty of her work makes these journals a perfect gift - for a friend or for yourself!

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