Every year we've tried to give each other the "traditional" gifts -- just for fun -- like paper or leather or flowers. This year we declared a moratorium on that practice, living dangerously off the grid now. I gave him an electric wine bottle opener. (Not a bit of the traditional copper or wool involved.) He gave me a new iPhone cover, imprinted with a piece of my original artwork. See what I mean? Very supportive of my endeavors.
And in other news, I made my first repurposed journal this week, in preparation for an upcoming trip to Costa Rica. My dear friend Shirley patiently took me through all the steps.
I never knew watercolor paper had a grain, or how to find it, or that the grain should run parallel to the spine of a book -- but I do now. It took me 3 1/2 hours start to finish (most of that time was spent ripping large sheets of watercolor paper into the right size) and I enjoyed every bit of it, including the stitching and gluing.
The original book cover wasn't very pretty, so I gessoed over it in black and decorated it with my version of a Costa Rican Dana de los Diabilitos mask. This festival reinterprets the invasion of the territory by Europeans -- and their resistance to the newcomers. The indigenous tribe Boruca is most well known for their masks.
There is a wonderful video on facebook that shows native Costa Rican animals and masks made using their likenesses. I don't think it is on youtube, so I apologize to the non-facebookers who can't link to it. http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=103666989659979