I picked up a library book recently that is just a visual feast. Botanica, published by Uppercase magazine is an encyclopedia of inspiration. It is a look at how artists, illustrators, photographers and other creatives use flowers as their subject matter. Whether it’s a still life photo or the base for a silkscreen print, the arrangements are used in a variety of creative ways and to evoke different thoughts or feelings in the viewer.

I love floral motifs and often use them in my journal covers. When I go paper shopping whether it’s scrapbook papers or Italian Florentine paper, if there are florals then those are probably the ones I’ll gravitate towards first.

I haven’t gone through the whole book yet but I am enjoying the artists’ bios, and a peek at their studios and/or creative process. I think this is one book I’d love to add to my book collection so I could go back to it time and again.

Part of this collection also has books on illustrations, typewriters, and a bunch of other fascinating subjects. I’m most excited about their upcoming release which will be a compendium on ephemera! Oh my, I need that I am sure.

How about you, have you picked up a book that’s inspired you lately? It could be on any subject!

Ex Libris

I hope you guys had a great weekend. We had some rainy weather, found a great vegetarian restaurant and went to the Ex Libris group show at Flatbed Press. The show was about the modern interpretation of the bookplate. Well, I could not pass that up.

The work we saw was really wonderful. Some was fun and a bit lighthearted but there were the other works that were a bit more on the dark side. You can see some of work on the gallery’s instagram. This fantastic “curse” was one of my favorites by artist Cathy Rylander.

I had to buy a little something and got a pack of three bookplates by PaperCutPress. These are black and hot pink and remind me of a woodcut. I’ve already put one on one of my current journals and it’s perfect as that journal is hot pink!

If you want to learn more about bookplates, which I actually don’t know much about, you can find this interesting article on the first known printed bookplate. Very cool. Do any of you use bookplates? I don’t but I definitely love to see them.

After we saw the show we wandered around Flatbed to see some of the other exhibits and visit the Book Arts Center, which is also housed there. I’ve taken a couple of bookbinding classes there and just love coming out here in general.

Unfortunately as with a lot of great places in Austin, Flatbed Press along with all the other galleries, are going to have find a new home next year. They’ve lost their lease due to rising rent costs. This is one of those things that bugs me so much about Austin. So many indie businesses have had to close shop because of the rising costs and it’s really disheartening. I’m just hopeful that they all find a home so they can continue to be a part of this community.

I believe the Austin Book Arts Center is going to have a fundraiser later this year so I can’t wait to get more details on that.

Anyway, hope you had a great weekend and let me know what you were up to.

Mysteries On My Radar

Although I haven’t been to my mystery group in several months due to my HR certification course, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been adding a lot of new mysteries to my list. I figured I could use this post to mention some of them and you might find a couple to add to your lists too.

Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama. Winner of the best Japanese crime fiction, this novel begins with the premise that for five days, the parents of a seven-year-old Japanese schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter’s kidnapper. They would never learn his identity. And they would never see their daughter alive again. Sounds chilling right?

Heather, The Totality by Matthew Weiner. Mark and Karen Breakstone have constructed the idyllic life of wealth and status they always wanted, made complete by their beautiful and extraordinary daughter Heather. But they are still not quite at the top. When the new owners of the penthouse above them begin construction, an unstable stranger penetrates the security of their comfortable lives and threatens to destroy everything they’ve created.

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine. Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. Oh I see a lot of tension in this one!

Weeping Waters by Karin Brynard. Inspector Albertus Beeslaar is a traumatized cop who has abandoned tough city policing and a broken relationship in Johannesburg for a backwater post on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. But his dream of rural peace is soon shattered by the repeated attacks of a brutally efficient crime syndicate, as he struggles to train and connect with rookie local cops who resent his brusqueness and his old-school ways.

Ivory Pearl by Jean-Patrick Manchette. Set in Cuba’s Sierra Maestra in the 1950s, in the days leading up to the Revolution–Manchette’s unfinished masterpiece with a fearless female protagonist.

Have you read any of these? I hope I can get my hands on these as they all sound different and fascinating! For now though it’s time to think of the weekend and plan some fun stuff. Have a great weekend!