Thursday, 16 September 2021

A love/hate relationship...

 ...with food has me stuffing my recipe box (and face) with wonderful possibilities, and ho-humming  the fact that I have to actually make the meals to enjoy them.  After some sixty years of the so-called 'culinary arts', I am no fan of cooking at all.  You do realize that is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 15-20,000 dinners alone?  So I cleaned out my recipe box the other day, discarding a huge pile of 'what was I thinking' recipes - some tried, some failed, some of no interest at all.  And you know when an artist working in paper gets rid of paper, it never really disappears.

'Meals I Have Murdered' © Win Dinn 
8 1/4" x 4 1/2" x 1"  2021

It all started with a trio of paper bags that somehow came home with bottles of wine during the last pandemic-filled months.  Cutting off the sealed end, I folded the bags in half and folded each half again to create an accordion.  I cut a slit in the top of the two centre folds, creating two pockets in top that would contain tags.

Being a relative newbie at creating artist books, it didn't occur to me that the flimsy wine bags would be unlikely to stand up to what I had in mind.  By the time I'd added the tags to the centre pockets and additions to each of the end pockets, the bags were screaming with the strain of over-indulgence.  

Stitching the bags together with a pamphlet stitch did NOT do the trick.  I glued the fractious package to the spine of the cover and proceeded carefully with fingers crossed.

That was still insufficient to stabilize things and I added washi tape in the hopes that would encourage it to cuddle up securely.

By then it was such a toxic mess that I tore into it all with oil pastels to add to the grungy look.

Now you know how oil pastels feel on paper, right?  There's a definite yuck quality which is why I use them so seldom.

Given that it was all such a hot mess anyway I added some quickly sketched drawings with the pastels, 

and some succinct notes

before calling it a day.  Well, two days actually, because when an artist decides to make a mess, 

it can take a good long while.  I was praying that the book would hold together at least long enough to take some photos - now that's done it can go onto a top shelf and slowly disintegrate into the woodwork.  😵

All is not lost, as I still have stacks of discarded recipes waiting for a home and no doubt the Universe will provide some much stronger tubular paper bags.  

Here's what I learned:

  • Make sure your substrate can take your abuse...strong, paintable, and sewable. 
  • If it's not working, keep'll learn something and the freedom of knowing the end product is not important is liberating to the max.  


  1. Here’s me, scanning all the recipes to make sure that my family favourites aren’t in there! Cool project, mama!

    1. Nope - all the goodies are carefully saved. That'll be a another project down the road, no doubt. ;-)

  2. So much fun and a good clear out too, sounds great to me. I am well guilty of buying recipe books and only using them a couple of times and still have some that need to move on and this is a great way to recycle them. I'm wondering if you could have inserted some stiff card to strengthen the book a bit. Still looks good though. Have a lovely creative week, Angela xXx

    1. That's a good thought about the stiff card, Angela. I'll try that on my next fail. :D Happy week, my friend! xo

  3. Your post made me laugh, Win. Especially 'screaming with the strain of over-indulgence'. I think we all know that one having gone through several lockdowns now :) I also know that feeling of taking several days to make an artistic mess. But I share your optimistic frame of mind, that we always learn something in the process, even if it's what not to do. Enjoy your weekend, my friend.

    1. We've all been there, haven't we Tracy? Covid inspired over-indulgence and hot messes included. Thank goodness that we can learn from our mistakes - sometimes. :D xo

  4. Okay Win you lost me right after "Cutting off the sealed end, I folded the bags in half and folded each half again to create an accordion." My poor little pea brain just couldn't keep up. Although it looks really interesting. But you did give me a brilliant idea...go through all my recipes and recipe books, (of which there are many) and get rid of the ones I haven't used in let's say 20 years. And give them to the poor starving families who have been eating nothing but take out.
    Good luck with your recipes, I'm headed to the kitchen on a mission. Happy creating. Hugs, Deann

  5. That's a good laugh, Deann, and I suspect that 'pea brain' was already well ahead of mine. It's funny, though, how one keeps all those recipes thinking 'some day'; those starving families of yours will really enjoy trying all those recipes, methinks! :D Enjoy the clear-out and have a wonderful week trying all those recipes that you couldn't bear to part with. xoxo

  6. Hello dear Win! I can see that you haven't lost any of your creativity and energy! : D Frankly, I admire you and envy you too. Continue like this, you are a real treasure! Hug.

    1. Many thanks, Sim - that's high praise coming from someone whose work is so rich and delightful! xo Lovely to see you back, and I'm very much looking forward to your posts!


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