a book of trees

 |  March 6, 2009

I am currently working on a collaborative project with Seth Apter and Jen Worden that I am very excited about. Seth and I started talking about doing a collaborative project together back in….late 2007? But life has been pretty full and busy and we only got to start with our first swap this January.

I actually approached Seth and Jen because I am intrigued by their work. Aged, distressed, textured, an attitude of experimentation and love for exploration is what drew me into their work. I wanted this project to be about trying something new, pushing ourselves to try mediums that we might not necessarily work with. I emphasized experimenting and not getting stuck on doing it “right”. Luckily they both embraced these ideas and came up with really fantastic themes. They have both just posted on their blogs their own projects, so be sure to check them out.

For my project I wanted to create a book made out of plaster pages. I had taken a plaster workshop with Stephanie Lee back in February 2008 and she brought a book made out of plaster pages just to show what can be done with plaster. I was smitten! She has since gone further than that first book I saw and has made a series of wondrous plaster books with metal covers. Just gorgeous!

my book when it was in progress

Anyway, I thought I’d take advantage of this project to create my own plaster book and see what I could come up with along with Seth and Jen. My theme is simple- A Book of Trees.

Book of Trees, mixed media

Guardians of Sacred Places
encaustic and mixed media on plaster
first page in book

I currently have Jen’s metal book in my possession and am fascinated with it. Seth and Jen’s work is just amazing! I’ve never worked in metal, so I am both excited and a little nervous about it.

The plaster pages are set in wire which I sewed onto a piece of canvas. If I were to do this over, I think I would have dried my plaster onto sticks, instead of metal. That would have made much more sense. But since this book is traveling all over, I wanted to make sure the binding and pages wouldn’t break. I attached plaster gauze onto the canvas to create a bark-like texture. The leaf is a transparency which I laid atop the words “book of trees”. I was a little worried about the transparency staying in place with just adhesive, so I added stitching. That’s the nice thing about creating a cover out of canvas. You can sew right through it!

The first page was created using a photo transfer of one of my photos plus encaustic. I embedded some fibrous material into the wax as well.

I can’t help but think of trees as being guardians. They always seem so stoic.

We will all be sharing the progress of our books as we go along, waiting until each person sees it first in person. There’s nothing like that moment of anticipation when a collaborative project lands in your mailbox. We wanted to preserve that.


  1. by smith kaich jones on March 6, 2009  4:03 pm Reply

    Oh! Oh! Oh!!!!! I am speechless with absolute wonder & JOY at this!!! This is sheer enchantment & makes me all jealous & tingly with delight at the same time!


  2. by Wild Somerset Child on March 6, 2009  5:07 pm Reply

    This is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING; how brave to tackle something so different and post your first pages. Please, please continue; I just love the theme as well as your interpretation in a different medium. (I have tackled encaustic yet and now you have me wishing to try plaster!

  3. by Bumble Belly Designs on March 6, 2009  5:47 pm Reply

    Thank you for generously sharing this project with us! I saw Seth's post this week and look forward to all of your experiences and experiments in the books creation. Irresistible!

  4. by Christine Marie on March 6, 2009  6:10 pm Reply

    A project with you, Seth and Jen...what could be more gorgeous? Hmmm, nothing?

    p.s. if you haven't found it yet http://www.surfacedesign.org/publications.asp

  5. by tangled sky studio on March 6, 2009  6:41 pm Reply

    this project looks so intriguing...i love the book of trees and can't wait to see what you do with the metal book....
    good luck on the sacred art pieces...getting around to starting is always the toughest for me ("things" are always coming up).

  6. by Bee on March 6, 2009  7:38 pm Reply

    This is so exciting... the collaboration and also particularly the two images of your book so far. Can't wait to see the next installment!

  7. by Jeane on March 7, 2009  12:18 am Reply

    these photos just knock me out! Bridgette! - gorgeous

  8. by Shelly on March 7, 2009  1:01 am Reply

    My heart skipped a few beats when I caught a glimpse of your first page. Just breathtaking, Bridgette. With you, Seth and Jen, the colloboration will be stellar.

  9. by Anonymous on March 7, 2009  11:09 am Reply

    Wow...plaster pages sound *quite* intriguing!

  10. by Cynjon on March 7, 2009  11:10 am Reply

    that last comment was Cynjon...blogger won't let me sign in!

  11. by Seth on March 7, 2009  9:12 pm Reply

    Interesting to hear a little more about the origin of your plaster pages. Photos are beautiful but no match for what your book looks (and feels) like in person!!

  12. by Lisa Sarsfield on March 8, 2009  12:37 am Reply

    This book of yours looks absolutely fantastic. I love birds and I love trees. I really like your style too! Plaster pages?? Well that's a material I never thought of! lol Good for you!

  13. by Lost Aussie on March 8, 2009  1:41 am Reply

    Your cover page looks awesome. I will look forward to the next set of installments on the book project!

  14. by azirca on March 8, 2009  9:15 pm Reply

    Wow! absolutely stunning work Bridgette. I love the idea of the plaster pages.
    I've seen Seth's book (it's amazing too) and I'm just about to head over to Jen's....
    Thanks so much for sharing your creation with us.

  15. by Gina on March 9, 2009  11:14 pm Reply

    This is utterly fascinating—creating a book with plaster pages! Your cover and first page are wondrous. I can only imagine what an experience it would be to “read” this book. It will surely be a treasure once it returns home with your collaborator’s art, as well.

  16. by artbeth67 on March 15, 2009  12:18 pm Reply

    This truly is amazing!

  17. by Mar on April 15, 2009  2:24 pm Reply

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this concept..ooohhh i wish i had thunk it first...cool cool KKKOOOL...!!

  18. by celeste on September 6, 2010  6:23 pm Reply

    love love...I'm going to give it a try sometime...I have plaster somewhere in the studio...

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