The top of my linen chest is the area I’ve designated for my gardening and birding books. I’ve never been too happy with it, though, because the ‘bookends’. On left end, I have two of my grandfather’s glass insulators which have turned turquoise with age. On the right sits a heavy stoneware vase my Mom gave me. When I remove a book or two, the stack inevitably slides to the left because neither insulator or vase is heavy enough. At present, the only bookends we have are in the living room…soapstone elephants, a gift from Mark years ago. As I was sitting on the sofa last night, I thought about how we actually needed several sets of real bookends. Then, I thought, why not make them myself? I ‘d have to use big chunks of clay and hollow them out. They would take a long time to dry, but the design element could be fun, also the techniques used. Ginkgo leaves, for instance. I instantly sold myself on the idea. Never having made utilitarian pieces till now is a blessing. Over the last two years, I’ve slowly been making things I can use at home. I’ve grown up, no longer sneer at utility, and am having a very good time building things I can use. Because commonplace item are used more frequently, they’re out in the open, where they can be seen, too. It’s okay that I never made things I could use, before now. This is the 35 house I’ve lived in and I would have had to leave pieces behind. But, I’ve put down roots now and my functional clay works are here to stay! So, I’m on a hunt for ideas for bookends… An instant way to ‘make’ ceramic bookends can be found on the Martha Stewart’s site. “Line a vase with a resealable plastic bag of comparable size (we used a one-quart freezer bag), fill halfway with sand, and close,” writes the site’s blogger. “Push bag into vase, and place adhesive rubber bumpers on the bottom of the pottery to protect the surface of your bookshelf.” This is so easy, it’s laughable, but if you have the right vases, it could look spectacular. Next, I came across a set of pillow-shaped bookends, which really do look soft. They’re funny if you think about it…pillows holding up books. These Bookushions are slipcast from a mold artisan Jack Kalish created, then filled with sand. Fluffy, heavy, and guaranteed to keep your books upright. However, if I want bookends constructed from pre-made materials that still retain my own style, I could follow this set of instructions. Shopping list: ceramic tiles, glue gun and decorative materials…put up on the net by Creativeman at the Instructables site. Of all the bookends I saw today, the next ones are my favorite. This artisan’s work moves from craft into the arena of fine art. Hester Keith sculpts Bookend Babes from white stoneware and sells them on her Etsy site, Hester’s Studio. These are appealing because they are sculptures first and bookends second. They would add so much to a living or working space. For my own project, I’d like to make something similar in shape to these marble bookends. I want them to be heavy and to look heavy. Instead of carved inscriptions, as shown in the photo, I will work with an Arts & Crafts motif, leaves, pine cones, the like. Relief or incising, I’m not sure. Matte glaze, dark colors, also plain terra cotta, sealed. But ’tis certain — this is one of my fall projects!
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