I have a special affection for Lisa Rabey. She’s a librarian, an awesome friend, and now, an etsy shop owner. Lisa turns classic works of literature into glorious ornaments and lovely pins. Right now she’s working her way through Jane Austen, a personal favorite of mine, and plans to work with other classic novels also. And she’s offering Little Big readers a discount! Read further for details.
Ornaments like these make gorgeous gifts for the holidays, and her exquisite pins make the perfect stocking stuffer – if you can resist buying them for yourself.
1. Would you please tell me about the process of making these awesome pins and ornaments?
Tell Me About Your Pins – The Novel Accessory
I have one method for making the pin itself, the text however has variations.
I use recycled wood that has been pre-cut into 2″x1″x1/8th, sand it down so it’s smooth. I then paint it with a single layer of paint or wood stain to keep the wood grain visible. After the paint has dried, I add a single layer of luster. The luster takes 15 minutes to dry, but because of how many layers I will be adding, I make sure each side dries 30 minutes for the first layer.
For pins where I print the quote myself, the quotes are printed on archival antique, heavy bond paper in archival inks in Baskerville font.
I adhere the quote to the pin with a single coat of luster. Let dry for 15 minutes. I repeat this step several more times so that there is anywhere from 3-4 layers of luster on the paper and pin.
The following day, I adhere the finishing to the back and let that dry for an hour. I then add another coat of luster to the back to blend in the pin adhesive. I give it one more coat through front and back and let that dry again overnight.
I can do maybe a dozen or so pins in a sitting, but the whole process takes several days.
For pins where I am recycling the text from the book, the text is meticulously cut out and adhered the same way as the quotes I print myself. Same process, just takes a bit longer since there is no guidelines available for cutting the text since it is freehand.
Tell Me About Your Balls – The Novel Ornaments
For the ornaments, this is a little bit easier. I played with various size balls (heh. heh. heh. I’m 12!) and I really liked the 4″ ones the best for presentation. I stuff the balls (heh. heh. heh.) with strips from a book. Right now I’m working through all of Jane Austen’s books, but I plan on adding more from other classical works in the next few weeks.
The text is printed, again in Baskerville font, on archival heavy bond paper in archival inks and printed on both sides. Each 4″ ball takes up 2 sheets of paper, which with JA’s chapters being so short, can be a full chapter or a chapter and a half.
For balls (heh. heh. heh.) that I use recycled text from, the amount varies so it can be 3-4 pages instead of two, depending on the size of the book.
I top the whole thing off with a pretty ribbon, suitable for hanging (left or right – heh).
I choose the Baskerville font because it was one of the more popular fonts used in printing back in the day.
2. What are your future shop plans?
The next medium I will be working with will be clay. I’m getting really excited about all the possibilities I can do with the pins and am looking forward to stretching my creativity into using new materials. I’ve started playing with the clay recently and hope to have product up in the stores sometime in the late December or early new year.
3. I love Pride & Prejudice. I realize this isn’t a question. But I fucking love Pride & Prejudice.
I started laughing madly when I read this because TheHusband hates, hates, HATES Jane Austen! He tried reading Northanger Abbey once and started referring to it as NorthBanger Abbey. So now I refer to this as well, which makes me giggle. A lot. I think one of the reasons why I love Jane so much is that she’s antithesis in literature of what my husband loves, namely dead, white, male Russians.
Though honestly, I loved Jane before TheHusband and I got together but nothing says “Eat crow, husband!” like Austen’s absurd popularity that continues to grow nearly 200 years after her death.
I also think part of her appeal is that she is the godmother of loads of different literary styles, not just “chick lit” such as satire, romantic comedy, comedy of manners, irony, pastiche – I could go on actually, in which she influenced the early Victorians and later which influenced the moderns which influenced contemporary authors. There is very much a direct line from her to many contemporary authors today – even if they don’t want to admit it, but secretly they know they can’t deny it.
I’m NOT saying she’s the founding person in any one of those genres (though many associate her with being the founding person for chick-lit, which is FINE. I GUESS.), but I AM saying that her work at the time she was writing eschewed what was popular.
Byron and the rest of the Romantics were all hobnobbing about on their great European tours, banging their cousins and half-sisters or wandering around the Lake District talking to trees while the transcendentalists in America were just getting their feet wet.
Gothicism was starting to wane (“Northanger Abbey” is a pastiche to Ann Radcliffe, THE author of Gothic novels) so here is our dear Jane writing these dear little novels about society, culture and life in the country that was radically different than what was being published OR written at the time.
And then she dies tragically, unmarried and with no children. How can you not love her for this?
Then! To make it even more awesome, all six of her novels are considered “greats” in literature. I don’t know any one author in the entirety of the written English language who can make the claim that their entire canon is considered “required”
Most people who “love” Austen love her for P&P and no nothing of her other work, which is disturbing. Or they associate P&P with JUST the ’95 BBC version ala Colin Firth and his g-d wet shirt scene. I just pity these fuckers.
4. What is your secret? Do you have a secret? Is it embarrassing?
I look younger than my husband (who is 7 years younger than me) because of all the virgin’s blood I drink. You know, like TrueBlood but not quite as sexy! Heh.
But Wait, There’s More!
Lisa is generously offering Little Big readers a 20% discount if they use the discount code LITTLEBIG20 at checkout. Visit Excessively Diverting – Novel Accessories to see all of her wonderful, adorable, novel accessories.