Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Website for Mom, A Webpage for Me

A past fraktur.
I really enjoy graphic design. I think it’s why I so love frakturs. A combination of letters and words, more stylistic than realistic. I have never taken a class on design, but I have read a great deal. I try to keep up with what's new in design, and I have several boards on Pinterest devoted to design for inspiration. It often influences all of my art, and comes in handy when something like a flyer, a business card, or a website needs designed. 

The website has been my latest project. My mother, Rebekah L. Smith, has been working on getting together a website for her work. My job was to design the site. I am not a coder, and do not plan on ever being one. When my dad found Wix, a site that allows you to design your own website without coding, we were thrilled. I was able to design the website basically from scratch without ever even seeing code. Click and drag, that is much more my style. They have great templates, all of which can be easily adjusted or used as a blank slate for your own design. 
My page on Rebekah L. Smith's website, designed by me.
When we set out to design her website, we decided on a very neutral palette to highlight the colors in her work. I did a lot more tweaking than the average person might do as far as layout and color to give it a very unique feel, one that went with Rebekah’s work. We have been quite pleased with the result, which you can see here:
A fraktur for sale.

My mother has graciously allowed me to put a page on her website. I have my information and a gallery of past work, as well as a place on the store page. We will continue to put more pieces up as they become available. I am currently selling original frakturs, bookplates and notecards. Check it out when you have a chance!!frakturs-by-kas-/c1p4q

Monday, June 16, 2014

Literary Love

A few volumes of my own book collection.
From a very young age I have loved books. There are pictures of me with book in hand before I could read. Once I could read, I did it with vigor. My sister and I would get up early just to read before school. I read all summer long, traveling to places far and not so far, real and imaginary. 

If all of my childhood reading was not enough, I studied history for my undergraduate degree, reading a plethora of books and articles. I delved into the past, peering at what those who came before us left behind. I have moved on to graduate school, where reading is a large part of my work. Then I began collecting books, adding to my modest collection of remnants. Some books I chose for their looks. Such beautiful designs, swirling colors, smooth leather. Some I chose because they are old friends. I love the comfort of living with familiar books on my shelves. Some were gifts, some needed a home; some are new and some are old, but all are treasures. 

Many readers these days are shifting to electronic devices. They have their place, I admit. That place just happens to be far from my bookshelves! I happily remain old fashioned and refuse to give up my printed books. Nothing can replace the feel of a spine, the turn of a page, and the smell of paper aging thoughtfully and slow. 

Fraktur book plates for sale.
In the past, those with the urge to draw would do so on the very pages of books. Paper was a precious commodity then, and hard for most to obtain. Old tomes usually had blank pages, and so many frakturs have been found etched into the very life of a book. These artists incorporated their names in some cases, and others just illustrated the extra paper with vivid color and designs. 

Fraktur bookplates for sale.
My delight in hard copies of books led me to design my own fraktur bookplates. You can put your own name on these and place them in books to claim them as your own. Or use them as part of a gift-I always put my friends’ names in the books I give them. I have always enjoyed seeing a record of past owners in my older volumes. These and several other designs will be available online for purchase soon. I will have a page on Rebekah L. Smith’s new website with work for sale. I will let you know when that launches. In the meantime, you can contact me if you are interested in purchasing something.

“Writing your name in a book and the date upon which you acquired it is more than just an assertion of ownership. It is a milepost in time,” says Julia Keller, in a delightful article that can be found here. These bookplates are a way for you to tuck your own name into the pages of history.