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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Story Behind My Antiqued Spell Book

I love making ALL myAntiqued Journals.
The Spell Book was the first antiqued book that I created many years ago. My inspiration came from seeing the movie “Practical Magic” where they had a wonderful ancient-looking Spell Book that the witches consulted when they were looking up a spell. 

Two witches (Dianne Wiest and Stockard Channing) from
the movie "Practical Magic" using their lovely,
mysterious Spell Book

That lovely old book had crinckley old pages with torn edges, and I really
wanted to re-create that look.

Some pages from the "Practical Magic" Spell Book

Lovel, magical pages from the "Practical Magic" Spell Book

After weeks of experimenting, I found the perfect way to create those pages the way
 I envisioned them, using black tea, Windsor-Newton Inks, and some other magical ingredients! 

I make each antique page one at a time

My process is a secret, but I love making those antiqued pages, each one of them is very special to me, and I can probably tell you what music I was listening to or old movie I was watching while creating each page! 

I start my antiquing with a wet-on-wet process

The Spell Book in the movie “Practical Magic” has lovely writings, images, herbs, flowers, runes, and beautiful drawings in it, that make it the amazingly beautiful magical book that it is. My journals and books are just the “base” as it were, and it is up to the owner and “spell caster” to personalize the book and use those beautiful pages to create their own drawings, writings, runes, and pressed cuttings from their own magickal garden.

☆☆ The antiqued pages inside the "Enchanted Garden" book in
my shoppe is also inspired by the "Practical Magic" Spell Book,
and has many pages with pressed flowers and herbs, as well
as information on their magickal properties ☆☆

In the Spell Book I have for sale in my shoppe, there are several pages with magical information
about herbs, flowers and things from the garden to help the journal owner create their own spells. 
I have even included a few spells to inspire! 

A page from my Spell Book
Custom Spell Books
I do hear from many practicing witches and wiccans who have asked me to make them a blank "spell" book, commonly known as a Book of Shadows, with just the lovely antiqued pages and perhaps a few pages with celestial or nature images, so they can bless the book and begin creating their own Book of Shadows, which is very personal to those who practice. I am working right now on an amazing 200 page Book of Shadows for a lovely practicing wiccan, Raindropethyral, who lives on  the East Coast.We have been in constant contact for many weeks while I have been creating her book and I believe we are co-creaters of this truly spectacular, magical journal. Raindropethyral kindly shared with me that she had looked at literally hundreds of Book of Shadows artists and creators, before she found me and decided to ask me to make her book.  I feel honored and have loved every minute I have spent working on this inspiring book.  It has taken several weeks! 

I mixed in a few celestial and nature images and designs
among the blank antiqued pages in this large
Book of Shadows

This Book of Shadows measures “9 x 12” and is much larger than the  other Antiqued Books in my shoppe, and therefore, has to be bound differently. For my smaller books, I have designed a traditional looking linen binding that I use, but with the larger books I use a stab binding, which is much more rustic yet delicate than the linen binding and, in this case, suits the time-worn style of the book perfectly. 

Working on a stab binding
Raindropethyral originally asked for a leather cover, but I do not work with leather,  so we decided on a black linen cloth cover, which I have lovingly distressed and, again, that look matches the mysterious old-world style of this Antiqued Book of Shadows. 

Measuring the cover and pages before binding
I’ve been wanting to create and sell a larger Spell Book like this in my shoppe for some time now, but I hardly get a chance to create new items anymore, since I am lucky enough to be consistently busy in my studio, filling orders for my ETSY shoppe every day. After working on this amazing book these past few weeks I am now even more determined to create a beautiful set of larger Spell Books for those who love the beauty and mystery of my smaller Spell Book, and a simple, blank journal for those practicing witch or wiccans looking for that special and unique Book of Shadows.

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About Me

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Courtney McNeil began studying painting and illustration in 1985 in London, England. Not one to stay in one place very long she continued perfecting her love of the arts while traveling the world studying painting and illustration in Europe, Hawaii, California, and Australia and eventually graduated cum laude with a BA in illustration and continued on to do her graduate work at the Royal College of Art in London, England.  A few years later she added to her creative interests and studied letterpress and bookmaking at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. After receiving her undergraduate degree she began work at the Getty Museum in Malibu for almost a decade which allowed her to study and work among some of the most famous classic works of art in the world from Vincent Van Gogh to Manet. Teaching in the galleries of the Getty started her career in Art Education. She has been teaching painting and drawing to young artists and adults at the Davis Arts Center since 2006.