Monday, November 9, 2009

Spotlight: The Black Spot Books

I do this series because I believe that getting to know the person behind the art makes the art so much more amazing. This rings especially true with today's artist, Marguax of The Black Spot Books. She has such an amazing way with everything… her thoughts, her words, her art. I couldn't possibly explain her work better than she has, so I'll get to it…

Tell us a little about your art
My arts are made from olde things, treasures found and recovered from misfortune and neglect, relics of the unusual, the confused and the macabre, cut and pulled and bound into wearable curiosities and inscribable keepsakes. All of my jewellery is handcrafted, using images from old catalogs, medical texts, field guides, reference books and various other goodies. My books are made using archival insides and vintage outsides. The leather I use has been bartered from farms in Ecuador, ripped from old chairs in Holland, taken from boots and shoes and saddles, and found in abandoned houses across the United States. I hand-stitch each unlined page to the next and glue the sewn book to its soft leather cover. Every book is made with different materials, so no book will ever have a duplicate.

Margaux in her studio

Where are you from?
I live in Philadelphia, I am from near-enough to where I still am! YIKES!

How long have you been selling on Etsy?
Hmmm... I opened my shoppe long before I began selling... I think I began to sell in the winter of 2007/2008. I really started getting into it as I am now when my husband went to war in September of 2008.

Do you sell on Etsy full time or do you have a day job?
Etsy is pretty much it. And craft shows and art exhibits.

What, if any, formal training have you had in your craft?
I went to school for photography and jewellery. Bookbinding and all that I do now though, came after school. School taught me to dislike art and it took me quite a while to unlearn that terrible lesson.

What made you decide to open up shop on Etsy?
Katie Marlowe (lucysvintage) told me about Etsy. She tells me about everything. Without her, where would I be?! And then I met Anda at a show in a museum, where? Seems like ages ago... She talked me into giving it a go!

What inspires you?
oh! Perfect combinations of little things. These things find me, and are often in cahoots with music and the way the outside air moves around me. Landing in strange places. The Sea. Abandoned houses. Abandoned lives. Bits and pieces of what was. Dreaming of going back in time. Indiana Jones and Back to the Future. Books. Words. Twilight Zone. Walking. Magic. Mystery. Cross over. This is what I call the spot in music where the magic happens. It has a name, but i forget it, like in Leonard Cohen's hallelujah when he sings, ...minor falls and the major lifts... oh. mmmmm. that spot. and when notes go up like when Nina Simone sings, "because I have loved so vainly" the vainly part. over and over these things. cool air and sprinkly rain and walks through it. when you start out chilly and end up so super cozy. cobblestone streets. imagining what it was like when... like when i would walk around philadelphia reading benjamin franklin's autobiography and try to imagine him walking on the same streets, touching the same cobble stone. europe. i wear a ring from 100 - 200 a.d. - thinking of who wore it before. when i dream of flying (hasn't happened in a long time) yodeling. running down mountains (and peeing sometimes as a result of laughter and motion) thunder. lightning. olde fuzzy music. stripes. pit fire. swimming. wandering. getting lost. freeing myself of numbers and counting for no reason. horseback riding anywhere, but in Iceland, oh. junk. junk. junk. olde things. dirt. photographs. Anselm Kiefer. Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Books. Forests. Walter. Søren.

Where did your shop name come from?
Robert Louis Stevenson. Treasure Island. I love treasures.

What do you like least about your craft?
hmmmmm. repetition. but this is good too, the non-thinking motion.

Do you have any advice for other sellers on Etsy or those thinking about pursuing their craft?
Be good at what you do. Every stinking part. Or try.

Five Etsy shops you love

Where is the coolest place you have ever been?
My goodness… it is endless! Of course Iceland is one. Petra. Galapagos Islands, but less the islands and more the olde pirate ship I was on. Rainforest. Rock over The Sea, high above, frightening. I jumped twice scared each time. The Lake District.

What is your favorite leisure time activity?

What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
Strange things always happen to me. Meeting my husband, Walter, may be the strangest. Getting pregnant straight away by choice without knowing whether he was smart (I asked him a million times after the belly was confirmed!) or good at art. Now I know how perfect it all was, but the question remains, how did we know?

What is the stupidest thing you have ever done?
Ever? I do a million stupid things.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, with whom would it be?
My answer for most of my life would have been caveman. I used to always ask, "What would a caveman think?" But now that this question is in front of me I realise that I haven't thought of the cavemen in a very long time. So who now?

Share some of your favorite music
Leonard Cohen, Stax Volt, Harry Smith, Nick Cave, Rogue's Gallery

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
Errol Flynn, of course!

What makes you angry?
Little things. If i walk into a door I beat up the door and blame it. If a light is unplugged or a bulb blown, I beat it up and blame it. Always the little things. I hate water on the floor. In an ideal world everyone would step out of the shower onto the bath mat after bathing, and if just walking into the bathroom with shoes on, would NOT walk on the mat. Oh my goodness. Everything that angers me, I realise afterwards, is something, generally, that I have done.

What would you like to learn to do?
Scuba Dive

On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you?
A very good question, when I am dreaming, 12, when I am not, -1.

What does the future hold for you and your shop?
If I knew, I would give up – I live for the mystery of it all!

You can keep up with Margaux and her work by following her on Twitter, Facebook or My Space and visit her other Etsy shop of found treasures at Plundered.

Margaux is offering one lucky winner their choice of any book necklace from her shop! (Library Necklace excluded)

Please leave a comment telling us what your favorite item is from The Black Spot Books and also what color leathers you would like to see on her book necklaces and journals.

You can enter once per day and YOU MUST INCLUDE your first name -AND- etsy username or email address with every entry. If you are worried about email spam, you can spell out the 'at' and 'dot' rather than using the standard email format.

Receive additional entries (one each) if you:
Follow or subscribe to my blog
Twitter/Facebook/Blog about the giveaway
Just leave a comment/link letting me know!

You have until Sunday, November 15 at 10 pm (est) to enter and I will announce the winner on Monday morning. Good luck!


Jacky said...

Oh, I adore books...the book necklace is so nice. I'd like to see it in a burgundy color, maybe? I also like this listing:

thesweetestpetunia AT gmail DOT com

Anna said...

What a wonderful art!
My favourite is Foliage Victorian book necklace and I would like to seen more tiny books in lilac or purple color!


Jacky said...

I'm a blog follower. ;)

thesweetestpetunia AT gmail DOT com

Jacky said...

And I tweeted this, too:

thesweetestpetunia AT gmail DOT com

Sydney said...

I love the Nightwanderer, a drawing created on a lovely sea. I'd like to see some rust colors books.

**I follow your blog**

Sydney S
sszumski @ Etsy

Christine said...

Actually, I fell in love with one of the pieces you included in the interview:

I just love the way the teal looks. I'd probably love to see rich browns and deep reds in the future.

Etsy name: temptalia

Elizabeth said...

I really love the book necklaces, and I also like the "for the unscrupulous young person" mini journal :)

As far as colors, I generally love green in all shades!

etsy username: hongqi35

JD said...

I like the a kind of foliage book necklace. Pretty color!


denise said...

I love the handsewn victorian lace made into a golden ring.
As for new leather colors, I'd love to see some dark purples, like burgundy or wine colored leather.

qwaszx024 at gmail dot com

denise said...

I follow
qwaszx024 at gmail dot com

Richard said...

I am now a follower.

I like the book necklaces. I like them in the darker colors, the green and blue and black of the leather pieces they come from.

richdk22 at yahoo dot com

I hoping to get one, whatever the outcome of the contest, for my wife who likes reading and books.

Anna said...

All of the necklaces are delicately adorable.

I truly like the Dr SE Josephi journal probably because the leather seems rusty, oh it's pretty

As far as leathers go... I'd like to see grays and maybe even deep luscious plum colors? Honestly anything crackled, shredded, worn, is best. So multi-colored simply due to the wear of the leather. Oh gorgeous.

Anna |
> > e mail - annacathryn @

Molly said...

My favorite item is the Hester Prynne necklace because it made me laugh! I also love the round book that looks like an old diver's helmet.
For booklace leather color choices? Dark red, burgundy, distressed gold, forest green.

The Silver Acorn said...

The Ballad of Paladin journal made of leather from turn-of-the-century cowboy chaps is definitely my favorite journal. I can only image the stories that leather has to offer. But with a young stepdaughter who is horse crazy, the Man-O-War and August Belmont Jr. antique card game case covered journal comes in a close second. Small, medium or large, all the journals are stunning.
I don't have a particular color that I'd prefer to see because I love that Marguax is "SUPER picky" about the leather she uses and ends up with such beautifully worn leathers.

I follow your blog and your twitter. I also twittered about this.
Linda dot Wagner at The Silver Acorn dot com

Tammy said...

I love the book necklaces the most. I absolutely love the teal cover -- and I agree with what a few other people said, that a burgundy/red would be really beautiful, too!

How about a faux leather book cover? I realize you use antique leather, so that's probably pleased most people opposed to leather in general, but maybe you'd pick up a new group of customers :)


My etsy username is "brinnet". Feel free to convo me or check out my shop!

Jingle said...

Her stuff is simply amazing. Wow! I really love the Ballad of Paladin journal made of leather from turn-of-the-century cowboy chaps. It is such a unique piece! I would really like to see red leather journals. I love red leather!

Jennifer - Jinglescraps
jinglesells at gmail dot com

Jingle said...

I follow your blog!
Jennifer - Jinglescraps
jinglesells at gmail dot com

virtuallori said...

Love love love love love the book necklaces and journals, but the Nightwanderer print really speaks to me, too. I would love to see some deep, rich reds and purples.

erininkent said...

I love Miss Cor antique postcard 1900 leather book necklace
erin_melissa at juno dot com

erininkent said...

I follow

Jennifer said...

The Ballad of Paladin journal is so cool! Made out of chaps - wow!
I'm always a fan of brown leathers, but I also like reds and burgundy.


natalie said...

I love the Miss Cor book necklace! Her shop is wonderful!!

As for colours, I love white, red and green!


natalie said...

I follow your blog!


natalie said...

Just tweeted about it!


Catherine said...

I follow your blog.


Catherine said...

I like the little boy pouch, but think the book necklaces are my favorite.

And I like brights...coral and turquoise...or peach.


kelly said...

I love the Hobnails no. 4 journal necklace !! I'd like to see navy, brown and green leathers! Kelly

eNVe said...

I'm loving the Ballad of Paladin journal.. so much character, that one! As far as colors, I really like all the colors in her autumnal library necklace collection, so more of the same (rich blues, greens, golds) would be awesome. Thanks for the chance!

I follow your blog, twitter, facebook, newsletter. I'll twitter now.

Jaka Merriman said...

Holy cow, these are great! I'm such a book nerd that the library necklace is by far my favourite item in the shop. I would totally wear it everywhere.

I'd like to see the book necklaces come in more eye-popping colours, my personal preference being royal blue. :3

jakamerriman AT gmail DOT com

tanya904 said...

I hearted her shop because her work is stunning and I love all of the unique pieces it wasn't easy to pick just one. I really liked the Silver atlas bone for the neck, very different and I am sure that it would get a lot of attention I would like to see her book necklaces with some checkered covers or plaid maybe

tanya904 said...

I am following your blog

kelly said...

This is soooo gorgeous!!!


Richard said...

Just tweeted the contest:

Still like the book necklaces. I like the autumn colors lately, but that might be the season. What would be good colors for winter necklaces?

richdk22 aat yahoo dott com


Bria said...

Oh I LOVE the atlas bone necklace... and I looove the books but maybe a vegan friendly choice here and there may draw more customers?

:) An awesome shop all in all, so unique!

brie.rudy (at)

Jennifer said...

I'm still loving these little book necklaces. A perfect gift for a bookworm friend!


oh, and I'm a follower too. :)

Roxana said...

I'm loving the Victorian Lace Ring, so pretty! I'd like to see a distressed purple leather for the necklaces and journals.

I follow your exquisite blog.


Eve said...

Wow what lovely things she makes! I love the idea of a book necklace!! I love the Miss Cor antique postcard 1900 leather book necklace. I think it would be lovely to see some things in a wine or tomato red. I think red leather is just stunning!

Eve said...

Oops, I forgot:

My name is Eve Neuhart, Esty username FadingFreckles.

Peg said...

Oh, what an exquisite shop Marguax has. Thank you for hosting this giveaway and sharing her with us.

I find all of her pieces interesting and lovely, but the book necklaces are what I love best. I like the Hobnails no. 4 journal necklace. I would put it on the silver chain.

For another color, I would suggest a deep, luscious midnight blue.

I follow your blog (it's wonderful.

Thank you!

esty user: peghale

kelly said...

This is soooo cute:


Birgit said...

Oh, so many lovely things at her store! My favorite -- it's a dream! -- is the "Autumnal Library 11 antique and scrap leather books" chain. Wow!!!

As for colors, I would love to see teal and more shades of brown. :)

-- Birgit

Birgit said...

I follow your blog. :)

-- Birgit

natalie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
natalie said...

Loooove the Victorian Lace Ring!! So dainty!


kelly said...

So gorgeous pieces of jewelry,which could I possibly choose?Oh well,


natalie said...

Just tweeted!


kelly said...

The "Autumnal Library 11 antique and scrap leather books" chain is soooo gorgeous!!!


Anonymous said...

I love the book necklaces and deep forest green is my favorite color, so that would be my suggestion.

I couldn't find single books listed, only the multiple books. Do you sell just one? I travel alot and would like to collect signatures from all the interesting people I meet. You give some of your energy when you sign your name. With the book, I could carry a little bit of these people with me, even though our time together was brief.

Ann Marie

natalie said...

I love the antique scissors on a chain!!


kelly said...

this is sooo cute and eerie

I'd love to see more purple tones,as it's my favourite colour!


Cindy said...

The book necklaces are utterly adorable. I can think of several people in the English department at my uni who all NEED this!! The classic navy, burgundy and brown tones are lovely, but some brighter, more modern tones would also be nice. Teal, orange and apple green in particular.

cindycor AT gmail DOT com

sambell said...

:) The Autumnal Library for sure! I love books so much and would love to adorn them around my neck for everyone to admire.



natalie said...

Just tweeted again!!


Stephanie said...

These are amazing! I'm a little in love with the little 1922 short stories red book. I love that rich, vintage color and so I'd probably like reds, yellows, burgundies, nice warm tones.

My first name is Stephanie and my etsy name is sparki007. I subscribed to your blog on google reader! yay!

Wayside Violet said...

I'm in love with this journal:

and i'd like to see some wonderful greens

Courtney said...

The necklaces are so lovely, but I have to say this amazing journal:
The horses at sea journal - beautiful rope and leather!

I would love to see some rich, dark greens or even a kelly green. My favorite color ^_^

stratacastle at gmail dot com

Emmi said...

Just found your site and now following!

I must say I adore that Autumnal Library. It looks spectacular!! As for the color, I'd never turn down something dark red (:


Womens Leather Skirts said...

Oh, I adore books...the book necklace is so nice.