Friends and some readers have asked, from time to time, about my minnow activities in the ocean of Artists’ Books.
Well, the neatly laid clue is “minnow.” I have never bound a proper, hard cover book with sections stitched over cords and the whole covered in, say, Morroccan leather. Well, not yet!
What I cobble together are the sort of things 18th century political stirrers dished out in the coffee houses and taverns. Or, perhaps, what kiddies did on rainy days when Mommy was too busy to read them a story. Pamphlets and the like.
I’ve always loved intricately folded things, be they table napkins or origami place cards; “paper engineering” is one term. (Lately, I’ve coined a few other, more pithy epithets!)
But, despite having made more than enough to bore the family rigid at Christmas, I’m still a minnow.
As to the “what does one do with such books?” Well, that rather depends on the kind of book it is. Many are picture books. Many have text, with original illustrations; they may be hand-lettered or letterpress printed. Even computer-generated. In this case, eight of us made a book of our own interpretations of a poem. And not all of us included the whole poem, focussing, instead, on an element that resonated with us personally. Sara, for instance, did print the entire poem, but her “book” is a multiple-fold [called a tetraflexagon] of that. Furthermore, hers comes packaged in a handmade box!
Mine is a simple concertina fold, with cut-outs allowing a small drawing to be glimpsed through the void.
These are photos I took during the drying process so the light is not perfect.
And I have left it for readers to seek out the poem* if they want to.
The poem speaks of absences and of being alone, but at no point does it clarify this so we had a wonderfully open field to play with!
And a final note about my presentation of the thing.Years ago, I fell in love with a dress in one of those Indian/gypsy/hippie stores. The deep indigo, with its splashes of silvery streaks made me think of the night sky, with falling stars and meteor showers.
Sadly, the fabric perished in some places (to do with the dye, I suspect), but, although unwearable in that state, I kept it, thinking I might one day make something with the good bits.
And I did – it became the sachet for this book.
Did I struggle with this? Yes! Did I find my envelope being pushed to near-implosion? Yes. Did I enjoy the process? Oh, yes, very much!
Huge thanks to my fellow book artists. And to The Man for (very sensibly!) keeping a low profile. 🙂