When I transferred to Appalachian State, one of the first classes I took was Book Arts. As a transfer student, it was one of the few classes that had seats still open, and choosing to take it was one of the best decisions I made. Not only was the class amazing, but it has changed the trajectory of my artistic practice. Physically making a book and curating its content was a whole new way of thinking for me, and challenged me to rethink not only what a book was, but also what to include for content and how to create something compelling and concise. Every aspect of creating the book must be deliberate. What kind of paper will you use for the book block? Will you cover the book in paper or cloth? Will the book be a traditional or non-traditional form? The possibilities are endless!
Below are some of the blank books that I have made. If you are at all interested in bookmaking, check out Making Handmade Books: 100+ Bindings, Structures & Forms by Alisa Golden (2010), which was our textbook for class. Not only have I have referred to it several times since, but it became the first of many books in my library on how to make books. The directions and diagrams are pretty easy to follow, and it even contains a glossary of terms.
The books below vary in size, and each one would make great little sketch books, photo books, or even just a conversation piece. Each one is $20 and can be made with different papers for covers.
Accordion books are great for telling stories. You can tell a story from beginning to end on one side, or have it wrap around and continue on the back side.
Top book: 6.25"w x 4.25"h; 6 pages.
Right book: 4.25"w x 6.25"h; 12 pages.
This little pocket book has an elegant feel to it and would make a great journal for a trip. With black book cloth for the spine and a rich red and gold paper for the cover, this book will be sure to keep your precious memories safe for a long time.
5.25"w x 4.75"h; 22 pages.
Simple Case Binding
From its camel colored book cloth to its fibrous end sheets, the design for this book was particularly nature-inspired. It was also the largest book I had made up to that point. Given its size, it would make for a nice little sketch book for any plein-air artists out there.
9.25"w x 6.75"h; 16 pages.
This fun, funky, retro little book was a whole series of fortunate accidents. I had been wanting to find a way to use up the last of the paper I had used for my first accordion book, and this one fit the bill. When making a book, you must differentiate the front from the back, and I deliberated how to do that on this book. I grabbed a mat board square and found I had just enough paper left to wrap it. I initially thought I would place it as a diamond in the center of the cover, but at the last minute, on a whim, decided to see where it might fit within the pattern of the cover. It just so happened to to fit perfectly along the bottom side, creating a convenient tab to lift open the book with. I found the orange paper and immediately wanted to use it for end sheets. It perfectly clashed with the outer paper in a deliberate way and fit with the overall scheme. The book is bound with wax-coated thread in the Japanese side-stitch binding, which makes for a pretty sturdy, secure binding.
7.5"w x 5.25"h; 56 pages.