Monday, May 2, 2011

Becoming Bookish...

It's not enough that I save every scrap of fabric for a "someday" use. Now I'm saving paper, too. That's because I love books. Not just books from the store or library to read (which I do love), but books that are handmade and full of arty and stitched bits. Along that line, I signed up for a Little Book Swap at Creative Lenna's Creative Swaps site. There are 60 participants, and each of us will complete two to four little books to swap by mid-June. You can see some of the finished books she's received already on her site. I'm still working on mine.

"The Book of Birds" shown above and here, is my first swap book. It measures just 4" square. It began as a single large sheet of paper, but by folding and a bit of slicing, it becomes this sturdy little book that even has a few pockets. I'm not sure what's going in the pockets yet. It was just such fun to go through my papers, inks, buttons, trims, and stamps to come up with the design elements for this book.

The state of the sewing room attests to the wide array of bits and pieces needed to make these little treasures. I joked to Lenna that one reason why I like to work on the floor is so the piles of "stuff" won't have far to fall. Because the papers and ribbons and bits are piled so high, they are surely going to fall! More than once.

What is it about making books that is so appealing? One reason is that I've been a book lover all my life. For another, the combination of paper and fiber makes a satisfying visual and tactile experience when paging through a handmade book. Maybe that's why I have doubts that my e-reader, while convenient at times, will ever replace physically handling a book. A recent newspaper article on home decor posed this question: what is the future of bookshelves in homes? hmmm... Perhaps the advance of print technology gives impetus to the urge to create handmade books. Here's a view inside The Book of Birds.

As always, when learning a new skill, I find there is more to everything than first meets the eye. There's a new vocabulary... words like signature, header, spine, pamphlet stitch, coptic stitch. There's a whole new set of materials to become acquainted with... linen bookbinding thread, flexible glue. And the variety of books to be made is another whole story. They can range from simple accordian or concertina folded books, to fancy stitched volumes. I'm enjoying poring over library books on the topic, and searching the internet for videos and photos of handmade books. Very inspiring!

You may remember that I tried my hand at this book business in the past year. There was The Book of Santa I made for a Christmas gift. And this folded paper "Dreams" book is one I made nearly a year ago. I said at the time that I thought I had a book in me. Looks like I have more than one! The second swap book is underway and the clock is ticking. Of course I realize this is to be simple, not my life's work. But it is hard to stop embellishing! I'll keep you posted.


Robbie said...

This is lovely!!! VERY nice!!!! I'm quite impressed actually!! I just love books hand made of any kind and respect those who make them!! Again, nice job, lady!!

Lenna Young Andrews said...

so fun to find this post Nancy, as you are in the midst of creating for the swap. I did giggle about your comment about working on the floor and it is true! I am glad you are enjoying the challenge. I love your first effort!! ; ) lenna

Anonymous said...

Ooooh, my gosh, these are absolutely beautiful!!! I hope I get one (Lenna, are you listening? LOL)!

Donna, Doni, Lady D said...

OOOooo, this is fun, isn't it! I love your first book .. and yes, it is addictive. Can't wait to see the next one. :o)