Posted by: bluelanternstudio | September 13, 2012

Making a handmade book

I’m getting ready to exhibit at Word on the Street on September 30 and want to do something a little different this year. While I’ll have my Fish of British Columbia Colouring Book and The Things I See art journal on hand, I’d also like to create some books that are one-of-a-kind art pieces.

A few months ago, I decided to try making a simple accordion book that loops around into a star. Instead of using white paper and then having to come up with a story or images to fill it with, I decided I would create the whole book as a collage. I cut a big map of Vancouver Island into strips and then folded and taped them into the accordion shape.

Accordion book seen from above

Accordion book seen from above

Then life intervened and the book sat relatively untouched for weeks. One big stumbling block has been what to collage on to the maps, especially since I like the maps the way they are. While I started thinking about collecting and incorporating items related to Vancouver Island, that seemed kind of predictable and boring.

A few weeks ago, my friend and fellow artist Rachael Ashe hooked me up with a librarian she had met who works at a medical library. The library was culling out-of-date books and offered us the chance to look through and take home any of the books that were otherwise destined for the recycling. I came home to my studio with a big stack of inspiration.

Looking through the medical illustrations and images, I began to notice how much the lines in the human body follow patterns that show up on the street maps. I started cutting them out and gluing them on to the maps.


Arm on the front cover

I’ve also been intrigued by x-ray images that are part of an old book about bone fractures. I’ve incorporated these in a couple of ways—gluing them into the maps and also creating a pop-up element into one spread of pages.

I confess I don’t really know where I’m going with any of this, but I’m really enjoying the process and feel like I’m on the right track. I’ll post more images as they come together, and I’ll have the finished book with me at Word on the Street in a short couple of weeks. Yikes!


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