The term book arts encompasses an endless variety of books, usually handmade or produced in a limited edition. Included are all kinds of artists’ books, ezines, graphic novels, printed ephemera, and “other experimental forms of publication.” (Doesn’t that sound interesting?)
Search for “art book fair” and you’ll find that book arts are alive and well around the world. Here in Vancouver, Canada, our Vancouver Art Book Fair 2018 will be held from October 18 to 21 at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. This prompted me to share with you some of the books I’ve created as a book artist rather than as a book designer.
There is something wonderfully satisfying about creating a book by hand. As a book designer, I spend most days at the computer creating digital files for book covers and pages. But every now and then I get a hankering to create a book the old-fashioned way—by printing on handmade papers, illustrating with wood cuts or watercolors, and creating a binding by hand.
What is a book anyway? I think of a book simply as a cohesive package for a body of work … and that leaves the form of a book pretty open, right? It can be almost anything: loose sheets in a box, a roll or scroll of some kind, or any other collection grouped together in any way. A book doesn’t even have to include any words! Here are a few of my handmade limited edition books:
I’ve always been fascinated by hands and how interesting and beautiful they are. Hands consists of booklets encased in a clamshell box. Each booklet describes one person’s hands.
Each person’s booklet includes a relief print of their first initial, a black & white photograph of the backs of their hands, and a handprint of their palm. The palm print has a tissue overlay with explanations of what the lines signify. My grandfather was a palmist and I inherited his palmistry books. Aren’t hands fascinating?
Keep It Fresh
Keep It Fresh is about looking at familiar sights but seeing them with fresh eyes. The book is the same size and shape as a camera lens, and is housed in a lens case. The book is bound without using any glue or thread, but simply by folding and interlocking paper strips. Isn’t it poetic? I learned this interlocking method from a book by Claire van Vilet and Elizabeth Steiner called Woven & Interlocking Book Structures.
The Pact is a miniature book (standard 3″ × 3″ size) made from handmade paper with accordion binding. The book stays closed with two elastic loops that hook around nails, and its title is embossed into the front cover. It’s about the tension between two parts of myself: the part that wants to work hard, be organized, and get things done … and the part that wants to daydream, play, and gaze at the sky.
My neighborhood is filled with beautiful neon signs, especially on Broadway. I love some of the letterforms, particularly on the older signs. The Ridge Theatre, a local landmark, was my inspiration for this miniature book. Its letter ‘R’ is used in the word Broadway. A small booklet at the back includes three short stories about the signs.
Explore book arts in your neighborhood
Aren’t book arts wonderful? Treat yourself to a visual feast at your local Book Arts Fair. You’ll find all kinds of creations there, including handmade books, limited edition books, handbound books, relief printing, and hand lettering. See just how many possibilities there are for creating “books”!Love hand-crafted books, miniature books, and limited editions? Check out a few of Fiona's art books for fun. https://goo.gl/bkRDPf Click To Tweet
Book Design Made Simple. You can do it yourself.