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Little books that fit in an envelope

>> Monday, March 12, 2012

PrariePeasant handmade book

As I was preparing for the current Bookbinding Etsy Street Team book swap, I realized that I never shared photos from the last swap, probably because it occurred just as I was getting ready to move to Nashville. Despite the delay, the book I received from Laura of PrariePeasent is just too beautiful not to share. 

The pages of this lotus fold book were made from an old illustrated children's book about a clever mother bird protecting her children. Laura used her own handmade paper, which includes little bits of daffodil petals, for the covers. I love the sweet illustrations of the little birds, and how the ribbon that wraps around the book is reminiscent of a bird's nest. 

PrariePeasant handmade book swap

Interestingly enough, the book that I sent off for the swap to Katie, a bookbinder and graphic designer from Indianapolis, was made using the same origami-like construction as the book I received from Laura. The theme for this swap was to send something that "fits in an envelope,"so perhaps we both thought that these little folded books would be a good option.

Vintage maps book

The little book I made for the swap was part of a series of books made from vintage maps.  About a year ago my husband picked up a 1966 Britannica Wold Atlas for free on a trip to Baltimore. There's a place called Book Thing of Baltimore that gives away used books. But there's one catch: you can only take 150,000 free books per day, per person.

The atlas was packed with outdated, quirky data colorfully displayed on dozens of political and topographical maps from around the world. I decided to repurpose the pages of the atlas into a series of sculptural books featuring the vibrant map imagery (find them in my shop here). The books unfold in a malleable array of pages to reveal a random assortment of maps and graphics. When closed, the folds return to an orderly stack. 

Vintage maps books


A photo book for a world-traveling photojournalist

>> Friday, March 9, 2012

When a book leaves my studio and is shipped to its new owner, I like to think that the book's journey has only just begun.  The pages are folded, the covers are glued and pressed, and the binding is stitched neatly into place, but the book is not yet complete.  Most of the books I make are meant to be filled.  Perhaps with congratulatory notes from wedding guests, or records of a baby's first steps and words, or photos of travels far and wide.  Once a book is filled, it takes on new meaning and importance, and it is transformed into something even more special than when it left my studio.

I wish I could check in with all of my handbound books months or even years later to see how they've come to life in their new homes, but I don't always get the chance to see my books when they've been put to use.  On the occasions that I do, however, it's always thrilling to me. 

Photojournalism book, handmade

This particular book was commissioned by Lianne Milton, a San Francisco-based photojournalist, to hold a special collection of her photographs. She requested a simple design for the book.  The pages were made from thick, textured watercolor paper.  For the covers, I made my own bookcloth using a soft grey linen fabric.  And I bound the book with the Coptic binding using navy waxed linen thread.

When the book left my studio, the pages were blank and I was curious to see how they would be filled.  Lianne was kind enough to photograph her book for me once she had added photos to the pages, and I'm excited to share her images of the book here.  

Lianne Milton photography book

I highly recommend that you take some time to look through Lianne's online portfolio of her photographs.  She is a world-traveling photographer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and many other publications.  Her work mainly focuses on the effects of politics on people and their environments, and she travels around the globe to capture her stunning images. She also photographs a limited number of weddings each year, in a similar documentary style to her editorial work.  You can view her wedding portfolio here.  

Lianne Milton photography handbound book

The craftsmanship of the blank book is very important to me and I enjoy the detailed process of creating a handbound book completely from scratch.  But a book like this clearly takes on more meaning once it has completed its journey.

Photos courtesy of Lianne Milton.  


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