A Book a Day? What's Up With That?

Hi, and welcome to this year-long project. So what's this all about and how did it happen, you might ask. In mid 2007, artist Noah Scalin decided to make a skull out of anything he could find, every day for a year. It stretched him in ways he never imagined, as an artist, a writer and a person. His experience turned into a blog that went viral, and then a book.

Others have picked up on the idea: 365 Hearts, 365 Masks, 365 Bears drawn on a cellphone, 365 paper napkin mustaches.
I wanted to play, too, and I chose books. I love books, I know a bit about making books (thanks to my talented book-maker sister, Marilyn Worrix), and they're broad enough in definition to give me a lot of creative leeway.

The whole point is not really the books. The idea is to stretch myself in many ways as an artist and a person, to set up a discipline, stick with it and see what that teaches me.

I hope you'll join with me and follow along on the journey chronicled here, and let me know what you think.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 7 - January 30th - Red Hots

I want to start by saying Happy 95th Birthday to my Mom, Imogene Meyer. I love you, Mom!

Today's book is actually two books, a tiny pair of blank journals made into earrings. These are actual books. Each earring book has 20 pages (40 counting both sides) of artist paper -- Arches Text Wove -- folded into two signatures, which are then long-stitch bound onto the red leather covers. They're stitched with waxed linen thread, and the tie closure is also linen thread. Attahced to antiqued copper hand-made earwires, they hang very nicely.

These are great fun. I love the way they came out and like how they look on. I'll definitely be making more of these book earrings for my etsy shop.

The pic below shows how nicely these hang when worn.  I may have to wear these out somewhere this week!

Day 6, January 29th - Wired on Jazz

Today's book is really more of a prototype. The craft is pretty sloppy, but I just wanted to see if the idea would work, and I think it does. It will be fun to make this again at some point down the road but taking more time and care and using better material.

The germ of this idea came today when I was in the kitchen and looked over to see a package of cupcake papers on the counter. Of course, my first thought was... "What could I do with those?" I started playing around with them, folded some, flattened some out. The flattened ones had waves from the rippled edges. Hmmm. Water, the sea, sand dunes? No, too mundane. But definitely a sense of movement. Like music. Like ripples of music. Like a John Coltrane riff.

I remembered I had a whole collection of quotations about Jazz. So without thinking too much about how it was going to come out, I picked up a black marking pen and starting writing the quotations onto the flattened papers, writing them in spirals around the edge. The spirals suggested a spiral binding of some sort. But they were round. How could that work?

Put the spiral wire up the middle. Bend and wind part of the wire into a base, then into a top. Thread the papers on and let them flutter, so every time the thing is moved--or hit by a breeze or even touched--the leaves of jazz will flutter... like music.

And so, here is "Wired on Jazz." I'm quite happy with this idea. Can't wait to take it further.

The whole thing stands about 8" high from the coiled wire base to the top of the silver "fan." The section of 14 "pages" is about 4 1/2" high.

Here, we are looking directly down onto the top page. Perhaps you can read the first quotation. "Forgive me if I don't have the words. Maybe I can sing it and you'll understand." -- Ella Fitzgerald

You can read each of the quotations by lifting the pages above each one and turning the entire book.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 5, January 28th - A Leather Journal

This is a more sophisticated book, but I have to admit I didn't completely make this book today. I actually began it months ago, while spending time in my sister's studio in Oregon. But I never finished it. So today, I picked it up again and stitched the binding. So... I finished it today and that means it counts.

This is a blank journal. The cover is a lovely cordovan colored leather, medium weight, very smooth and polished. The binding is done in the longstitch, using waxed linen thread to stitch the pages directly to the leather spine. I've added three foiled glass beads  as an accent on the stitching and added a tassel at the top. The pages are hand-torn from Arches Text Wove paper, a lovely velvet finish art paper. The end papers are a crinkled two-tone hand-made paper, purple on the outside and green on the inside. The book measures 5 1/4" x 7" x 1".

I like this book. It feels good in the hand. It would be a pleasure to write in.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 4, January 27th - Carded!

Well, today's book was nearly a cheat, it was so simple. But I was cleaning out some shelves and drawers and was pretty much dumbstruck by how many business cards we'd collected from people we don't know, businesses we don't use (and probably never will), people who've moved away, businesses that are out of business or folks we have 3, or 4, or 5 copies of a business cards from. All the useless card stock cluttering up my drawers and life!

So "Carded!" was born. It stretched the boundaries a bit on the idea of "what is a book" and it's the simplest form of "binding" imaginable. But that's part of the idea of this challenge.

And so I present "Carded!," a pile of outdated or redundant business cards held together with a binder clip. I think it makes its point.

Day 3, January 26th - A Palm Leaf for Maya Angelou

Today I tried a very simple book structure I've known about and liked for a long time but have never made. It's an ancient form of making books, and traditional to Tibet, India and South Asia. Named for the early books when the pages were made of palm leaves, they are simply a pile of pages, usually long and narrow, stacked on top of each other. They have one, two, or three holes punched through the stack and the pages are strung together on a cord or string. You read it by flipping the pages.

My palm book is a tribute to Maya Angelou. Each of the 20 pages is printed with a quotation by her. The cover also features a quotation, "A bird doesn't sing  because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song." The leaves are strung on waxed linen cord and two fluorite beads are knotted at the ends.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 2, January 25th - Impossible???

Here's Day 2, a simple little Shorts Book or Ox-Plow Pamphlet, called Impossible.... It's made with a single sheet of paper and computer-generated text. The whole thing takes about 5 minutes, but it's a fold I hadn't done before and there are dozens of variations on it I will try in the days to come (and oh, dear God, there are a LOT of days still to come).

I needed something simple today, because Tuesday is when I have my silversmithing class. Today, it. did. not. go. well. Let's just say. I HATE firescale. Anyway, I think I used up my allotment of creative energy in class, so this little Ox-Plow was the perfect project. Two folds, one cut and you're done. The hardest part is figuring out what text goes on what part of the page and which ones need to be printed upside-down.

The quotation on the inside is a Chinese Proverb I particularly love.... "Those who say it can't be done, should not interrupt those who are doing it." The back cover says "...Highly Likely."

See you tomorrow!

Day 1, January 24th - Rosarita, The Beanie Book

Well, the adventure has  begun. One day in, one book done. Today, I set myself the challenge to make a book (or at least part of one) out of something free that I encountered in the first 15 minutes of my work day. I came into the store (we own a grocery store/convenience store/tourist shop) and saw that Allen (my partner) had just opened a case of Rosarita Refried Beans to put on the grocery shelves. The empty tagboard box they'd been in was sitting on the counter and I began to break it down for the trash.

And there it was... Book One, a simple Japanese stab-bound book made out of a Rosarita carton. I cut the ends off the box and used them as is. I cut the "Nutrition Facts" box off the back for the hinge pieces. I lined all the tagboard pieces with cardstock for extra body and used some decorative Japanese masking tape for the hinges. I tore 8 sheets of mottled text paper to make the pages and stitched the stab binding with red cotton embroidery floss.

Rosarita the Beanie book is basically identical front and back except for the tassel. She is 5 3/4" tall x 3 1/2" wide, a nice purse size. Below, you can see her open to page one. There are 24 text pages inside.

The whole book took about 40 minutes. It got me thinking that photographing, uploading, sizing and tweaking pix, writing blog posts, previewing, editing and posting them will take a lot more time that making the books themselves. But this blog is an important part of the process. Hopefully, it will gain a bit of an audience--you--and I really need you all to hold me accountable. So please do!