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.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Book 97 - A Book From Nothing

Well, I am sitting in a hotel room in Laughlin, Nevada. My flight from Las Vegas is very early tomorrow morning, and I didn't want Allen to have to drive me all the way there (1 1/2 hrs) at about 4 am. So I'm spending the night here where I can get an early morning shuttle directly to the airport.

My challenge tonight was to make a book from whatever I could find in the hotel room. I thought it might be challenging; I didn't think it would be all but impossible. You see,  this is a casino hotel. And many casino hotels are notoriously stingy with their room amenities. They don't really want you in the room; they want you in the casino. There was nothing--NOTHING--in the room to work with, no even a chintzy little notepad or a single sheet of writing paper. I considered cutting up the phone book, or perhaps the Gideon Bible, but I couldn't bring myself to do either. I was reduced to rummaging through my purse for something--anything--from which I could conjure up a book.

Luckily, I had a nice Arizona Highways spiral calendar. And a small spiral notebook with a few blank pages left. I found a pretty photo of a poppy close-up on a week already past and tore it from the calendar. Then I tore the last 8 pages from my little notebook. I trimmed off all the fragmented edges from the spiral binding and made a "2-sewn-as-1" book (again, from Alisa Golden'sbook).

It's an easy construction I've done here once before. Basically, you make two signatures from your pages, open them up back to back with the two mountain fold facing each other and stitch through all the layers as though it was a single signature. I made a cover from my calendar photo by folding it in half, then making two more folds on either side of the spine fold to create a "lip" (for lack of a better word). When you lay the two signatures on either side of that extra fold and sew through the whole thing at once, that lip juts into the center of the book.

I think you can see what I mean in the second photo, taken under awful flourescent light on the bathroom counter.

Luckily, I have my trusty new "traveling bookmaker's tool kit" with me. Here's what I'm taking with me to Mexico so I can keep up with this daily challenge:
* bonefolder
* a couple of X-acto knives and extra blades (because I know they are hard to find where I'm going)
* scissors
* beeswax and needles
* waxed linen thread
* paper clips
* a couple of small binder clips
* ruler
* small cutting mat
* glue stick
* glue brush
* 2 awls
* a small strip of velcro
* pencil

These are the things I use constantly, virtually every day. If it's not on that list and I need it, I'll have to find it in Mexico or make do with something else. I just didn't think I'd have to make do quite so soon! Next time I'll pack at least a few sheets of paper!


  1. Note, not all books are made from paper. You can make books from multiples of anything, like a set of keys or cards or napkins, bottle caps, corks, anything stung to gather that has or forms a message. Keys tell the story of the door they unlock, be it the cat, house, toolbox, storage shed. Corks is the story of the good and sad times. Take a box of trinkets, each trinket has its own story.

  2. I love the idea of making a book from whatever you can find as you are traveling and may try to do that this summer when we are making a trip to Europe. Wonder if my tiny retractable cutter will make it trhough airplane security?

  3. You go girlfriend. I am guessing that your toolkit is in checked luggage?? I am sure there will be more supplies in SMA. and what great ideas from Francesj14.

  4. Oh yes, how about coffee filters. Remember the oldest books in the world are on rocks, bones and bamboo. I took book arts in College, so i enjoy others book efforts. Well done! I enjoy your blog every day. Thank you!

  5. Frances - Fantastic ideas! And I agree that a book can be made of just about anything. In that hotel room, I considered brewing a pot of coffee and using the coffee or the grounds to just draw a picture of a book on a napkin! Or even carving a book out of a bar of soap.

    Now that I am here in Mexico, I'll be on the lookout for intriguing materials.