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.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book 173 - Rotel Recycled Packaging Book/Journal - Handbound Book

And another bit of chipboard packaging is saved from the landfill! When it comes to making handmade books, especially inexpensive ones, you can't beat living in a mini-mart. There is never a shortage of colorful packaging material here. Free book materials!

This one is made from a carton that held 8 cans of Rotel tomatoes and green chilies. I just chose two sections of the carton I liked and that were undamaged for the covers, cut them out and lined them with some pretty raspberry colored shiny card stock. I cut a stack of white text paper pages, stacked them up with the covers, clamped them tight and drilled holes for the stab binding. I stitched it with red hemp cord. Oh, and I added a bit of my favorite red duct tape over the spine.

Simple book, and a bit anticlimactic after all the work I put into yesterday's book. But they can't all be fabulous (because I can't spend 5 hours every day on them). I'll have to put this one on the shelf right next to the Rosarita Refried Beans book from Day 1 (man, a long time ago!)

In other news: I just found out I will be spending two weeks in Oregon in September. My 95-year-old mother lives with my sister there. My sis and her hub want to take a vacation (driving trip to Yellowstone) so I'm going to go stay with my Mom and give them that time off from caretaking. Two glorious weeks of not really having to do anything buy spend time with my funny mom and play in my sister's heavenly studio. She has every toy imaginable--every tool, every kind of supply, a hydraulic cutter, a band saw that cuts metal, a set-up for etching, huge work tables. It is heaven. I'll not only be able to make some fab books (no excuses), I'll be able to get completely caught up on the few days I've missed. Can't wait.


  1. I love your recycled books! :):)

    I have a request. When you go stay with your mom can you take a lot of pictures of your sisters studio with all the bells and whistles so I can drool away up here? Please! Please! ;)

  2. Great idea, Rita. I will definitely take pix of Marilyn's studio.

  3. I just discovered your website a few days ago. I think that it's very cool that you're doing this. I thought of doing something similar, but just never took that first step. I probably do one book a week though. Here's my first question. How do you keep it up? Do you brainstorm as many ideas as you can in one session? Do you try to come up with today's idea first thing in the morning or at some other fixed point during the day? Do you have a long list or do you wait for something to come to you?
    My second question, do you ever find yourself getting stuck trying to perfect something? I recently thought of a new kind of different design. I've made like five of them in a row trying to get it just right. Nothing wrong with that, but it would definitely get in the way of that one a day concept.
    I'm enjoying your blog. Thanks.

  4. Becca - Good questions all. The answer to pretty much all your questions is... yes. All of the above. I've now gotten to the point where I see books in most everything I look at. We own a mini-mart type store, so every time I open up a box or package of something to put on the shelves, I look at it to see if there's a book in there. My guy, Allen, has also started seeing book ideas everywhere and "lends" them to me. :)

    I dream about making books. I spend a lot of time thumbing through books on bookmaking. The absolute best is that perfect moment of inspiration that seems to come out of nowhere or is something totally different spurred by something that catches my eye. Examples of this would be the "Instant Book" from the Maruchan Instant Lunch container and the Mexican muñequita doll with the lotería book on her lap. Or the orange juice can with the orange paper fold balls inside.

    Sometimes I'm just stuck. Then I usually end up making a leather journal or a simple stab-bound book because they are easy and I don't have to think too much.

    I have missed a few days since I started--not many--but I will make them up. I'm determined to have 365 books by day 365. And I'm nearly half-way there!

    As for the idea of perfection... oh yes. I hate it when there is any small imperfection on a finished book. That's one reason this challenge has been so good for me. I simply don't have time to do them over. As you read through past posts, you'll see that I often describe something that didn't quite work the way I wanted it to. I just figure it's part of the learning experience of the challenge. I'm learning what NOT to do.

    I just told Allen the other day that probably at least 20% of the books I've done so far would never be salable (some not even really usable) because of something that's wrong with them... or just chintzy looking for using poor materials.

    But when I'm working on something "serious," like a commission or making books for a show, it's back to perfectionism. I want them to be perfect.

    Thanks for asking.

  5. Really enjoyed the comments about how you are hanging in there, I can certainly imagine seeing a book in almost anything. It has been such fun to watch what you discover. What famous sculptor was it who said that the statue is in the marble and it is just a case of letting it out?