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, September 4, 2011

Book 212 - "Let Silence Speak" - An Accordion Style Fingerspelling Book

This accordion-style book touches on something I've thought about for awhile. I've always been fascinated by sign language and some time ago learned to fingerspell in American Sign Language, albeit slowly and haltingly. I thought it would be interesting to do a book in fingerspell. The accordion-style seemed the most logical because the pages unfold rather like the words "unfold" from the fingers when using ASL.

I knew what I wanted to spell out, so I knew it was going to be a very long book when completely unfolded. Since I have no paper that long to print and fold, I came up with the idea of cutting each page separate then hinging them in some way. I finally settled on the idea of stitching the pages together loosely at each corner. It does make the book a little floppy, but I don't really mind that. I like the fluidity of it, because ASL signers are usually very fluid in their movements. And each signer has his/her own "voice" in the way they sign. I left a short tail on each of the corner knots then curled them slightly with a pair of scissors (like you'd do with curling ribbon on a Christmas package). I think it gives the book more personality and movement.

For the covers, I wrapped a pair of boards with a lovely dark green textured paper and added a title label to the front, then pasted the accordion pages down inside the covers. I didn't want to add a ribbon or other closure, but I do think it needs something to make it more "finished" and hold it steady when it's closed. I'm thinking of making a printed paper wrapper to slide over it when it's closed.

An interesting side note. A young friend of mine who is in high school wants to study French but the only languages her school offers are Spanish and American Sign Language.

I had an interesting phone conversation with my sister tonight. I was telling her that many of the books I've made for this challenge (including this one) feel like they are prototypes for the day when I have the time to do them better, cleaner, with better materials and the time to pay infinitely more attention to detail. She laughed and said that every time she starts to make a new book structure or work out a new idea, she figures she will have to make three before she gets one good one the way she wants it. Glad I'm not alone in that!

P.S. The hands spell "Let Silence Speak."

1 comment:

  1. A very tactile book seems so appropriate. Nice job!
    I imagine your sister is right.

    I learned some simple sign language when I worked for a year with a young girl, must be 20 years ago--but I don't remember much of it because I never used it after that. I think I still have the book someplace, though. Oddly, this brought back a lot of nice memories for me--thanks!