A few years ago (before I retired), I bought a book titled Book + Art. Handcrafting Artists’ Books by Dorothy Simpson Krause. At the time I read through it but I did not find the time to experiment. Now, I have the time… so I have been experimenting!
My proximate motivation, was the series of “Autumnal Abstracts” I made this fall. I was interested in finding a way to display a set of images from this series and a small book seemed like a good solution.
My first usable book (Photo A1, below) began with two small photos printed on a half sheet of regular inkjet photo paper which was then folded in half. This makes for a final a page size of 4.25″ x 5.5″. Three of these folded sheets were then sewn into a card stock cover.
This construction is very nontraditional…the open ends of the folded sheets are placed at the crease of the cover and sewn in place. More usually, the creases of the pages are place into the crease on the cover for sewing. However, the “odd” construction worked pretty well and I did not need double sided inkjet photo paper. One small snag with this construction is that the book is very stiff… it does not lay open by itself. (This is why there is not a photo of the inside!)
I was so pleased with the result that I made seven more copies for an edition of eight!
After my “success” with the Autumnal Abstract series, I decided to try a similar but larger book (see photo A7) with photos from my “Flow” project. The construction is the same as above but I used 11″ x 17″ sheet of paper; again printing two images per sheet. This results in an 8.5″ x 11″ page when folded in half. For a cover, I used a very nontraditional material… a sheet of thin “craft foam” from one of the chain stores.
Emboldened and wanting to experiment further, I switched back to the Autumnal Abstract series.
The next version (Photos A2 and A3) of was a more traditional construction. I made, using traditional methods, a small booklet (4.5″ x 6″) out of bristol board and I glued photos on to the pages.
In looking though my stash of photo paper, I found that I actually had a package of double-sided paper. It is not high quality paper but it sufficed for another experiment. I printed two photos on each side of a half sheet of this paper and trimmed them so that the pages were 5.25″ square when folded in half, Three of these folios were stacked together for the final book. I added a card stock cover and bound them all together with a traditional pamphlet stitch. The result (Photos A4 and A5) is a very traditional looking booklet.
About this time, I visited Zephyr Designs, an art supply store over in Brattleborough, Vermont. I came back home with a number of sheets of decorative paper with which to continue my experiments!
Photo A6 shows one result. The construction is similar to the second version described above except that I again”went square” (6″ x 6″) and the cover is made from a piece of heavy and woody paper rather than simple card stock.
Long thin (i.e. panoramic) photos are often difficult to display traditionally (i.e. matted and framed). In thinking about this “problem”, I decided that an accordion book might be the solution… so I experiments some more!
I won’t bore you with all of the failed experiments. Suffice to say that most photo papers have coatings that crack when folded and that a number of the resin coated papers contort into all sorts of interesting shapes when glued to more traditional papers! (Plastic coated papers don’t react to moisture the same way as regular papers do.)
My first successful attempts at accordion books involved printing on regular watercolor paper (a half sheet that measures about 7″ x 20″) and adding decorative paper covers to the end panels. (see Photos A and B below; these are showing up at the end of the series for some reason…. #%@$ computers!)
This was a good start, but not every photo looks good with the muted contrast one gets when printing on “plain” watercolor paper. So I continued my search for an ink jet paper that would work in this context. I also was interested in completely covering the back of the print (i.e. not just adding covers) with decorative paper.
I think that I have got all of the problems solved! The remainder of the photos below show the front and back of five different accordion books (measuring about 5.75″ x 16″) that I have made over the past few days.