unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait size reference

When I discovered I could take a bookbinding class during my graduate studies I was thrilled. I am a bit of a journal and notebook addict (boxes and drawers full addict) and the thought that I could create my own thrilled me.

What I didn’t realize was how expansive the art of bookmaking is. It’s a bit of an unusual art form, as it is a cross between the visual arts and creative writing, and I don’t think many people realize it even exists. Taking the bookbinding course revealed how a book can take on many forms. I contracted Lyme around the time I took the class, so I didn’t have much opportunity to play with the medium once the class was over.

 
unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait small tiny

Processing Life

I picked up bookbinding again several months ago, and knew I wanted to feature it on the blog (since everything I do pretty much revolves around storytelling and art/creativity). Making books has becoming an outlet for me to process my experience with Lyme while exploring life in general.

I started with a small adhesive accordion book. It’s tiny, only 1 1/4” square. I wrapped the covers in scraps of a map when I understood my focus for the book. While I would present one side as the cover part of the nature of this book is that you can start on either side and the story will come out the same. This creates a circular narrative. I’m briefly going to explain the book and the meaning behind the images, but I don’t want to totally give the whole piece away. I’m curious how you will interpret it, especially not seeing it in person.

 
unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait book unfolded

Backwards and Forwards

In this book each side of a page corresponds to the content on the other side. I’m going to tell you what the image means on each page (starting with the implied title) and the image on the back.

 

unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait front cover
unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait back cover
Covers: Left, Front. Right, Back.

 

unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait 1a
unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait 1b
Page 1: Left (front) – Title, Glories. Right (back) – blank page.

 

unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait 2a
unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait 2b
Page 2: Left (front) – Sketch of one of my first Instagram posts. Right (back) – Tiny, isolated box on an empty page.

 

unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait 3a
unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait 3b

Page 3: Left (front) – The first picture story book I made in college. It won first place in the student photography show.

Right (back) – Dark page.

 

unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait 4a
unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait 4b
Page 4: Left (front) – Two diplomas. Right (back) – Six gravestones.

 

unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait 5a
unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait 5b
Page 5: Left (front) – Hobby horse prop. Right (back) – Cactus set piece.

 

unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait 6a
unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait 6b
Page 6: Left (front) – Me speaking to a crowd when I was a tween/teenager. Right (back) – A dot outside a circle of dots.

 

unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait 7a
unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait 7b

Page 7: Left (front) – A mountain I went through while traveling in Italy. It is one of the longest tunnels with a road (or maybe the longest) in the world.

Right (back) – A moving sign on a front lawn.

 

unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait 8a
unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait 8b

Page 8: Left (front) – The first few notes of the hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”.

Right (back) – My desk and the view out my window the day I thought to commit suicide. (The bird too. That bird was important.)

 

unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait 9a
unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait 9b
Page 9: Left (front) – … Right (back) – Title, Unfolding.)

 

Each of these icons has specific meaning to me, and while I could explain them all I don’t think that’s the point. If you haven’t already, looking at the icons and what they are should say a lot about what this book is about…it’s a circular narrative, so either title page could be read first, and each page is interpreted by what is behind it.

I’m not sure what else to say without breaking magic of what art is. If I’ve done my job well you will understand it. While deeply personal, this book isn’t really about me, but about life in general. I’ll leave it at that.

 
unfolding glories handmade books lymes disease invisible illness life art timelines accordion book wind spindle mary tait front unfolded

I am busy making more books, so follow me on Instagram and check out my stories for behind the scenes work on my content.

If you are curious to see more of what can be done with books, check out my Book Making board on Pinterest where I regularly gather inspiration for my work.

4 Comments

  1. Isabel June 7, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    You are such a talented girl! Did I already tell you that you should write a novel book, maybe just by developing an end and make your short stories wider….
    As for this handcrafted tiny book, it is absolutely lovely. I am wondering how long it took to you to make it….
    I am looking forward to learning about your new creations and ideas!

    Reply
    1. Mary Tait June 21, 2018 at 7:45 pm

      Thank you! I am working on a novel, but it is slow in coming. The book didn’t take too long to make, it took a bit to plan it out and decide what exactly I was going to put in it. Thank you for always following along!

      Reply
  2. Megan June 15, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    I love book binding! I once created a journal for a present to my cousin. I made my own paper and taught myself how to sew the pages together for a basic binding. I then created the cover shell and my dad helped me install a magnetic clasp to keep it closed. I did some gold leafing designs on the cover. It was one of my favorite projects I’ve ever done! I’m so glad to see you finding moments of great joy in spite of the ongoing battle with lymes. I love you, dear friend!

    Reply
    1. Mary Tait June 21, 2018 at 7:43 pm

      I remember you showing that to us! It was so cool. And thank you for the encouragement. <3

      Reply

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *