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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.