August 2, 2012
Every few days I wander into the North Main Gallery in Salem, where my hanging books are displayed until September 3. Each time the exhibit looks different to me. As Ed Hutchins and I were working together to hang the show it was hard to have any idea of what I was looking at since the pieces we were hanging were so freshly finished. I imagine that this is true of anyone who creates something: that it isn’t until there’s some distance from the finished piece that it can be really seen by the person who made it.
I am relieved to say that I love the look of the show. The majority of the pieces are works that I think of as Drawing On Health, which refers a preoccupation pf mine, which is to stay healthy. This is a joyful interest, one that celebrates living. The attention that I lavish on to the herbs, fruits, greens, and veggies is meant to help me hold them more closely in my being. I hope this comes through and resonates, too, with the viewer.
Drawing these plants somehow makes me like them more.
After seeing the drawing above my friend Sarah told me that she thought that kale, which is quite nutritious, could save the planet because you can pick it and pick it and it keeps producing more and more: an interesting theory!
My favorite piece is nine panels long, dedicated entirely to blueberry season. Blueberries have a special nook in my heart, and I look forward to going to the local U-Pick places to load up for the winter.
Summertimes I would visit relatives near Scranton, Pennsylvania. During blueberry season Uncle Lou would drop off me and Aunt Jane on a mountain top, where we would pick for hours. If the crop was plentiful my aunt would be overjoyed…I can still hear her repeating, over and over ”Look at these berries! Look at these berries!” Then we would take those berries back to her lake house where she would make the most wonderful blueberry buckle on the planet.
Here’s a look at my wall of the gallery. The hinges between the panels are designed so that the they can spin. I used some different materials for the hinging, but most of them are cords which I dyed and knotted like this:
Another wonderful facet to this show is an exquisite gem of a catalogue, designed by Ed Hutchins and Joe Freedman. Here’s a peek at the catalogue:
I have a number of copies of these that I am happy to share for the asking: leave me a comment here asking me for one and I will get in touch with you, off-blog, you to ask for your address.
March 27, 2012
Here’s the rest of what I started in my last post about this book with the narrow accordion spine. What I like about combining this structure with fractions is that it makes a concrete (ok, paper) connection between the relationship of different “families” of fractions to each other. For instance, just by looking at the pages when the book is expanded, as it is in the photo above, it’s clear that two-fifths is bigger than one-fourth, and 2/2 is the same as 3/3.
After making the accordion spine in the last post, there’s actually one more step, because I needed not four, but five accordion folds.
To make the fifth accordion pleat the students folded one of the edges to the closest crease, pressed down the fold then turned the paper over and brought the crease up to the master fold. Done.
Now the covers go on….
…and the pages go in. After a conversation with my wise special ed friend teacher, Melanie, I decided to label the left side of the pages with part of the fraction that each slice of paper singularly represents.
Students cut the papers to their appropriate sizes (on the lines that were printed onto the papers). This step, to my surprise, didn’t take long and went quite smoothly. There was the occasional leaking out of glue that made some pages stick a bit to each other, but that was easily fixed.
The students labeled the right, exposed edge of the fractions book, with the fractions written sequentially.
Now it’s time to decorate the cover, using 2 inch squares to cut into fraction pieces.
And decorated they did.
The only thing left to do, if they choose, is to write on the blank parts of the pages, perhaps adding in math facts.
A big thank you to the teachers who trusted me when I said, hey, we can do a fractions book…I’m sure they had no idea what I was talking about. And it worked out so well! Everyone was happy.
March 24, 2012
If you know something bookmaking you know how useful it can be for the spine of a book be narrow accordion folds, as pages can be tipped (glued) on to or sewn into the accordion. The big thing that I didn’t know about this structure was if I could do it with 75 3rd graders in one day. The motivation behind doing this was to make a book that could expand, as accordions do, to reveal pages of fractions which could help students understand the relationship between different sets of fractions.
The photo above shows the finished product, but that’s getting ahead of myself. What I want to show is how we made the folds. In the interest of full disclosure, the following photos are taken of a class of 7 fourth graders making the same book. Working with seven students in class allows me the leisure of taking pictures. When I was working with the third graders (3 classes of 25 students) I had to stay on the move.
I started out by sitting down and talking to the classes about what we would be doing. I wanted to emphasize that even though there were no “hard” to understand steps, all of the folding was just different from what they were used to doing, and it was this difference that would make it seem hard to do. So I asked them to be open to doing something different so that they would be able to be successful.
Having the middle fold in exactly the right place is so crucial to the success of the structure that I handed out the papers to the students with this fold already in place. Therefore the first thing that each student needed to do was to unfold their 16″ x 8″ paper.
Next, one side at a time, the edges are folded to meet up with the middle fold, which henceforth will be called the master fold.
This may not be readily seen and understood, but think slowly. Open the paper flat, then fold one edge over to meet the furthest away crease, flatten. Repeat, starting from the other edge.
Next, open the paper flat again,Noticing that there are four “columns, in defined by folds, in the paper. Refold in half, as in the first step so that the master fold is at the edge of the paper.
Still with me? Now, look at the crease that is closest to the master crease, then curl the paper so that this crease meets the master crease. Press to make a crease (which is unseen, as it is between two layers of paper). Repeat with the next crease below the master crease, then flip the paper over and repeat.
Okay, you’ll end up with something like this. Actually, with my classes, we did one more fold, to make just one more accordion pleat, but I will describe that in my next post.
It’s important to have long edges to glue covers on to.
And, for now, we’re done. The next step will be to add the fractions pages.
May 11, 2011
A few years ago a kindergarten teacher and I cooked up this book making project for her class, with the intent of linking my book making to her curriculum. This teacher wanted a project that related to a list of sight words that she wanted her students to know when they left kindergarten.
What we came up with was this four-page accordion, that begins with a piece of paper that is about 8 1/2 inches tall and 26 inches long. I generally hand out the paper to this age group with the first fold already made. They do the rest of the folding by themselves.
Next, I teach the kindergarteners how to make an origami pocket out of 7 1/2 inch squares. It used to make me nervous to think about making origami pockets with five year olds, but I have learned that they are very capable of making this structure. I might never have tried it at all, but when my own son was 5 years old he learned to make it farily quickly, which is what gave me confidence to show it to other children.
Each page is labeled with a section of the alphabet, using capital letters. Right now, which is near the end of the school year, and which is also the time that I generally do this project with Kindergarten classes, these young students are often working on their lower case letters and need support doing all upper case letters for the alphabet strip.
Students then work on writing out their sight words.I am generally not in the classroom when they do this, which is a good thing as I don’t have a clue on how to motivate students to write out words. The words then get sorted somewhat alphabetically, meaning that they get stored on the page that displays the first letter of the word.
I choose the color of the pockets for each page to correspond to the alphabet strips – Blue is on the first page; green is second; pink, third; yellow, last. Also, I give them paper-punched embellishments, that are also placed on the page with alphabetical order in mind: butterfly, heart, star, and tree.
The alphabet strips are decorated using markers. By this time of this school year I don’t like assuming that the students still have markers that are fresh, so I bring in a pile of my own. For their little hands I am using a new marker by crayola, called Pip Squeaks. They are small, cute, and novel: guaranteed to please.
These photos are from the students of the classroom teachers who worked with me on creating this project. We now do it together every year that she is not out on materity leave….Other K teachers have picked this project for their students, too. Lucky me: it’s a great project to teach.
Here’s a PDF of Kindergarten Lines to copy on to cover weight paper. These are the lines that I use to write out the alphabet and that I give to teachers to use with their students to write out their sight words.