On July 30, seven days from today, I will be teaching a three-hour workshop in Salem NY, as part of a series of exhibitions and workshops sponsored by Book Arts Summer in Salem (BASIS). This past spring, when Ed Hutchins and I discussed what I would be teaching for this summer workshop, we settled on the Blizzard Book, a structure which was developed by Hedi Kyle in the mid-1990’s. Hedi taught this book form to Susan Share, who showed it to me.
Since that time, nearly fifteen years ago, I regularly revisit the folds of the Blizzard Book , using different papers, playing with different proportions, experimenting with different cover options, and looking at the ways other bookbinders have approached the creation of this book. I am utterly captivated by the sequence of folds of this book. For many years I did not want to teach it to classes because I felt that it was not mine to teach. Something about it being so brilliantly elegant compelled me to want to leave it to Hedi Kyle to teach. Now, so many years later, since I have noticed that many people have packaged their own tutorials of the Blizzard Book I have become less reluctant to teach it myself. Still, I hope for Hedi’s approval. I am, therefore working on a small packet of my Blizzard Books to send to Hedi along with a note about the upcoming class.
Part of the charm of this book is that it is made without any glue or sewing. The sequence of folds holds the spine of this book together, and keeps the pages attached on to the spine. Then there’s the option of changing the proportions of the spine piece so that deep pockets are made, and there is no need for pages to be added in (more about that at a later date).
My next few posts will be about the Blizzard Book, showing it off in various ways. I will not be putting together an instruction sheet as that’s been done by Hedi Kyle. Her instructions for this book can be found in The Penland Book of Handmade Books: Master Classes in Bookmaking Techniques starting on page 120.
Also included in the Penland book is Hedi’s explanation the name Blizzard Book. According to her telling of it, back in the mid-nineties snow began falling in Philadelphia one January morning. Soon, everyone on the east coast was staying home as the predictions for a major storm came true. This, the Blizzard of 1996 became a perfect day for Hedi to work in her studio. As the hours passed snow accumulated outside of her studio while folds accumulated inside. Towards the end of the day it occurred to her to manipulate some folds a certain way. This resulted in the creation of a structure which “more or less bound itself.’ Months later when Hedi heard talk of “Blizzard Babies” conceived during the storm, she began to think of her own creation on this day as the Blizzard Book.