Card Carrying Blizzard Books
I am dedicating a few posts to showing and writing about the Blizzard Book, a book design developed by Hedi Kyle. This structure changes dramatically depending on many factors, including the proportions of the paper used. Because of its changling nature, I can wrap my mind around just a few attributes of this structure at a time. Multiple posts seem appropriate.
The Blizzard Book, in its simplest form, is made out of one piece of paper which is folded in such a way that, from the spine side, it looks like it’s a multiple signature book.
The inside is a series of pages, each of which have a pocket. Nothing but the folds holds this book together. There’s no glue, no sewing and certainly no staples. The book in the above photo is rather small, just over 3 1/2″ tall. Susan Share, who introduced me to this structure, at one time carried one of these books around with her in her bag. She used it as a business card holder since the standard size business card slides easily into the pockets of the pages. What Susan did not show me was the exact measurements of the paper that created this book. It took me an inordinate amount of time to figure out which size paper to use.
Finally, I realized how to figure these things out, so here it is: the paper to make the Card Carrying Blizzard Book is 17 inches x 7.75 inches. If anyone in A4 land wants to make a card carrying Blizzard Book, send me the measurements (in cm) of your standard business cards, and I will let you know what size paper to start with.
Perhaps the next question should be ‘ what kind of paper should be used?’ Even though the book in the photo above is a handmade paper, something like a mulberry paper, and even though it has some of the qualities of a perfect paper for the Blizzard Book, I have to say that handmade papers are not my favorite for this structure. I prefer papers that create really crisp folds. Handmade papers are often so beautiful that it’s worth struggling with them to create BBooks, but learn the structure on a different paper.
When searching for papers to make Blizzard Books I look for a paper that is medium weight, about 81# text, and strong, which means that it is made from long fibers and doesn’t readily tear. When I first started making this structure Elephant Hide Paper seemed to be the best choice. Tragically, Elephant Hide Paper is no longer being made, so I have scramble to find a suitable choice. The crisply folded paper in the photo above is called Stardreams. In The Penland Book of Handmade Books Hedi lists Tyvek and Drawing Vellum as other paper choices. The best advice I can offer is to recommend that you try out different papers to see what you like and what works.
Now here are three important things I try to keep in mind when making these books. The first is that I really really need to use a bone folder to make really crisp folds; the second is to fold absolutely as precisely as humanly possible; the third, which I fail at regularly, is to keep my mind on what I am doing, and don’t be distracted by the forms that the paper takes on as it is in process of becoming a book. One of the top reasons I like this structure so much is that at ever single stage of its creation the shapes that the paper takes on are all so visually satisfying. The photo above shows the different looks that the paper takes during the folding process. I leave way too many books unfinished because I am so intrigued the looks along the way.
One of the things that is good to know about Blizzard Books is that when they are first made they do not like to stay closed. At every opportunity that will just fly open. Even though this renegade characteristic seems to just disappear within a few months of existing in the civilized world living on a book shelf with other books, I find myself impatient, and seek closures. Oh sure, I can just wrap a rubber band around the book and be done with it, but that just doesn’t work for me. I have spent lots of time on figuring out good closures for these books. The rub is that different proportions of books seem to demand different solutions. But I have to say that I have enjoyed figuring out appropriate paper folds that help keep these enthusiastic books under wraps.
This variation of the Blizzard Book (one sheet of paper, no added pages) will be how I plan to begin the class that I am teaching this Saturday, July 30,. at Ruth Sauer’s North Main Gallery in Salem, NY as part of Book Arts Summer In Salem.
Next post will be about the Blizzard Book variation that includes adding in separate pages.