Blizzard Books, Post #2: Card Carrier

July 25, 2011

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.

16 Responses to “Blizzard Books, Post #2: Card Carrier”

  1. Bronwyn Wynn Says:

    Hi Paula
    I’m loving your blizzard books posts, and they seem so appropriate at the moment as yesterday we had snow here on the beach – VERY unusual for this part of New Zealand!
    Anyway, I’m definitely in A4 land, and our standard business cards are around 90mm by 55 mm, so would LOVE to know the size paper to use to make a booklet for them.
    Keep up the great work Paula, I so enjoy getting your inspiring emails every few days. It keeps reminding me to make time for my craft, which can be easily overlooked in my busy life.
    thank you 🙂
    Bronwyn
    Waikanae, New Zealand

    Like


    • HI Bronwyn,
      You were so kind to appreciate my post on snow flakes while you were in the middle of your December summer tjat it seems only fitting that I offer you the Blizzard Book posts in the middle of my July summer. I will work out the directions for the CM business cards….will be about int within the week…or so.
      Thank YOU!

      Like

  2. Sandra Says:

    What a fab idea for business cards ! I’m definitely in ‘cm’ world (UK) and would live a quick explanation how to make these. I found you via a post on Pinterest and would of course credit link back to you if you could include details.

    Thanking in advance. 🙂

    Like

  3. Ashwini G Says:

    I also wanted to say that I absolutely love your drawing instructions…they are really cute!! 🙂

    Like

  4. Christoph M. Says:

    Hey Paula,

    Greetings from autumnal Austria. I love your site! You seem such an aesthete!
    Blizzard books are a great invention and I’m currently working on accommodating all my credit card-like stuff in them. I’m a bit of a maverick, though, as I like to start with soft folds and make them crisp only after everything has settled in place. It also seems important to me to leave quite a fudge factor (gap) before doing the inside reverse folding so that all the pages will turn easily and naturally. Before I do a cover, I find myself grabbing my poor blizzard book in its closed state, running its spine down firmly the edge of a table several times in a rubbing motion. That will seem a horrible thought to you but it does help my blizzard books to behave so they won’t open up too much on their own. Some day I may add covers from heavier material such as clay or thin metal coated with sheet Moosgummi. Surely, slightly heavier credit card books would not only stay closed better but also slide down to the bottom of your pocket so there’s less danger of losing them.
    Wait a moment, the spine has pockets, too, maybe for some secret cards! With blizzard books, only the sky seems to be the limit…
    Cheers,
    Christoph M.

    Like


  5. Hi! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your
    site mobile friendly? My site looks weird when viewing from my apple iphone.
    I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to fix this
    issue. If you have any recommendations, please share.
    Many thanks!

    Like

  6. Haley Says:

    Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4
    year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She
    put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had
    to tell someone!

    Like


  7. Love these little books. I learned how to make them when I was in my teens and have been making them ever since. I had no idea there was someone who originally thought the idea up! I thought is was as old as the art of paper folding itself? I don’t remember exactly where I learned it. I think it was from an old book from a library.

    Like


    • I would love to see some of the books that you’ve made like these, to see you size choices and paper choices, and how you’ve used them. If you ever take some photos please email them to me!

      Like


      • I will try to remember. 🙂 I have been perfecting some to give as gifts this upcoming holiday season. I am trying to develop a hard cover but it is tricky because of how the pages are naturally bound and move differently from traditional signatures.

        Like


      • Figuring out a good cover is one of the puzzles of this structure. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

        Like


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