Book Art

Day 2 at the Cary

Rainbow Galaxy, Ed Hutchins
Rainbow Galaxy, Ed Hutchins

 

My first day at the Cary Collection at the library at Rochester Institute of Technology was in January. My second day was this past Monday.

I didn’t know that the Cary Collection houses a huge collection of artists’ books. What a surprise! When I asked the guardians of the collection if they had any unusual bindings, they sort of casually pulled out a remarkable assortment. for me to look at and handle. I was there only a few hours, and I wanted to linger over every book they showed me, so I didn’t see a great number of books, but what I did see what great.

 

Rainbow Galaxy by Ed Hutchins
Rainbow Galaxy by Ed Hutchins

Many of the books, like this one above by Ed Hutchins, are from a collection bequeathed to the Cary by Patricia England. For the most part I didn’t take note of how these books found their way to Rochester, but the name “England” was associated to so many of them that I eventually inquired about it.

Rainbow Galaxy by Ed Hutchins
Rainbow Galaxy by Ed Hutchins

My daughter stopped by when I was looking at this book by Ed Hutchins. Ed knows and has been helpful and encouraging to my daughter over many years so it was quite wonderful for her to see that Ed is represented (by three books) in her college’s collection. She was thoroughly delighted with this book and its message.

Angela holding Ed's Rainbow Galaxy
Angela holding Ed’s Rainbow Galaxy

I’m going to have to split these images of the books that I saw over several days so these posts don’t get too long. Because of the nature of artists’ books it takes multiple photographs to begin to give a sense of each piece. I took like a gazillion photos. I’m not going to post all of them, or even show every book I looked at. What I’m going for here is to give a glimpse of what I’ve glimpsed, wanting to let people know that this amazing collection exists.

Bible, Drums, and Bingo by Gloria Helfgott
Bible, Drums, and Bingo by Gloria Helfgott

Here’s the first two panels opening of this heavy mysterious box by Gloria Helfgott.

Bibles, Drums and Bingo, partially expanded, by Gloria Helfgott,
Bibles, Drums and Bingo, partially expanded, by Gloria Helfgott,

As the inner pieces swing open, accordioned rows flank another mysterious set of doors.

Bibles, Drums and Bingo, third set of double doors opened, by Gloria Helfgott,
Bibles, Drums and Bingo, third set of double doors opened, by Gloria Helfgott,

By the time this tunnel-like accordion center is expanded, I’ve now had to open up three sets of enclosures. This inner sanctum piece has another layer that one might miss. I saw this top-opening structure and wondered if they might be pockets. Turns out, yes, there is a card hidden within each pocket!

Books by Alisa Golden
Books by Alisa Golden

Just coincidentally I’m sure, I saw three separate artists’ books that used this tunnel-like accordion in its construction. It’s an interesting structure because it can be set up in number of different ways. Alisa Golden’s book above works nicely as a tunnel book, as it has an opening in the front when it’s set up like a tunnel, but it’s also lovely to see in this half-star configuration. The little book on the right is Golden’s wonderfully realized version of Hedi Kyle’s fishbone fold book….

by Alisa Golden
Words Collide by Alisa Golden

…which is housed in this remarkable little slipcase.

A Brief History of the Quill by Carol Schwartzott
A Brief History of the Quill by Carol Schwartzott

I also saw three separate piece by Carol Schwartzott, each a tiny masterpiece. These books are filled with content, both writing and images. Here’s one of her books, fully expanded.

 by Carol Schwartzott
by Carol Schwartzott

I was enchanted by every page, even the colophon page, of Schwartzott’s books.

Okay, one more book to show tonight…

Here’s another small treasure this one by Susan Allix.

18 Quotations from Shakespeare;'s Plays by Susan Allix
18 Quotations from Shakespeare;’s Plays by Susan Allix

This little book is full of writing and prints. I was intrigued by all parts of the construction of this book. I can’t sort out what’s going on with how the covers are put together. It’s got a great look. And here’s another surprise: the enclosure for the book is really unusual and stunning.

18 Quotations from Shakespeare;'s Plays tucked away in it's protective sleeve by Susan Allix
18 Quotations from Shakespeare;’s Plays tucked away in it’s protective sleeve by Susan Allix

There’s this little shelf inside the enclosure sleeve which the book slips under. What a cool little package!

That’s it for now!

More to come.

Illuminated Manuscripts

Visiting the Cary Collection at RIT

At Rochester Institute of Technology
At Rochester Institute of Technology

This will have to be several posts. I just spent yesterday afternoon in the library at Rochester Institute of Technology, browsing through artists books that they pulled from their collection for me to look at. Up until yesterday I had no idea that RIT housed an enormous collection of artists books as part of the Cary Collection at the library. I had visited them just once before, this past January, where I was able to look at illuminated manuscripts.

Illuminated Manuscript, Cary Collections, RIT
Illuminated Manuscript, Cary Collections, RIT

My daughter, who is graduating from RIT this spring, has been studying calligraphy. Her teacher had taken them to see gorgeous old manuscripts from the Cary Collection.

Angie at the Cary
Angie at the Cary

Last January, while on campus with my daughter, we just showed up and got lucky. They happened to have these manuscript pages out where we could browse them.

The staff there, Amelia, Steven, and Greg, were incredibly helpful and nice. When my daughter let them know that I’m involved in book arts, Greg gave me a tour of the machines they have.

The room where letterpress is taught at RIT
The room where letterpress is taught at RIT

This is the room at RIT where letterpress is taught. It includes a press used by William Morris.

Books bound by Richard Minsky
Books bound by Richard Minsky

There’;s also a whole room, the Dudley A Weiss Reading Room, which houses Bernard C. Middleton’s enormous collection of books about ¬†bookbinding, restoration and conservation. When I mentioned I have had a relationship with The Center for Book Arts. which began when Richard Minsky founded the organization in the Bowery section of NYC, Steven, who was showing me around, proudly pointed out these books bound by Richard.

Another Illuminated Manuscript, Cary Collections, RIT
Another Illuminated Manuscript Page, Cary Collections, RIT

Where I spend most of my time last January, though, was gawking over these pages. My daughter had been instructed how to handle the works, so I touched nothing, just looked, and let her be my guide.

 Illuminated Manuscript Page, Cary Collections, RIT
Illuminated Manuscript Page, Cary Collections, RIT

My time at this library was too short. I immediately started trying to figure out when I could get back there.

I got back there yesterday. They asked what did I want to see. I answered, I don’t know. What do you have? Do you have any unusual book structures?

Little did I know….they have an enormous ginormous collection of artist books.

I took pictures. Will be posting about this next.

Am already trying to figure out when I can get back there again.

 

 

 

Arts in Education · folding

Swing Card for Fifth Graders

elebration Swing Card, condensed
Celebration Swing Card, condensed

I recently spent a short amount of time with a fifth grade class. I wanted to create something dynamic and memorable with them. I knew I’d be meeting with these students during their social studies time, so it made sense to do something that would reference what they’ve been studying in class, which has been the United State Constitution. My thought was to created a moveable card, not exactly a pop-up, that would, hopefully, delight these kids, but that would be pretty straightforward to assemble.

I decided that it would be fitting that the theme of the card would be a Fourth of July Celebration card, celebrating an amendment to the Constitution that the students themselves chose to highlight.

Celebration Swing Card, expanded
Celebration Swing Card, expanded

When you pull the sides of the card out the paper expands and the middle section flips.

It looks like WordPress is going to let me embed a little video of the movement of the card. This is a new feature here in WordPress? If this video doesn’t play for you, let me know. This is the first time I’ve tried to embed a video that isn’t linked to YouTube.

This project may seem, tricky to decipher at first, but it’s actually super simple to construct. It’s something I’ve been meaning to try out for quite a while. I got the template from this book by Trish Witkowski , who is one of my paper-folding heroes. She is one of those people who makes the whole world feel better to me because she’s in it.

I needed to modify Trish’s template to use with my fifth graders, to make it fit on standard copy paper.

Swinging Card Teimplate,
Swinging Card Template, Click here for the PDF

The students just needed to score the dotted lines, cut the solid lines, then fold the scored lines like a zig-zag. The cut-out in the middle swings freely.

If none of that made sense to you, just try it out. You’ll see.

Scoring on the dotted lines
Scoring on the dotted lines

First step is to score the dotted lines. Scoring means to press the lines, not cut them or draw on them, but, instead, to press into the paper. An empty ink pen works well for this. I showed the students that they needed to put a soft surface under the card, so that there’s something soft to press into.

Cutting on the solid line
Cutting on the solid line

Cutting on the solid line was a bit tricky, since there’s no way to start the cut from the edge of the paper. At home I use a craft knife (razor blade) but, obviously, can’t hand out razor blades in schools. Instead, the students curled the paper, made a snip on the curve….

Continuing the cut
Continuing the cut

…then uncurled the paper and continued cutting. Watching these students, who were doing a great job, it was obvious to me that these kids don’t cut with scissors much, so I was doubly happy to be doing this project with them.

In progress
In progress

I think you can make out the zig-zag folding in the photo above.

The students seemed to really like this project. It was fun for me to see that they were super surprised and delighted at how the scoring helped to make the folds fold so easily.

Since we had so little time, I showed them a quick cut paper design method. I call it an exploding paper strip. I give them a paper strip, ask them to a bunch of glue on the back, then they make snips and lay the pieces down in the order they were cut, leaving a little space between the pieces that were cut apart.

Swinger Card Celebrating the Constitution

One last detail: I asked the students to write something personal, something about their own thinking as to why they chose a specific amendment to celebrate.

His Favorite Amendment
His Favorite Amendment

The lines and dotted lines were printed on cover weight (67lb) paper. The writing here is printed on a contrasting color, regular copy weight paper (22lb).

Fun project!

 

 

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Arts in Education

Constructing Names in Pre-K

Allie
Addie

After making beautiful letters with a pre-K class we used popsicle sticks to create symmetry. In our last short session each student built their name from materials.

Eleanor
Eleanor

This is not an activity I had originally planned. It grew out of watching the what they had been doing with the some of the materials we had used in previous sessions.

Erik
Erik

I might have missed thinking about encouraging them to construct their names, but I heard their regular classroom teacher remark on how hard it is to write their names, but they seemed engaged in trying to create their names with sticks. So the next time I saw them I showed up with colorful foam sticks and harvested some other materials from the classroom.

William
William

Okay, some of them had trouble making their names with materials too. But what a great effort!

Ella
Ella

It was really interesting for me to see their sense of spatial relationships on display.

Jack, with his brother's name too (Liam)
Jack, with his brother’s name too (Liam)

An advantage to this activity was that they were so easily able to self-correct when things wouldn’t fit.

Marie
Marie

Kids with “i’s” in their names invariably dotted them.

Michael
Michael

I have a copy of the handwritten version of their names. There’s a remarkable similarity between the handwriting and the constructions, such as Michael makes the H in his name oversized when he writes it, just like he’s done here.

I love that I get to do these projects with kids, This summer I will work with Pre-K students once a week for six weeks. I hope to do projects like this repeatedly and see how or if kids sense of construction develops.

For now, this is the last of my pre-K photos. I think I will next be writing about what the fifth grade project.