Zip-off Fence, Susan Joy Share

Zip-off Fence, Susan Joy Share

This summer I get to spend a week with Susan J Share at Penland in North Carolina.

I went searching for Susan J Share a good many years ago when we were in our twenties  I had seen some of her bookarts pieces in a show at a Soho Gallery, and had found her work to be so compelling that I immediately wanted to be friends with her. Life-long friends.

I am a patient person. I reasoned that, since we were both part of a small swath of NYC people who were passionately interested in making books, that our paths would cross.

I remember the first time I saw her. She walked into the Center for Book Arts (original Bowery location), but I wasn’t able to BFF her at that moment.  Darn.

Above the Tree Line, Susan J Share

Above the Tree Line, Susan J Share

I started volunteering weekly at the bindery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, under Mindell Dubansky. Susan worked in the bindery as  well, but on a different day than me. She and Mindell became fast friends. Mindell would sometimes chat on the phone with Susan while I was in the bindery. I was so jealous.

At some point, though, Susan and I were at MMA on the same day. I don’t exactly know if there was a defining event in our friendship, but if there was, it was this: Susan was teaching a children’s bookmaking  workshop at the Castle in Central Park, and I asked if I could assist her. Which I did. My first book arts teaching experience. I loved it.

Steel Horizon, Susan J Share

Steel Horizon, Susan J Share

Susan and I went on to share many bookarts experiences. She got me started working with kids in schools through Franklin Furnace’s Sequential Art for Kids program. When she and Henry Pelham-Burns created the bindery at the New-York Historical  Society, I worked with them one day a week. When Susan was looking for studio space, I was able to point her towards a place to rent in the same building I was living in. It was such a gift to be able to chat with her when we’d bump into each other in the course of our days.

Be the Queen Bee, Susan Joy Share

Be the Queen Bee, Susan Joy Share

Eventually Susan married Paul and moved to Alaska, and I married Bill and moved upstate. Still, Susan I  see each other, support each other and remain close. As luck would have it, Susan’s brother Ike lives about 45 minutes from me, so I see her here when she comes for family visits.

Now here’s the absolutely most wonderful thing: Susan is teaching a class at Penland  at the end of August. She asked if I would come down and be her assistant for the week. OMG. A week with Susan Share.

Be the Queen Bee (detail), Susan J Share

Be the Queen Bee (detail), Susan J Share

If anyone would like to be there, here’s the class description:

Susan Joy Share
Books & Boxes

Books and boxes are a natural fit. They may be a set or structurally integrated. They can enhance each other and the experience of opening and discovery. We’ll experiment with formats, including books sewn on tapes, paper enclosures, cloth-covered folding boxes, and Jacob’s Ladder boxes. We’ll generate content with paint, pencil, crayon, and collage. Students will create unique pieces as we fold, sew, glue, wrap, reveal, and engineer. This hands-on workshop includes demonstrations, lectures, and sample books. All levels. Code 07B

Here’s the link

I haven’t been on an adventure like this in a long time. Am so looking forward to it!

OMG a week making art with Susan Share!

Journals All Day Long

June 13, 2017

I’ve just noticed that I am more apt to blog about a project before I do it with kids when I am very nervous about how it will turn out.

I was very nervous about most of the projects that I wrote about in my last post. 

Making beautiful drawing journals in one class period is challenging. I’m relieved to say that the day of bookmaking went really well.

This post will mostly be a photo essay of making five styles of books, with kids ages 4 though 11.

Pre-K Book, Pipe Cleaner Binding

Pre-K Book, Pipe Cleaner Binding

 

The Pre-K kids immediately started to fill their books with drawings,and showing their creatations to each other.

Pre-K sharing

The Pre-K kids immediately started to fill their books with drawings, and lost no time showing off their creations to each other.

First Graders, book on a stick

Kindergartners, book on a stick

Kindergartners did a simple rubber-band and stick binding. They all wanted to decorate their sticks.  Most of the students tended towards making animal shapes with the bling.

First Graders, envelope book

First Graders, envelope book

The big surprise of the day, for me, was both how quickly the first graders finished their project and how amazingly beautiful they turned out. These books took them only twenty minutes to make.

First graders assembling their books

First graders assembling their books

Knowing what I know now I would slow the project down and help the kids less. I was so nervous about how this project would  go.

Assembling envelopes into pages

Assembling envelopes into pages

 

Finished Envelope books

Finished Envelope books

 Wallpaper-sample covers were simply glued on.  These look so good to me.

Simple sewing, lots of embellishments

Simple sewing, lots of embellishments

The modified pamphlet stitch book with pocketed covers made by 2nd & 3rd graders was the only project that I’ve done so often with students that I knew it would go well.

Second and Third graders made sewn book with beads

Second & Third graders made sewn book with beads

 

Ribbon Journal

Ribbon Journal

The highlight of the day, for me, was making these sewn journals with 4th & 5th graders.

 

 

The book block was made from 4 pieces of 11″ x 17″ papers folding into origami pamphlets, then sewn together side-by-side. All the holes for sewing were punched by paper punches.

Wallpaper-sample covers were attached by threading ribbons through holes in the cover and endpapers.

Ribbon Journals made by 4th and 5th graders

Ribbon Journals made by 4th and 5th graders

This project ran a bit over time. We were suppose to finish in 45 minuets, but it took 50 minutes. No one complained 🙂

Aerial view of Ribbon Books

Aerial view of Ribbon Books

These books, like most of the other books made yesterday, were constructed without glue, The only exception is the envelope books.  I didn’t exclude the use of glue intentionally, but I guess I think about glueless structures more often than not.

This was the last class of this school season. Now I can get back to some housecleaning.

I am ending this season happy!

 

Envelope Journal

Envelope Journal

I will be heading up to the Adirondacks in the morning to work with students, helping them make drawing journals. I get thirty to forty-five minutes with each class. On Tuesday the students spend time with the talented, stupendous, creative scientist/artist Sheri Amsel, who will work with these same students, teaching them to draw nature.

I am so jealous these kids get to spend time with Sheri.  Her drawings look like this:

I am creating this post as I pack for tomorrow. I’ve designed these projects one right after another, and we will be making the books in such a compressed amount of time tomorrow, that I might forget to take photos, and I might forget what we did…I like these projects so much that I don’t want to forget them.

Envelope book wrapped with Wallpaper Sample Cover

Envelope book wrapped with Wallpaper Sample Cover

The photo above and the one at the top is the project for the first graders. (I am packing the projects in the reverse order that I am seeing the classes -which is how I hope to stay organized.) This is a thick little book whose pages are made by sliding the flap of an envelope into another envelope, them repeating until the desired number of pages are achieved. The whole book block gets wrapped in a long piece of decorative paper.

Second and third graders will sew pages together, attaching beads on the spine, and using specialty papers for the book cover, and paper punched winged things as embellishments.

Pocketed book cover

Pocketed book cover

The inside cover of the book has pockets, and more embellishments. The theme of this week at the school is roots and wings.

Book on a Stick

Book on a Stick

Kindergartners will be making a book on a stick. These are long half-sheets of paper, folded in half (closed, the book block measures 5.5″ x 4.25″), bound with a #33 rubber band. The sticks are like the stir-sticks that Starbucks has out on creamer counter. If we can find sticks from outside to use, I’d like that. A big part of my thinking in putting together these projects is trying to get students to see that they can make a book anytime they want, using available materials.

Front is decorated with bling. Maybe I will get students to make a design like mine, which references the Fibonacci sequence… no reason not to! (hmm, one of my blings fell off, see it there in the background…messed up my numbers. Oh well.)

Sky Paper Book

Sky Paper Book

The pre-k crowd will be making these stab “sewn” books with this fun sky paper on the cover. Instead of threading anything, they will use craft pipe-cleaners for the binding. Decorate with stick-on clouds, a few simple birds in flight?, and a one and three-quarter inch radiant sun.

Thick book

Thick book

Finally, now packing my first project of the day. This is for the fourth and fifth graders. It’s a four-signature book (each signature is an origami pamphlet folded from 11″ x 17″ paper) sewn together with shoelace tipped yarn. The holes will be punched with a regular punch, as are holes in the cover that the ribbons are threaded through.

Inside the Thick book

Inside the Thick book

It’s the ribbons that hold the cover to the book block. The covers are wallpaper samples pieces. I have a pile that the kids can choose from.

Okay, now to remember to pack glue sticks, scissors, and then pack up the car and g o  t o  s l e e p .

 

 

 

Paper-quilting sqaure

Paper-quilting sqaure

Yesterday was paper-quilt square day with second graders. This is the central graphic of the Western Expansion project that this group started last week.

Although this project is designed to align with this class’s curriculum, I have to say, this quilting part has great possibilities for as a summer project.

Templates and samples

Templates and sample

Although I’ve been playing around with rhombuses in squares (along with my friend Malke)I hadn’t yet mixed rhombi and squares together within the same square. This may sound like a small detail, but it creates the possibility to make many new decisions. What I provided was some samples to hint at the wide range of  choices they could make, colorful papers that had squares and rhombuses on them ready to cut, and a kind of complex looking white template.

 

I tried to get them to see them rhombuses and the squares and the triangles in this map of shapes. I wasn’t sure if they’d get it. Maybe second grade is too young to be able to make sense out of all these lines?

Ha! Some students struggled more than others, but they absolutely were able to make sense of this, and make some great designs. 

Some students added their own graphics to the papers that I gave them.

Quilting square, journal and compass rose

Quilting square, journal and compass rose

Some students created miniature designs for the covers of the journals that they made during a previous class.

Starting the quilting square

Starting the quilting square

Here’s a nice sequence, showing the first steps of one student’s work…..

Paper Quilting square nearing completion

Paper Quilting square nearing completion

…and here it is, nearly done. For the most part students used cut-paper as their medium, but finishing off some of the small spaces with marker was a great way of working.

 

The students in the classroom went wild over the piece in the above photo. . The young man who created it had a long explanation for the choices he made, and his classmates were riveted by his reasoning.

Paper-Quilting square in book

Paper-Quilting square in book

Students needed only about forty minutes to design and assemble their squares.

We finished off this project by making the crisscross which held their journal in place (I gave very little direction on how to do this: mostly I just said, “can you figure this out?’ to which to replied yes or no, but in either case they did figure it out themselves. I just helped them make a knot in the back that kept the yarn from being saggy)

Then students glued on their title, added in the writing they had already created, and most of them drew a covered wagon on the front, which I had done with my sample, but I hadn’t anticipated that they would want to do as well.  Without further explanations, here are some more close ups of the rest of this really engaging project.

 

 

 

 

And, last photo, here’s what the paper table looked like when we were done.

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