Book Art · geometry and paperfolding · origami · Zhen Xian Bao

Threads

Threads, a Zhen Xian Bao, Paula B Krieg
Threads, a Zhen Xian Bao, Paula B Krieg

I just sent this piece out to be in a show in Massachusetts. Included with the piece is an invitation for the book to be handled and for the viewers to take a piece of it with them.  As you might suspect, there’s a bit of a condition.

I’ve been making models of this folder of expandable boxes, known as Zhen Xian Bao, for quite some time. I’ve been so busy deciphering the structure and creating designs for the papers that I make them out of that I haven’t thought too much about what to put into these boxes, which. traditionally, were used to store thread.

Here’s the chronology of thought then. First structure, then embellishment, now content. Finally I’m ready to think about content, now that I am satisfied with some of the solutions to my first and second considerations.

Here’s what I’ve put in the boxes:

There’s about 64 paper tiles stored in the various boxes of this structure. Each tile is threaded with a loop. The back of each tile has words or phrases that I repeat to myself, the threads of thought that help me get through my days.

I had wondered if I would be able to come up with 64 things that I tell myself, so I asked my a couple of friends for some of their thought threads. I included some from Jocelyn, especially liked “Bring a book,” and Susan’s “Mend a thing.”

Funny thing, though, after I got started, it was easy to come up with scores of things I tell myself.  So many thoughts woven into a day.

Now, here’s a box of blank tiles that I’ve sent along with my work. There’s three of these boxes. They are meant to sit alongside my Zhen Xian Bao. There is also a pencil in each box. I’ve sent word that I am inviting viewers to add one of their thoughts to one of my boxes. Then, after they’ve made their contribution, they are invited to take one of my thoughts with them.

 

I don’t know how this will work out. As there are tiles in each one of these 13 expandable boxes, I am hoping/anticipating that my Threads book will return with wear and tear showing. I will consider evidence of handling as the finishing touches.

 

Now it’s out of in the world, out of my hands!

Book Art

Teaching Weekend

It was great to be back teaching at The Center For Book Arts this weekend. As far as I can recall, the last time I taught there was nine years ago. Things have changed at CBA, in such good ways. It’s wonderful to see this evolution.

The class, making Zhen Xian Bao, Chinese Thread Books. enrolled just three people, which was such a pleasure.  Even though the group was small I still was mostly on the move, either teaching to the group or helping people individually, so I, sadly, didn’t think to take more than just a few photos.

tutorial video for flower top box: https://youtu.be/9G3jQaqTKAY

Since we were such a small group I decided to show them all how to make the flower-top origami box. In the last workshop I taught, I made this optional, and only two of the eight people in that workshop opted in. There is so much to learn on the whole, that showing this particular variation of the top level of these layered boxes, which requires takes lots of time and focus, seems to be more like bonus material rather than basic knowledge. Also, since it takes a whole hour to teach the flower top box, and is impossible to remember after seeing it just once,I was worried that the class participants might feel overwhelmed. Instead, it seemed the class was delighted with these folds. I’m glad there’s a video they can watch to remind them of what we did.

An extra treat, for me, was that I was able to show my models of the Zhen Xian Baos to other artists who were milling around The Center for Book Arts. No one that I showed it to was at all familiar with this book form. I have been so totally focused on it for so long that I forget that it’s still not a well know form.

Looks like teaching the Zhen Xian Bao will be on CBA’s course schedule for the fall. Already looking forward to teaching this again.

Book Art · Zhen Xian Bao

Covering the Zhen Xian Bao, Chinese Thread Book

Zhen Xian Bao, derivative
Zhen Xian Bao, derivative

A few days ago I saw a message asking me about putting covers on Chinese Thread Books.  I’ve written lots about assembling this structure, but haven’t much mentioned its covering.  I’m scheduled to teach a 2-day class in the Zhen Xian Bao at The Center for Book Arts in NYC in about 10 days. so this was a good time to get a question about the covers.

There’s many ways of treating the outer layer of Chinese Thread Book, as many ways as you can think of. That’s what I love about this structure: there are no set rules, just variation after variation. Here are some of the ways I have dealt with covers.

In the photo above I’ve used Asahi bookcloth, which I purchased at talasonline.com.  I’ve glued two wrong sides together with straight PVA (white glue), and glue the boxes on to the cloth with straight PVA. If I had a bit of wheatpaste made I might of added small bit it to the PVA just to the adhesive easier to work with, but that didn’t happen this time.

Upcycled Leather Cover

An easy cover material to use to leather. Occasionally I will come across some leather scraps which I just cut to size and glue to the bottom layer of the Zhen Xian Bao. I nearly always use either double sided tape or PVA, or combination of the two.

Handmade Paper Cover
Handmade Paper Cover

Here’s one that, technically, can be said to have no cover. What’s going on here is that I made the bottom big box layer out of a really sturdy handmade paper, then called it a day. No extra piece needed.

More Handmade Paper Covers
More Handmade Paper Covers

Here are some decorative handmade papers that I’ve had around for years, I wish I could tell you something more about them. They made great boxes, and they are beautiful enough to double as covers tood, like with the former photo.

Bookcloth and Endsheet covers
Bookcloth and Endsheet covers

The covers of these two thread books are made from bookcloth, but, I’ve lined the inside of the cover with decorative paper, sort of like a case binding with endpapers. It’s great having some bookbinding skills as it lets me think about all sorts of possibilities.

Old Levi's upcycled
Old Levi’s upcycled

One of my favorite materials to use for covering thread books is my husband’s old dungarees. I can generally find a decent enough piece to use. Looks like I re enforced the edges of this one with a running stitch, and used the seam of the pants to use as a tie around the book.

Wallpaper Cover
Wallpaper Cover

I have many wallpaper sample books around here. When I want to make a thread book to carry around to  use as a workhorse for storing supplies while I am travelling, I will use paper from my wallpaper sample books for both the inside and outside of the zhen xian bao.  The samples that I have have a vinyl-like feel to them, which make them really sturdy.

Wallpaper inside
Wallpaper inside

Here’s the inside of that book above. What I love about the wallpaper books is that there are so many wild designs to play around with. I probably used white glue to keep this all together. Maybe some double-sided tape too.

Paper and Wallpaper
Paper and Wallpaper

Sometimes I want a really simple cover. The one one the left is a prototype for short class in which I will be taking every possible short cut. The insides are made with paper, and I will likely use glue sticks to hold things together. The thread book that is laying down is another wallpaper book.

Here’s a video, shows a few more books, and the inside of most.

 

 

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.