8 1/2" x 11" Book Making · zine

A Lighter Touch

Zine of How Bill Cooks Rice

After finishing up my little pamphlet on How to Make Stuffed Grape Leaves  I was determined to make another little book, but this time with a lighter touch.  I spend lots of time designing book structures and book projects for classes, and not much time attending to content. Lately I have been thinking more about content. I know that the only way I will get to where I want to go with what I am thinking about is to just get to work in a small way.

So, I am happier with this book than the last one. There are still many things that I am critical of, but these are the things that I will address in the next little book.

I am consciously incorporating some of the photoshop and illustrator skills that I have been trying so long to acquire. My big moment in this book is turning the photo below….

red elephant

…into the following image.



Another reason that I am playing around with making these little books is that I want to bring some fresh thinking to a class that I will be teaching at The Center For Books Arts in NYC later this month. The class is designed with classroom teachers in mind. After I wrote out the class description, which included words like “brings together structures that are infinitely useful, infused with fun, and aim to inspire… and ways (of) linking projects to curriculum ” I was asked what to name the class. I suggested calling it “Binding and Booking the Common Core.” which I thought they would completely reject, but that’s what they used!

It was a beautiful day here in the country today. It’s a good thing I have a dog or I probably would never have gotten outside.

Mary L's Birdhouse with Daylilies
Mary L’s Birdhouse with Day lilies

The day lilies are blooming. Or at least they were, hours ago. They’ve long since finished their day…now it’s time for me to finish mine.

…after I clean the dinner dishes.


8 1/2" x 11" Book Making · zine

Double-Wide Zine

Double Wide Zine, made with two pieces of copy paper The point of my last post Stuffed Grape Leaves was to start to create content for a small black-and-white-copy-machine zine. If you’re wondering what a “zine” is, well, you’re not alone.  There doesn’t seem to be any clear consensus on the definition of zine, but, happily, there doesn’t seem to be any debate about it either: just discussions and conjectures. An enjoyable read about this is on the Brooklyn College Zine site .  I also like what the New York Public Library has to say on the subject. Personally, I think of a zine as a book made on a copy machine from a single sheet of paper, which is then folded into book form.getting pages ready for a zine There’s so much that I wanted to put in this little book that I decided it needed to be made out of two sheets of standard size copy paper. I grabbed content, as well as some of the comments, from my last post, and added in a bit more. Stuffed Grape Leaf Zine in progress The two pages had to be laid back-to-back and glued along one edge. It’s easy to glue them together wrong, so I made put dotted lines, which define where the paper is cut, in the part that will be the middle of the book. This proved to be a good landmark for me. If you look close you can see the dotted line above the word Stuffed.  The photo at the top of this post show what the pages look like after being glued together.close up of zine in progress Here’s a close up of the dotted line and the second page, still barely visible, and it disappears completely when the cut is made. Zine in progress Next, the pages are flipped over, and the edges are folded towards the center. Zine closer to being done Flipped over again, cut on the dotted line… stuffed-9---Copy …then opened into an open book that needs to be closed. One again, here’s a link to a whole collection of directions on how to do this.  Stuffed Grape Leaves zine Okay, so I made a bunch of these. It felt good. But then I happened to come across an itty bitty book by David Massengill, that Sarah, from Caffe Lena, had given to me after David had performed at Lena. (BTW, if you click on David’s link his music will immediately start playing. This is something that usually irritates me, but not in this case. His music is completely enchanting…as are his little books.)   david massengill's itty bitty book cover This book stands just about three inches high, and, though the structure is a different variation of the one that I’ve shown, it’s still of the put-through-the-copy machine-and-start-folding genre. david Massengill's itty bitty book This book was written and drawn with such a light, clear hand that I was envious…not an emotion that I like, but one that I will allow to influence the next little zine I make. Now I’m going to go have a listen to David’s music.