Non-adhesive Book

Blizzard Book, Post #3: Pages

Three Blizzard Books
Three Blizzard Books, with pages and covers

This is the third of my posts about the Blizzard Book, a folded paper design by Hedi Kyle.  Since I just taught a class on how to create this book I have been able to indulge my great interest in different approaches to the papers, proportions, and covers of Blizzard Books. My last post showed the Blizzard Book as a single sheet of paper that is  folded in such a way that each page becomes a pocket.  This post  features a  variation which will include adding in pages onto the spine of the book. 

Blizzard Book Spines
Blizzard Book Spines: left, in progress: right, completed

 The first step in making a Blizzard Book is to fold accordions to make the spine. In the Card Carrying Blizzard Book the spine becomes the whole book because the paper, which is 17 inches x 7 5/8 inches, is divided up into only eight accordions. To make a  Blizzard Book with pages I begin with the same size paper, 17 inches x 7 5/8 inches, but I divide this one up  into sixteen accordions. The result is a tall, thin spine that has tabs on the tops and bottoms. 

Sliding a folded page under the head and tail tabs of the Blizzard Book
I know that this might be hard to see and understand from these photos, but part of the charm of this book is that it is tricky to figure out right away.  Tabs are created, head and tail on the spine, by making V-folds on the accordions and then laying down the V-folds, thus creating a tab.  Long papers folded into an accordion can then be tucked under these tabs on the spine as pages of the book.

The Blizzard Books in the photo above have the same size spine. What makes them different is the size of the width of the paper used for the accordion pages that fit into the spine.

Using standard size paper to make mimic accordion pages
Since I really like using standard size copy paper whenever possible,  I do a book base fold with  8 1/2′ x 11″ paper  to mimic the qualities of the accordion (photo above).
And some of the spines of my Blizzard Books start with a standard 8 1/2 x 11″ copy paper, too,  which I then cut down to 8 1/2″ x 7 5/8″. When I use this proportion, I make only eight accordion sections to begin with. This size spine creates tabs which work perfectly with folded 8 1/2″ x 11″ papers when I fold them like a book base. The extra bonus fun thing about using these standard sized papers is that I can use standard size envelopes, A4s, for the covers of the Blizzard Book, as shown in the photo above.
It’s also worthwhile working out how to make covers which echo the inside folds of the Blizzard Book.  But, when teaching a three-hour class, the envelope-covers work out just fine. 
Now, I realize that I have just put out  lots of details, that might seem like  mumbo-jumbo. During my class last Saturday at North Main Gallery I was  nearly apologetic to the participants about all the precise folding and math talk that learning this structure requires.  Even though these folks assured me that, although it was challenging, they appreciated being able to learn how to make this book. I am feeling uncomfortable here, now, writing a post that might be hard to follow.  I’ve been encouraged, however, to feel that it’s worth the effort.
Blizzard Book with Pink Covers

After all, it is such a beauty of a book.

Non-adhesive Book

Blizzard Books, Post #2: Card Carrier

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 challenging 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.

Addendum, November 12, 2018

Just wrote a post and made  video to show how to figure out the size paper you will need for any size blizzard book you’d like to make. Here’s the video

Addendum, November 13, 2018

here’s a video that shows how to make a blizzard book

Non-adhesive Book

Blizzard Book, Post #1: Intro

Blizzard Books, a Hedi Kyle design: The orange structure is the Blizzard Book in progress, the front book is a finished book

On July 30, seven days from today, I will be teaching a three-hour workshop in Salem NY, as part of a series of exhibitions and workshops sponsored by Book Arts Summer in Salem (BASIS). This past spring, when Ed Hutchins and I discussed what I would be teaching for this summer workshop, we settled on  the Blizzard Book, a structure which was developed by Hedi Kyle in the mid-1990’s.  Hedi taught this book form to Susan Share, who showed it to me.

Since that time, nearly fifteen years ago,  I regularly revisit the folds of the Blizzard Book , using different papers, playing with different proportions, experimenting with different cover options, and looking at the ways other bookbinders have approached the creation of this book. I am utterly captivated by the sequence of folds of this book. For many years I did not want to teach it to classes because I felt that it was not mine to teach. Something about it being so brilliantly elegant compelled me to want to leave it to Hedi Kyle to teach.  Now, so many years later, since I have noticed that many people have packaged their own tutorials of the Blizzard Book I have become less reluctant to teach it myself.  Still, I hope for Hedi’s approval. I am, therefore  working on a small packet of my Blizzard Books to send to Hedi along with a note about the upcoming class.

Spine Detail of Blizzard Book
Spine Detail of Blizzard Book

Part of the charm of this book is that it is made without any glue or sewing. The sequence of folds holds the spine of this book together, and keeps the pages attached on to the spine. Then there’s the option of changing the proportions of the spine piece so that deep pockets are made, and there is no need for pages to be added in (more about that at a later date).

The Penland Book of Handmade Books, pages 122 &1 23

My next few posts will be about the Blizzard Book, showing it off in various ways. I will not be putting together an instruction sheet as that’s been done  by Hedi Kyle. Her instructions for this book can be found  in  The Penland Book of Handmade Books: Master Classes in Bookmaking Techniques starting on page 120.

Also included in the Penland book is Hedi’s explanation the name Blizzard Book. According to her telling of it, back in the mid-nineties snow began falling in Philadelphia one January morning. Soon, everyone on the east coast was staying home as the predictions for a major storm came true. This, the Blizzard of 1996 became a perfect day for Hedi to work in her studio. As the hours passed snow accumulated outside of her studio while folds accumulated inside.  Towards the end of the day it occurred to her to manipulate some folds a certain way. This resulted in the creation of a structure which “more or less bound itself.’ Months later when Hedi heard talk of “Blizzard Babies” conceived during the storm, she began to think of her own creation on this day as the Blizzard Book.