Here’s something that can only be described as playful.
It’s four squares, which have been folded into eights, like an 8-cut pizza. I made this as a sample book when I was teaching the Book Arts at Bancroft series of classes at the Bancroft Library here in Salem. I would teach eight classes in the fall and eight more classes in the spring, to groups of 3rd and 4th graders. I did this for ten years. It was a really great program, funded by New York State Council on the Art Decentralization Program. No one was in charge of me so I did whatever projects I felt like doing with these kids. This was when my own children were as young as they come, so this book arts program kept me thinking about the arts at time when I would have otherwise been thinking only about laundry, meals and bedtime.
This way of folding squares and then just connecting them together is an idea I came across during a day that I passed at the Patents Office in NYC long ago, before the internet. I’d go up there now and then, into this great cavernous room on the west side of Manhattan and just looked through cool stuff. I’m pretty sure that this way of folding was in a folding toy section, patented by a woman from Israel. There were some great drawings with the patent (which I copied and probably still have).
When I did this with kids during my book arts workshop I was aware of one big obstacle: There are 64 distinct areas to decorate. Since the charm of this structure is finding all sorts of different configurations to display it in, it seemed to me that the patterns should be varied on each facet. But, 64? That’s a lot of designs. I had the kids for 90 minutes. Could they fill the papers? How could I facilitate this?
We spent the first 25 minutes making the structure. 65 minutes left. 64 areas to fill.
What I did was prepare 64 notecoards, each with a different design. The children sat in a big circle, each with a marking tool. Each note card had a different design suggestion on it. Kids were not bound by my suggestions, but they would have only about a minute to decorate one of the triangular areas, then they would pass their marker and note card to the person to their left and receive a new suggestion and marker.
I’m usually not so regimented with my classes, timing things in short intervals and making commands, but this time it was great fun.
So, got that? Four squares folded pizza-style and linked together and decorated. Then filled with designs.