So, yes this is late. I completely spaced on doing it, but I figured I’d do it anyways so that you would at least know my though process for the midterm.
The concept for my book was to try and best represent the feeling of “Bluebird” that I think Charles Bukowski intended. That reluctancy to share for fear of being perceived as weak. To do that I decided to make a book that you can’t read, or at least have to partially destroy in order to read. I tried to stay simple, and hoped that some kind of beauty would come from that. I’m not sure if my project reached “beautiful” status, but I like it. Also, I think that creating a book that you can’t read is a bit of a challenge to readers. I mean challenge in that it’s suppose to question if a book is still a book if it’s contents aren’t on display, not that it it’s a challenge to read. Though, the latter happens to be true too.
I’m admittedly not the best book maker, so any book would be a challenge creatively and structurally. I found the most difficult thing about the book was trying my best to stay consistent. I found the best way to stay as consistent as possible was to create a sort of ritual way of doing each action. Turn the page a certain way each time, always cut top to bottom, turn the light on three times so my mom doesn’t die. Maybe not the last part. But honestly, I found the ritual ways of doing things really helpful in avoiding most mistakes. I still made mistakes of course, but I think they were fewer than they would have been.
I think I brought a fair level of craftsmanship to my books. They all look relatively the same, so there most have been some craftsmanship there. Also, I made steel mesh into cages. I’m kind of proud of that. In a perfect world, the cages I made would look a whole lot more like bird cages as oppose to the blocks they are. This was probably my “failure” of the project, but that might be a bit too harsh. I’m also proud of my stitch work because I’m not the best at it, and I think they look pretty good.
I fully explored my book form I think. It’s a stab bound, so I’m not sure there was a ton of terrain to explore. I certainly didn’t stretch it though. I wanted a more traditional book to compliment the cage idea. Also, Bukowski’s a strictly meat-and-potatos writer, so I wanted my book to reflect that.
Graphically, I wanted to stay simple. I used Illustrator to create the bird outline on the cover. I didn’t want a title to appear on my book in a way that used words, because I wanted the fact that it was a book to be a secondary thought. I think the graphic completes my intentions, and strengthens the concept of a caged bird. I used Georgia for the content of the book because I think it has a simple, yet sturdy construction. It’s also a traditional font that looks old fashioned, but is a relatively newer font. As a compliment, or maybe juxtaposition to Georgia, I found a free font called Jonko’s Typewriter. The font was reminiscent, to me, of a drunk smashing away on an old typewriter. This is the image I get when I think of Bukowski.
The name of my project is (Caged) Bluebird. I wanted to keep Bukowski’s original title intact because it’s his work. I added “Caged” in parentheses because, in my opinion, it’s kind of obvious, but avoids being trite. It’s just the title that makes sense to me.
If I were to make this book over again, I would want my cages look more like actual bird cages. I would also probably want to use a slightly more ambitious book form than stab bound. Also, I’d figure out how to avoid all the cuts and wounds I encountered. But overall, my project came out how I imagined it. (I did imagine it in the shape of a bird, but I’m happy with that original concept being nixed.) When a project comes out like you had it pictured in your head, it’s hard not to be happy with your work.