The concept for my midterm project was to take poems from Ted Berrigan’s The Sonnets and make a flag fold book out of them that would be more sculpture than book. I chose the flag fold because the way it weaves in and out was great for Ted Berrigan’s poems which consist of individual lines from other poems rearranged into new poems. I thought that the structure would also allow for new poems to emerge since the lines would weave in and out of each other. In terms of creativity and originality, I thought the concept was worthwhile in the sense that the project would “do something”. It would be an interactive experience.
The concept for this project seemed easy enough until it went into practice. The basic idea of the book worked fine. The pages fit okay and went in without much trouble but the exteriors I intended wouldn’t work correctly. At that point, I learned that the bookmaker’s best friend is Dollar Tree. Because everything costs a dollar there, it’s easy to budget. Also, it’s a great place to brainstorm and work out things that work and things that don’t work. All of the materials for making the books, aside from the pages and city drawings, cost a dollar. In total the entire set of books cost roughly $17.00. The pages were free and I had already had the supplies for the city drawings.
Crafting this book was not easy. Fitting the pages in was a painstaking process. I used tape to fit them in so that if I messed up fitting them in, I could just pull them out and put it back in correctly. Glue would have made this harder and would have made the mistakes visible. Also, the tape makes the pages removable so that the pages, both as lines and as whole poems can be interchangeable. Stenciling the city scenes was easy enough but coloring them was very tedious. My primary obstacle in creating the books was ultimately tedium. I had a relatively clear idea of what I wanted to do but the level of tedium required to bring the idea to fruition wasn’t expected.
For the graphics, I chose a hand drawn cityscape colored with colored pencils. I chose a cityscape because of the urban setting of The Sonnets and I chose to make the graphics childlike because of the playful nature of the poems. I did the lines by hand and copied them onto cardstock. I wanted it to be as organic as I could make it without diverting from uniformity. The title for the book is Is There Room in the Room That You Room In? because I think that the books function as rooms, they have similar dimensions. It’s a line that repeats throughout The Sonnets, occurs in the selections for the project, and has a great sound to it.
If I were to make this book over again, what I would do differently would be to go to Dollar Tree right off the bat. It’s not only cheap and easy to budget but it’s a great place to be imaginative and brainstorm. I think I would have spared myself a lot of trouble if I had simply gone to Dollar Tree instead of trying to use stuff from Utrecht or Michael’s. In terms of construction, I would like to have had bigger boxes. It would have provided more room to fit the pages in and make the artwork more visible. Maybe if I had shopped around at a few different Dollar Trees I would have found some but I used what was at my disposal as a knee-jerk reaction to my idea. The light bulb went off and I had to buy them. The whole thing really came together when I went to Dollar Tree.