Progress Report for Final

Successes/Discoveries:
So far, I have made good progress on my book tree. Using clay was a good choice because it’s moldable (only within about 20 minutes of opening it) it’s the right color, and it adheres well to wine bottles. It also provides an element of texture that I hoped my tree would have (to make it look more tree-like and less bottled covered in clay like). I also like the kind of wire that I selected (it is the color of branches). I also like my choice of wire for branches because I can bend and shape them however I want, which is great since I am attempting to mimic the appearance of real branches. I also discovered that I don’t need to use wire hooks to attach the leaves since I have hole-punched them and can slide them onto the branches. I also found the paper in the colors that I want to use, so that is a success. I discovered that I like using Mod Podge better than PVC glue because once again, it provides more texture and gloss to my materials that I need in order to better replicate the leaves. I am also going to experiment with other forms of Mod Podge besides the gloss one. I was struggling with how to decorate the leaves, so I came to the idea that I could decorate the front of the leaves/snowflakes with puffy paint, and that seems to be aesthetically pleasing and fairly simple to do as well (you just have to do it ahead of time because it takes a while to completely dry). It took me a while to figure out how I wanted to do the Autumn leaves because I wanted them to look old and crunchy, but I couldn’t find the right kind of paper that captured that, so I came to the idea that I could use tissue paper on one side of the leaf to give it that feel, while also giving it a graphic. I also bought stencils to help me draw the leaves as precise as possible (I’m not adept at drawing, especially when I have to replicate the process several times), so these have helped the leaves/snowflakes have a uniform look.
Difficulties/Discoveries:
1) I thought it would be easy to write on the backs of the leaves, but it is not, mostly because I have a smaller space to work with than I thought. On my mock up, you’ll see that I attempted the front and back matter (since I am still working on the poems), but hardly anything handwritten fits. I then tried using the computer (InDesign and Word) to type the content to see if it would fit better, but I was only successful half of the time, and the font is very small. I don’t want the words to be so tiny, but I can’t make the leaves bigger since it will through the leaves out of porportion with the tree. If I wanted to change the size of the leaves, it would end up causing me more issues with other aspects of the project, and I’m not willing to change things that are already successful, so I am stuck right now on what to do about this issue. Even if I made the leaves open like a book would, it still wouldn’t give me much space to work with. I have some thinking to do on this issue.
2) If I do in fact continue to use a typed version of content in my book, I have to cut and paste it to the leaves, which isn’t awful looking, but it’s not great either. I can live with the way it looks if it is acceptable to exhibit somewhat poor typography (in terms of spacing and design of the page, because all of this is lost when I cut it to fit the leaf. So again, I need to continue experimenting with this.
3) I suspect that when I begin writing my poems, that they will fit better on the leaf (regardless of whether I hand-write them or not). I may be able to fit one stanza on a leaf/snowflake, but I make no promises here. Originally, i had intended to at most fit two lines per leaf, and leave it to the reader to interact with the text presented there (and thus form their version of the poem in addition to the original poem itself), but I will propose this idea to everyone because I am starting to get a little insecure about this aspect of the content. I naturally like to have things organized and to be more practical, but I also like that I would have to make something where I would resist that urge (thank you Experimental Forms class). I know that I need to consider how “sellable” this product would be (would anyone buy a book where they have to do some of the creating?) and I also know it is supposed to be readable above all (in a sensical, traditional way); I just don’t want to go too crazy with the content because I know how important it is to the success of this project.
4) I am debating whether I should have one tree that has all the differing leaves/snowflakes on it at one time, or whether I should need to provide a bag (probably a ziploc plastic bag) that holds the leaves for the other two seasons so that the reader can “decorate” the tree for the appropriate season. I am torn about for a few reasons: a) I like the idea of having all the seasons represented at one time (I think it’s aesthetically pleasing), b) it would add more volume to the tree that I want it to have, but couldn’t achieve otherwise, c) it would save me time and money by doing it this way (and I am short on both) d) it would more immeadiately reflect the title of this collection of poems entitled My Year with the Tree . Reasons for wanting to have the owner decorate the tree according to seasons: a) it allows them to interact more with the tree, which is something I want b) it appeals to my preference, and possibly to the preference of others, to have the tree reflect the proper season. What do you all think I should do?

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