Because of the content of the book I wanted the book itself to be simple, yet elegant. I originally went with a more standard bound book. However, after the first mock-up i wanted something a little more interesting and inventive. The story itself is a man looking down onto his deceased father lying in a coffin while remembering his best memory of his father. Because it has these two stories happening at the same time I decided to make my book a dos-a-dos.
The part of the story that happens at the funeral is basically an interior monologue of the man describing his father. So what I ended up doing was copying that part and putting just that in the front of the dos-a-dos. I think the monologue almost becomes a poem without the rest of the story. Also, out of context, it is very cryptic which i hope causes the reader to want to flip the book over and read the full story.
My most successful aspect of the book is the cover and spine. My original idea was to use an actual baseball cover as the spine and use a satin type paper on the cover to represent the coffin and the funeral. The real baseball idea quickly died. However I used a book cloth which felt fairly similar to a baseball. Besides that I really went with the original idea of the red satin cover with the baseball as the spine and it worked well.
Mostly where I failed was just in the things I didn’t do. I was satisfied with the simple concept of the book but I wished I could have pushed the form a little further. Everything I thought or tried to add felt forced, so eventually I kept the simple concept.
For the main text I went with a simple, basic type face because I wanted that part to look like a standard essay. For the front text I went with a more antique-looking type-face. I thought by doing this the front text would look more elegant while the back remained standard.
The name of the story is My Pitcher’s Mound. I went with the name because the mound is the central object of the story. It’s the object in the protagonist life that he associates with his childhood and his father.
The biggest problem I faced when doing my second mockup was how to push it forward. I liked my original idea of cutting the book cloth into the shape of a baseball and using that to bind the book. I also thought that the baseball against the red satin cover turned out well. However, the book was still a bit simple and boring. So my first task was just thinking of something to do to the book that would improve the book without adding stuff for the sake of adding stuff.
The story is actually two different scenes being narrated by one person. Because of this, I thought the book would be better suited for a dos a dos book instead of the traditionally bound book I originally made. The two scenes of the story were intertwined throughout the piece, but for the dos a dos I split the two scenes completely and put them in the separate books. I made everything on the outside of the book the same as the original except doubled it.
I think the dos a dos gives the book a little more depth than the original, and gives the reader a more unique experience. Now I am working to better format the text for the final. I want the layout to be as smooth and elegant as the outside and to do that using InDesign is not something i’m confident in.
I choose to use a story called My Pitcher’s Mound. The story is about a man looking down on his father in his coffin while reminiscing about a childhood memory of his father teaching him how to pitch. The story is about ten pages long and my plan was to use the full cloth with spine board binding.
Because the story is about a funeral and a father and son’s connection through baseball I want to incorporate both elements into the book. I’m going to cover both covers using a red velvet-type material similar to the material used in coffins. Then my plan is to bind the spine using the cover of a baseball. I’m not exactly sure this is going to work but my plan is to buy three cheat baseballs and remove the covers. I don’t think true leather baseballs will work but if I use rubber tee ball baseballs I think their covers may be more pliable.
Once I have removed the cover I’m going to run the open baseball cover down the spine and sew them into the binder board. Again I’m not sure if this will work but I believe I can find a way to attach it without holding the cover open. If I try and discover that this idea isn’t plausible I will just create a image along the spine that looks like a baseball using a different material.
Overall I thought the lecture was very interesting. He seemed very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about bookmaking. Of course the ukulele was funny and the stories about the bus tour were entertaining. I really liked that he was so adamant about the future of book making. I’m glad to see that book art is getting the recognition it deserves and that he believes it will continue to grow in popularity. I believe it is a legitimate canvas for someone looking to create something original.
My only problem with the lecture is the discussion of art vs. craft. Again, I’m not sure why it matters or why anyone cares. I don’t, and probably never will, understand why people seek validation through terms like art or creative. If the people within the community who appreciates it understands its worth who cares what other people label it. Also I’m not entirely sure why art is more important than craft anyway.
The poem I chose was Charles Simic’s Mirrors at 4:am. I’m not great at analyzing poetry, but, to me, the poem had a very dark feel. So when I began to make the book I wanted it to feel dark and a little rough. I decided to make a sort-of compact mirror.
One of the most challenging aspects of this project was just finding the materials, specifically the boxes to make the compact. After much searching, I finally found several small gift boxes the same size at a dollar store. Because I wanted the book to be dark I began by spray painting all of the boxes black, then painted over the black with oil paint. I chose oil paint because I wanted the cover, or top, to have the textured feel and look oil paint provided.
The biggest challenge creatively was how to make it operate, at least similarly, to a compact mirror. First, was how to make a mirror for the bottom of the box. After struggling with several different plastic-type materials, I discovered that if I covered aluminum foil with a plastic cover it gave the appearance of a mirror. The most difficult part about that was working with the aluminum foil. It was very hard to cut without wrinkling and turned out to be very time-consuming. The end result didn’t make perfectly functional mirror, however it does look similar to a mirror and worked well for the background of the text.
Next, I wanted the box to stay open as if a compact would. I fastened thick paper cut into strips to the side of the box using small screws. The screws ended up working well to allow the strips of paper to be swiveled up to secure the lid open.
By far, the most time consuming element of this project was the sewing. I came up with the idea that a blind would be opened and closed by pulling a string outside the box so that inside the box was just the text and the mirror. I grossly underestimated how long this would take. I first had to secure the blind to one side of the box so that the blind would merely open and not just slide to the other side of the box when the string was pulled. After securing the blinds I then had to run two pieces of string through each of the blinds and tie each of them together outside the end of the box. The concept ended up being successful but was definitely strenuous work.
I think the book ended up being a success, but if I had to do it again I would definitely do a few things differently. The first obstacle was just time. Specifically the sewing took so long. Not just the actual sewing, but there was a lot of trial and error when I first started the project. Also, I would have done the cover first because the oil paint took so long to dry, and in fact is still drying. Also, I would like to have laid out the text a little more creatively. I’m happy with the look because I think it works with the simplicity of the book, but I would like to have experimented more with it.
The most difficult thing I discovered when I started my book was finding the materials. I wanted my main text enclosed within a box and finding ten equal sized boxes became more of a chore than I first expected. Finally I found small gift boxes at a Dollar Tree. Also, I wanted to incorporate a mirror into the book. My first thought was to have the words reflect into the mirror and be read off the mirror. However, after searching several places, I couldn’t find anything reflective enough for the words to be read. So I scrapped that plan.
I still wanted to have a mirror so I created a mirror using aluminum foil and some stuff I found called crystal seal. I used the self-made mirror to line the bottom of the box then started putting the text in. I wanted the text to be on a blind that could be folded and unfolded without actually pulling the paper itself. To do this I pulled string through both ends of the box and through the blind fold. Then I tied knots in the string so that the blind would open and close by pulling on the strings outside the box. It works pretty well for the most part but it’s going to take a little tinkering with to perfect it. Then I painted the outside the box using oil paint.
I guess my biggest question when watching the video was who cares. Why does a person doing anything care if people classify it as art or craft? And why is craft suppose to be somewhat demeaning? I’m not sure there will ever be an exact formula for what art is or isn’t, but I’m just not sure why is matters. Most people, including myself, couldn’t tell you what social, political, or emotional statement any piece of “art” is trying to make anyway. So if we look at it that way, to the novice, how is a beautiful abstract painting by a world famous artist any different than a mural of kids playing painted on the side of a middle school? Or how is fifty foot metal sculpture any different from a unique design for a building.