I finished without almost bleeding out on my cutting mat this time, and my sense of hyperbole is still in tact. I qualify that as a success. As discussed before, my book is a blueprint of a house where each room contains a part of the story. I would say the concept was creative and original because I haven’t seen a book a done this way before. In many ways, it doesn’t look like a book, but it does contain a story, and I think that there are all the elements of a book to found in my project. It was more of re-appropriating a project that I had to do in my technical drawing class from high school into a book form.

This book was definitely a challenge to actualize. When I proposed this idea a couple of weeks ago, I had only a vague idea what I was talking about. I knew I wanted to do a frame of a house in balsa wood, and that each room would contain a part of the overall story, but how exactly I was going to get each part of a story into the rooms, and still make it look like a blueprint of a house, I wasn’t completely sure of. In the last few weeks that I have gone from proposal to finished product, I hit a bunch of bumps in the road. The biggest one being the fact that my idea to use actual blueprint paper fell though, and I had to scramble to try and figure out how to best imitate that blueprint feel. Another struggle was that my book involved a lot of math with sixteenths and eighths of inches. I’m not great at math to begin with. What I ended up doing, was relying on InDesign to make sure that all my room book covers were the right size, and using the program to make sure that all my balsa wood was cut to the right size. After that, it was a lot of glueing and double checking to make sure I was doing things correctly.

I wanted my book to look like my character in my story could have created it. In many ways, my form is just an extension of the story. I wanted my book to actually tell part of the story itself. Because of that, the craftsmanship teeters somewhere between book art (not sure art is the right words) and a DIY craft for children. It was tricky to maintain this balance. On one hand, my project can be reduced in description to balsa wood glued to paper, and other hand, I’ve used a lot of the techniques we’ve learned in class this semester to achieve that. The biggest example of that for me is the cover to each room. If you look at it, you’ll see that it’s the same way did all of our hard bound covers this semester. The paper that the story is on, is in an accordion fold, which is one of the first things we learned this semester.

I would say my success was that it is complete and kind of looks like I wanted it to. I also think the form is an extension of the story (or maybe the other way around) and I’m pretty proud of that. I would have liked for my book to put together even more precisely. I would probably label that as my failure in constructing the book. Specifically where the pages of my story were glued to the room tops. Not all of them are as straight as I would have liked. I never really did figure out a great way to glue them, and keep the construction tight.

I think this book was kind of like its own graphical element, and I like that. I definitely focused more on the book form than I did on the story itself. The story is an experimental form where I just give highlights (or low lights) of a family. This was based on the idea that I just wanted to give the frame of the story like the frame of a house. The difference between connotations between house and home was inspiration for this story. I always think of house a blank structure, and home as the idea that we have of our own personal space. To that end, I gave the house of the story and not the home. I wanted the reader to fill in the home, and do the heavy lifting. It is also why I went with the title of “A House Is Just A Frame.”

Other graphical choices come on with typeface choices. I used a font that emulates the handwriting of an architect on a blueprint. It’s a very specific kind of handwriting. I also used a lot of straight lines. I wanted straight lines to be a thematic element to the piece

Very happy to say that my final project “Bike Life” was a huge success. The story was published in the process of me constructing my book and all three of my copies are already sold.

Bike Life is a coming of age short about me purchasing my first dirt bike while discovering my mothers new drug addiction in the process. The concept is based around the look of the bike. I set out for the book to be as original as the essay I wrote. The challenge lied in creating a dirt bike feel while still ending up with clean and presentable project.

The CR 80 I purchased in the story is fire red like the book cloth I chose to cover the book and the post and art paper are both chrome like the accessories that decorated my bike– the end result produced three books that directly matched the content of my book. I also created a pick-up truck for my display that looks similar to the truck my uncle used to haul my bikes on.

I’d rate my book a 10 out of 10 in the area of craftsmanship. The posts are sturdy, the book cloth is extremely durable and I used extra glue in an effort to create a permanent seal. Post bound books are solid investments and can be read, re-read and passed on with little to no signs of use (Unless you are trying to break it).

I did not stretch the book form I used. Purposely– I wanted to remain conservative because I love my concept and story and I knew I was going to be responsible for three identical projects so I didn’t want to stray too far away from my goal. I also enjoy the classic minimalist look I was able to create.

I chose Baskerville as the font because it added a classy look to gritty story. Advice from my instructor and classmates led me to seeing post-bound books as photo albums so I added real photos from that era in my life creating a higher level of authenticity and further allowing the readers to connect with me.

The name “Bike Life” came from my preteen/teenage obsession with dirt bikes. We drank, ate and slept dirt bikes riding them from sun up to sun down – not knowing that we were at the forefront of the subculture that’s now sweeping America.

I’m really happy with the end result; however, if I made them again, I’d play with the form to be even more creative. I’d try to create the shape of a bike or even incorporate some non-book material like rubber or metal. Other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing, I love my books and I can’t wait to get them to their new owners.

Cost of Supplies

Book Cloth

$12

Post

$7

Copy Paper

N/A

Stamps

$20

Book Board

$18

Printing

$20

I spent about $77 on on the materials I needed to produce the three books, not valuing the story would bring their worth to about $25 a piece. If this was my real business I would price them at $45 and they would be special order only. I sold the books created in my final for  $15 because the people who wanted them were fans of my work and wanted to own something I created. photo-6

What is the concept for my book? In what ways is that concept creative and original?

I really wanted to use the Dos a Dos Hardcover form for this project. I had an idea for a parallel dimension story that would work well in this form. It was the story of a teenage girl who has a rotten day. The reverse side was the same day but this time her parents are alive. The story is really about the relationship between Bridgette and her sister.

This concept is not really original or especially creative but it did challenge me. I had a certain message I wanted to get across that I wasn’t sure I could do in two separate stories. But I knew how I’d do it if it were one continuous story. So the main challenge of this project was how to guide the readers through the story. To make sense, readers have to start at the beginning. How could I distinguish the two covers so they’d know which was the cover to start with? What I ended up doing was sticking a big white fabric rose on the cover of the front cover and basically tying the other side shut. That way readers would be attracted to the cover with the rose (which also has a bright red color). Also, the second story is slightly harder to get into with the clasp, it doesn’t flop open like front cover.

I’m immensely proud of the clasp I configured for the back cover. For the mockup, it was too loose so Meredith suggested using wire to make it tighter. The wire worked perfectly. The trinket is tucked snugly into the cover and reinforced with wire. There is red, pink, and white tread braided together that wraps around the trinket to hold the back cover shut.

What successes and failures did I have in constructing this book?

The major successes were the materials I found. The endpapers are beautiful. It’s a reflective paper with roses on it. The artist paper I used for the covers seem to fit the tone perfectly. I really like the white rose pendants I found. It looks nice against the red artist paper. And it draws attention to the beginning of the story, the side on which the reader should start. As I’ve mentioned, I’m very proud of the clasp I made for the back cover.

I didn’t have too many failures. My major problems with this project (as with my midterm) was the design element. What could I do to make my cover not only represent the content, but also stand out. I think I came up with some good design elements. The white rose, the red artist paper, and the stamp bruises. I really love the concept of the bruises, although they didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted.

In what ways have I fully explored and even stretched the book form I used?

I tried to adapt other book forms into this to make it more interactive. At one point in the story, Bridgette’s ex-boyfriend gives her a folded up note at school. When she opens the note on the bus, the readers turn the page and the Turkish Fold opens with J.D.’s handwritten note inside. At the end of the reverse story, Bridgette opens the note again. Instead of taking up a 2-page spread like I did the first time, I made a smaller Turkish Fold that it glued to the page on one side, but the reader has to open the note.

In “What Could Have Happened” Bridgette leaves a note for her sister, Bonni in her locker. Instead of using another Turkish Fold, I got a piece of lined notebook paper and folded it up the way my friend taught me in 6th grade when we’d pass notes back and forth during class. Then I glued this note into the text. The reader can still open it, but it doesn’t have any text in it. What I did include in each of the three notes (for the three copies of the final) was include an illustration. Each illustration is different (I hope that doesn’t count against me, but I hate drawing the same picture over and over again). One book has a headshot of Bridgette. One has a headshot of Bonni. And the last is a headshot of their friend Lana who also appears in the story. I have no idea what J.D. looks like so I didn’t even attempt to draw him. This is more of a treat for my readers than anything specifically tied into this story. These illustrations are just a reward for the reader who pries open the note (and extra kudos to anyone who can put it back together!)

How is the form of the book linked to the content of the book?

The form dictated the content. As I mentioned, I wanted to write a story that told two versions of the same story mainly to illustrate the importance one person can make in another’s life. The Turkish Folds and middle school notes were added to draw out the content in the design. I wish I could have adapted more book forms into this project, but the content didn’t call for anything I could make into a mini book.

What graphic and typographic choices did I make for this book and why? How do these elements impact the book and my concept?

For the covers, I wanted something that looked kind of violent. The story was about domestic violence. The artist paper I used for the covers was a doubled sided paper I found in the scrapbook section of Michaels. One side is a good red color. The other side is white with tiny red hearts scattered on the paper.

There was some reflective imagery in the story that I was able to draw out in the design. First, as I’ve mentioned, the reflective rose end papers. And the very form itself lends to the idea of reflection. The 1/2 Title and Full Title pages also deal with reflection. The title is Over & Over. The second “Over” is flipped underneath the first “Over” and is a lighter tint which gives it a reflective look.

What is the name/title of my book, and why was that name/title selected?

I named my book Over & Over. I chose this name because of the form and it fits the content as well. Bridgette relives her day over and over and over as long as the reader continues to flip the book over. At the end of the “real” day it says (See reverse for What Could Have Happened) and at the end of the “fantasy” day it says (See reverse for What Really Happened). Although the story should be read in a certain order, I tried to write in in a way that if someone did start with the “wrong” side, they could get to the end, flip to the other side, and still understand what was going on.

If I were to make this book over again, what things would I change (in process, concept, and construction) and why?

I’m really pleased with the way this book turned out. And impressed that I was able to make 3 identical copies (well, mostly identical). There isn’t much I would change. The bruises didn’t turn out quite the way I hoped. The front cover looks really good because it’s blue ink on red paper. The reverse side was trickier since it was white paper. I took some Cranberry ink and Royal Blue and tried to blend them. I think the color turned out okay, but it’s very faint and doesn’t look like bruises. On a test sheet, I mixed in some Espresso (brown color), but it looked more like dirty finger prints than bruises. I just hope the message gets across to any potential readers.

If I were to make this book over again, I’d revisit the content. I like to expand it a little more and find a way to bring in more book forms. Those are the parts that makes my Dos a Dos unique and original. And they were the most fun parts to make.

I knew from the start that I wanted to make a traditional book with texture and naturalistic elements that do not necessarily represent the content, but emphasize specific imagery that I felt important or significant to the content, which is a six sectioned poem about various stages of my life told through a specific scene or idea- the common thread being the phrase “not today” (the title of the book). I wouldn’t say my concept is original as in “outside the box” or doing something unheard of or seen; I was more interested in doing something I genuinely wanted to do, which was to make a simple, pretty book that contained an important (and still evolving) piece of work to me.  Of course, not to say that I had a simple time making this simple book.  First, it took me a long time to just finalize the idea by toying with the various possibilities of construction, and even when I agreed upon an idea, I was still revising and changing my “expanded” element, and I’m still not even sure if I succeeded in doing that, but I’m still pretty proud of my end result.  This was definitely creatively challenging in that I don’t have any artsy experience whatsoever (besides writing) and I think that contributed to my indecisiveness.  And structurally, I’m not that great with making things in general (hence why I don’t cook, draw, design, whatever else requires graceful handiwork), so I knew I would have that against me.  As for failures, there’s a list.  Printers hate me, and I hate them.  I still don’t know what I was doing wrong but I just could not get my margins to line up when turning the paper over to print on the other side.  I literally went through SO much paper, which dwindled my supply and my spirit.  I first went to the lab, printed there and it came out fine.  Then I went home to print on the paper I wanted to use and so I could have color for one of my text images, went through a ridiculous amount of paper, and failed miserably.  I ended up just going back to the lab so my book isn’t printed on the best paper, it’s just b/w, and only pamphlet style, but I’m still happy with it.  Another failure: my original sewing technique.  I tried to do coptic, but ended up either too loose or too tight for my limited number of pages and it looked stupid; then I couldn’t print signatures, so I ended up improvising a regular pamphlet stitch.  I actually like the final sewing result, the bow looks cute and I wanted to the thread to be really visible or draw attention, and I think it does that. The only true success story is my original choice of artist paper to use for my front and back covers.  I LOVE that paper.  It’s beautiful, easy to work with, and it actually contains nature with leaves, rose buds, and grass- wonderful colors.  I even got lucky with my end papers- choosing which color to go for that best complimented the natural colors of the covers was time consuming, but worth it.  I’m pretty happy with the light blue I chose.  The end papers  were important because my cover opens to another cover on which I drew pine needle bunches.  I toyed with various ideas for that too, but really just ended up running out of time with all my printing issues.  I tried some mock-up covers with actual pine needles, but they failed to maintain shape and looked weird in the end, so I compromised with my own sketches, but I’m ok with how that turned out too.  I’m also proud of my indesign layout, which was a pleasant surprise considering my limited abilities.  I chose Garamond for my font because I like how “literary” it seems to me, its versatility in different sizes, and its simple, clean design, all of which I thought fit well with the concept and feel I was going for.   If I had to do this project over again, assuming I had ample time, money, and tools, I would make a book in the shape of a cat with a couple poems I’ve recently written on the gang of cats that hang out on our roof/my windows.  See?  A completely different idea, and one that is probably more conceptually appealing I’m sure, but that’s kind of my downfall- ideas only come when they come.  Hopefully I’ll make this cat book this summer 🙂  

What is the concept for my book? In what ways is that concept creative and original?

The concept for my book is born of the title, “Buiki Gasa and Ignoble Coconut Pearls.”  I wanted to push the book form much further than I did at midterm, and build the book around the book.  My books are contained by trees and coconuts.  There might be tree-books, but it’s not the most common book form, probably, and certainly nothing I’ve ever created before.

▪   In what ways does my concept challenge me creatively and structurally?

The concept totally challenged me.  It’s been a multi-week process.  I started with the mock-up, and worked around the wire frame with other materials.  After the mock-up, I made each element individually.  This is not something I would have ever attempted before, and while it’s been challenging to give detailed attention to each element, I am pleased that I forged ahead and with the final project.

▪   What is the level of craftsmanship that I have brought to the book? What successes and failures did I have in constructing the book?

Wow, a lot.  I’ll go through the process step by step.  I started with measuring, cutting, bending, and using pliers to fold over the edges of chicken wire.  I formed it into the tree trunks.  Then I took electrical wire and wove it into the top layer of wire to secure it as a base for the palm fronds.  Then, I glued light-weight corrugated cardboard, artist paper, decorative paper on the trunk, then on the fronds.  Onto the coconuts.  I created a paper mache mix from flour and water, and used strips of newspaper to cover balloons in order to create the coconuts.  I left them to dry for a couple of days, and then returned to them to apply spray paint (two coats over two days).  Next, I turned to the actual print part of the project.  I edited the story into four pieces of micro-fiction, and adjusted the margins for printing so that I could fold the book accordion style.  I then printed the three sets of four stories.  Then I trimmed the document.  I cut 24 book covers out of Diet Coke cardboard containers.  I pasted the book covers to each of the documents, then cut and pasted book cloth.  To label each separate micro-story, I stamped the appropriate number of the piece (i, ii, iii, iv) on the covers.  Then I turned to the actually title page (overall book cover) which I printed on artist paper and drizzled with coffee.  I let that dry in the sun.  The rest of the elements include small corked bottles for the overall book covers and colophons, plastic pearls to decorate the sand, sand and clear containers in which to present the book, and hemp with which to affix the coconuts.  Whew, I think that’s it!

▪   In what ways have I fully explored and even stretched the book form I used?

I think I stretched it about as far as I can for this project.  Whereas for the midterm my books look quite conventional, this doesn’t even look for a book.  With the text hidden in the coconuts, one might know it’s a book at all.

▪   How is the form of the book linked to the content of the book?

The story centers on the coconut tree and it’s fruit that a boy is trying to pierce.  His father watches from the patio, and they are both engulfed in the August Florida heat.  The tree – the flora – of the location almost suffocates the characters much like their asphyxiating lives.  So, the story is thus contained in/by a coconut tree and its fruit.

▪   What graphic and typographic choices did I make for this book and why? How do these elements impact the book and my concept?

The tree is the 3D (4D?) graphic.  It has come from the content to be a real, touchable element that takes over the story.

 

(COCONUTS DRYING IN THE SUN)

photo-2

▪   What is the name/title of my book, and why was that name/title selected?

My book is titled “Buiki Gasa and Ignoble Coconut Pearls” because it is about a coconut drupe and the root system, that although connects the father and son, does not facilitate communication.  The story’s central character is really the tree and its fruit.

If I were to make this book over again, what things would I change (in process, concept, and construction), and why?

I might do less although I’m extremely pleased with the outcome.  I would probably change the way I bound the actually text booklets.  That is the least exploratory part of the project, but it still took a chunk of time.  I might use larger containers (but they’re expensive), so really I’m happy with what I’ve got!

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 JUST finished these books. I’m rather proud with how they turned out, and it’s neat to think of them both as finished products/pieces of art but also still very much as experiments. I worked with some new material for my books (canvas and vellum) and i had to troubleshoot some math issues (added thickness due to canvas and binder board instead of book cloth and chipboard), so i feel there’s a sense of freshness to them that my other books haven’t had. I also feel like i pretty successfully troubleshooted my issues, perhaps in no the most graceful manner, but successfully nonetheless. They have kind of a raw (for lack of a better word) feel to them, which i think works with the piece; having the cases come out perfect i think would have been kind of against theme (or at least against the actually experience i’ve had with mental health issues). Had i gone with a patient file design, i think precision/perfection would have been a must (it would have been from the point of view of the doctor, which always comes to me as a rather detached/exact/static feeling). I feel like these books are from the point of view of the narrator of the poem (which may or may not be me), so the rough-around-the-edges looks feels authentic to me. It’s the voice of the man in the straight jacket, not the voice of the doctor observing him.

Anyway, onto the questions:

My original concept was much more cloud centered. Clouds would have been the main focus/theme of the work. But, once i centered “rorschach” as the poem that would serve exclusively as the text for this project, i realized that what was really going on thematically had very little to do with clouds. It was really about perceptions and expectations, and seeing things simply as they are (and appreciating them for what they are). I think the accordion fold really lent itself to the poem. I appreciate the feeling that the various levels of meaning in the poem are literally and visually represented by the different sections of the fold, which feel like levels since its vertically aligned. I also really appreciate the senes of inner expansion (or “it’s smaller on the outside [than it is on the inside]”). That’s a theme i’m been working with a lot recently, that the internal space is greater than what it “should be” based on external appearance (which harkens back to the perceptions/expectations idea). I also just enjoy things that unfold. I like the participation aspect of it.
The straight jacket case came later. I knew i needed more to the project than what i had, but it took some brainstorming with Meredith to really hone in on what more it needed. I wanted there to me more visual elements of the psychiatric/mental health undercurrents of the poem, so i decided on constructing a case for the books in the spirit of a straight jacket. I originally wanted to make the cases look as closely to a straight jacket as i could, but upon conceptualization, i realized i 1) didn’t have enough time to do that and 2) i didn’t have the right skill set to pull it off. So, i went with a more suggestive route: given the context of the poem and the canvas (which was a happy accident i stumbled upon), i think the cover gives just enough of an impression of a straight jacket that the reader can fill in the rest. Plus, i feel the brown bellyband adds another subtle hint to the nature of the cover (the straps of most straight jackets). But, i also like that the reader may not consciously get what the cover is until they read the poem. Intuitively, i think it will land much sooner than consciously, but then again, i think that’s generally how intuition works.
I really, really love that this book is a series of surprises. First, the bellyband covers up the straight jacket elements of the cover. Then, it japanese folding boxes open, revealing the copyright/colophon section and the artist bio….and a sliver of blue and white….which then UNFOLDS into a skyscape that you have to turn 90 degrees in order to read. I think the biggest thing this book has going for it is the fact that at each stage of interaction with it, it defies expectation.

On a construction level, two of the books don’t fit as snuggly together as i would like, but i feel like that’s a minor thing. They all work as they’re supposed to, but i probably shouldn’t have used each cover as a template for the next and just did them all individually. I was trying to save myself some time, and it resulted in something that feel a little short of my intention. But, now i’ll know for next time.
I’m also really surprised my printer printed so well on fairly thick watercolor paper. It’s looks amazing, which was probably the biggest happy accident of the entire process.
I feel like i’ve gained some insight on the versatility of the accordion fold. Of the forms we’ve used, i think it may be my favorite. It’s a deceptively simple form that probably got scoffed at a lot when it was younger and the other book forms asked it want it wanted to be when it grew up and it said something like, “A pro-cricket paleontologist-astrophysicist superspy.” I’m really curious now what else i can do with an accordion fold.

I mentioned the straight jacket visuals, so i’ll talk about the skyscape. I like the feeling of levity it gives the poem, which is one of the less-heavy things i’ve written (though, it may actually not be….). But, i love clouds, and i will use anything as an excuse to incorporate them into my work. Fortunately for this project, i didn’t have to go very far for said excuse. I enjoy that the image i used is just a section of a much, much larger scene; i feel like the image itself lends itself to suggesting more or greater space. Or, at the very least, that there is more going on that just what’s in frame.

The title of the piece is “rorschach”. As for why it’s titled that, 1) that’s the name of the poem i used and 2) just read the poem and it should be pretty apparent.

If i made the book again, i would probably make another mockup or two so i could be sure about the spacing issues i encountered. Other than that, i think i’d keep things pretty much the same.