In preparation for book-making, I went online to find some inspiration and ideas on different types of hand made books. I was very happy to find Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord’s website www.makingbooks.com. Susan is an artist and works mainly with natural materials as she explores ‘connections between nature, aesthetics and spiritual transcendence’. My favorite of her works is The Spirit Books, a powerful collection of handmade books that took my breath away when I first saw it on her blog. Each book is made with natural materials, handmade papers, coconut shells, etc., and features stitching and beadwork. Each book sits in a cradle of twigs, driftwood or twisted vines. She has published a book featuring this collection and I promptly ordered it for myself. Now that I have found The Spirit Books, I could not live without them. Click here for the cabinorganic blog post on The Spirit Books.
I digress! But please, do check out her website!
Back to making books with children: Susan has been making books with children in schools and in small groups for over 20 years. Her www.makingbooks.com website features eight book designs and there are a number of youtube videos of Susan demonstrating how to make a few of them. She also provides PDF versions of the instructions and I have printed them all out for myself as I would eventually like to try making all of them. Susan is a fantastic teacher and I really like how she stresses re-using and recycling paper and cardboard for the books.
Of the eight book designs, I decided on ‘the stick and elastic’ and gathered the materials. We used colored paper, some decorative scrap booking papers and photographs of Sarah and her family. When Sarah arrived, I described the project to her and she dove right in, easily decorating her first pages. The book was a ‘Celebration of Sarah’ and she had no trouble coming up with ideas on how to illustrate each page.
Once she finished all of her artwork we assembled the book. Instead of an elastic we chose some ribbon that complemented the color of the cover and wrapped this around a twig. I think her book really turned out beautifully- a unique and true Celebration of Sarah.
By the way, you may recognize the family picture above if you follow my friend, Adrienne’s blog: Becoming a Country Girl.
For a closer look at the stick and elastic design, here are a few photographs of my book. (Note: Mine is still blank as my job was to keep 16 month- old Chayton distracted while Sarah worked. I’ll have to decorate mine later).
To keep things simple, I cut 10 pieces of white 8-1/2 x 11 card stock in half. I scored a line 1-inch from the left side on each page to give the book a cleaner look and make opening the book easier. We each got five pages which could be decorated on both sides. The covers were rich and colorful piece of card stock, again, cut in half for the front and back and scored on the left side. I punched two small holes in the left scored margin for the ribbon to go through. The twig anchored the ribbon and give a book a natural look.
Sarah and I had a lot of fun together making our books. Very special thanks to Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord and her helpful ideas and instructions and for sharing The Spirit Books.