I seem to be heading to a lot of workshops lately. This past Saturday I headed to a free demo at the Printmaking Center of New Jersey. The topic was ‘Sculptural Books’ and it was presented as a taster for two classes that will be coming up at PCNJ over the summer.
The instructor was Pooja Makhijani – writer, educator, bookbinder – and passionate about all things paper as far as I could tell. We started off by looking at the Turkish Map Fold structure, a folding technique previously used for real maps (cue the conversation on the downfall of paper maps and how ‘this generation’ just don’t understand the joy of driving along trying to follow a tiny line on a six foot square piece of paper). She showed us some beautiful and complex examples online and then demonstrated a simple book form using four of the folded ‘maps’. There’s huge potential with this structure to incorporate text, images, ephemera etc and it’s incredibly tactile.
The second structure that we looked at was the Carousel Book, sometimes also called a Star Book. The possibilities for this structure are endless as a quick look online will show.
The structure is essentially built of multiple strips of paper which have been folded into an accordion fold. Each strip is a different length (the math of working out the length can be complicated and I’m not going to describe it here!) but when each accordion is nestled into each other (with a pamphlet stitch to hold in place at the points of contact), and the structure turned back on itself, it can reveal a wonderful series of dioramas depending on your design. I think this is one of those structures that can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it but the possibilities are very exciting.
The final structure that Pooja demonstrated was the Blizzard Book, a Hedi Kyle creation that I was keen to learn about. The structure is often referenced in bookbinding circles, and it almost has an aura of mythology around it as it really was created in a blizzard when Hedi was reportedly unable to leave the house because of the snow.
It’s another structure based on the accordion fold with no glue being used at all. I won’t go into the exact instructions here as there are lots of tutorials available online but it is a very simple concept and one which (again) offers a whole lot of possibilities for incorporating text, images or ephemera. It is another structure that is extremely tactile – but surprisingly strong.
I’m hoping to be able to get to the classes on these structures over the summer and explore these structures in more depth with Pooja. The Printmaking Center of New Jersey is an amazing facility, recently renovated so it is light and bright. The schedule of classes is online – take a look – they offer a great range of opportunities.