Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Shared Passion- A Book Arts Project

(made by husband and wife)

This project name has a two-fold meaning. The book series (of eight) made as Christmas gifts for each household in our family (a total of seven with an extra to keep for exhibiting) was a “work of passion” for myself and husband Johnny. We wanted to share our stories with our children and grandchildren, including how we came to grow up in the same community yet didn’t meet until high school. The writings recording our childhoods include each of our perspectives of meeting, falling in love, and marrying; therefore, the second “passion” (in the title above) without any details of course.

This was the first series I have ever created in my experience in book-artistry. It was CRAZY challenging! First, we didn’t decide to do this until the Thanksgiving holiday. Johnny already had some of his stories written but not typed. He also had some drawings (from memory) of childhood places and events.

I had some clear concepts for the project for some time, but these were nothing but thoughts. We spent all our evenings and weekends on this project from Thanksgiving through Christmas! We held our gathering the day after. I had previously gathered some photographs from our childhoods, but only a few were scanned.

This includes a copy of the hospital bill for my birth-$92.16!

This meant we each had to write stories, collaborate, choose photos, and compose the general format. Then I had to scan photos and make a couple of drawings, format our text to print out in booklet format, plus make that translate from my computer to the copier which would print to booklet signatures, then assemble it all into book form. The formatting/printing process was a nightmare until a friend co-worker tech-guru, Steve Tompkins got my printer set up to go straight to the copier at work. Note: I paid for the ink and brought my own paper.

I wanted to decorate the covers but there was not enough time.

The assembly of all the previous work into a book-art includes the processes of cutting 16 covers from thick Davy board (which Johnny did); covering them with (purchased) handmade art paper (which I did);

making a pocket for the front and back inside covers (which I sewed into the inside facing cover before gluing onto the Davy board); making a two sided map of our old stomping grounds (which I drew with collaborations from Johnny); making and copying 8 sets of DVDs of Johnny’s band (which Johnny had previously make but had to copy enough for each book to have one);

then finally assembling the parts and binding the book (my most favorite part) with Coptic stitching. I learned this method from a class at John Campbell Folk School instructed by Anne Fain of A. Fain’s Books Since learning this method, I have made several books including two for granddaughters (also for Christmas), and have taught it at school with several of my students also using it to make Christmas presents! I added the little heart on each spine to represent the love that went into making the books and the love in our lives as we have shared these forty one years of marriage. I stitched each of these books up while preparing for our Christmas dinner, finishing only the day before our event!!! This is why we did not have time to put up a real tree.

Johnny included a page of current events for the year of his birth.

I didn’t get a photo of all of the books set up together, but the photo at the top is what they would look like (created from one photo repeated in PhotoShop). The book has two fronts- Johnny’s side and then it over flip to begin reading my side. We meet in the middle. This was Johnny’s idea… a good one. They bulge slightly in the center due to the DVD in the pocket on Johnny’s side and the map in the pocket on my side.

Each signature is made up of five sheets of paper, which when folded in the middle breaks down to twenty 5 ½” by 8 ½” pages. There are seven signatures total, Johnny’s side having three (15,421 words), and my side having three plus one as a memorial section about my daddy 19,544 words). There are a total of 34,965 words written for our children and grandchildren to get a sense of place of where we came from and how our lives merged together as one. The stories come to a close just as we learned we were to have a baby and the full thrust of adulthood was about to begin showing us a whole new life together, as parents.


  1. Oh Angie what a wonderful gift. It will be treasured for generations to come. I wish someone had done that for me, but I can do this for my family and someday my great grand kids will be able to get to know me a little.

    Carole Kasa

  2. Thanks Carole. Yes it was a labor of love and hopefully will mean something along the way. We wish our parents had given us their stories. When you get ready to do yours, give yourself more time. There is so much more we would have done, but we can do more books I guess.