Much of the last several weeks have been spent working on custom bookbinding projects. These three are for teachers who make a difference every day! As this school year winds down, don't forget about those special teachers in your life.
1) A teacher that I work with is expecting her second child soon. Her teaching partner asked me to create a photo album to present as a gift from the class. The children created advice to the baby and these illustrations were sewn into the book. When I photographed the book, I realized that I put the covers on the wrong sides; hence, the pictures were upside down! I felt ill - what a terrible mistake! My mentor shared that being able to fix mistakes is a key element to bookbinding (as well as many other areas of life). Realizing that I had a few days to redo it if I needed to, I cut the stitching on the spine and resewed the book, aligning the pages correctly. My obsessiveness took over and I had to complete it that evening - it couldn't wait until the next day. At first, I was concerned that I would need to flip all of the pages and worried that the holes might not match. And, what if my thread tension is different and the pages don't fit correctly. Then, I realized that I would only need to change three of the sections; a little planning and trimming fixed my problem perfectly. In fact, the book might have felt more tight and secure upon this second sewing.
2) I had a student teacher this semester; she was excellent by the way! She taught a writing project that required students to create a polymer clay character as part of their planning process. I used the left over clay and a rolling pin to create two polymer clay covers for a special book. Our students illustrated book sections advising as to what makes a good teacher. I sewed these as well as several blank sections into the book. This was my first clay covered book. I wonder how it will hold up over time. Hopefully, it will be a special memory of her time in our classroom.
3) My nephew is a second grader in Michigan. His mom asked me to make an end of the year gift for his teacher. So, I created this green hinged box structure and included the hand painted paper that is integrated into much of my work. Several handmade cards are included. These cards are what inspired me to launch art as an "obsessive hobby" in 2004. A hand cut black panel is attached to water-color paper. Several layers of coordinating colored paper frame the design. Envelopes were created by folding an outdated atlas - a great way to outdated paper from recycling. Once the teacher uses the cards, the box will serve as a special container for many years.