Referring back to earlier sample making, three small back to back accordian books with hard covers were constructed. Of the original samples made, this style felt ‘right’ in the hand, the weight was balanced and it was easy to look through in a book form. The added bonus is that the structure is versatile allowing the books to be displayed and seen from different angles.
Following Alisa Golden’s original instruction with some adjustment to make more of the printed surface visible and adding interest to the shape, each book was constructed using two accordians, each with eight segments. The accordians were sewn together using pamphlet stitch, with paper covered cardboard glued to the flat surfaces of the last two pages to form the cover.
The books measure approximately 15 x 10 cm, 17 x 8cm and 15 x 5 cm. I did start by making a larger book with each segment A6, which would have resulted in an A5 sized cover, but somehow it was a little cumbersome and more difficult to see the prints on the inner surface. Also the larger cover adds weight, making the book more difficult to stand on its edges.
The papers for each book were carefully selected to match colour and provide contrast. Separate segments were also deliberately chosen and arranged to maximise visual interest by considering whether the shape and line complemented or contrasted with nearby marks and differences in value were observed. Where possible the paper was grained long or short to make folding more precise.
I did encounter some difficulties. The paper needs to be measured, cut and folded precisely for the most professional finish. Whilst I am pleased with the quality of production, there is room for more precision in measuring. Although the using a tab to join segments allows for small pages to be printed, it is more difficult to get even folds and perfect alignment than it would be with one long strip of paper. Also if the corner of the cover paper is cut too close to the edge of the board, the diagonals don’t meet. I didn’t quite achieve perfection here and need to calculate the best margin to leave in future. The 220gsm smooth cartridge paper was easier to fold than the textured 220gsm watercolour paper.
Overall, I am pleased with the colours. As mentioned in an earlier post, the orange came out with more yellow than intended and I would have liked a little more teal than turquoise, but am very happy that the yellow and turquoise complemented one another. I was using cyan, yellow, magenta, charcoal black and white inks which I was comfortable mixing, but although tested before printing, I couldn’t accurately envisage how a very light covering would print on the different paper surfaces but would expect to improve with experience.
Although I was keen to work in this colour palette and the books sit well together, I think they are perhaps too similar and more contrast in value of colour between the three might have been more striking.
Being critical, the inner surface of the 15 x 10cm book is a little dark and a brighter colour which contrasted more with the outside and more defined printed marks would have been more dynamic, although the covers are a successful blend of marks, line and texture with strong colour.
The 15 x 5 cm book was constructed with my favourite prints at the time with lots of layers of print and visual texture on every page.
My favourite is the smaller 15 x 5 cm book which was a surprise. I liked the original A4 print which clearly showed the ‘holes’ left behind when inking a rough circle of stitched fabric ready for printing, but thought it lacked something.
What I did not foresee was the effect of dissecting the ‘holes’ and looking at smaller sections which transformed the print, resulting in some lovely bold blocks of colour emphasising the delicate lines of stitch offset by the grey. I would definitely explore this further in future.
As a series, the three books can be displayed in a variety of ways:
Golden, A (2010) Making Handmade Books, Lark New York