One of my frequent concerns as an artist (and one I hear from many of my fellow artists) is the sheer amount of materials I go through. Papers, boards, adhesives – so many raw materials go into book making. Each time I order a box full of Rives BFK or Davey Board I feel a twinge of regret for the trees that will suffer a beheading to support my pursuit of art.
To challenge myself and use up those scraps of Rives, Davey Board and the vintage books and games I can’t resist at yard sales, I’ve decided to teach a class using only recycled and found materials. The class isn’t until September, but the Palo Alto Art Center needed photos to layout the catalog now. So this morning I went to my studio and started sifting through stacks of goodies I can’t seem to part with – the result is the book in the photo above – a re-imagined Chutes and Ladders.
The book is made with an old Chutes and Ladders game, scraps of Rives BFK, scraps of embroidery floss and scraps of black paper. So far so good – I’ve kept to my goal of not buying any materials for this class.
First, to really show off the game board, I decided to used pieces of the board not only as a cover, but also as section dividers. In order to show them off to best effect I made them graduated in height from 4 1/2 to 7 3/4″. I covered the exposed board edges with thin pieces of black paper wrapped around them like bias tape. Next, to use those cute little game pieces, I decided to use them as “tabs” for my dividers. I glued them using straight PVA.
For the pages I cut three pieces of Rives BFK to the same height as the section dividers and twice as wide. I folded them in half and then used a pamphlet stitch to attach them into an accordion fold spine – so each section has 12 pages. I attached the section dividers and the covers using Terrifically Tacky double-sided tape and there it is, my first entirely recycled book.
I’m happy with the way the design allows the game to remain the focus and it was very fun to make a single book with materials on hand. It was a different exercise in creativity to design around materials I already had rather than design around an idea rattling around in my head. Instead of worrying about getting enough materials for an edition, I could focus on celebrating the materials I had in a single book. I’m looking forward to teaching this class in the fall!