Last week I started sharing my vision of a book for my friend, Michelle, who helped me press and collect the flowers from our 2008 trip to Ecuador.
My next step was to visit my neighbor who is a talented bookbinder. I took my finished pages (at least I thought so at the time) and hoped he would have some suggestions for putting the book together.
We discussed making an accordion of folded paper to hold each page or making a box to hold the loose pages. I took home two books on bookmaking to read and experiment.
One of the requirements I had was to make sure I could open the pages fully without damaging the dried flora. That presented challenges of protecting the flowers and I used a translucent paper to cover the dried flower cut smaller that the floral page. It would be easy to lift the translucent cover to see the actual flower.
Somewhere about this time I realized that I had 2 different widths of pages. That would never do! To solve that issue I made folded strips of paper and added the strips to the side of the pages making sure the finished pages measured 6 ½” in width.
Getting the pages to lie flat when they were open eliminated many choices. I made several samples using different techniques – gluing the edges of pages to a flat piece of paper, sewing the edges together – to no avail.
Finally I decided to punch holes and tie the pages loosely together with narrow ribbon. There would be enough play to open each page. I tested that idea and yes, it would work but the paper could tear at the punched holes. The holes needed to be reinforced. Leftover vinyl wallpaper (from my interior design days) would be strong enough. After cutting strips an inch wide, punching matching holes and gluing the strips to the floral pages, I threaded the ribbon and tied it. It worked!
The pages opened just like I wanted.
Next the cover - A fabric belt/scarf woven in a South American pattern would be perfect. After playing with it, I decided to leave the fringe on one end and make a pocket for maps and paper from the trip. The fabric, pressed and starched, was glued on each side of cardboard with a solid piece of fabric connecting the front and back covers.
The cover is not attached to the pages and is just protection when the book is closed. This also allows controlled movement of each page when viewing.
This project really made me think about the importance of designing and implementing the materials to achieve my vision. I can’t wait to give the book to Michelle!