I was planning to probably wait a month before joining in with the Instagram bookbinding community challenge #areyoubookenough – until, that is, I discovered the theme for this month’s challenge: MAPPED. Growing up with a geographer and hiker for a dad, and with a strong independent streak, I learned early on the power of maps in all of their wonderful forms. My earliest memory of maps is of those Ordnance Survey maps with the bright pink covers, and we always had several nestled in the glove compartment.
These days I tend to access my maps electronically, but I can entertain myself for hours on Google maps. I love learning alternate routes, figuring out how different parts of a city are connected, and I love taking little strolls through street view. So yeah, I love maps. I was far too excited not to immediately commit to taking part in the challenge!
My immediate thought for a book based on the theme of mapped is what I’m running with: a photo book of a three month sailing sabbatical that my husband and I, and our two dogs, took last spring. Nautical charts were a huge part of this journey, and each stage was mapped out using charts spread out wide on the table in the saloon. So, a nautical chart would be an important element of this book. But just a page, or the cover, didn’t seem enough; the charts were integral to our journey, so I wanted to make them integral to the structure of the book also.
I was browsing through Pinterest and came across this post describing a “pocketed book cover”. It was used to teach fifth graders so seemed appropriate for my beginner bookbinder level. 🙂 What if, instead of using this structure as a cover, I made multiple pocketed sections, which would become my signatures? And in the pockets I could have loose, printed photos, and corresponding text describing the journey. The structures, of course, would be printed with nautical charts of each stage of the journey, holding just those photos from that part of the journey. Perfect!
I liked this idea for several reasons: first, I’m struggling with the photo book concept (a post, or likely several posts, for another time) and secondly I love the idea that this will force the book to become interactive – to view the photos in full, the reader (viewer?) will have to take the photos out of their pockets.
The models here are printed on cheap, thin printer paper. Still, they show that the bulk of the folded paper may be a little much, so I will experiment with folding vs. folding and cutting. Or maybe it won’t matter too much once thicker prints are inserted each side anyway.
Each chart will form a signature, and the signatures will be sewn to form a book block. I’m really enjoying case bound books right now, and because it’s a personal photo album for us that I imagine opening many times to relive our adventure, I’d like a pretty sturdy outer structure. However, I’d also love to experiment with brand new techniques for each book I make for #areyoubookenough so instead of creating a pasted marbled paper cover with bookcloth spine (my go-to) I’m planning to try a full cloth cover, something that I’ve felt a little anxious about trying … I’ve been assuming that a full cloth cover is tricker than paper and cloth, mostly due to the corners. And it wouldn’t be my book without some marbled paper in there, so maybe this time I can try a ripply, foamy white and blue marble for the endpapers, as a nod to the sea.