When I first read over the list of project options for my son's pre-kindergarten summer project, I started having palpitations. No way could he do all of this, I thought! After calming myself down, and deciding to let him make a choice, he selected the "write a story project".
Writing a story is a new endeavor, though making a book is not. Last year when his brother was born, we created a simple pamphlet brag book, sewn with ribbon, to showcase photos of him with his new brother. While I guided and gave directions and demonstrations, he did a lot of the work himself.
So, after deciding to write a story, I suggested that he could do the same. He in turn said he wanted to make a real book. I replied, "a real book? Show me what you mean." I pulled out a great resource I've used since I learned bookmaking in my freshmen year 2-D design class at Syracuse University, Cover to Cover by Shareen LaPlantz, and flipped through examples of books. He found the codex page and was set. I thought like mother like son, he's trying to make a big project more complicated.
So, in early August I reread the codex steps and we began with the basics: folding signature pages. I happen to have a lot of bookmaking supplies on hand including: book board (very thick chipboard), glues, papers, a bone folder, tapestry needles, and wax-coated thread. He folded and grouped the signatures with me, punches holes in the signatures for the thread, sewed the pattern to attach the pages in the signatures and hold the signatures together, selected the paper, helped cut and glued the cover papers and end papers. Finally once all was dry, he set out to illustrate the cover and some of the interior pages after I wrote out his story, "Mr. Freeze Captures Batman".
All told, we spent about an hour each day we worked and probably devoted about three or four days for the actual production of the book, plus the additional days spent to illustrate.
He's very proud of his accomplishments, and while he couldn't have created this book completely independently, he did learn how to make a book and did a majority of the hands-on work himself. So, thank you Gregory School for encouraging us to work on this project over the summer; it was time well-spent and will be a strong memory for both of us, and maybe my students will start bookmaking in lessons!
Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Deemed the Kitchen God's Artist by NJ Savvy Living for my sainted appliances, I'm now known more for my vibrant, meditational paintings of chairs set surprisingly in landscapes. Since relocating to NC from NJ, mothering my two sons, and caring for our rescue pup, Cider, took the lead. Now, that my Durham home studio is renovated it's open again for virtual art coaching and the resumption of my personal art and commissions. The work I make is inspired by my joy of teaching, exploring nature, and traveling. On The Teaching Artist Blog, I share my approach to teaching and educate my readers about my creative process.
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