"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
_ William Morris
, 19th century craftsman, designer, writer

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Arts & Crafts: Playing With Books

Last weekend at a fundraiser for our local middle school my youngest son bought me a surprise: an upcycled "apple" made from an old book.

I was smitten.

It's a wonderful piece of folk art made by students at the school.

One of the amazing moms in charge of the project told me they had found the creative craft in, Playing With Books by Jason Thompson. Very. Cool.
Photos of my apple!
"Books are more than pages, board, glue and thread -they are artifacts of the human spirit and hand." _Jason Thompson, Bookbinder and author

A self-taught bookbinder for more than twenty years, Jason and his partner in love and life, Ilira Steinman, established Rag & Bone Bindery in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, a studio dedicated to creating handcrafted books and albums -while also maintaining an inspiring blog, authoring two books and raising just as many children.

In his book, Playing With Books, Jason writes, "I acquired my book binding skills through practice and curiosity. I share this to inspire anyone who has a dream but feels a lack of education is a barrier to success. If I, a high school drop out, can do it, so can you."

The art and creativity demonstrated and exhibited throughout the book are equally inspiring.

Here's what you'll need to make the "apple" project.

 (Which a friend noted would make a great teacher gift -especially if each class member signed a page! Or perhaps wonderful decorations for a book group or party!)  

Photography: Karen Philippi/Playing With Books
 Project No.27:
by artist, Sheila Daniels

paperback book * craft knife * chip board (or you can use the cover of the book) * binder clip * adhesive * stem and leaf (Sheila's project also calls for ink, which my example doesn't use or show,  so I am leaving that step out!)

Note: "Use a  paperback book with at least 100 pages. The more pages in the book, the smoother the shape will appear when fanned open. use care when working with the utility blade to shape and trim the book pages."

1. Remove front and back cover of a paperback book and remove any remaining bits of adhesive. Using the cover or a piece of chip board, draw half of an apple shape to create a template. Attach the template to the book with a binder clip to hold it in place. Use a craft knife (like an Exacto) to cut along the template and shape the pages. Work slowly and cut through only a few pages at a time. (The students cut about ten at a time).

2. Next, attach the first and last pages together with adhesive, or use a few bobby pins to hold the book open. Finish the apple by cutting a paper leaf (or use one from the silk floral dept.) and attaching it to a real twig (or "stem"). Insert the stem and the leaf into the center of the apple. 

I think the only thing missing is a bookworm!...

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