Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Widget Quest

Now that I've tried reinventing the bookmark, my second creative challenge is to come up with three widgets to use with promo for my upcoming Lords of the Darkyn trilogy. The immediate problems: I'm not a widget lover; I think 99% of all widgets are a waste of time and materials. I want something unique and different that is my idea, which rules out all the mass-produced advertising-type junk (thank heavens.) And I want to make it myself, which limits the range of possibilities to what I can reasonably produce without making a complete hash of it.

I've been keeping my eye out for inspiration and hoping the universe would conk me on the head with something fabulous. Which it did last night when I made a stop at World Market for some international treats. I always check their bargain bins for interesting sale items, where this time I found a set of three notes made into scrolls:


It was a real eureka moment. Scrolls are what books were before there were books, and as it happens Nightborn, the first novel in the new Darkyn trilogy, features a scroll as an important part of the story. Perfect idea for a widget! I even knew what I could do with different materials to make it low-cost, give it my own personal spin, and end up with something that has a good chance of not landing in the trash bin.

Next problem: I've never actually made a scroll, so I needed to do some research. I promptly went over to BAM to hunt for some how-to guidance, and in the process found Alisa Golden's Making Handmade Books. This is practically an encyclopedia of book making, and features a wide variety of beautiful and unusual bindings and forms. Ms. Golden offers fully illustrated, step-by-step instructions paired with beautiful finished examples of the different styles, so you can see what the end result should look like. Btw, if you're an art journalist, book maker or someone who for whatever reason fashions and binds your own books, this should absolutely be in your library.

Lucky for me it also included how to make a scroll book, the instructions for which I can adapt to use for my widget project. Reading through it also gave me a great idea on how I can secure the scroll in an interesting way and still assure that every component of the widget can actually be used for practical purposes. I love art, but I love not wasting or throwing away things even more. Now I just have to experiment with the design and put together some prototypes to test out the vision and see if I can make it work in reality.


  1. Oh wow, I like the looks of that book. That's going on my must-have-as-soon-as-possible list.

    The kids do a lot of inventive bookmaking, usually of the small, foldable style... and I've been wanting new ideas.

  2. Love the scroll idea.

    And that book has some gorgeous books on its cover. Wow...really makes me interested in looking into making books.

    Thanks for the ideas!

  3. Awesome!!! I have a new book to pick up for my collection.

  4. Oh, very cool idea, and I'm making a note of the book-making book title. Looks like it's full of fun projects!

  5. That's a fantastic idea! It's giving me the creative I-want-to-make-something-too itch.

  6. On my wish list! A new hobby :o)

    Those little scroll things you bought are very cool!

  7. New Darkyn trilogy? Will Alex be in this or any questions answered from book 7 of the Darkyn novels?

  8. Deva wrote: Will Alex be in this or any questions answered from book 7 of the Darkyn novels?

    The new trilogy is set in the same universe as the original series, and features some returning Darkyn and mortal characters (Alex has kind of an extended cameo in the first book.) These new books aren't an extension of the old series, so naturally there's a new storyline, but if the trilogy does well I'll be able to keep writing in the universe, and perhaps have an opportunity to provide more answers.


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