The 2012 issue of Pages, the creative guide for art journaling and bookmarking from the publishers of Cloth Paper Scissors, has just hit the newstands. I fell in love with the premiere issue last winter so there was no question I'd grab the second volume.
This one has several whimsical projects in it, from creating tiny wearable books to fusing and stitching plastic shopping bags into covers. There's also a mini-workshop on Japanese stab binding which I'm going to study, as I've gotten a little bored with coptic stitch and want to stretch my binding horizons.
If you have art journal maker friends, there's a good article on how to host a journal swap using pages rather than entire books (which could result in a neat collaborative project if you belong to an art group.) If you're a pack rat, there's an excellent project on creating a keepsake album made entirely of envelopes (this is another one I might try as I have piles of tiny ephemera stashed that I'd like to sort and keep categorized.) One artist shows you how to make wall-type paintbrushes into books by removing the bristle block and replacing it with decorated pages. I thought that one was absolutely ingenious.
I was so tempted by Katherine Pippin Pauley's project Not a Still-life, which shows how to make books out of fake plastic fruit, that I had to give that one a try right away. She used hers as recipe booklets -- each themed by the sort of fruit she used, but I decided to make mine into a poetry and photo album that paid homage to the color of my fruit.
Although it looks simple enough there were some tricky parts; cutting the fruit in half evenly requires a very sharp blade, and the accordion-folded pages have to be precisely trimmed to fit. Still, I made the book in a couple of days, and what I learned from my first attempt now has me eyeing other objects I might turn into books.
Once again the editors included a nice range of projects suitable for beginners to advanced book-makers. They're also keeping it green by emphasizing the use of recycled materials. One artist made a travel art journal out of an old sweater; another fused and stitched tiny bits of scrap fabric to create some impressive abstract covers.
I think Pages is breathing new life into a very old craft. Book-making has always been a serious, sober art, and while there's nothing wrong with that -- I have enormous respect for the traditionalists -- I think opening it up and bringing an element of play to the table makes it more accessible. Back when I took my class in book-binding we were lectured on using the proper materials and following techniques that really hadn't changed much since the seventeenth century. I've made some lovely traditional books, but I'd like to stretch my range and explore some new territory. Pages magazine is definitely taking me there.