Saturday afternoon I was itching to get to work on something, anything from my on-going  list of projects and ideas that gets longer by the day.  Two ideas popped out at me and seemed timely.  The first, to recycle the paper accordion folded window-blinds that I’ve been wanting to turn into books, and second, to winnow out some favorite drawings from my oldest son’s growing stack of art work.

One of the book artists I most admire, Hedi Kyle, designed a series of folded paper books without adhesive that she calls ‘blizzard books,’ named for the snow storm that kept her inside and inventing book forms with paper.  I’ve looked at the folding instructions for these books dozens of times in a favorite reference ‘ The Penland Book of Handmade Books,’ but never attempted one myself.  Saturday seemed as good a time as any to get started.

With a cleared dining room table, I trimmed the blinds to the right proportions for the books and started folding.  The pre-pleated paper made it easy to make accurate folds and added horizontal and vertical textures to the pages–an attractive addition!  The only slight draw back was that the shades did show a bit of wear and dirt, but nothing that couldn’t be masked or fixed up later.

blizzard book and window blind

blizzard book and window blind

These books are ideal for sliding pictures, cards, or other flat items into them, so my first thought was to turn it into a kind of art envelope or portfolio for little drawings.  On second thought, I couldn’t resist the possibilities that the folds presented, for hiding things underneath them, or for covering all of the surfaces.  I decided to try to attach as many of my son’s drawings as I could to the folded piece of paper, using the horizontal folds as guides for placing  the horizontally composed drawings.  I chose a stack of his pictures and cut away the bulk of the rectangular paper, leaving the central shapes and forms.  Rather than mess with gluing these pictures down, I liked the idea of sewing them together along the drawn horizon line at the bottom of each one, connecting them to the base paper at the same time.

unfolded paper & drawings

unfolded paper & drawings

paper through the sewing machine

paper through the sewing machine

the artist and the end product

the artist and the end product

blizzard-books-015

Here’s what it looks like folded up:

open book

open book

L's Blizzard Book

L's Blizzard Book

under a flap

under a flap

In the end, I liked the book, but even better liked the funky paper caterpillar mural that all the paper folds and art made, so I hung the whole thing on the wall of the boys’ bedroom next to their butterfly kite.  For the other book, I’m going to cut some paper to fit under the flaps and let Mr. L fill it himself in the coming days…maybe we’ll write and stamp on it too, we’ll see!

wall mural

wall mural

paper cover

paper cover

empty book, full book

empty book, full book

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