The Sheltering Book Chapter 4

The Sheltering Book Chapter 4

I am honored to have been one of 17 artists who received an inaugural ‘The WORD Grant 2016: The Bruce Geller Memorial Prize” from the Institute for Jewish Creativity, a project of American Jewish University, to create, “The Sheltering Book“.


The Sheltering Book will be a life-sized book structure which will become the backdrop for community bookmaking workshops drawing parallels between the meaning and architecture of the book, and that of the Sukkah. The project also explores the relationship between the public sphere and private space, whether that space be our personal creativity, where we create, or what we create.”Debra Disman


A “Sheltering Book” workshop was held at 430 Pico in Santa Monica, a building owned by the Community Corporation of Santa Monica (CCSM), who rents out apartments to families and others, and provides a range of programming to them. Our workshop was part of that programming, and was attended by families with children from preschool to high school. A group of volunteers provided a lovely buffet and supported the participants, who created books,  and shared them in the shelter of The Sheltering Book.

web9Covers and pages were prepped, and participants bound them together into a single signature book which they then added to with writing, drawing and collage materials!

web3I taught the pamphlet stitch, but this young maker jumped right in, and wrote his book before it was bound!

web4Working with images cut from magazines…

webgAdding letters to create words…

webbDeveloping the interior…

webhCreating meaning…

webmUsing the drawing materials…

webaweba2A future “Women in the Arts”…

webnSharing our books in the shelter of The Sheltering Book.

websRoom for creative work here!

webvHe worked long and hard with a devoted volunteer to spell out his name in letters culled from magazines.

web7Celebration! Showing our books within the pages and open “walls” of The Sheltering Book”…supported within its loving “arms”.

The participants become the content and the characters of The Sheltering Book. Through their presence and their creations they people its pages, add meaning to its presence, and add life to its structure.Their story becomes its story, and vice versa.


The Sheltering Book becomes a synergistic process and experience for the community at-large, offering shelter, safe space, and creative inspiration for all who engage with it. 

Let us hold the vision!

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Fantastic, Debra! Congratulations!!

    • Thank you Barbara
      Congratulations to you on your cool new coloring book and other creative endeavors!

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