Tunneling our Way Through…Making Tunnel Books

Tunneling our Way Through…Making Tunnel Books

For the last class of our recent children’s bookmaking class at LACMA, we made tunnel books…comprised of two spines or sides, a back “page” holding them together.

To prepare for our project, we visited the beautiful LACMA Directors Roundtable Garden, resplendent with its Alexander Calder sculptures: mobiles and stabiles.

We observed how perspective is created by distance, saw how things looked smaller the farther away we are from them, and did a group exercise where each student in turn stated what they saw behind what the previous student said they saw…learning to see in “distance layers” (my terminology), I.E. in perspective.  We also explored the idea of scale seeing how large or small objects are in relation to each other.

Finally, we repaired to the lovely glassed in Plaza Studio, to put our learnings and observations into action, and create our books, exploring color, character, story and setting/environment in the process.

The results are…well, you can see for yourself why I called this class our “Seven From Heaven”!

Students of their own volition devised a theme,

such as this figure hiking,

and followed it through, in this case in silhouette form.

This young artist found images from magazines,

and created a scene with them.

Some created land, city and seascapes through cutting and shaping paper and cardstock strips, and adhering them to the spines,

to beautiful effect.

Students” individual color choices are always interesting…

and often very consistent…also with their clothing color choices, and probably more.

This innovative and well-traveled maker added the words, “Paris, London, New York” on these strips. her travels and where she has lived with her creative family is an important part of her identity.

The red spines on either side create a theatrical effect in this piece, that this bookmaker worked on with meticulous attention to detail, and tender loving care, as she did with all her projects.

I am so going to miss this class. It truly was heavenly to work with such motivated, thoughtful and devoted young creatives in the nurturing, inspirational and magnificent setting of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. May the “Seven From Heaven” ride LACMA art-mobile again soon, and may it be with me!

“Let’s Make Books” at LACMA

“Let’s Make Books” at LACMA

It has been wonderful to teach a family bookmaking class: “Let’s Make Books” for ages 5 and up at LACMA (The Los Angeles County Museum of Art).

Parents can attend with their children, and spend three hours visiting and drawing in LACMA’s galleries, grounds and gardens, walking through its architecture, and learning about its collection, before returning to one of the LACMA Art Studios to work together on art projects related to what has been visited and viewed.  A total experience of art immersion!

In this class thus far we have made accordion books with pop-ups, “folded fan” books with “windows and doors”, flag books, and tunnel books. A grand time has been had by all, including myself.  It is wonderful to work with families, see parents and siblings interacting, and the grown-ups getting a creative break which hopefully will refresh and rejuvenate them when they leave LACMA, and return to their daily lives.

Folded fan book with “windows” that open.

“Playing” with washi tape.


The tunnel book can fold up, stand up, and stretch.

Using LACMA exhibition announcements and postcards as part of the artwork.

Doors closed….

Doors open…

In process…

A colorful collection of magnificent tunnel books!

The creative endeavor of our kindly assistant…who played imaginatively with the tunnel book structure!

Kindness, creativity, imagination, play…these are the hallmarks of our program, and were in abundance during our class. Hurray for LACMA!

We have a bookmaking class for children aged 10-13 starting in early April…check it out!  We would love to have your children in our class…making art together.

“Be My Valentine”

“Be My Valentine”

What was planned as a Valentine-making workshop, turned into a Valentine bookmaking experience instead…with the creative participants learning how to fold an accordion book with pockets, and adorning, embellishing and enhancing it with all manner of sumptuous materials!


Participants glued together prepared strips of high quality drawing paper, which had the pocket folds set up for them. The pocket folds were folded, then unfolded, so that the participants did not have to measure them out. Each paper strip was also folded in half, and organized in sets of two.


After choosing their strips, gluing them together, then re-folding the pocket folds and then the center fold, the participants went on to fold the rest of the accordion structure. They added the covers which were cut to be wider then the width of the accordion sections, and folded the edge of the covers into the book, creating flaps or vertical pockets, or trimmed them off.


Then the real fun began. Decoration! Adornment! Embellishment!  Ribbon, lace, stickers, washi and fabric tapes were used to create design, text and image.


Participants employed all of the materials in fresh and imaginative ways, combining, layering and playing with them to create complex, whimsical and elegant Valentines that became a delicious feast for the eye, while the pockets offered a place for secrets, and possibly poetry.


Glittery stickers, resembling crunchy sugary treats were a hit, transforming the books into sparkling sculptural reliefs,


personalizing their pieces.


Participants used tapes to create patterned borders, 


ribbons to hold their books closed,


and ruffled laces to add that “je ne sais quoi” and finishing touch to their creations.


And of course, there are a million ways to say, “I love You!”

A personalized handmade work of Valentine book art would do just that!

Here’s to Amore!

“The Big Book”: Collaboration 3

“The Big Book”: Collaboration 3

Last summer I had the opportunity to do a collaborative book project with students aged 5-10. We called it “The Big Book“.

I created the structure out of repurposed corrugated cardboard. The students then added to, developed, embellished and played with the structure.

The students had access to all of the drawing, painting and collage materials we were using in class on our bookmaking projects to use in any way they wished (within time and space constraints, and reason) on the The Big Book.

Here is some of their play…..

webc1Images of students working on their book projects…on The Big Book

webiDesign and line…

webjWe used beads, paint pens, ribbon, paper, and much more…

The Big Book…Lives!

“The Big Book”: Collaboration 2

“The Big Book”: Collaboration 2

Last summer I had the opportunity to do a collaborative book project with students aged 5-10. We called it “The Big Book“.

weba1I created the structure out of repurposed corrugated cardboard. The students then added to, developed, embellished and played with the structure.

weba2I primed all of the surfaces, and painted the outside of the covers and spine black and the inside white.  I framed the outside of the covers with  extra strips of cardboard for stability.

weba3The students had access to all of the drawing, painting and collage materials we were using in class on our bookmaking projects to use in any way they wished (within time and space constraints, and reason) on the The Big Book.

weba4They went to town using pipe cleaners, cloth, washi and glittery tapes, feathers, and their own drawings

weba5to create designs, borders, text, textures, color and artworks on the collaborative piece.

webb2Because the students were a range of ages, there were a range of effects,

webb1which melded together to become a singular Book Work of charm, energy, and personality!

We worked together. We created together. We laughed together. We respected each other.

A Lesson for Living.

“The Big Book”: Collaboration

“The Big Book”: Collaboration 1

“The Big Book”: Collaboration 1

Last summer I had the opportunity to do a collaborative book project with students aged 5-10….we called it “The Big Book“.

webaFront cover of “The Big Book

I constructed a “folded fan” style flag book…out of corrugated cardboard. I folded an accordion spine, attached a front and a back cover, and two pages inside, going in the same direction, which fanned out when the book was opened.

webbBack cover of “The Big Book“.

I used tacky glue to put the pieces together, then sewed therm in place with hemp cord, and finally, trimmed the whole piece off with patterned duck tape. I then primed all of the surfaces, and painted the outside (front and back covers and spine) black, and the inside white, with acrylics. I added extra strips of re-purposed corrugated cardboard for stability.

webdStudents embellished the cardboard borders which also added structural support to the book.

webcA student’s expression of gratitude!

webkWonderful advice!

weblSo happy to see this….

webqStudents embellished just about every inch of the book…playing with words, colors, textures, designs and materials.

webrI created the structure…but the young artists left their mark/s….and made the piece come alive.

Much fun was had in the process. Students learned not only about using materials on a scale larger than their other book projects, but also about working together, collaboration, communication and cooperation.  Skills needed now perhaps more than ever.

Good lessons for our times. For any times. For all the times of our lives.

BOOKS: A Series (1)

BOOKS: A Series (1)

webaA series exploring items of interest….relating in some way…to the book as object, concept, sculpture, artwork or idea.

web5Such as “Flights of Fancy or Imaginary Scraps” by Charles Carrick, in the collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.  I saw it at the De Young Museum.


web6Amazing stuff.   Charles Carrick was a British printmaker who wrote “Poems: Serious, Humorous and Satirical,” published in 1870, and compiled a book of 216 drawings with poems and commentary. Unrequited love….was the inspiration.


web3 web4

Flights of Fancy indeed.  Explore more Imaginary Scraps here.

Enjoy. May your imagination soar.



In process: an interactive book commissioned by a local museum, to engage viewers of an upcoming book arts exhibition!

The book is a flag book, investigating color interactions, with text potentially added by the viewer/participants/co-creators.

The covers are made of book board, resurfaced with torn and crumpled pieces of unique “brown paper bag” colored folders, of  limited quantity, using neutral pH Lineco adhesive .

                      Corresponding stacked windows were cut into the front and back covers,

through which file cards (the piece is partially composed of file folders, after all) of different colors, process1

or white…can be seen. The cover colors and composition will change, depending on which cards are used.process2

Within, untorn and uncrumpled pieces of the same file folders are folded into pockets, edges glued together with a  UHU acid free glue stick, one edge stitched with linen thread, and the other side glued to the book’s concertina spine.process3

The accordion spine is made of watercolor paper, resurfaced on the back with pieces of torn and singed rice paper. The edge of each fold is covered with the same folder material as the covers, and the inside of the spine. process4

The flag page pockets will have the same size and shape windows cut out of them, all aligning with the front and back cover windows, so that anyone can add and subtract file cards, changing the color balance and composition of the cover and contents.process6

In this way, the viewers can become true creative participants and co-creators of the piece, creating chromatic interactions and meditations through their own actions…interactions with it! 

Making Our Own Books: Together!

Making Our Own Books: Together!

I had the wonderful experience of teaching “MAKE YOUR OWN BOOKS’, an enrichment class offered at Franklin Elementary School in Santa Monica by the CREST Enrichment program.

webaThe sweet and talented students ranged from first to fourth grade, and had a blast making books of different sizes, structures and materials.

webcThey first bound together their portfolios, made of hanging file folders, then designed and developed the outside covers of these,

webegetting acquainted with each other, their materials, myself, and their own creativity and imagination.

webdThen we began our book projects…which included accordion fold books, flag books, fan books,

webbsingle signature bindings, and side “stab” bindings.

webfTo celebrate our achievements, learning and fun, we had a “last class” family event.

webtFamily and CREST staff were invited to Make Books Together!

webkDid we have fun making “double” single signature books, learning the pamphlet stitch, and embellishing up a storm!








webpand Dads got into the act,




webvalong with our delightful students…

webwand CREST staffers who got to take a creative break!

i will miss this class, and the open, fluid creativity of the students. I hope to have the opportunity to work with them again!

 Wishing everyone a creative and healthful New Year…and a celebration of the positive power of the Imagination. Let us imagine a better world…and Make It, Together.

The Sheltering Book Chapter 6

The Sheltering Book Chapter 6

I was honored to be one of 17 artists to receive 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

web2cThe Sheltering Book is composed of an accordion spine, front and back covers, and two movable pages on each side which open away from the center, creating a space for shelter, presentation, performance and sharing.

web3To create a Sukkah shelter, dyed and stenciled netting was spread over the top of the Book, held in place by pins.

web9dThe Sheltering Book was constructed out of corrugated cardboard, primed, base painted, and transformed with layers of semi-sheer paint applications in harvest colors, which played across the surface.

webiParticipants gathered in front of The Sheltering Book to create their own books,

webvand then share them, using The Sheltering Book as a backdrop, stage set, and human-sized performance space.

webbThe 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.