MemoryMaking Books

MemoryMaking Books

In celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the Santa Monica Public Library, I had the opportunity to lead a bookmaking program at the  Montana Avenue Library, my home branch of the SMPL

“Making Memory Books” was requested… a single signature style book, embellished with fabric.

WEBaLeather, denim, beads, as well as decorative papers and fabric scrap were some of the goodies laid out for participants to use.

WEBcThe signatures were already prepared, with holes punched. Once bound with the three-hole pamphlet stitch, the first and last pages were glued to the inside of the front and back covers, and the book was formed.

WEBiThen, the fun could really begin!  let the embellishment commence!

WEBkPaper, “eco-fi” felt, cloth, lace and leather transformed the book structures into unique works of art.

WEBdUpon request, a square shape was used, instead of the more common vertical  rectangle.

WEBeA mother daughter duo enjoyed adorning their book covers with butterflies.


WEBfIs this a pink planet, surrounded by butteries?


WEB2The inspiration for the project was a series of fabric covered sewn book models,

WEB8with cloth pieces applied patchwork style.

WEB1The colors, patterns, shapes and tactile quality of cloth and textiles can evoke powerful memories.

WEB2The effect can be pleasing visually, as well as tracing remnants of life stories barely remembered but held in the body, memory and emotions through the sense of touch.

These books, that may hold memories barely discernible to the maker, can now become the repository of new memories, as scrapbooks, photo albums, journals, or sketchbooks.

What a beautiful gift.

Happy Holidays, and peace and blessings for the New Year.

Wabi-sabi Meets Memory Lane

Wabi-sabi Meets Memory Lane

WEB1Visual riffs on the tactile nature of memory. What started out as a series of book models…practice if you will, became another journey. And a journey in the best sense of the word, where each step seemed to reveal or indicate the next, but only through paying a fair amount of attention.













Feeling compelled to cover the books’ covers with fabric, I realized at some point that the pieces and scraps of cloth I was using were reminiscent of the fabric, cloth and textiles I remembered from my childhood.


The visual and tactile qualities of rugs, upholstered chairs and sofas, bathroom mats, table cloths, placemats and napkins, even tweed skirts and knitted sweaters, marched slowly back into my consciousness as I delved further into this tweedy trip down memory lane…


It took a while to identify what the fabric fragments were evoking…

I found myself collaging the insides of the covers of all the book models as well as the outsides, feeling a kind of satisfaction as I transformed the surfaces with such humble yet richly evocative materials.

The process continues.

Books2: Humbleness and a Deceptive Simplicity

Books2: Humbleness and a Deceptive Simplicity

I have been exploring making simple books using  humble, recycled and repurposed materials that seem to “occur” (meaning, I don’t actively seek them out with a plan in mind) around me. I place these materials in service of a book structure such as side stab binding, and put them together in an instinctive, yet considered way. The materials must feel like they need or are meant to go together in a particular way, that I discover in the doing…

I realized at a certain point that these works could be seen to express the principles of Wabi-sabi…  “the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete” —

Embracing the “incidental” or existing patterns, coloring and marks on the  materials’ surface, I see what emerges.

Fixing Broken Hearts“:  found cardboard, repurposed paper, hemp cord, collage. Side Stab Binding technique. WEBbWEBaWEBb1

Full“:  found cardboard, repurposed paper, hemp cord, collage. Side Stab Binding technique. WEBc

Pencils“:  found cardboard, used pencils, tissue paper, Mod Podge, used book of matches, repurposed paper, twine, hemp cordSide Stab Binding technique.WEBdWEBeWEgfWEBf

What have you created from humble, repurposed, materials that show up in your life? (on your doorstep, in your mailbox, in your purchases?) Do you  embrace the philosophy and principles of Wabi-sabi? How do you use them in your work and life? What does Wabi-sabi mean to You?