Book Arts Improv Book #1: Ode-ors of a Ginkgo

I just completed my book for this week’s Book Arts Improv.

The process for the book went pretty smoothly – that is, until I realized that I was gluing my book together backwards. That was not a good moment for me. Sadly, I lost half of my edition as a result (it was going to be an edition of six). At least my recycle bin had a good meal today. 🙁

Here are the themes I was working with this week:

  1. Something you hope you never have to do with your feet. Change a diaper.
  2. The worst excuse ever used for being late for work. I fell in love.
  3. What’s that smell? Ginkgo tree fruit

And here’s the finished product – my first Improv 2014 book, Ode-ors of a Ginkgo:

Handmade flexagon by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

The covers are covered in herbstlaub Duo bookcloth – the weave has both yellow and green threads. I printed the text pages using Book Antiqua on Speckletone True White cover stock. The end pages are made from Canson Mi-Teintes paper.

The form of the book is known as a flexagon. There are different ways to make a flexagon and this one is less math-y than the one you’ll find if you Google it. You’ll see how the flexagon works later on.

The ginkgo image was created using a linoleum cutter and Speedball Speedy-Carve.

Hand-carved ginkgo rubber stamp and ink pad

For the text, I wrote nine haiku (haikus? haikuses?) about ginkgos. Here’s the content when you first open the book:

Handmade flexagon by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

Front page spread

Scientific name
Came from a spelling mistake
No A for you, dude

Ginkgos are tough trees
They tolerate pollution
What secondhand smoke?

Excellent shade tree
Perfect for urban landscapes

And here’s the content when you turn the book to the back:

Handmade flexagon by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

Back page spread

I just fell in love
Ginkgo, the living fossil
Way older than me

The fruit smells so bad
Like changing an old diaper
I want to vomit

Occurs via motile sperm
Flagellum kicks ass

There are also three more haiku hidden in the flexagon structure. If you are looking at the back page spread and push the two rear accordion folds toward the center so they meet, you can then peel apart the hidden section from the front.

If that doesn’t make sense, don’t worry – just check out the video below!

Here’s the content you’ll find in the hidden section:

Handmade flexagon by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

Hidden flexagon section

Atom bomb went off
Six ginkgos survived the blast

Chinese prize the nuts
They consider them useful

Bad carcinogen
Not so good for animals
Don’t feed to Fido

As I have done before, I incorporated a pocket in the back of the book to hold the colophon. I love making pockets. This book was made in an edition of three.

Handmade flexagon by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

I hope you enjoyed the book!

I’ll be posting the new Improv themes tomorrow, so be sure to come back if you’d like to enter the weekly drawing.

I look forward to next week’s challenge!

5 Responses to “Book Arts Improv Book #1: Ode-ors of a Ginkgo

By Carol - 11 January 2014 Reply

Oh, brilliant! Love the flexagon. Your ginkgo stamp is beautiful! So clever…

By Heather - 11 January 2014 Reply

Exquisite!!!! All the way around. Love it!!!!!

By Karen Krieger - 13 January 2014 Reply

You rock!!!! That is incredible and you are too. So jealous I’m not closer to the VT books art community. There’s almost nothing here in Pittsburgh… Thanks for sharing it.

By Bettina Gonzalez - 22 January 2014 Reply

I loved the hidden part , lovely work, congratulation!

By Elissa - 22 January 2014 Reply

Bettina –

Thanks so much for your kind words!


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