June: Accordion

The intellectual collaboration for June was an accordion book with a narrative theme, specifically documentation of some sort. I chose to visually document a trip I took to India. I knew I wanted to use only image based narration, and immediately a presentation I attended last year came to mind. During the College Book Arts Association meeting in Bloomington at the beginning of this year, I sat in on a talk given by Betsy Davids about palm leaf books she studied in India. These books are heavily illustrated with lots of detailed images all done by hand, scratched into the surface of palm leaves. It was this style of accordion that I wanted to use for my narrative.

Pictured here is an image of a palm leaf book. (See more info and a larger image on Slow Muse here)

The enclosure is a simple envelope style enclosure made from the same handmade paper as the book. Instead of toning it though, I painted the outside with acrylic paints and added threads for ties.

Colophon on inside box flap and closed book.

Here is the front view of the book unfolded. I adopted the register format of the palm leaf book shown above modifying it a little to my own style. The paper (originally a pale salmon color) was toned subtly to take on more of an Ocher color. In each of the circles and geometric shapes are illustrations of things we saw or did in India. The whole book is inked with “Le Pen” and  “micron” pens. Finally, each panel was waxed and sewn together with waxed linen thread.

Detail of center medallion.

Back of the palm leaf book.

I already had a great appreciation for the craftsmanship and patience required to complete the palm leaf books I have had the privilege to see. However, I was further humbled by the work of those examples when I was hunched over my bench making only two small versions on paper with an ink pen. A fraction of the work and time with materials that are ready at the snap of a cap.

Space Paste Press June Project


Past Spring Leaf Press Intellectual Collaboration Projects
May: Ephemera
April: National Poetry Month
March: Stuff in a Box
February: Zine
January: Jacob’s Ladder