One Book Many Interpretations: Second Edition

As mentioned earlier, I submitted an entry for Chicago’s, One Book Many Interpretations: Second Edition, exhibit. I rebound Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies, which is a compilation of nine touching stories of Indian people either living in India or the United States. While I was out of the country a couple of weeks ago, coincidentally in India, I found out that my entry was accepted into the show!

I searched high and low for a sewn copy of the book, but couldn’t find one, so I made do with the adhesive binding. Each chapter in the book is its own story, which led me to the decision of splitting the book into nine separate bindings.  After talking with some trusty friends about my ideas for the book, I decided on a bradel binding for a few reasons that may be made clear with the design issues I was trying to work out. One attractive aspect of the bradel binding was that it allowed me to fully construct the covers and spines separately, which made the fact that I multiplied everything by nine a little easier to digest.

With the book divided into nine separate books, I was creating an opportunity for a large composition. Throughout the stories, was an overwhelming question of place, or more specifically, home. The characters were dealing with issues of where they belong and often times this was emphasized by geographic location. Looking at maps, we can close the physical distances between far away places, as some of the characters in the book did. This is what helped me to decide that maps would be a part of the design.

Using a few techniques that I have employed in other books, I created the cover decoration with a veneer method, painted on details, and some stenciling.

Another point of inspiration were marigolds, a flower present in various aspects of Indian culture, and since my trial dying with the flowers was unsuccessful, I stuck with what I knew. I made paste cloth to match the buttery orange-gold of the petals for the covers and a rich, deep red similar to the one found in some marigold varieties. Paste cloth lends itself so well to books because its possibilities are endless, and you can modify the cloth till your heart is content.

The stories in the book took place in one of two countries, India and the United States. This directed my next decision to have both outlines of the countries appear on the covers of the books. However, not in just anyway. I wanted it to be a challenge to get these to appear. Like life, it shouldn’t be too easy. So guided by decorative patterns, the books are arranged to make each country’s outline. The yellow patterns line up to reveal India (outlined in gold), and the white patterns match up to make the outline of the United States. The patterns were made using the paste paint and stencils.

(apologies on the poor quality of these last two images)

This binding has been a great learning process and I look forward to my next design venture. There are many ideas that spring from this experience. It is a very exciting first for me, and I look forward to being exhibited alongside many other binders who I have looked up to for some time now. The opening reception is August 26th and will do some traveling through 2012. It sounds like there were many amazing entries so if you have a chance to see the show, you should check it out!

(as I get more information on the details, I will post it on the home page)