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Presentation on theme: "A JAPANESE BOOK A JOURNEY THROUGH THE CREATIVE PROCESS BY SUE GUNN."— Presentation transcript:


2 On a trip to Australia, I was seduced into a Japanese paper shop and fell instantly in love with this sheet. The colour graduation, the texture and the gold flecks were beautiful. Naturally I bought it and posted it back to the UK. I knew that I wanted to use it in a piece of work, but didnt know what. A Japanese book seemed the obvious choice and I planned to design it so that the colour graduated from dark to light from the outside to the inside of the covers. But what should I write? The initial inspiration

3 Finding the words For me, it is more usual to find the words first and for the design to be inspired by them. In this case, I was working slightly back-to-front. Some years earlier I had found a Native American Blessing I wanted to write out for my God-daughters christening. I tried it several ways but was never happy with the result. In the end, Molly received I Had a Little Nut Tree instead. But now the words came back to me and I dug out my notes. They immediately seemed right for this paper and, besides, Molly now had a little sister, Alice, also my God-daughter, so I decided to make the book for her christening. May the sun bring you strength by day May the moon softly restore you by night May the rain wash away your fears And the breeze invigorate your being. May you all the days of your life Walk gently through the world And know its beauty

4 First ideas I nearly always begin with a pencil and a rough piece of paper. Its quick, its non-threatening, and it can easily be thrown in the bin! Any ideas that spring to mind are quickly sketched. I dont judge the ideas at this stage, I just let them flow. To judge them now will only inhibit the thought processes and I may miss out on a great idea. Even if none of the ideas at this stage seem worthwhile, remaining open-minded and non-judgemental can often mean they lead to further thoughts and ideas which may work. Here are some of the the first ideas for the Japanese Book. Note the symbols on the left hand pages. The idea was to do these in gold to link with the cover paper. Another idea was a simple gold diamond shape. In the end, only one diamond was used on the opening page.

5 Ideas for the book Some more pencil sketches along with notes on how the book and cover may work. At this stage Im thinking about the object as a whole to ensure that all elements relate to each other.

6 First trials Traditionally, a Japanese binding uses lightweight tissue paper which is folded and bound with the folded edge on the right hand side (the open side). The book is stitched along the left hand side and needs thin paper in order to lie open properly. This is a white Japanese tissue paper (Zenyu). My initial idea was to write with a blue pencil as I was aware that paint or ink would bleed on this paper. This was rejected because I wasnt happy with either the sharpness or the quality of the writing and I felt the overall appearance was too soft in relation to the strength of colour in the cover paper.

7 Trials of paints and papers I tested many samples of white tissue papers in the vague hope that one might work using a metal pen and watercolour paint. To my surprise, I found one. It is Japanese and called Tosa Washi Smooth Wove. It is very thin and delicate and perfect for the book. The blue used here is not the final choice of colour, but rather one I happened to have mixed up.

8 Colour trials Testing various types of blue paint to match with the cover paper. I decided to make the writing match the mid-blue of the cover and settled on French Ultramarine with a touch of Winsor Blue (red shade) watercolour.

9 The whole colour scheme Assembling all the parts for the book helps to imagine how it will work as a whole. In the final book, some elements changed and some were omitted, but it still gives a good idea of how the finished book will look.

10 Writing trials After a few trials of size and style of writing, I decided on Roman Capitals in a number 5 nib. The actual size of the writing is about 2mm high. The whole poem was written out and measurements taken so I could place each line to appear in right place on each page.

11 Page layout Designing text in a book has different requirements to a piece which will be framed. When you look at a book, you see both the left and right hand pages at the same time and when designing the pages, the double page spread must be treated as a whole. I had no text planned for the left hand page but felt the line on the right must still adhere to the rules of book design. Note the pencil line on the left – this is the area which will be bound and be invisible when the book lies open. It must, therefore, be considered when placing the text.

12 Whenever possible, I use the actual materials of the final piece in all the trials. However, I only had one sheet of the Japanese Cover paper and couldnt afford to waste it. So, I took another, much cheaper, paper which was of a similar weight and type to work out the mechanics of the cover and holder. That said, once I was sure about what I wanted to do, I still made a mock-up using the actual paper. Only then can I tell how it will react with glues and how it will work with ribbons etc. Trials for the book cover

13 Notes & decisions Detailed notes were written about how the covers were made, including measurements. Also noted were any suggested changes to the cover, to the techniques used and choice of materials. The measurements of the cover and holder were also refined – a millimetre here or there making a huge difference to how well the book fitted the cover. I find making such detailed notes and observations is essential. It is so easy to forget what youve done and having a record saves time in having to repeat a trial or in risking making the same error twice. It also helps if I want to make the same item again at a later date, perhaps for a commission.

14 Having tested the design of the cover using the pink paper, a final mock-up was written, sewn and bound in the Japanese paper. I decided to use a blue ribbon rather than a white one. The Final mock-up

15 I chose not to put the gold dots on every page as I felt it was too much and was distracting. One dot on the front page would still be done as a link between the cover and the inside. At this stage, decisions were taken to space the stitching differently, to sew with a blue thread instead of white and to begin sewing from the back rather than the front. This meant the knot, which would be pushed in at the back, would be less noticeable, should it show a little. More design decisions

16 The final book The following slides show the finished book page by page. This is page one.

17 Page 2

18 Page 3

19 Page 4

20 Page 5

21 Page 6

22 Page 7

23 Page 8

24 Japanese bound book with the cover open.

25 The book inside the tied cover.

26 The end


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