Making Another Felt Book (3): Finishing

Perhaps this is a familiar feeling: you've worked with an idea, but once it becomes a physical object it is different from what you thought it would be. For this project I began with an idea, a story. I knew I wanted to make a felt book to go with the story, and I knew absolutely that I would never, could never, would not even want to needlefelt the entire four pages of text.

My options were
  • to make a completely visual book 
  • the above plus make a second book with the text
  • pull a few words from the story and needlefelt those
  • create a brief poem that matched the tone
  • inkjet print the words onto treated cloth and sew those on
I pulled a few words from the story and was satisfied with the feeling as they fell into the form of a very small poem. I coated a piece of muslin with the digital ground as I had done for another project. But after I printed and cut out the words I didn't like the magnetic poetry look. I always want to integrate the book pieces and the little rectangles seemed to be sticking out their tongues at me.

Grumble. Grumble. I rummaged through my felt scraps, hoping for guidance there. Maybe I could make a pocket or something. Yes! A good-sized piece of orange that matched my cover. I cut it into the clementine section shape and needlefelted the edges to the inside back cover. I could have needlefelted the folded page into the cover as well, if I had wanted to, but I decided to machine sew it like I usually do.

So, now I would make a little book to go into the pocket. Out of…ink-stained and black-gessoed muslin. I used white acrylic ink with a pointed nib to write on the muslin after it was dry. It's a bit scratchy, but it matched the look of the needlefelted title on the cover. I sewed the mini book with linen thread into a single signature.

It is possible I will build a box to house the felt book, the mini book, and a second (yet unmade) book with the complete story. Or not.  

Two wet-felted pieces, machine sewn
Needlefelted text
Needlefelted clementine

Verso of front cover with tufts showing through
Cut away layers that show mesh
Needlefelted "clementine peel"

Needlefelted lacy pattern
Cut away layers
Verso of needlefelted clementine peel

Needlefelted piece of felt, only at edges for pocket
Mini book made of painted muslin

Needlefelted piece of felt
Cut away layers (on left)
Acrylic ink lettered text
Single signature binding on mini book


Anonymous said…
Wow this is an incredible book!
Velma Bolyard said…
oh i love this one! how beautiful it is. wish i could hold it! and i love a book within a book, a concept that tickles and pleases me so much.rmortm ryahi
Alisa said…
Thanks, merry and velma.
It was so enjoyable to make; I'm glad you like it.
Lynn said…
Beautiful book.
mireya said…
HI I love your designs and I have a question. I love making journal type books. I love to make them with paper that I fold in half and and then open them up and stack them. I sew them together like this in the middle. How many pages can I sew on so that the book stays with even edges. Right now I do about forty pages and the edges of the book come out uneven. Thanks for your help.
Alisa said…
Hi Mireya,
When you nest folded pages to make signatures you will never have even edges. The thickness of the paper pushes the folded sheets beyond the outside edges.

For thin paper you can use more folded sheets per signature, but I don't recommend more than 4-5 folded sheets in each signature (thick paper only 1-2). You can make a book with many signatures, but you will always need to trim the fore edge if you desire even edges.

If you tear your pages against a heavy ruler and make the edges ragged on purpose you can create thicker books without worrying about trimming. It's a different aesthetic, but it might work for you.

I hope that helps.