A Recipe for an Artist's Book

At Codex a few months ago, I visited Julie Chen's booth and she told me about a collaborative project with Barb Tetenbaum: a deck of Artist's Book Ideation Cards. Shortly thereafter, she curated a show called, "Ideation By Chance," at the Seager Gray Gallery. The premise: each artist would do a draw from the deck and make a book inspired by the draw. You can see all the books at the exhibit link.

Julie was recently asked to curate another show, this one in November or December in Denver, Colorado at the Abecedarian Gallery, and I will be one of ten book arts educators participating. I asked her to draw for me, and so I'll be working on my book this summer.

Even though I got my recipe, I decided to purchase the Artist's Book Ideation Cards to examine them further. Elegantly designed, the cards are easy to use as well. Let's do a draw together to see how it works. We have two sets of cards: "Categories" and "Adjectives." We'll separate the categories: Structure, Paper, Technique, Text, Image, Layout, and Color. According to the instructions we may "exchange one category card and one adjective card."

Looks like we can start with any kind of accordion for the structure.

Multiple colors of paper…

Our method will be drawing or painting.

Our text will be gleaned from
stream of consciousness, free write, or rant. 
The goal here is to let it flow (my interpretation).

Our image is to be extracted from a single image.
We can choose a complicated picture and zoom in
to various areas, creating multiple images from the single image.

Layout is minimal or restrained.
Each page mostly likely has one focal point and
very little to distract from it.

Our first draw for Color was "Least Favorite," and I've decided to draw again.
Monochromatic: shades of one color, our choice…

We have finished the Categories, so let's look at the Adjective Cards. We get five.

We picked "manifesto-based" originally, but I've exchanged it.
So we have:
descriptive or instructive
complicated or confusing
mysterious or coded

Hmm. We have both "monochromatic" and "colorful." So whatever color we choose should have many variations, perhaps stretch the idea by using a secondary color like orange, purple, or green. Or…?

I suspect each of us could come up with our own set of cards based on the things we are interested in, but this one works well as a universal deck. Another idea would be to get a group together to create personal cards and then draw from each other's deck. Barb and Julie's deck has about seven or eight cards in each of the Categories, and 53 Adjectives, which includes three Wild Cards.

The cards can be used however we like: as checklists, as absolute rules, or as jumping-off points. Maybe one or two don't end up fitting in. It would be interesting to see what a group of people do with the same draw. That said, if you make a book using this particular recipe, send a photo and I'll include it in a future post.

You can purchase Julie & Barb's deck from Julie for $30 at Flying Fish Press.


Roberta Warshaw said…
That sounds like such an interesting project.
Unknown said…
Thank-you for sharing this! I'm keen to purchase a set for myself.
Trish J said…
This sounds like just what I need for those creative dry spots I occasionally hit. Thanks for showing this.I just purchased one!