Single Flag Postcard Book

We took a little trip to San Francisco last Sunday to catch the end of the special Jewel City: Panama-Pacific exhibit at the de Young museum in Golden Gate Park as well as a powerful exhibit of Robert Motherwell's Elegies and an exhibit of feathered capes, leis, standards, and hats in the Royal Hawaiian featherwork exhibit.

While the special exhibition was a mighty fine collection of paintings from the late 1800s, it was the featherwork exhibit that inspired me to make a book. Well, it was a colleague I was thinking about as well. She will be teaching a class next semester at the San Francisco Art Institute called "Things with Feathers," so I thought I would pick up some postcards for her in the gift shop. I noticed the cashier's familiar purple lanyard and asked if the museum workers were members of SEIU Local 1021. She then spoke passionate paragraphs, and it turns out that she is one of the shop stewards. Who knew that buying postcards on a whim for a colleague would lead me to a connection and a story?

Which inspired the book.

I decided to use the bag as the cover material over book board. Miscalculated a tiny bit as I would have liked the words a bit more centered. Aim for perfection. Accept reality. Bags and wrapping paper are often difficult to glue: glue lightly and evenly and use a big brush. Then smooth it quickly with a bone folder over a piece of waxed paper.

Postcards make nice pages for a single-flag accordion book. In this case, I had five postcards, so I needed to make a 16-panel accordion and cut it down to 14 panels. The shorter red accordion gives the book a little breathing room and allows a nice flow. But it would have been just fine if the accordion had been the same height as the postcards. (Red paper and yellow endpapers are Canson Mi-Teintes.)

Accordion paper is 8" long for 1/2" panels. The postcards were 4 1/4" x 6". I cut boards to be snug so that the book would stand up relatively well: 4 3/8" x 6 1/8". The endpapers were cut to the same size as the postcards.

The order of gluing is: cover, accordion flaps, endpapers.  The accordion always starts with a valley fold. The first panel is glued to the board, aligned with the edge. 

Although you always glue the postcards to the left side of the mountain folds, gluing to the first mountain fold here would make the book's opening very tight. I chose to begin by gluing the first postcard to the second mountain fold. This extra pleat also functions as a spacer to accommodate the bulk of an origami pocket envelope with the single-signature booklet. (Origami pocket is glassine, glued around the edges to the endpaper with Aleene's Tacky Glue, which did not show through. I also tacked down the triangular flap.)

When the princess in this first postcard was having her portrait painted, she held a feather standard and wore a feather lei, but noticed her brother had a feather cape. Never mind that the capes were for boys! She must have insisted on it, because she's wearing it.

I intended just to send my friend some postcards. And I have, still in their bag. Thanks, Carol!

Instructions for folding a 16-panel accordion are in:
Unique Handmade Books (p. 140)
Expressive Handmade Books (p. 70)
Making Handmade Books: 100+ Bindings, Structures & Forms (p. 74, step 1 in "Pocket Frame Book")
Or glue two 8-panel accordions together.

Instructions for the single-flag book are in:
Unique Handmade Books (pp. 52-54 "Pocket Frame Book")
Expressive Handmade Books (pp. 57-60)
Making Handmade Books: 100+ Bindings, Structures & Forms (pp. 73-74 "Pocket Frame Book")

Each cover is wrapped separately and instructions for wrapping separate covers are in:
Creating Handmade Books (pp. 112-113)
Unique Handmade Books (p. 148)
Expressive Handmade Books (pp. 126-127)
Making Handmade Books: 100+ Bindings, Structures & Forms (p. 209)

Instructions for origami pocket envelope are also in:
Expressive Handmade Books (pp.106-107)
Making Handmade Books: 100+ Bindings, Structures & Forms (pp. 186-187)
and in this post


Monica said…
what a great idea for saving post cards.
Unknown said…
You have outlined the steps for creating an amazing book as a gift for art loving friends. The next time I am in an art gallery, this beautiful book will definitley be on my mind as something to emulate. Thank you!
Aine Scannell said…

I just wanted to say thank you for being one of the people whose blog posts turn up in my email in-tray and that I always welcome. You wrote a great book which was of much use to me as I struggled through my first edition of artists books. I hope you have an enjoyable time this Christmas and I wish you more good times in the new year. Take care of yourself. Aine
Alisa said…
Monica, Carol, Aine—Thank you all so much for reading! It makes all the difference. Warm wishes to you and everyone for a calm and creative New Year!