Not Yet Nest: New Book Art in a Box for the New Year

It started with the paper. I had purchased some eco-printed botanical paper from Velma Bolyard at the Codex Book Fair, and was so delighted with it I made a box for a friend and a miniature Linked Hinge bound book. Knowing I wanted to work with it some more, I contacted Velma and she sent me a few more sheets, agreeing to trade. I did not know exactly what it would become, what it would be about; the only thing I knew was that it would be in the form of the Linked Hinge Binding, to show off both the backs and the fronts of the papers.

When I trimmed the smoke bush in my front yard I took down two abandoned California towhee nests, and I kept them on my work table for several months. Once my yearlong Birds of the Bible project was complete and NaNoWriMo was over, I turned my focus to Velma's paper. Nest paper!

I had a direction. It took a little to figure out who or what, and ultimately I wrote a prose poem that linked two true incidents about eggs, connecting ideas of attentiveness, presence, transience, ownership, joy, loss, and acceptance. From there, the book asked for a box, and I cut a stencil of eggshell pieces to stencil on book cloth to cover the box.

Then it wanted a composition gold leaf wooden egg, a platform of some kind to hold the book, and a well for the egg. I prefer a window on my boxes these days, a way to draw you in, but the glass microscope slides I thought I had turned out to have little depressions in them (for pond water and such, I imagine).

I took a walk to think and the glass dilemma went like this: I could go to Arrow Glass and have them cut me some glass. Or, I could break an old picture frame glass. But those might be too thick. The microscope glass is nice and thin. Oh! I could break up the slides I already have. Which is what I did. Carefully. With a mallet. And wrapped each slide in paper towel first. So each box has a different pattern on the lid. What we do for art.

I had imagined I would construct the platform and compartment from folded board, but that didn't look so good and there was a technical problem, so I went back to the old standby: layers of foam core board. I covered everything with the book cloth.

The egg needed some nesting material, but raffia was too coarse, and too literal; birds actually use this kind of plant material. I pulled out my handmade felt scraps and coiled them on their edges, a translation, of sorts. Again, each is different.

The book came together well, after figuring out the color of ink that would work best (dark blue-purple). The miniature book is three inches square. The box measures 6.45"w x 4.25"h x 1.75"d.

But after I collated the pages for the five copies I discovered I was missing a page. Not five of one page. One of one page. Which meant I had to set the type and print just one single lonely little page.

Quite a lot of fanfare for that one little page, so I printed some cards to make use of the ink on the press. See this post.

And I happened to have an engraving of a nest that my sister-in-law sent me, years ago. Perfect for the cover of the book.

Thank you, Velma, for the paper and the inspiration!


Dana said…
Wow!! This project is so well integrated and beautiful. I love the variations and striations in the book.
Alisa said…
Dana, Thank you, and thanks for taking a look! Someone I know who chooses a word of the year has decided "beauty in the midst of confusion" is this year's thought.
Alice Armstrong said…
Such an extremely rich and beautiful book/box/nest/egg. Your work never ceases to be an endless well spring of inspiration to me. Thank you, Alisa.
Alisa said…
You are very welcome, Alice. Thanks for reading and for your kind words.