Before You Go

Today is the 10th anniversary of my maternal grandmother's passing. I was in college at the time, rushing down to see her when my mom called me to let me know she had already gone. Despite the language barrier, I had always understood her deep love for us, and it took me a long time to process my regrets and loss. Making this artist book to memorialize her, say the things I wanted to say, and depict our relationship was a big part of that.

Guide: this video has no audio.

I only made two copies of this book, and the structure was a physical manifestation of my search for her—sort of a reverse burial.


10" x 10" x 2"

Materials: hand-made papers, English-Chinese dictionary pages, newspaper, printed pages, photographs, Chinese silks, bookmaking board, cheesecloth, watch (or ring, depending on the edition).

experiments, sketchbook

Playing By The Book

Among the possible hobbies one can think of, making books is probably not one of the more common ones. Personally, the idea of a book as a hand-made object was long forgotten until I took a bookmaking class in college. Since then, I've just never been the same.

Bookmaking perfectly combines my love of paper goods, storytelling, working with my hands, and the challenge of thinking dimensionally. Even when I strip it down to the simplest forms, such as with my sketchbooks, I still like to play around with the binding, materials, or content. I also find it especially satisfying when I can be a little greener by repurposing random materials into pairings that work or add interest.

Here are a few that do just that:

Covers: vintage wrapping paper front, leftover gold paper back. Endsheets: random blue papers I found tossed out in art school (yes, dumpster diving is a legit skill you learned to do in my college). Instead of evenly spaced stitching I extended the horizontal lines from the front.

From "Eden" in W Magazine's Nov '06 Art Issue, a collaboration by Richard Tuttle and Mario Sorrenti. I cropped and scattered the images throughout for bursts of color and composition inspiration.

Vintage marbled endsheets used as a cover, with a vote-elected spine color from aged construction paper. In keeping with the "old-as-new" theme, the interior endsheets are also vintage papers featuring a wedding party from the '47 Broadway show Brigadoon. I liked the color tones as a compliment to the spine, and who doesn't like a dance party? Filled with repurposed paper from a giant sketchbook and finished with a diagonally sewn spine.

Bonus round:

I hate waste so I took the remnants of my cut pages from the sketchbook above and made a smaller book out of them. Cover is with the same remnant gold paper as the first sketchbook posted, paired with more glossy magazine cuttings I have laying around. Endsheets are hand-marblized paper from my college years. If you're wondering how extensive my hoarded collection of materials are at this point, I'm working on it for the sake of my husband, that's all I'll say!

I feel like each of these have a completely different feel to them and can imagine each of them belonging to a different type of person. Do any of these appeal to you more than the others?