Sunday, July 11, 2010

Accordion fold books

When I attended the Libris Artist Book Awards in Mackay earlier this year I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed the accordion fold type books. Something in the simplicity of the form perhaps? Or maybe the manner in which the format unfolds and reveals things? Possibly the many varied forms it can take; as well as the interactive and play-like nature of some of them.

Reading the most recent Bonefolder (an e-journal devoted to book arts) I came across an essay that made me smile and re-connected me to this book form. By A. Kendra Green of the University of Iowa - here are a couple of excerpts...

In most endeavors, and accordion books are no exception, it takes a lot of skill to make a thing look easy.

If a page in a spine-bound book ever seemed constrained, finite, split from its brethren, the accordion offers a nearly endless run of paper.  Open one page and you may open the whole book, your arms held wide and a story swirling at your feet. Pages may spill like waters. In a thicker stock, they will slap and fall like shingles of a Jacob's ladder. Rigidly interdependent, each page is a push or pull on the next, a sequence, a reaction. Like dominoes. Like a house of cards.

Closed, the accordion is a roof shingle, an armor plate; opened it moves, it breathes, it plays. Its bellows fill like sails, like lungs. It flirts. It laughs. it sings.

She says it so much better than me! Her descriptions imbue the accordion book simultaneously with gravitas and whimsy and give permission to love this simplest of bookforms.

There are four other of her essays in the journal, and a great article about Adele Outteridge and Wim de Voss from West Ends Studio in Brisbane, along with an article featuring Barry's book "Censored" which was bought by the Southern Cross University last year. Enjoy!

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