Monday, March 13, 2017

its all about the book...

For the last few weeks I've been making book models 

oodles and oodles of book models...

concertinas everywhere!

The impetus for all this making was the inaugural
About the Book festival in Merimbula

I'd been invited to come along and share/show
whatever tickled my little booky fingers

I thought a collection of book forms
along with my very very loooooooooong book
might be interesting for folk attending all the author talks

so my fingers got busy!

double pocket concertina

concertina with origami pocket covers 

To make a unified collection of book models
where the structure and form would be the focus
I used a restricted palette of colours and materials

its all about blues/purples and neutrals with sprinkles of repurposed atlas pages

flag book

slot and tab

When I started to share some pics of my little super models on IG
things got interesting

(note to the world: the names of book structures would really benefit from
a universally accepted terminology - just like biology)

one person's fortune teller is another's chatterbox
(or cootie catcher, whirlybird or even a conversation)

And what is it about the names we use for some of the simplest structures:
the ubiquitous 4-page 'instant book' that's probably been around forever
mostly became known (at least in some circles) as a zine structure
even though the term 'zine' refers more to the contents than the form

(side note: the zine became an underground (and undergrad!) fixture in the post-punk, DIY, activist, art school world.... )

and you know how it is - when you give creative people a piece of paper
it's not long before they cut and fold and find new ways of making book objects...

so - is this a double zine? an eight page instant book? eight-fold v book? an island book?
or perhaps you know this form by another name?

ooooooo and talking of 'zines'
have you noticed how some folk say 'zine' (rhymes with 'mine')
while others pronounce the word 'zeen' (rhymes with teen)? 

I suspect it has something to do with where/how you first encountered the word:
if you read of 'zines' then its perfectly understandable that this word would rhyme with 'mine'.
BUT if you encountered a 'zine' through zine culture
then it's a ZEEEEEEEEN baby (as in 'maga-zine')

I think you can figure how I pronounce the word
and I doubt you'll be surprised to learn that I first came across zines back in the 1980s
when cut-and-paste, scissors and glue ruled the (art) school yard 

Essentially the zine was my gateway structure to the wonderful world of book arts

'River book' 
I adore the name that India gave to this form
that I first encountered at the 'being (t)here' retreat at Scotts Head last year.

hey - has anyone encountered this one before? perhaps with an alternative name?

 carousel book
(ps I'll have to make/share a 'star' book to show what I see are the differences between the two forms....
maybe the star book and a 5 peak carousel are the same thing in your universe?)


all this nomenclature and thinking about the book family tree is tiring wot!

Suffice to say - there are more book forms in the universe
with more and varied names
than you can make and spread out on a table...

three trestle table along a wall for all my little super models
and the end table was for a handful of my artists books.... where form and content come together

Yesterday I packed the car and took the collection down the road for the festival
It was surprising that I needed 3 long trestle tables for all the little models to strut their stuff
 I set myself up next to the end table,
opened the suitcase containing my loooooooooong book
and started to bind...

(hello old friend! good to see you again!)

In the other corner of the room was Richard Jermyn - another old friend of mine
who brought his delightful little Albion press and a few cases of type to the festival
(mmmm I love a little bit of press work)

good times


so now -  I'm working on increasing my stitched model collection...

keep an eye on my insta feed for more little models in the next while

and feel free to add your voice to the conversation

(knowledge shared is knowledge doubled)



  1. What an impressive display ronnie! Good on you! So many possibilities from folding. I wish I had known this was on - my niece moved to Tura Beach a month ago and I would have given her a heads up. She has a toddler (I KNOW! that makes me a great aunt!! !) so maybe she did attend the children's activities.

  2. I gave that fold (the river book) a name because (I thought) I had invented it (in 2013, or thereabouts). I also hadn't come across the "double zine" before (and couldn't find it in any book , or anywhere online) so assumed I had invented it myself too. clearly I shouldn't assume so much....

    1. this reminds me of the conversation at the beginning of keith smith's 'non-adhesive binding volume IV' --- keith, a renown book artist and author of many books prior to this one - all about bookbinding (they have all since reached 'classic' status) tells the story of how he was visiting and teaching in australia in the late 1990s and mentioned to class participants that he was working on a new book all about single sheet binding - and that he had come up with a way to do this that he was calling 'single sheet coptics'. In the class was a book artist from Brisbane who was quite interested in what keith meant by 'single sheet coptics' --- photos were exchanged and what do you know --- adele outteridge had separately and simultaneously come up with essentially the very same idea/technique. synchronicity. pre-internits synchronicity. Adele called what she was making 'single sheet binding' which keith duly acknowledges (he even dedicated the book to her)--- keith also mentions that its quite possible that her methods are superior (or at least or equal to) everything he shares in Vol. IV. onya keithy

      its a nice tale don't you think? its a reminder that it IS very possible to simultaneously work something out fresh and new while sitting within a grander narrative - that synchronicity happens. and that sharing and crediting (when known or knowable) is what the nicest people do. onya india xxxx

    2. Oh my word! I was at Keith Smith's workshop in Melbourne in the late 90s. I might have been a witness to this little [but magical] moment in history. Unless he did the w/shops in other cities.... It's enough for me just to be reminded of that wonderful experience, those happy days of discovery.
      And as for India Flint discovering/inventing new folds: she makes everything look new & exciting. There's something in her hands & brain that changes cloth & paper into a sort of exquisite light - alchemy I think.

    3. PS: Your work is beautiful Ronnie, needless to say. Makes my fingers itch to stitch & fold.

  3. In knitting, Elizabeth Zimmermann coined the term "unventing" for this phenomenon... Lovely display of books, Ronnie!


thanks for all your lovely comments - your words are greatly appreciated xx