Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Festivals of Light

Festivals of Light: Making Books for the Holiday Season
Celebrate the season with six exciting bookmaking projects for Christmas, Diwali, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. It's easy and fun to do with clear directions, accessible materials, and reproducible images for all.


Festivals of Light Accordion Book
Make a four page accordion book with a ribbon tie. There are images provided for a Hanukkah menorah, a Kwanzaa kinara, a Christmas tree, and dipa, the clay lamps that are lit for Diwali.

Festivals of Light Triangle Book
Here is another book about Festivals of Light celebrations and customs. The fun part is that the pages are shaped like triangles.

Dreidel Book
Create an accordion book about the dreidel game. The four front pages of the book are for the dreidel letters and their meaning; the back two give directions for the game.

Seven Symbols of Kwanzaa Book
Six symbols of Kwanzaa are placed on the seventh, the mkeka or mat, throughout the holiday. This book about the seven symbols can be spread out on a table or hung on the wall for display.

Twelve Days of Christmas Book
Make a small Twelve Days of Christmas Book that can be used as an ornament with a ribbon loop.

Diwali Rangoli Book
Colorful designs called rangoli decorate the doorways and floors of homes, shops, temples, and restaurants during Diwali. Make a simple four page accordion with an envelope to hold your designs.

Peace Star Book

This past weekend I was in a shop called Ten Thousand Villages in Northampton, MA which sells fair trade handcrafts from around the world. I was charmed by a star ornament which is the inspiration for the peace stars in this month's project. The links lead to a sampling of stars in art and craft.

I used half of a back panel of a brown grocery bag for my accordion pages, a cereal box for the cover, and yarn for a tie. Each page has a peace star on it. You can print the peace stars in this pdf or make your own. Another idea is to put a peace star on the cover and inside write 4 things you can do to make a more peaceful world, one per page. For a longer book, you can follow the directions for attaching sections in the directions for the Index Card Accordion.


Norwegian Peace Star
A sculpture in Oslo, Norway by Vebjorn Sand has been given the name the Peace Star. The structure draws its inspiration from a star-form first conceived by German astronomer, Johannes Kepler (1571-1630.) It consists of twenty three-sided pyramids radiating from the core. The Star itself is 14-meters high and 14-meters wide. The giant structure was covered in specially fractured glass to create a dazzling illuminated sculpture visible from the air and floating above the fir trees of the countryside.

Star Corona
acrylic sculpture by George W. Hart

The Star Chamber
Sculptor Chris Drury created this domed stone chamber at Vanderbilt University. An aperture on the top functions as a camera obscura so that the sky and horizons are reflected on the walls of the chamber.

Star Book Directions
These directions are by Diane Weintraub and are one of a series from the San Diego Museum of Art.

Moravian Stars
are illuminated Advent or Christmas decorations popular in Germany and in places in America and Europe where there are Moravian congregations. The first ones were made in the 1830's at the Moravian School in Niesky, Germany as a geometry lesson or project. The geometry is beyond me as were the directions for these supposedly simpler paper stars. My mother was taught how to make them by a German neighbor when I was young but I never learned. I am not defeated but have not had the time to complete the directions on this website. You may want to try. They are lovely.

How to draw an Eight-point Star
There are directions for using the computer and for drawing with a ruler and freehand. The freehand version is the same as the star that Eric Carle says his grandmother drew for him in Draw Me A Star.

Adapted from the December 2007 issue of Making Books Monthly
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Family Workshop at Concord Museum

I will be doing a drop-in workshop for families on the day after Thanksgiving at the Concord Museum in Concord, MA from 11-2:30. It is free with museum admission. There will be four stations in the large room: one to make an accordion book, one to make a stick and elastic book, one to make a hot dog booklet, and one for decorating and adding content. We'll be using recycled materials (provided) and there will be lots of examples and inspiration for you to continue bookmaking at home.

Concord Museum
200 Lexington Road
Concord, MA
Friday, November 23 (the day after Thanksgiving)
Free with museum admission

Word Books

We recently had a delightful German exchange student named Jacky with us for two and a half weeks. One of her assignments on the trip (learning and writing down five new English words each day) inspired this month's project, a Word Book. These are great for all ages: young children learning new words, high school students preparing for the SATs, students of another language, and anyone who enjoys the wonder of words. The links provide a selection of Word of the Day sites for all levels.

You will need one piece of paper and two pieces of yarn. I used one half of a newspaper page for the book and wrote the words and definitions on separate pieces of paper which I then glued to the book. If you get a newspaper regularly, you could make a book for each week starting on Sunday or Monday, do a word each day, and at the of the year have a box with 365 words.

One thing about using newspaper is that it has a very pronounced grain. You will find that it is easy to tear neatly from top to bottom, but difficult from side to side. I tore the double page in half to get one page and then cut it in half to get the size I used. To keep with using recycled materials, you can also use a piece of paper with writing on one side only. When you make the first fold (long and skinny like a hot dog) in the directions, the writing should be on the inside. To make a longer book, make several of the hot dog booklets and glue them on top of each other.

1. Follow the directions for making the hot dog booklet.

2. Open the book to the middle and lay a piece of yarn across with an even amount sticking out on either side.

3. Close the book and lay the other piece of yarn across the top of the spine with an even amount sticking out on either side.

4. Tie the yarn together at each side with a double knot.


Word of the Day Sites
has a range of words from easy top hard and a bunch of word games as well
At Merriam Webster's Word Central you can hear the word pronounced. Learn what it means and how to use it, and answer a word wiz question.
The Oxford English Dictionary offers a word of the day with pronunciations, spelling, etymology, quotations, and dates
The Princeton Review offers words for the SAT. You can also look up words for Business, Medical, and Law if you are so inclined.
A word of the day in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, and English for Spanish speakers

Adapted from the November 2007 issue of Making Books Monthly
Free subscriptions available at

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Book of Leaves


Fall is a time when we pay special attention to leaves in New England. This month's project is a Book of Leaves with leaf rubbings on each page. I tried the rubbings with both crayon and colored pencil and preferred the colored pencil, but you might decide otherwise. You could also attach the actual leaves or make leaf prints with paint.

You will need two or more pieces of paper, a stick, and an elastic or 2 pieces of cord or yarn. In keeping with my current focus on using recycled materials whenever possible, I used three pieces of paper that had writing on one side only (flyers that I was given at a conference).

1. Fold each paper in half the long way so that is long and skinny like a hot dog. If it has writing on it, the writing should be on the inside.

2. Fold each paper in half the other way.

3. Tuck the folded pages inside each other.

4. Punch two holes a little way in from the folded edge, one toward the top and one toward the bottom. I find that I am only able to punch through all the layers at once if I use 2 sheets of paper. If you use more, you may have to punch the holes in one or two sheets and then use that as a guide to mark the placement of holes for the rest of the paper.

5. Make the leaf rubbings on the pages. I think it is easier to make the leaf rubbings before you bind the book with the stick because the pages lay flatter. I punch the holes first to serve as a visual guide. If your rubbing is too close to the fold, part of it will be hidden under the binding.

6. Follow the directions to bind the book together. Because I wanted a more earthy look to my book than an elastic would provide, I used two pieces of hemp cord. I tied the two pieces together toward the end. I inserted the two ends in the top hole, pulled both pieces of cord along the back of the book and up into the bottom hole. I pulled the cord tightly and tied the two ends together in the front at the bottom hole.


Why Leaves Change Color
A simple explanation written for children can be found at

and a more detailed explanation at

Big Dipper and the Colors of Autumn
Retelling of Algonquin legend which explains why leaves change their color in the fall

Tree Identification
Have a leaf with you and click on the leaf key at the bottom of the page. It will lead through a process to identify your leaf.

No Child Left Inside
Leave No Child Inside, an article by Richard Louv in the March/April 2007 issue of Orion magazine

Richard Louv's website

Last Child in the Woods has had great impact. Giving No Child Left Behind a twist, there is a movement that grew out of the book called No Child Left Inside. I couldn't find a central website but searching No Child Left Inside will bring up many sites and blogs.

Adapted from the October 2007 issue of Making Books Monthly
Free subscriptions available at

Art, Books, And Creativity

"Art, Books, and Creativity is a yearlong arts curriculum developed by the National Museum of Women in the Arts. ABC provides meaningful arts learning experiences while highlighting the natural connections between visual arts and language arts. ABC is a model for integrating the visual arts into the core curriculum while maintaining a specific focus on the contributions of women artists to our shared cultural history.

The ABC curriculum promotes visual literacy by developing students' skills in observation, reflection, and arts creation. The curriculum unites visual art and writing through the creation of artists' books, an art form especially suited to linking imagery and language."

There are directions for several book forms and creating a pop-up as well as lots of information and inspiration about integrating bookmaking into the curriculum.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Family Workshop Report

One of the facts of life is that there are always lessons to be learned. There were a few at the Earth-Friendly Bookmaking for Families workshop at the Newburyport Public library last Saturday. The first was that having people sign up ahead is a good thing. For this one, since the format I planned was informal and didn't require knowing numbers, I decided not to bother. The last time I gave a family workshop at the library, with sign-up, we had a full house. This time attendance was very low. It could have been the time, the season, the topic, or the fact that people had to bring materials, but I think people are much more likely to come to something they have already made some level of commitment. Plus when there is a sign-up, the Children's Room staff always calls the day before with reminders.

Most of my workshops are done in schools which is a much more controlled setting, even in the case of evening family workshops. Teachers can remind the students, send notes home, etc. I think in the future in public settings I will ask the staff to gather materials for me and not require the participants to bring anything which is the way I have done things for years.

The happy lesson is a confirmation of the innate openness and creativity of kids. I am in the planning stages of a book for families on making books with recycled materials. As I think about it, I feel that in some ways it is the parents who need the book more than the kids. Although we lament, and with good reason, the amount of time kids spent in front of the computer and TV, I take heart in the fact that when kids are presented with what they need to sit and create, they do it with enthusiasm. When they make a book, they can't wait to write, draw, or collage in it. Adults on the other hand are often timid and reserved. They are afraid to dive right in.

The library experience also demonstrated the power of the collage box. I collect paper from all kinds of sources. Everyone in the house knows to keep the wrapping paper for me after the presents have been opened. I save scraps of art papers, old calendars, interesting envelopes, can labels, catalogs, and anything else that catches my eye. I cut or tear them up into smallish pieces. I am a firm believer that everyone is creative. One of the problems with creating on paper is that so many people assume it is necessary to draw well to do so. The colorful papers in the collage box are a friendly entry and a great way to get children and adults working.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Crayon and Paint Palm Leaf Book

The traditional form of book in India and Southeast Asia is made from the leaves of palm trees. Traditionally the writing and illustration are done with a metal stylus. The writing is scratched into the leaf, after which ink is rubbed over the page and the excess ink is wiped away. Our book is made with a reverse process. The paper is colored with crayons and then painted with black ink. The writing and illustrations are scratched into the paint to reveal the crayon colors.

I used the inside of the front panel of a cereal box. I have found using recycled materials to be very liberating. When you start with a piece that has edges that you have cut yourself, it frees you from worrying about evenness and precision.

Making the Book
You will need one piece of cover stock or one panel of a cereal box, a piece of yarn, and two beads, buttons or the closure tags from bread bags.

1. Color the entire surface with different colored crayons. Paint over the crayon with black poster paint. I used two coats for solid coverage.

2. Hold the paper in front of you vertically. Find the center by eye and push the punch in as far as it will go. Again by eye, cut off a strip so that the punched hole is in the center. You may find it easier to judge if you are looking at the side which does not have the crayon and paint.

3. Use the strip you just made as a guide, and cut up the rest of the paper. Punch a hole in the center of each strip.

4. Follow the directions on the website to complete the book.

5. Do the writing and illustrations with a stick or a bamboo skewer with the pointy ends trimmed off to prevent eye injury.


Information about Palm Leaf Books

A photo of an illustrated palm leaf book made in Bali from my collection and a text written for children can be found at

Photo of and brief information on a palm leaf book from the library at Cornell.
Click on the photo for a larger image. To explore books from other cultures, go to the Table of Contents. This website offers a concise, well-illustrated journey through books made from paper, leather, clay, and stone.

Information on the construction of palm leaf books from the Buddha Mind website.
This one is the most direct. Make sure you click on the small images on the left; they will lead you to more images.

The Preparation of Palm Leaf Documents from the Princely States Report of the Journal of Indian States History, Philately, and Numismatics
This is a bit dry but has good information and illustrations of the styluses used for writing and photos of book pages.

An article I wrote about Traditional Cambodian Books appeared in the September 1998 issue of FACES magazine. Each issue of the magazine focuses on a particular culture or topic. With the help of an interpreter, I interviewed the Venerable Sao Khon, the senior monk at the Triratanaram Temple in North Chelmsford, MA for the article.

Books by Artists using the Palm Leaf Book structure

Nigrum by Shu-Ju Wang, Click on the third image down on the left for a full photo and information.

Under the Ice by Mia Leijonstedt

Adapted from the September 2007 issue of Making Books Monthly
Free subscriptions available at

Earth-Friendly Bookmaking with Families

I will be giving a drop-in workshop for families at the Newburyport Public Library on Saturday, September 22, from 10 am to 12 noon. Making books is a great family activity that gives us opportunities to record our observations of the world around us and celebrate our lives. When we use recycled materials, we consume less paper and also learn to look creatively at the things we discard. There is magic in the process as we transform boxes and bags into books.

The program room will be set up with four bookmaking stations with a different project at each. Lots of samples will be on hand to inspire continued bookmaking at home. After thirty years as an artist and educator, I am a believer in the value of exercising one's creativity for people of all ages. Bookmaking is an easy entry into creative work and I have made the process as accessible as possible. All the books are simple to construct and using recycled materials makes it affordable and easy to get started.

Admission to the workshop is free but each person who plans to make books should bring 1 grocery bag, 1 cereal box, and 4-5 sheets of used copy paper with writing on one side only.

This workshop is for families in Newburyport and the surrounding towns. I am working on a book proposal on this topic and would be interested in giving similar workshops at other libraries in the area. Let me know if you know a library that might be interested.

Here is pdf of the flyer for the Newburyport workshop.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Joseph Cornell Accordion Book

Buddha Accordion

Last week I went to see a wonderful exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum called Joseph Cornell: Navigating the Imagination. While best known for his boxes, Joseph Cornell also made collages, films, and a few books. There was one book that would fit into the category of altered book, several portfolio style boxes, and one accordion book.

His work combines found objects and images in surprising ways. I liked one of the descriptive tags so much I copied it. "In the late 1930's a chance encounter with caged tropical birds displayed against a pet shop's stark white walls made such a 'dazzling' impression that Cornell believed it changed his way of seeing 'the simplicity of magic' in the everyday." Our project for the month is an accordion book where we can express the "simplicity of magic" of the everyday in our lives.

Making the Book
You will need two long pieces of sturdy paper or cover stock or the back panel of a brown grocery bag cut in half vertically. I used the front panel of a large cereal box cut in half vertically. It was a little awkward to fold but made an accordion that stood up well for display.

This accordion will have eight pages. Follow the directions for making the accordion. Trim off the tab at the end. You are ready to add your collage images. Joseph Cornell used images of the things that he loved, including birds, ballerinas, and movie stars. Collect images of things you care about- flowers, musicians, baseball players, birds, and make your own book. Magazines and catalogs are good sources of imagery.


Joseph Cornell: Navigating the Imagination
The Peabody Essex Museum has an excellent interactive online companion to the exhibition.

Guardian article by Jonathan Safran Foer, editor of A Convergence of Birds, original fiction and poetry inspired by the work of Joseph Cornell,,1778945,00.html

Straightforward presentations of images of Joseph Cornells' collages and boxes

Smithsonian Archives of American Art
Collections Online: Joseph Cornell
View some of his papers including diaries, letters, art works, and ephemera.

Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Information about Joseph Cornell and one of Soap Bubble Set boxes with suggestions for an activity for children

in good spirit Blog
More reflections on the Joseph Cornell exhibit and Edward Hopper at the MFA in Boston are on my art blog, ingoodspirit. Both exhibits close on August 19.

Adapted from the August 2007 issue of Making Books Monthly
Free subscriptions available at

Fall Workshops

Record, Reflect, Reminisce (Reuse, Reduce, Recycle)
Fiber Art Center
79 S. Pleasant St.
Amherst, MA
Saturday, October 13

This workshop is for anyone who works with or spends time with
children or who would like an introduction to simple bookmaking
techniques. In addition to the tactile pleasures of working with our
hands, handmade books give us places to celebrate our lives and the
world around us. Learning to look at the abundance of materials
around us for their potential in bookmaking encourages creativity as
well as benefits the environment. Come and have fun while building a
repertoire of creative projects for children of all ages.

Making Books with Recycled Materials Part I
Center for Global Education
Framingham State College
Framingham, MA
Saturday, October 20

Making books is a wonderful teaching tool across the curriculum. In this hands-on workshop, we will use recycled materials (paper grocery bags, cereal boxes, used copy paper) almost exclusively.With the increasing attention to environmental issues and climate change, it is time to think about what resources we consume as we teach. Print and web resources for children on recycling and environmental issues will be shared but the workshop time will spent in the creation of books. A materials list will be sent on registration. You are welcome to bring a camera to photograph Susan's samples.

Books Around the World and Across the Curriculum
Global Education Center
Winchester, MA
Saturday, November 3

Embark on a journey of cultural discovery. In this hands-on workshop, you'll learn how to make a variety of book forms from around the world including scrolls from Africa, slat books from China, palm leaf books from Southeast Asia, and accordion books from Mexico, a bit about their history, and how to use them across curriculum. The emphasis is on simple techniques and recycled materials. You'll leave with lots of samples and even more ideas.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Contact Paper Accordion Book



I spent two days this spring at the Cambridge Ellis School in Cambridge, MA as part of the Ann Murphy Artisans Program. I worked with children from ages 2 to 4. After I enthusiastically agreed to go, I stopped. I wondered what making books with a class of two-year-olds would be like and then thought, what have I gotten myself into? It turned out to be great. There was lots of staff to help and Jodi Crawford, who is in charge of the arts at the school, was terrific. As I prepared, I enlisted the help of my friend Kathy Charpentier who has been doing day care for years and has a good understanding of the capabilities of children at different ages. The project we came up with was a simple four page accordion without a cover. The children created imagery for their pages by placing pieces of colored paper on a sheet of exposed clear contact paper and then placing the contact paper on the accordion page. I got the idea for this from something I did with my daughter years ago at the Children's Museum in Boston. In honor of the Children's Museum and its reopening after renovation, the links this month connect you to Children's Museums around the country and their offerings of activities to do at home.

Making the Book
You will need one long piece of sturdy paper or cover stock or the back panel of a brown grocery bag cut in half vertically, clear contact paper, a piece of scrap copy paper, tape, and an assortment of small pieces of paper cut or torn in to different shapes.

Cut four pieces of clear contact paper that are a little smaller than the size of the accordion pages. Remove the backing and tape them, sticky side up, to a piece of scrap paper.

Place an assortment of small pieces of paper in trays.

Fold a four page accordion. For the two year olds, I precreased the folds so they could still do the folding steps but didn't have to worry about making the folds even.

Have the children arrange small pieces of paper on the contact paper. If the paper has color or an image on one side only, it must be placed with the image side down. We told them to hide the picture. The surface of the contact paper should not be covered as there needs to be adhesive showing to make the contact paper stick to the accordion.

Place one piece of clear contact paper on each page of the accordion and smooth down to help it adhere.

Make a face on each page showing different emotions/moods.

Make an accordion shaped like a butterfly and cut the contact paper to fit the wings.


Boston Children's Museum
The Educators link has pdfs to download of some interesting projects, including Chinese shadow puppets and The Nose Knows.

Children's Museum of Indianapolis
Lots of good activities for children in the classroom and at home. The Units of study are divided into K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. K-2 offerings include All Aboard: Trains in History, Folklore, and the Future and Dinosphere: Now You're in Their World.

Chicago Children's Museum
A series of articles and activities in four categories: Playful Learning, Growing Up Healthy, Language and Literacy, and Exploring the Arts.

List of Children's Museum in the US from the Association of Children's Museum
I have two open workshops coming in the fall on making books with recycled materials. One will be at the Center for Global Studies at Framingham State College on October 20 and one will be at the Fiber Art Center in Amherst, MA, date to be determined. Details will follow in future posts.

Adapted from the July 2007 issue of Making Books Monthly
Free subscriptions available at

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Butterfly Symmetry Accordion Book


One of the signs of summer is the appearance of butterflies in the garden. This month's project is an accordion book which uses yarn threaded through holes to create two butterfly shapes. The wings can be filled in with symmetrical patterns. I have particularly fallen in love with butterflies as images since our trip to Korea where butterflies are symbols of happiness.

Thread the other piece of yarn through the bottom hole.

Bring both pieces of yarn into the single hole on the same page.

Turn the accordion over (it will look like an M from the side) and thread both pieces of yarn through the center hole on the next page.

Turn the accordion over (a W again) and thread each piece of yarn through one of the two holes (top and bottom) on the same page.

Turn the accordion over and repeat the process to make the second butterfly.

Tie a bead to the end of each piece of yarn close to the accordion.


Children's Butterfly Site
Well organized site with photographs of butterflies searchable by geographic area and family as well as information about the life cycle of a butterfly with translations into French, Spanish, German Italian, and Dutch

Symmetry in Nature
A discussion of line and rotational symmetry with examples of butterflies, leaves, and flowers

How To Make A Butterfly Garden
Create a garden that attracts butterflies with guidance from these two websites.

Monarch Watch
Information on March butterflies including how to create a Monarch Waystation to provide resources for monarchs during their migration

in good spirit Blog
A butterfly image created in Photoshop and inspired by my trip to Korea can be seen on my art blog, in good spirit.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Susan's Visit to Korea

It's almost a month since we returned from a short trip to Korea where I took part in the Seongnam International Book Art Fair. I was very inspired by the experience but have not had time to write or create much about it. I did compose a short letter with photos to preschool children at the Cambridge-Ellis School in Cambridge, MA where I spent a few days last month. Here's a slightly modified version.

R ur kids 4getn how 2 rite?: Fun writing activities for summer

Newburyport writer Aine Greaney has written an article full of great ideas for getting kids writing over the summer. She kindly lists as a resource. You can read the article here.

You can learn more about Aine and her work on her website.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Korean Counting Book

My husband and I went to Korea last month where I was part of the Seungnam International Book Art Fair. I exhibited some of the Spirit Books and gave a coupleof workshops to children. We were welcomed with wonderful hospitality and had a chance to make friends from Korea and around the world. Our trip was only six days with two of them in airports and in the air so it took us a while to recover after our return home. I'll be posting information about the trip sometime soon. I always like to show some sample ways of using the books I make in workshops. Here's a book that I took to Korea. The first page says counting book followed by the numbers from one to nine.

I used five sheets of 4.25" x 11" colored copy paper (standard size sheets cut in half vertically). The step book works great for a counting book as the page revealed after lifting each step gets larger as you move along the book. For a variation, you can bind it using the stick and elastic technique instead of yarn.


Numbers in Different Languages
A counting book can be an entry into a different culture. I'm planning on making a larger counting book with the following:

1 palace (we visited Gyeongbokgung (Gyeongbok Palace),
2 chopsticks (Korean chopsticks are made of stainless steel),
3 azalea blossoms (I was introduced to one of Korea's most famous poems by its translator David R. McCann who is the brother of a friend from the Children's Museum),
4 handmade brushes (I bought a beautiful one in a shop in Insadong in Seoul),
5 birds (as far as I can tell the common birds we saw and loved were black-billed magpies),
6 children playing badminton (we saw lots in the park on the weekend),
7 bowls of kimchi (the fermented cabbage dish is served at every meal),
8 pairs of slippers (there were slippers in the hotel room, outside the dining room in a restaurant, and in bins at the airport where we had to take off our shoes),
9 Dunkin Donuts coffees (we were surprised to see containers of Dunkin Donuts coffee arrive at the exhibition hall especially when we have friends in the western US who miss them terribly)

Wikipedia has well organized sets of numbers from one to ten in different languages.

Korean Numbers

There are two kinds of numbers in Korean: pure Korean numbers and Sino-Korean numbers. The numbers in the Counting Book above are Sino-Korean numbers.

Sino-Korean Numbers

1= il
2= ee
3= sam
4= sa
5= oh
6= yook
7= chil
8= pal
9= goo
10= ship

You can hear them and then test yourself with a concentration game here.

Korean Number Song
You may find this cute or irritating but it does go through the Korean numbers from one to ten.

Adapted from the May 2007 issue of Making Books Monthly
Free subscriptions available at

Monday, April 30, 2007

Love Letters Final Report

The Love Letters exhbition at the Firehouse in Newburyport ended yesterday with a reception for the children and their parents. The response to the project has been fantastic from the children, librarians, and teachers in the creation of the work to the enthusiasm of the viewers who took such pleasure in reading the letters.

View a slide show of the opening evening of the Festival including the Love Letters exhibit by Chris McGarry.

For those who are interested in doing a similar project, here is a pdf of information and samples to get started.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Love Letters To Our Favorite Books

Love Letters To Our Favorite Books is a community celebration of reading in association with the Newburyport Literary Festival.The walls of the The Firehouse Center for the Arts in downtown Newburyport are covered with over 900 letters to favorite books, authors,or characters. Almost all the letters are from the children of Newburyport. School librarians Judy Avery, Karen McCarty, Karen Twomey, and Ellen Menesale coordinated the projects at the Brown, Kelly, Bresnahan, and Nock Schools. Children at the Newburyport Montessori School and Ann McCrea’s KidsArt classes also contributed letters. The project was the brain child of Festival director Vicki Hendrickson and organized by local artist and educator Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord. The installation was accomplished by Karen Dardinski, director of the Firehouse Art Gallery, and Susan with assistance from Kendra Gaylord and Ada Horne.

Love Letters To Our Favorite Books
Firehouse Center for the Arts
One Market Square
Newburyport, MA
April 12-29
Reception: April 29, 2-4 pm

a Newburyport Literary Festival event

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Earth Day Wish Scroll

I am thrilled with how well my shift to recycled materials is going. In the past few weeks, I have worked with children from kindergarten to second grade. Starting with brown grocery bags and cereal boxes, we made a variety of books. It seemed even more fun than bookmaking with precut materials. What I love most is that the children can easily continue their enthusiasm by making books at home. In this spirit of environmental awareness, this month's project is for Earth Day. Wish Scrolls are based on scrolls made in Ethiopia as talismans.

My example uses a plastic film canister (I am thinking about a replacement for when everyone's camera is digital), old buttons instead of the beads, and brown paper bag for the scroll. I did use new crochet cotton but you could save old ribbon or string. I used a bookbinder's awl to make the holes so they are not that large but an ice pick or a regular awl would make a larger hole and give you more options for the thread. If you're doing the project with a large group, most places that develop film will give you canisters that they save for recycling.


All About Earth Day
Earth Day was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconson in 1970. This site has some history, profiles of Nelson, Rachel Carson, and others, and a Teacher's Lounge with classroom actvities and a pdf of great quotes about conservation, wilderness, and nature.

Recycling Revolution
A friendly site created to encourage recycling and give basic facts and strategies to make it easy.

Images and Information about Ethiopian scrolls

Students of Tom Trusky at Boise State University in Idaho made protective scrolls based on ones from Ethiopia.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Grocery Bag Biography Book


I have started to use recycled materials as much as possible in my workshops. One of my favorite materials is brown grocery bags. The inventor of the flat-bottomed grocery bag is Margaret Knight. March is Women's History Month.

Cut out the front or back panel of a brown grocery bag. Make a hot dog booklet. If the bag has writing on it, it should be on the inside (not showing) when you make the first fold (like a hot dog).


Article about Margaret Knight from the Portsmouth Herald

Women Inventors: Improving Our World
A small website from Girl Scout Troop 2409 in Briarcliff, NY about Margaret Knight which includes a mix and match quiz about other women inventors.

Marvelous Mattie by Emily McCully
A wonderful book about Margaret Knight's determination which led to her invention.
Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor

For Adult Readers
Henry Petroski who has written a number of books on objects, The Pencil, The Book on the Book Shelf, has a chapter on the grocery bag in his book, Small Things Considered: Why There Is No Perfect Design.
Small Things Considered: Why There Is No Perfect Design

Adapted from the March 2007 issue of Making Books Monthly
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Monday, January 8, 2007

Chinese New Year Journal

The Chinese year 4075, the Year of the Pig, starts on February 18. To get an early start on preparing for the celebration, this month's featured project is A Chinese New Year Journal and the links lead to sites with information about Chinese writing and calligraphy.

Chinese New Year Journal


The Chinese New Year Journal is one of the five projects in my ebook, Gung Hay Fat Choy: Making Books for Chinese New Year. Use a chop stick for the stick. Red is a lucky color in China and a good choice for the cover. The characters on the front are fu, the word for luck in Chinese. At New Year, the word is hung on the door upside down to say that luck has arrived.

You can print out a Fu pattern to glue on the cover.


Chinese Calligraphy
This is a good basic introduction which would be accessible to kids.

More Information
For a deeper look at writing Chinese characters, take a look here.

Appreciation of the Art of Chinese Calligraphy
A selection of single words written by masters of Chinese calligraphy illustrate a variety of styles. The idea here is not to learn how to write with a brush, or what the words are, but just to look at them as an abstract art. If you follow the arrow at the end of the page, you'll get to more information about Chinese calligraphy including the work of masters, essays, and links.

Calligraphy Signs in the Hong Kong Subway Station
These signs from the Hong Kong subway are beautiful to behold.

Your name in Chinese
Enter your name, birth date, desired essence of the name, and gender and get your name in Chinese.

Adapted from the January 2007 issue of Making Books Monthly
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