Prototypes 5 & 6

Before I write about my current book project, I need to invite you all to an event.

If you've known me for awhile (and even if you haven't) you have probably heard me mention Betty & Edgar's book collection.  I've had the privilege of working with this collection for the past 15 years.  Basically I knew as soon as I walked in their door that I would do whatever I needed to do so I could spend time with their books.  If you would like to see why, come check out this exhibition. Seriously.

Which brings me to my current book project. Betty was gracious and trusting enough to give me three of her poems to work with.  I've had them for quite awhile but as usual I needed a specific deadline in order to get moving.  In this case, the upcoming exhibition.  Ideally I would have had it done in time to go into the show but that didn't quite happen.  Nor is the book actually finished.  Instead I have the 6th and hopefully final prototype.

All book projects have prototypes, this one required more than most. I needed to learn the binding and because of how the book needs to go together, it is difficult to get a sense of what it will look like unless you actually put the pieces in place. To see how things can change from one prototype to the next, let's compare prototype 5 & 6.

Cover- except for some color differences, the two covers are the same.  I'm using hand painted tyvek for the cover and binding. The book is a gate-fold binding and opens from the center.

Page 1- The text is in it's final location but will ultimately be letterpress printed. I screen printed text on one sheet of each page just for the final prototype. It isn't perfect but you get the idea.  Prototype 5 is at the top. The mask is too quiet and the bands (which are part of the binding) are too loud.  In prototype 6, the masks are enhanced due to some extra printing and the bands are matte.  They also have a speckle pattern which doesn't come through on the pictures. I also don't think I'll cut out the eye holes in the final.  I don't think it needs it anymore.

Page 2- Possibly the biggest transformation.  Prototype 5 was again too quiet and lacked movement.  It also didn't help that I failed to correctly read my own notations and printed an extra mask piece on the right edge.  Prototype 6 is much better.  I worked with my mistake and added some extra masks.  The poem is about a parade and now the image actually reflects the mood of the poem.

Page 3- The final mask is supposed to be wild and fun.  It also has mirror eyes....which looks creepier in the photos than it does in real life.  Top mask is getting there but I really love how the bottom mask turned out.  The gold sparkles and the colors are far more intense and vivid. No plain masks here!

The edges of the book can be pulled to expand the final image. Initially I had dreams of doing something very clever so the edges of the pages all joined together to make a final image. Alas, I am not that clever and became content with just having the extra space for the final mask.

So far, without counting the text, I'm at 33 layers.  I think that's probably enough.  Betty hasn't seen prototype 6 yet but I am super excited to show it to her this week.  I'll post updates about the book as I finish the project.  Hopefully I will see some of you at the show on Thursday!