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Re: [BKARTS] help with a student project

I've been  teaching bookmaking in schools for 12 years  but have never
worked with a class over the course of an entire year. I most often do
one day visits to schools and make blank books with the students which
are then filled with content under the supervision of the teacher. I
focus more on curriculum topics than writing. However, I have worked on
some more extended projects with my own children's classes. I also use
only simple easily accessible materials (that is no book board or
special papers for the books themselves) because I am always looking to
make models that I can easily teach teachers to teach.
        First of all your program sounds exciting but very ambitious. I
definitely would recommend limiting the forms they can choose from- and
your choices are good. All three structures will be easy to plan. I
would even think about limiting it to 2- accordion and Japanese stab. I
don't know how you were planning to make the boxes but I'd be careful
about not getting anything too complicated. You might even think about
getting some kind of gift boxes that you can purchase and then make
books that will fit the size. They can cover and decorate them as they
choose and will have the satisfaction of a book in a box but it will
simplify the process. You are dealing with a large number of kids and I
think you need to cautious in your planning.
        I think I would plan for the pages to be around 8 1/2 x 11 which will
give them room to work, but you could go smaller- I wouldn't go any
smaller than 5 1/2 x 8 1/2. I'd have them all make books the same size
to simplify the gathering of materials. It will also make it easier for
you to figure costs.
        It will be easiest if you approach the pages like collage and have
students use the page surface as the staring point and glue their text
and images on it. I especially like the stab binding for this as the
folded pages give strength to hold additional layers. And for the
accordion you could use a heavier weight paper. Trying to develop the
pages on the computer is certainly possible but will add a whole level
of potential problems.
        I would probably have them make model accordion and stab bindings
fairly early in the process just to have the experience.  It will give
them a more concrete sense of the project and help them as they plan
their book.
        Obviously you don't want to be too rigid or confining but I think the
tendency at the beginning is to want to expose the kids to the whole
wonderful world of bookmaking as you know it. I know it was for me. You
do need to be careful not to open the doors too wide or chaos can
ensue. I'd start with some pretty defined parameters and then open it
up from there if it seems appropriate.
        I hope this is helpful. Keep in touch. I'm happy to help.

in good spirit

Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord
Newburyport, MA


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