Zines and Handmade Books

It all started with a fantastic purchase of the book "Making Handmade Books" by Alisa Golden for the bargain price of $26. It is a fantastic book filled with 100's of book binding techniques and inspiration.

In the past I have felt that book binding has a look about it that I sometimes compare to bad scrapbooking. However, I now feel that making a small handmade book is a very satisfactory and individual art process. The books can be made anyway you want - with what ever medium and become an extremely personal and expressive object.

Whilst planning a classes for my art teaching practicum I decided to use the idea of a Zine and a handmade book as one of my main lesson plans. It began with a mixed response from the students but by the end of the lessons the students were really beginning to understand the possibilities of these books after the initial technique was learned. 

One of the great things that I learned in the teaching process was how "old fashioned" a type writer was to this generation. Most of the students had never even played with one and were enthralled with the gadget, they even used it sensibly. Type writers are so "right" for the handmade books look and with a little bit of encouragement to use their favorite song lyrics as inspiration I found that the students really started to get excited about the process. Unfortunately I had to endure quite a bit of "One Direction" love but I did try to keep the eye rolling to a minimum.

In the above photos you can see an example accordion style book that I used to show the students. I used some favorite song lyrics from the band "The Grates", some little envelopes, pictures from vintage gardening books, children's book pages, some paint, pastels, fine liner, bling, tags, washi tape, fabric tape and lastly some hand stitching details. 
I feel that when creating a handmade book you don't really know its outcome until you pile three more layers onto the first. Its an evolving process and I like not knowing how the finished product will look.

There are so many free Zine and book making patterns on the internet and I truly encourage you to give it a go - it doesn't have to be a collage like this one - why not make it a landscape work of art - a panorama of your dreams. It's so much fun.

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Michelle Walker is a Tasmanian born creative. An Artist for life, Visual Arts Teacher, Graphic Designer, Photographer, Hairdresser by trade and mother to two beautiful children.