You’ll Never Believe What She Used For These Handmade Books

The creativity of artists I discover through Cloth Paper Scissors and beyond never ceases to amaze me. Take the handmade books of Erin Zamrzla, for example. She has the vision and talent to be able to take everyday objects and transform them into book art that’s pure genius. Erin was interviewed by fellow mixed-media artist Lesley Riley in Cloth Paper Scissors (March/April 2010). Here’s a snippet of their Q&A.

handmade books

LR: Erin, I want to start off by asking you to list all the non-traditional things you have used in your bookmaking.
EZ: I love trying non-traditional materials. A few examples include cassette tapes, vinyl records, floppy disks, game boards, chalk boards, index files, inventory tags, matchbooks, and discarded packaging.

LR: Is there anything you had to give up on because you couldn’t get it to work?
EZ: I’m often able to get almost anything to work if I make enough adjustments. I do have a few projects that are still in progress because they posed problems. I haven’t given up on them yet, though, since they’re still hanging around my studio.

book art

LR: Are the papers you use for the pages recycled? What do you use?
EZ: I prefer to use recycled papers, but I sometimes use new papers. I’m an avid sketcher, drawer, and jotter, so I try to keep the quality of the paper in mind for others who will be using my handmade books. I source papers from garage sales, discarded library books, household packaging, as well as new drawing paper with recycled content.

LR: Let’s take the egg crate book as an example of your design process. How did you decide on the book structure? Did you have to do any reinforcement to the carton? Does the binding stitch vary depending on the recycled item you’re using?
EZ: The structure of this book is based upon the structure of the egg carton. I looked at an egg carton and thought about where the pages could go and where the binding could go. Because paper is an extremely strong and versatile material, the eyelets at the binding are the only reinforcement provided. The materials do dictate the bookbinding technique. Certain materials lend themselves better to one binding technique over another.

LR: Are there any tips you would like to share with us about creating books with recycled materials?
EZ: Try anything. Sometimes the standard bookbinding tools and materials may be difficult to find. Don’t let that stop you from trying. Get creative with what you have at your fingertips.

I love the designs that Erin comes up with. I want to open them, hold them in my hands, feel their weight–don’t you? The next best thing would be creating your own! Erin is the featured artist in this special collection, which includes her Accordion Books Three Ways DVD and an Escoda brush that’s made especially for bookbinding.

Have you made your own books, or will this inspire your first project? Tell me in the comments of the blog and share your experience.

Empower your vision,

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Blog, Handmade Books

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