When I retired in 2010 I took up bookbinding and loved it. I loved the process of repairing books and creating books from scratch, but I ended up with lots of books with no content. I became more interested in making books with my own content and art work.
I began exprimenting with variations on a traditional theme. For one thing, I was intrigued to see the effect of stitching pages together and this led me in a new direction.
The concept of a book as a stage set, showing a whole scene in one, but with moving panels which change the onlooker’s view, fascinated me, as did the notion of using it to tell a story.
The books below will illustrate what I mean, and there are, and will be, photos and sketches to show how they were made.
A concertina panorama book - see the archive for other such books and how they're made.
Each year in July, the Durham Gala is held and is a very popular event. Originally it was a miners' gala because this was primarily a holiday for the families of miners of the north east of England, which, in a bygone era, was a massively exploited coalfield. Nowadays, the Gala is a major attraction for people from miles around and the centrepiece of the event is a huge procession of banners, bands and entertainment through the streets to the riverside playing fields where speeches by dignitaries and invited guests are made and people enjoy the attractions associated with a great day out.
The book shows the procession from the city centre down Silver Street heading towards the playing fields. The buildings are the actual ones in that street, diminishing in size as you look back towards the centre. The inside covers, which act as side panels, show an extended background view with the cathedral, barely visible, on the left, and the multi-storey carpark by the river on the right. The County Hotel has always been a focal point, with dignitaries and their families waving to the passing procession, and political guests making speeches.
The scenes are made from individual panels. The crowds and buildings were drawn out on the panels first. Each section of panels then had to be matched with the others - a task made more difficult by the increasing size of figures coming down the hill from the distant background.
The panels were painted and finally stitched together, before being stitched to the concertina background (Silver Street buildings). the concertina is then stuck to the book covers (views on each side of Silver Street). The ourside of the covers is adorned with a few trinkets to suggest a festival theme.
Rainbow Abbey is a story book made of cut-out panels extending from a central stem.
As each panel is turned, the story develops and new views of the abbey can be seen. The inside front cover shows the picnic area outside the abbey and the little boy, Jamie, setting off on an adventure as his parents are pre-occupied with other things. The cut panels are scenes in the abbey ruins, and the back panel is the resolution to the story - Jamie returning to the picnic from where he started. clearly it's a "don't try this at home " story. Very non-PC, but I know from experience kids love, absolutely love, hearing stories about children undertaking mischievious and highly dangerous, if not impossible, tasks. I've posted the story on the "Stories" page.