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Regardless of the irony in the title, I do consider this a win, because I just returned from a lunch break run to the UPS store and I have officially entered Bookopolis 2011.

My husband has been incredibly supportive the last few days. He has even told me not to worry about the drifts of paper scraps and piles of tools lying all over the house. If you know my husband, you know that is support indeed! The house is getting back to normal, but you’d be surprised (if you’re not a book artist) how much chaos such a tiny object can cause.

I’ve begun my comeback!

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“Tibet as I Remember It”

Kara Russo, August 2011

Since spending a summer in the Amdo Tibetan countryside in 2004, the artist has felt a divide in her heart between her life in America and her longing for the scenery, people and culture of Tibet. Over time, that longing has created a version of Amdo-land that exists only in her fantasy. This book is an attempt to portray the Tibet that lives in her memory – edited, idealized and nostalgic.

Miniature Tunnel Book

Paper and Board

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Many thanks to Sarah Russo of Better Tie for these images!

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I finished the book, behind schedule and ahead of schedule, in a way. Yes, it’s day 12, but I still have time to mail the book and enter Bookopolis. Besides, I actually made the book in 2 days, if you want to get real technical. It’s my first tunnel book, it comes in miniature scale at under 3 inches, and I kinda like it.

Later today my wonderful sister in law is going to help me take photos for the entry process (read: I will stand by and get in the way while she expertly frames and snaps away), but here is a teaser:

The messy desk is for scale only, folks!

I’m sitting at my work table playing Tibetan pop music from youtube. I’ve changed directions completely. The book was going to be called Sacred Space, but I found that I was not passionate about making that book at the moment. I’ve switched to a tunnel book. There are over a dozen little squares of colored paper that I hope will begin to form the layers of a landscape.

I’ve been coming to grips lately with the fact that I don’t live in Tibet, I have no plans to live in Tibet, and I may never see the rooftop of the world again. I have missed Amdo Tibet every day of the seven years that have passed since I was there. I decided to make a book express that longing visually. When I try to express it verbally, I ended up saying silly trite things like “the mountains call my name in my sleep”, or “Tibet lives inside my heart”.

Obviously I may not make the deadline, but I’m going to finish this book regardless. I can get it to Asheville anytime this week, so I can still do it without meeting the ten day self-imposed deadline.

This is my view from my seat at my table:

I went home from work today with a migraine, and it’s not over yet. That’s the bad news. The good news is, the paper arrived!


You can see how bad I’ve felt today — that box is unopened. Stay tuned for book fun tomorrow!

The paper shipped today, hoorah! Hopefully I can begin work on the actual book in a couple of days.

Last night I worked briefly on a mock up and discovered that 3″x3″ is actually much too big for the book I envision. I’m going to mock up a 2″ version and see if I like that. If not I’ll keep shrinking it until it has the feel I want. I know I’m crazy, but I’ve been working on a 6″ book for months now and I’ve been longing for my first love — miniature books.

To qualify as a miniature, a book has to be under 3″ in every dimension. When I set out to make a miniature, I prefer pushing the limit, challenging myself to go smaller and more detailed than anyone else. My strong point is craftsmanship, and miniature artists books is a fantastic exploitation of my greatest gift.

In the meantime, check out these images from my favorite miniature book artist:

Please note: all these images are of miniature books by the extremely talented Elsa Mora. Please check out her blog to see more lovely images like these — I’m in awe of her gift!

Other than checking my email compulsively to see if my paper has shipped yet, I’ve been doodling the design for the miniature book in my sketchbook. It’s a riff on the artists book I just did for a friend, at request of a friend (more on that once she has received it). Yes, it’s small — 3″x3″. I’m going back to my first love, miniature artists books.

Tomorrow, if no paper update, I’ll show you some other miniature artists books that send me into a craftsmanship coma.

Mid-Week Pretties

July 13, 2011

These are a few things I’ve come across in the last week that I want to share with all of you. I struggle between being distracted by the overwhelming amount of next-to-meaningless stuff on the web, and using the worthwhile things out there as artistic inspiration and means of growth. I hope some of these things fall into the second category for you. Click the picture to see more.

A dollhouse in a public play space, circa 1910. I love dollhouses, and the idea of a public one made to be played with — no plexi across the front of it — just thrills me.

A  letter from a Pixar animator to aspiring artists. It is two pages long, make sure to click to read the full letter.

How 2 artists produced over 700 paintings in 12 days. They probably feel like they have a lifetime of inspiration to pull from as a result of this collaboration.

Scanned Toys in a post from Tiny Yellow Bird. There are several of these, all mesmerizing.

Pop-up picnics in Paris, by invitation only. Participants bring their own tables, chairs and food and leave no trace of the revelry behind. I’ve been thinking all day of places you could do this in Greenville.

This artist book is only 4.5″ tall. You MUST click on this one. The accordion binding, the paper cuts, the tunnel book effect, the care for detail is exquisite. I can’t get enough.

Thanks for looking, and feel free to leave links to things that inspire you!