You guys are great! I knew when I got stuck, that I would get lots of suggestions if I posted my work-in-progress. And you all really came through. Thanks for all the great ideas. This weekend I changed my approach completely – dropping the binding and doing a pillow-case finish on the covers.

It helped speed things up, because I’m really not that great at bindings. Actually I don’t consider myself very good at precision sewing, so I have to design around that. For these two books, I played around with some extreme cropping to keep PaMdora’s face the size I normally make it.

Designing these books is a completely different way of thinking – it’s not just how it looks from the front, but the whole experience as you turn the pages, right to the very end. I love the way the backside of the cover looks after quilting her face. Sometimes I think the backsides of my quilts are more interesting than the front, and here’s a chance to take advantage of that.

On each side, I’m using different fabrics and threads, for a little surprise and to make the viewer want to turn it over and examine every surface. Without the bindings, the books (which by the way, are 7″ x 9″) have a very nice feel to them. The covers are simple and soft. I’m using scrylic felt as the middle layer, because it has the same appearance as batting, but it’s a little bit stiffer.

The funny thing was, after I finished these two books, I showed all of them to Russ and he said, well I still like the one with the bird on the cover (photo in the previous post). He said, it reminds me of one of those things you set pans on. I told being called a potholder is not considered a compliment in the art quilt world. He said he thought that didn’t matter, that they were appealing that way.

So what do you think? Go back to putting bindings around all the edges? Today I started three more books with different designs, but none of them have bindings either – except for the spine. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get them done.

12 Comments

  • No No No – no bindings! I very much like the ‘cropped images’ with less background around them and no bindings. Lots of background and binding reminds me of children’s rag books, these look much more grown up. I think they are terrific. What a great idea!

  • Love the face. the graphic says it all.

    for Russ: Make a larger bird- so we see only 80% of it on the cover–and facing toward the book opening on the right. PaMdora is facing the right way–inviting us into your world.

  • I have a lot of thoughts about these – not necessarily in terms of the artist books but in terms of what makes a successful small piece.

    I believe the pamdora face is extremely successful because it has such great tension – the figure ground relationship between pamdora and the background is lovely. Well done!

    The bird is nice but I feel it has too much background – the bird seems so static just sitting in the middle of the picture.

    As for bindings – I don’t do them but I think Russ’s comments are interesting in that we in the art quilt world tend to be so darn defensive (at least some of us – and I’m certainly guilty of it) about “I don’t like bindings – they look to ‘quilty’ ” that it is interesting to hear from an outsider that they don’t have such a stigma attached to them.

    Course personally, I still don’t like bindings 🙂

  • I like the new design. To me, when I think of your work, I think of the glasses and the exasperated look of Pam…trying to make sense of our insane world. Pam’s face says it all…and I know would be memorable to gallery folks. Technically, the pillow case technique works just fine in my opinion!

  • Pamdora is the star of all your quilts, so it is only fitting that she would be the cover girl. It is perfect. Potholder? Potholder!!! Never!!!! Anyway… love these books. A total experience.

  • The new book design is so much more graphic, really capturing the look and *feel* of your large quilts. I think it looks more like a professional presentation than the first effort. Fabulous!
    (Sorry, Russ.)

  • I like the face. Your first rendition made me immediately think of children’s books, which, I’m assuming isn’t your goal. Plus, no binding will really allow you to make more if need be.

    Maybe as a compromise you could make Russ a real potholder with the image of the bird on it! 🙂

  • These look great! I think they will present your work in a professional manner.

    No bindings is the way to go; the scale is too small for the bindings.

    And the face makes a good “logo” that is easily recognizable. Whoever looks at these books will remember the face.

  • The s/s face is best I think, because it does exactly what the gallery wants: shows what the work is like. I prefer no binding, because it also illustrates the quilts. Binding and the bird make a separate object, which may well be attractive in itself, but it is not really a taster for the quilts as much as the face. That latter is brilliant – and I agree about the back of the work looking fascinating too.
    Do you know the work of Alice Kettle? http://www.alicekettle.com/
    Her website does not show her work to best advantage unfortunately, but the reason why I thought of her is that she works from the back, and puts the outline of the face on last. It was the back of your PR face which spurred my memory.

  • Pam, these are perfect!! I thought the other day (but was in a rush so didn’t say) that Pamdora needed to be on the front cover – she really announces what’s inside in a very immediate way. The bird was cute, but maybe a bit too cute (in a pot-holderish sort of way). And you should leave the bindings off – the cleaner lines work.

  • These are fabulous, Pam. I like the large, cropped face best… It invites you right into the book. The smaller images on front with bindings look good too, but look a tad more like stylish fabric baby books on the outside. The face conveys a much different thing, to me anyway. And as these are so immediate. Also, I much prefer the look without bindings…Russ is right, they do look vaguely pot-holderish that way.

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