So I’m looking through an old YA novel, searching for inspiration for my second Book Art project, and I came across this:
The illustration, I mean. Not the tea bag. The tea bag is the same one I’ve been using for about ten years to show with my various Triscuits and paintings and things, to indicate scale. I hope it’s not too scuzzy, after ten years. At least it’s never been used…The New York Times just did a story about an artist, Laure Provost, whose prized possession is a 15-year old tea bag once used by her grandfather:
Oh, right. Book Art.
The used book store that I volunteer/co-manage for our local library has four (one hardback, three paper) copies of this book:
I do not remember this book, Half Magic, from my childhood, although it was a best seller when it was first published in 1954 and appears to still be in print. The book is nicely illustrated and the pages were kind of soft but substantial and there was that one castle pictured in it (see above), so I knew I could make something out of it:
In answer to Dear Reader Megan’s question last week: For my first castle (see: last week’s post) I did not use any other material except the old, brittle pages from my source, a book from 1920 (don’t worry, you can buy your own copy on eBay for $9.99…I wouldn’t cut up a precious book!) . That paper was very tricky, being so dry and flimsy, but I learn from my mistakes so for this castle I did build up the main castle parts with some sturdy backings, a very inexpensive Canson “Biggie Jr.” 90-lb paper for kids crafts. For the crenelations and the flag pole I glued several pages together so they would be stiff enough to not flap in the wind.
I give Dear Reader Megan this word in swaps with the most excellent word she left in her Comment last week — punnet. I never heard or saw that word before and now it’s one of my favorites. Thank you, Megan!
My first two castles were made like stage props — hollow, and want to be viewed only from the front. Here’s the back of my Half Magic castle:
But after making two stage prop castles, I think I’m ready to build something totally 3-D. And here’s the book that became my inspiration for my third castle, a book that has been ignored in our used book store for at least three months:
It’s in German and appears to be some kind of Year Book and yes, it’s from 1905.
It had great end papers . . .
. . . and it also had fine (but strange) illustrations:
So, I thought about Germans, and Nazis, and lederhosen, but I wanted to think nice thoughts about Germans so I thought about the Brothers Grimm, and then I thought, Aha!
Working on this free-standing tower gave me lots of time to think about Rapunzel, so that’s why my Rapunzel isn’t letting down her hair because my Rapunzel enjoys her life in her tower just fine, thank you very much, with her books and her paints and her tea cups and her cats:
This little side-tower was fun to do:
It took me a lot of trial and error to figure out how to cut those eaves so the two roofs could fit together, but it was awfully relaxing to do so. The harder it gets to put these castles together, the more I like it; it requires the same concentration as watercolor or embroidery, but is much more playful. It’s castles!
I’ll be back at the book store today, going through some children’s books, looking for more inspiration, and maybe I’ll show you the step-by-step next time, if you Dear Readers think that would be of interest. I know you want to know how to make those neat pointy roofs.
Last week Dear Reader Birdie asked whether we at the used book store sold out books on line. Let me give a long answer:
This week we got a big box, full of donated books — all the books we sell at the used book store are donated to us — that contained a lot of Book of the Month and Reader’s Digest books from the 1960s and ’70s. The donor dropped the box off, and we didn’t get a name or any contact information. . . most people are glad to get rid of books that they feel too guilt to throw away, so they tend to dash off once they have unloaded the responsibility on us.
Most of the books in this donation were not suitable for us to sell, as they were too worn out or were about the last 100 days of WWII. There were a few woodworking books in there, too; it seemed to me that the books came from the library of a guy who had served in Europe in the war and come home to a lifelong hobby of making bird houses and decoy ducks.
Then, in the very bottom of the box, I found gold. I found this:
This is a pristine first edition (1971) of Sylvia Plath’s only novel, published by Harper & Row. The cover is immaculate and it seems to me that the book has never been read, not surprising when you consider the company it’s been keeping for the last 47 years.
It has a minor condition issue in that the binding is very slightly bowed:
This is the first valuable book that we’ve had donated to us, so this is the first time that I’ve considered putting one of our books on line.
But I’m giving all you Dear Readers first crack. If you or anyone you know would like to own this amazing first edition (fifth printing), let me know. All sales benefit the William Cullen Bryant Library in Roslyn, NY.
The other most exciting thing that’s happened in the neighborhood recently is the sighting of a pair of male and female coyotes living in the woods behind the high school. It is assumed that they are a breeding pair, and that they have a den. Coyote babies! How cute!
But that means that there are some hungry coyotes prowling our sleepy little h hamlet here on the north shore of Long Island, and all residents are advised to keep small dogs and cats indoors (cats are coyotes’ favorite food). Scary!
All my cats are on ultra-high alert:
P.S. Sorry, but the Sylvia Plath book is already sold. There are still Sylvia Plath fans out there!
Have a great weekend, Dear Ones. May all your castles have a room, just for you, with a view.