Byopia Press

Post #100: The Wishing Star Project update and A Tanabata Gift

Today is another date to celebrate: it is a year since I started folding stars for the Wishing Star Project. This is what 10 Imperial gallons of stars —approximately 20,000— look like. (Those are my toes at the bottom of the picture. I wear size 37 [7.5] shoes.)

It is also (in some places in Japan) the beginning of Tanabata. Here is the first paragraph of the Wikipedia entry:

Tanabata (七夕?, meaning “Evening of the seventh”), also known as the Star Festival, is a Japanese festival originating from the Chinese Qixi Festival.[1] It celebrates the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi (represented by the stars Vega and Altair respectively). According to legend, the Milky Way separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar. The date of Tanabata varies by region of the country, but the first festivities begin on July 7 of the Gregorian calendar. The celebration is held at various days between July and August.

One of the ways people celebrate Tanabata is by writing wishes on strips of paper and tying them to trees. You can see how I feel that there is a link with The Wishing Star Project.

I thought it would be nice to celebrate the occasion with a star-themed free printable, so I went looking on the web for inspiration and found a three dimensional star that could also be a book. The original design was created by Monica Morelli, and her instructions and pattern can be found on her blog.

So, in celebration of a number of things, here is Starry Night 2015. I took the text from one of my early artist’s books. To commemorate Hermann Zapf, a star of the typographic world who died last month, I reset it in Zapfino and Palatino with a star-shaped Zapf Dingbat.

The first step is to print out a pdf. If you have a colour printer, use this one. If you have a black only printer, chose this. The layout will fit either A4 or North American letter size.

The printout gives you two copies with text, one blank copy, and one outlined guide. Once you have a printed page, you need to score the cutting and folding lines marked with arrows.

It’s easiest if you score the whole page at once, even if you only plan to make one copy.

Cut out the guide strip to use as a reference, then use a scoring tool to mark the ends of the slits that let the strip turn onto a star.  Just mark the outer edge by the arrows.

I use a scoring tool that David made for me from a blunt-tipped tapestry needle. He also made my awl. If you don’t have a scoring tool, (or a husband who can make one) a non-serrated table knife will do.

Lay the guide strip over one of the scored book strips, and use an awl to pierce the tips of the cutting lines. Here’s a picture showing the pierced holes. (I have turned the guide upside down to show the holes from the back.)

Cut out your strip, then cut the lines from the holes to the edge of the strip, matching the lines on the guide. You can (I hope) see the slits in the picture with my tools. Monica suggests cutting narrow Vs to make assembly easier, but I didn’t want to cut bits out of the text.

Fold your strip into an accordion, using the vertical scores as guides.

Now you have a tiny accordion, which looks a bit odd because it has slits in it. (You could use the second copy on your printout to make an accordion book without the slits.) Reverse folds 2 and 4 so that you have a strip that forms a pentagon with the print on the outside.

Here are Monica’s pictures showing the steps for turning the strip into a star.

I found I had to get all the slits lined up in the correct places, then gently tap the star together. Mine looked like this:

When I did the text layout, I didn’t worry about the alphabet being sliced up by the folding, but I made sure that the dedication would be completely readable.

If you want to learn more about Hermann Zapf, there are links here, here, and some of his typefaces here.

Some of you may have recognised the term tanabata as a kind of Japanese paper. If not, you can see some here and here.

And finally, it will take another year to fold another 20,000 wishes (or more) for The Wishing Star Project. You can help by leaving a wish (or more?!) here. You can also help by letting me know if there is a space near you that might host the display of the finished work: gallery, vacant church, anything indoors with a large open floor area! It is getting to be time to find locations for the labyrinth.

Happy Tanabata!