Some Experimental Fan Book Structures

On Friday I posted two videos about fan making in Japan. Finding those videos and a few days of warmer than normal weather set me to thinking about fan books: not just books whose pages could be fanned out, but fan books that could be usable as fans. This was my first try.

It was not a complete success: I used the same cord for stitching the pages at the outer edge as I used for tying them together at the bottom. It was difficult to control the spacing —also a result of the knot I was using— and added far too much bulk when the fan was closed.

The pages were too flimsy for the size I had made them so the whole thing was a bit floppy.

On to a second attempt.

This model has a better weight of thread, a better scale for the weight of card stock, and a slightly better solution to the stitching, but it is an awkward shape when closed.

I trimmed off one of the handles so that the bamboo slats merely provide a stabiliser at the gripping point of the open fan.

This looks a bit better when closed, but there’s still some excess bulk at the upper end.

Why not put the pivot point in the centre of the strips?

This would be why: a more extreme version of the handle problem of the second model.

I did like the solution I used to connect the outer ends. This could work if the pages were sturdier, the bit holding the thread did not project above the surface, and the thread were a bit thinner. It might be possible to make a container for the book that could be slotted onto the opened circle (sans bamboo slats) as a handle. I will have to think about that a bit more.

For my final attempt I made the ‘pages’ from triangles rather than strips. This gives more readable surface.

Hmmm, got the math wrong. I should have a shorter radius so that it closes like this.

It doesn’t.

The new sewing solution has potential though, and with fewer pages, there is less problem with added bulk. Also, since there are no actual knots involved except at the ends, the spacing can be adjusted after all the pages are connected. With a little more attention to the math, I think this one has potential.

Oh look, a very long time ago someone in India did something very much along these lines with a palm leaf binding. (The image comes from Pinterest and its link to an auction site provides no useful information.)

The accordion fold fan below —from the collection of the Victoria And Albert Museum, English, 18th C— also has potential as a fan book, with its much wider sections.

The wooden parts look fairly hefty which would have made it useful for rapping the knuckles of gentlemen who behaved inappropriately.

Friday’s post had a link to an instruction video for an accordion fold circular fan.

The version shown is fairly crude, but it is also not a new idea. Here’s a fan from the collection of the Museo Lazaro Galdiano in Spain. Judging by the clothing on the painted figures I suspect that it is also from the eighteenth century.

In other news:

It is still too cold at night to put out the tomato plants, which are huddled in two groups, one in the porch and the other in the garage. (David opens the garage door in the daytime.) The furnace came on again this morning.

Spring, however, is progressing and the caraganas are in bloom.

This means the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds will be arriving shortly, so I made up a batch of sugar water and David filled the feeder and hung it up.

I will try to get a picture when I see one.

About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than twenty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004.
This entry was posted in artist's books, book arts, bookbinding, instructions, paper folding and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Some Experimental Fan Book Structures

  1. I so enjoyed seeing your experiments with fans. Process is fascinating to me—the paths of creativity. Thank you.


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