In the summer of 2017, when I was looking for the folding pattern for this collapsing box,
I discovered the Chinese Thread Book/Zhen Xian Bao and the work of Ruth Smith. I learned from the internet that she had written books containing projects based on the traditional Zhen Xian Bao in a series called Folded Secrets. I even found out that one of the books contained the folding instructions I was looking for. I could not, however, find Ruth Smith, or a way to order books from her. (There were some used single copies available, but I didn’t know which one I wanted.)A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Ruth Smith, who had seen my posts on the Chinese Thread Book online. She offered to sell me the book with the folding instructions. I treated myself and bought all four books in the series.
I will show you the first two this week and the last two next week.
Like all the books in the Folded Secrets series, Book 1 is A4 in size, with sturdy paper covers. It contains instructions for making your own version of a Zhen Xian Bao, and for a couple of smaller variations. The instructions are clearly written and well illustrated.
There are photos of various Zhen Xian Bao, images of decoration to inspire the reader, and pictures of other people’s work based on Chinese Thread Books.
The inside back cover, as in all four volumes, suggests paper choices and lists some English stockists for papers, fabric, and authentic Zhen Xian Bao.
Book Two contains nine little projects inspired by the Zhen Xian Bao.
Like Book 1, there are photos of the thread book taken in China.
The instructions are again clear and well-illustrated, and should be easy to follow for even quite young makers.
There is a bonus chapter on using transfer dyes which I found particularly interesting. (For non-British readers, Vilene is a German interfacing marketed in North America under the brand name Pellon.)
If you are interested in ordering any of Ruth Smith’s Folded Secrets project books, you may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to make enquiries.
If you want to read about my explorations of the Zhen Xian Bao (with instructions), you will find links to all the related posts here.
In other book arts news:
The November issue of the Book Arts Newsletter is available for download here.
I haven’t posted anything map-related for a while so I am happy to share the news that the British Library’s entire George III Topographical Collection of maps and related images is now available on Flickr.
I particularly liked the map shown above. It was drawn (on birch bark) by Elizabeth Simcoe about 1795, and is titled Sketch of Upper Canada.