Following a Train of Thought to a (Possibly Illogical) Conclusion

Showing you sneak peeks of the projects coming in December has begun to feel a bit mean, so I have an actual project for you this week. It began as a bit of paper play and led to something completely different.

I posted links to instructions for making paper rosettes in the first post of last year’s Advent Calendar. Rosettes fit nicely with this year’s theme Circle, but I thought I would show you how to make a variation. If you split a rosette in two horizontally and slide the bottom part half way along the top, you have the beginning of a chain or swag.

Our mail seems to be full of colourful sales flyers this week, so I thought I would try making my paper chain out of recycled paper. The flyer I used was made from heavily coated newsprint so it is a bit shinier and stiffer than regular newsprint. I used the Keith Smith folding instructions for making an accordion, stopping at Step 8.

(Keith A. Smith’s Volume I Non-Adhesive Binding has become a ‘bible’ for beginning book artists, and rightly so. If you don’t already own a copy I suggest you get one. You can order directly from Smith here.)

The individual units were all folded from single thickness 10 cm (4 in) squares.

I then folded the little accordions in half and glued the middle together.

This made little wedge-shapes or quarter circles.

I glued two wedges together, making a (generous) semi-circle. The semicircles were glued together alternately up and down, overlapping by half, to make the beginning of a chain. (See first image in post.)

You can also glue the quarter-circles alternately up and down.

The beginning of a chain done that way looks like this.

As I worked with little fan-shaped bits, I noticed the pattern the folds make when viewed from the end.

What if I shut the three valley folds by gluing the inner surfaces together?

The result is a drumleaf binding of sorts, but it can also be something else.

Here’s my test, made using offcuts from other Advent projects.

Instructions for the Asterisk Garland will be in this year’s Advent Calendar!

If you enjoy the projects from Byopia Press, please consider making a donation here to help cover the overhead costs of the blog.

In other book arts news:

If you are on the Book_Arts-L mailing list or are a member of the College Book Art Association, you may have already read Stephanie Wolff’s article Artist Book Projects: Some Considerations. If not, you can find the full piece here. I also recommend having a look at Wolff’s website. (The image above is her artist’s book A Change in the Weather.)


Relatively few surviving works from the Middle Ages were written by women. One of them is a monastic chronicle known as the Annals of Quedlinburg, created in the early eleventh century. A look into this work reveals some interesting insights into the writer and her abbey.

You can read the full article here. What struck me most was the hand lettering glimpsed behind the title, so I went looking for more pictures. Here is a page from the Universal Encyclopedia of Lithuania. (The manuscript contains the first known reference to Lithuania by that name.)

The characters in the manuscript are printed rather than in a cursive script, though precursors to handwriting occur in the marginal notes. I love the s-t ligatures in the body of the text. There appears to be a scored vertical margin on the left, and what might be marks left by erasing a set of horizontal guidelines. I also noted that the manuscript appears to be written on paper rather than parchment and that there is evidence of corrections made by scraping the surface and re-writing. You can take a closer look at the image here.


How’s that for a nice segue?! Learn more about the speakers and register on this page.

About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than thirty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004. I also create prints and drawings that are frequently text-inspired or text-based.
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1 Response to Following a Train of Thought to a (Possibly Illogical) Conclusion

  1. Pingback: Byopia Press Advent Calendar 2022: Day Twelve and an Asterisk Garland | Byopia Press

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