Endings and Beginnings

This week saw the completion of my response to the January #areyoubookenough challenge prompt: Expectations.

My brain always links the word directly to the Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations. I read it for school —Grade Nine English— and the story stuck with me, so I joined the sub-group of people responding by using that text as a starting point. My re-interpreted version is an attempt to capture the concept, if not the full content, of the book. Reading begins with the outer wrapper. (Image of front above, back below.)

Inside the re-closable wrapper is an envelope with the beginning of the first volume printed on the front.

To read further, the tear strip on the back must be opened.

Inside is an envelope with the text that starts the second volume. It too has a tear strip on the back which must be opened. Inside the second envelope is a third, for the third volume, and inside that is a final envelope with the beginning of the final chapter.

Dickens wrote two endings for Great Expectations: one for the original serialized magazine version, and a second, happier one for book publication. (This was apparently at the prompting of Edward Bulwer-Lytton, he of “It was a dark and stormy night” fame.) To represent the double ending, the final envelope contains two winged hearts. One says Yes and the other No. The reader must decide if Pip still has expectations.

New things also began this week. I have joined in the collage challenge for @prairiecollagecollective. There will be monthly prompts for this. The one for January was “First this”. Here’s my response:

The February prompt is “cutout poetry”. I have cut out words from headers and sub-heads in a magazine. Now to find a poem in them, and an appropriate background…

I am also using the same magazine and a flyer, plus a few tiny scraps from my paper stash to participate in #februllage, a daily collage challenge. I have combined this challenge with this year’s February #guylaine lab, so all the collages will be mounted in a small boustrophedon/meander book.

Each page in the meander book is 2″ x 2″ in size. Here are the collages so far, with the prompt for each day.






It remains to be seen if I can get through the entire month’s prompts using only the materials I mentioned above!

In other book arts news:

The Museum of Modern Art is currently showing Calligraphic Abstraction. The exhibition contains works from their collection created between 1940 and 1970. You can read an article about the show here.


This lecture is perfect for those interested both in ephemera and the history/mythology of westward expansion by settlers in the United States.

In the history of Westward Expansion, the Donner Party stands alone. Their story has been the inspiration for a bounty of books and pamphlets, both serious and some not so much. The literary history of the Donner Party runs the gamut from histories, biographies, fiction, epic poems, plays and even a cookbook!

After more than fifty years of collecting all things Donner Party, amateur historian and author Jim Hier joins us to share items from his collection and discuss the literary legacy of the Donner Party.

An illustrated talk by Jim Hier, historian and author.

The talk is both live and online. You can register for the Zoom talk on this page.


If you are serious about becoming a book designer (codex designer), you might want to sign up for this course. The fee seems reasonable for what is offered.

Over the course of two lectures, two workshops, and a final critique (to be held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from March 7 through March 21), participants in this online workshop will learn about book and cover design history and practice.

You can see a detailed schedule and register here.

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.
This entry was posted in art, artist's books, book arts, illustration, paper cutting, publishing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Endings and Beginnings

  1. lcmt says:

    Thank you thank you thank you for the link to the MoMA exhibition!


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