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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

This, that, and the other

The Mosey Down Main Street was roughly two weeks ago now, and I still haven't put up photos. Oh, naughty me. The problem is that I have about a zillion pictures of the clients I worked on through the evening, and I loved just about every design I did. The whole atmosphere was terrific. I had a blast, and made double the money I've earned at any prior gig. I figured I'd have to wrap up once things got dark, but it turns out I was perfectly placed to take advantage of the light from the storefront behind me, and the streetlight across the way. The event ran till midnight, and I finally decided I was done around 11pm.

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My family and I spent the holiday weekend with my parents, along with my brother and his family, getting ourselves drenched, waterlogged, bruised (I whacked my elbow HARD exiting one of the water slides), and thoroughly exhausted playing around at Splash Universe up in Shipshewana. Bigtime Amish community, world-famous flea market... and a water park. *shrug* Okay.

One unexpected highlight of the weekend was when my mother mentioned that the books she had ordered for my birthday present had finally come in, after being on backorder for three weeks. I had forgotten all about the backorder, so receiving books out of the blue like that was terrific. Even more so, since they were both how-to books for making other books, by Cheryl Moote. The first is titled Simply Bound: Beginnings in Bookbinding, and the second, Sleight of Binding, has more fun stuff, like "books" with hidden pages, pockets, jacob's ladders, and so on.

Of course, I started playing with these as soon as I got home, and of course, got interested first in the origami Chinese Sewing Kit. It's a series of (kinda) simple origami boxes that are stacked and glued in such a way that the whole thing is very compact, but opens to reveal layers upon layers of storage for needles, buttons, etc. Except Cheryl Moote uses it as a nifty book/journal/greeting gift kind of thing; you can hide messages in each of the boxes, pressed flowers, stamps, tiny drawings, whatever. So it turns into a kind of treasure packet.

Most of the things in these books are not really related to origami at all... but between the Chinese Sewing Kit and the meander-books, I've gotten interested, again, in playing with paper. In 8th grade or so, I learned how to fold an origami horse (me, horse-crazy? nahhhh....), and of course the notorious "cootie catcher" fortune teller. Now with the scrapbooking industry being what it is, gorgeous paper is everywhere, and there is quite a lot of info out there for "scrappers" to make origami additions to their pages, along with popup engineering and who knows what else. I'm heroically resisting getting into scrapbooking - like I need something else to spend money on - but the origami and the pop-up stuff fascinates me.

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I mentioned something called a meander-book. Meanders are booklets made of zig-zag folded paper (aka "accordion folds") that unfold in crazy directions, rather than just in a straight line. Since they go all over the place, they're great for representing a little trip, or a story about traveling, or - this was my inspiration - "cumulative folktales".

It sounds fancy, but you already know what cumulative stories are:

This is the house that Jack built.
This is the rat that ate the malt that lay in the house that Jack built.
This is the cat, that killed the rat, that ate the malt....


Or, here's another one:
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to meeee...

Cumulative tales exist all around the world, and they're a lot of fun. I got the idea of creating a meander book and using the text of some cumulative story or other. As you unfold a meander, the pages don't disappear the way they do in regular books, so page two will show you page one as well.

Weeeellll, I made a test meander out of a piece of construction paper, and it has a total of 32 "sheets", which I suppose could turn out to provide 64 discreet pages to work with, depending on how the thing unfolds. Me being me, I got to thinking about what sort of cumulative story would be long enough to fit in a meander like that... and then I ended up making one up myself. "The House That Jack Built" has a total of ten elements in it (Jack, rat, cat, dog, cow, maiden, man, judge/priest, cock/rooster, and farmer). Mine has something like 22.

Yes, I know. You have my permission to just sit back and shake your head at me. I'm doing the same thing myself.

***

One of these days, I'll sit down and finish the red portion of my mosaic, and then it will be ready to cast - and I promise I'll take a picture once it's done. For today, however, it's going to be all about the data entry, and about getting some display henna back on my skin in time for the Farmer's Market tomorrow. You'd be amazed at what four hours of splashing around will do to that top layer of skin...

Cheers!

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