April 13th, 2011 / 10:32 am
Craft Notes & Random

Bookmaking: Handcrafting Isn’t Dead

I walked into the Writing Center after teaching a course on copyediting last week and found a tableful of mums-the-word students working away diligently on handmade zines. The table was piled with paper and tape, drawing implements, glue. On a nearby table, DIY snacks: celery, peanut butter, hummus, raisins. Two of our Student Writing Assistants organized said zine workshop, provided guidance and ideas and supplies, and BAM! instant zine community.

I like that handmade isn’t dead, or even dying. People want to do things with their hands. We want to feel our own handiwork. We want to give little books as gifts (my gift, from a student I’ll call Pearl Satchel, shown here). We want, in short, for life (everyday living) to find that happy medium between computer screen and farm plot. We can’t sit at screens all day and expect to be fully human. Our bodies rebel against us. We lose our connection to plants and animals. We forget what it’s like to be a kid running around the neighborhood.

Here are some pictures of P.S.’s zine and a link to a sort of relevant 2009 NYTimes article: The Case for Working with Your Hands. I’m going out to walk the dogs.

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13 Comments

  1. mimi

      this is lovely alexis
      i do this type of thing practically every day with my students and i love it
      we get Very Much Down To Basics
      unfortunately i can not (am not allowed) to photograph any of their work as they are a Protected Population
      the one issue i fret over is wasteful use of materials, (not to mention a shoestring budget of soft money) so we do a lot of recycling, re-purposing, and use natural materials (twigs, leaves, we paint with dirt mixed with water, etc etc)
      thanks for this

  2. herocious

      Thanks for this Alexis. It’s nice to know handmade isn’t dead or dying. If it were, I’d be in a very precarious spot!

      Maybe you can take a gander at my contribution to this ‘movement’: My handcrafted paperback novel?

      http://theopenend.com/2011/02/16/what-is-diy-publishing/

      Be well.

  3. Kimmyduh

      I wish I could be apart of a zine community. >.< I love being crafty.

  4. Kimmyduh

      I wish I could be apart of a zine community. >.< I love being crafty.

  5. Kimmyduh

      I wish I could be apart of a zine community. >.< I love being crafty.

  6. jackie wang

      yes this is so exciting!! i should bring one of my Shadow Ladies chapbook/audio tape bundles to leave in the WRC. there are rewards to working with the hands.

  7. alexisorgera

      Yes, yes. Give us stuff to share!

  8. alexisorgera

      Wow–it’s great looking. Thanks for sharing.

  9. alexisorgera

      Mimi: That’s great that you get to do it often and, yes, unfortunate that you can’t share their work…

      We do a lot of recycling, too. All of the materials in this book were scraps from the writing center or my house. I like your natural materials idea a LOT. I eat lots of fruit off of trees. I could save the seeds for us to use…

  10. alexisorgera

      Mimi: That’s great that you get to do it often and, yes, unfortunate that you can’t share their work…

      We do a lot of recycling, too. All of the materials in this book were scraps from the writing center or my house. I like your natural materials idea a LOT. I eat lots of fruit off of trees. I could save the seeds for us to use…

  11. Anonymous
  12. Garett Strickland

      Digitized text has its natural counter-reality in hand-made books.

      Think vinyl, object fetishism — it’s the ritual one brings to the object that gives the object its value. Nothing is precious unless it can die.

      Most of us are sub/un/consciously evacuating the physical world.

      Scrolls are, once again, our future.
      Ideally, every book will soon be a hand-written one-off.

  13. What E-Book? I Made This With My Hands | Lit Drift: Storytelling in the 21st Century

      […] tired of staring at a screen all day, to writers who want to learn to make their own books, to teachers who want to get their students more excited in reading by offering kids a chance to make stuff with […]