A Ship of Thought, How Books Carry the Human Soul

Standing box and accordion fold book

                      Open box, cover, and interior with accordion fold book and collages.                                              Collages and hand-lettered text.                                              

The Book: A Ship of Thought, How Books Carry the Human Soul, 2011, is a book of poetry and collage about the magic of books and reading. There are 12 copies in this hand-lettered edition. The text is by Emily Dickinson* and Theodore Parker. Each accordion book is made of one length of transparent vellum paper folded to hold nine paste paper collages and text. The Japanese style boxes are covered in shades of green, blue, and purple paste paper. Both collages and box are decorated with postal stamps of ships, lighthouses, maps, and books.

Sorting box parts for assembly

The Process: Joelle Webber of Mermaid Bindery created the accordion book and box design. She based the book design on a fold by Hedi Kyle. Each collage fits into a fold on one side of the accordion and the text shows through the transparent paper on the other side. A collage tucked under the vellum serves as the book cover and another as the back cover of the book. Nancy lettered the book text in an italic hand and made the paste paper.

Joelle assembles a box

The Box: We covered the boxes entirely in paste paper. The papers were glued onto both sides of 4-ply archival board and cut to size. Joelle used hinges of thin Japanese papers to connect the box pieces. She created a clasp by cutting a slit in the top side flap of the box to fit over a small button sewn onto the bottom flap.

Thanks for reading this blog, I look forward to hearing from you, Nancy

website: www.nancyleavitt.com     bookdealer: www.juvelisbooks.com

*Source: Reprinted by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of Amherst College from THE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON, Thomas H. Johnson, ed./ Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright© 1951, 1955, 1979, 1983 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.

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3 Responses to A Ship of Thought, How Books Carry the Human Soul

  1. I love looking at the colors in these handmade books and sense the voyage. Hope all is well with the garden after the hurricane. We had hardly a leaf out of place and yet down the road a town practically washed away. Ships of thought … Love, Sharon

  2. Jewell says:

    I love the colors and construction of these books, Nan. Another wonderful collaboration!

  3. velma says:

    beautiful collaboration. i met joelle in bar harbor, and purchased a small coptic bound journal. the thing feels so very good in my hands! it’s a perfect travel journal.

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