Drawing Machines: BOUND

This project was born out of a drive to repurpose books that were set aside in the load-out dock beneath the Sarah Lawrence Library. These books were all marred in some way, whether it be a few lines highlighted here or there, or missing a page or two. As a student worker there, I acquired access to the unwanted, hopeful of finding things to fold for this not-so-origami-esk class on the art of folding. I went back and forth deciding what I would end up creating, and in doing so, I found a way to bring these books back to life. I was originally going to fold only three books, spending most of my time carefully and deliberately working each book in ways that were more elaborate than I ended up folding them in the end. I was going to concentrate on the subject matter of each, having the book itself reflect its substance in a way, but once I decided that I was going to fold more than three books, it didn’t make sense for me to read all the books before folding them.

As I was studying folding books in the beginning, I found that there were more obstacles than I originally thought there to be. I knew that because books are bound at their spines there were a bunch of folds that I could not attempt without ripping the pages. So I folded each page inward, and as I was doing so, the tension on the spine grew, and the harder it became to close the book. If I kept folding every page inward, the book would curl outward and form a circular design. So I worked within that process, altering each book’s folds to create something different from the previous. Because the spine does this, it makes it very hard to keep folding once there’s pressure bowing the book outwards. My attention always needed to be on the depth that I was pushing each page in to make sure it aligned with the spine. 

I was originally not going to alter the pages in any way, but the more I folded, the less I could do if I didn’t incorporate some sort of cut in the pages themselves. So I spent a lot of time individually cutting each page to fold it outward from the middle of the page. The cuts folded added to the pressure of the book. Some of the books even split from themselves and broke into two distinct separate circular organisms.

I wondered if adding elements such as color, string, or a stand would make the project more dynamic. So, I glued colored cardstock to a few, added string and thread to two, and incorporated stands to a handful of the books. 

I enjoyed this project a lot because it was something I so easily incorporated into my daily routine throughout this whole semester. I folded these books while doing everything; while watching TV, while listening to music or lectures in class. It gave my hands something to do, and I do feel like I’ve accomplished a lot in the end. While at times I thought I was developing carpal tunnel, but overall it was very meditative.

Author: Aedyn Grey