Open and Enter the World of Tafoya

Our subject today is Rhiannon Skye Tafoya’s Ul’nigid’, a unique literary structure that embraces the artists’ heritage as well as her ingenuity. Already at face value, two flaps of the cover folded over the front of the object strikes the reader as a detract from the norm. The cover’s material such as the title, author’s name, and humble illustration of what I’m guessing is the Tafoya’s grandmother complimenting the structure plays an important part in keep the reader’s interest.

Photo taken by Tafoya for the WSW website of the book closed off with the front cover in full view

Once the reader opens the covers, they’ll find that the avant-garde journey has only begun. They shall find more flaps unfolding every which way. Any way the panels could be arranged immerses the reader into a three-dimensional design, adding figurative and literal depth to the material. These aspects also tell stories or convey messages through the patterns, which are both based on Cherokee syllabary, and woven with a traditional pattern to weave a Cherokee white oak basket, offering a perspective of what Tafoya grew up with and the impact it had on her. Even the color arrangement communicate tones of vigor and tenderness.

Photo taken by Tafoya for the WSW website of the object opened how one would think to unflod it

The language of the Cherokee tribe, known as Tsalagi, is an oddity in and of itself. The name “Cherokee” derives from the Muscogee word meaning “People of different speech”, referring to their unique phonetic writings and symbols (Augustyn, Kuiper, Glancy, 2021).

Photo taken by Tafoya for the WSW website of the object in a full-three dimensional arrangement

Augustyn, Adam, Kuiper, Kathleen, Glancy, Diane. “Cherokee People” The Encyclopedia Brittanica,

3 thoughts on “Open and Enter the World of Tafoya”

  1. I think it’s amazing how the author was able to use the technique of weaving and storytelling into a book object! It adds so many layers of how one can write a narrative with having the traditional weaving and actual written words. Also, the fact that so much thought when into this to the point where the colors have meanings shows what true dedication is. I wish big time publishers would put thought like that into their books.


  2. I love these interactive books for their non-linearity. The many different manipulations to try with this book seem to create a field for curiosity and play. I usually think of books and text as things to comprehend, but Ul’ Nigid’, it seems, is more about exploring and experiencing than intellectually understanding.


  3. The way in which the folds interact with one another and how parts of it are weaved together is really neat! In a strange way, it reminds me of one of those Russian nesting dolls that just keep going and going, as if you’ll just keep unfolding and unfolding the paper. The warmer tones of the paper and flaps of paper definitely add to the creation, since I think if they were any darker it would’ve given an entirely different vibe; it’s such a cool concept for a book as a whole!


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