Mei-Ling Hom’s In the morning looks nothing like the books we’re used to seeing, which is what’s so eye-catching about it.
Women’s Studio Workshop describes it as a “three dimensional, semi-circular book with pie shaped pages that has text printed on the exploded fore edge.” If one were to wedge their fingers in between two pieces of pie, they’re greeted with a white pop-up that represents something the author experienced in Paris.
I think what’s so appealing to me about this book is that it’s very much something a publisher would consider for a children’s book because of the interactive element and the fact that it’s a pop-up book. In fact, Women’s Studio Workshop lists this under “Toy and movable books.”
While the book speaks personally about the author’s experience in Paris, I rather like the lack of words — or paragraphs, rather. Some may not like this approach, I think it’s a rather bold and creative of Hom because it forces us to take something out of it from our own interpretation rather than being told what we should see. We only see words on the outside of the book, and it seems to be only one scene out of what I assume would be many, considering we have multiple images inside the pie. The filling is the pop-up portion, but it reminds me a lot of the vignette writing technique. We’re given images, but they’re not exactly clear. They’re rather abstract, especially since the pop-ups are white against a white background; very minimalist and clean-cut use of silkscreen, letterpress, and die cuts.
Another thing that interests me is the binding. It’s listed as, “Folded pages connected together at spine.” As we were creating accordion books in class, I wondered if this is a complicated accordion technique Hom created or was inspired by. Like an accordion book, there’s no exact starting or ending point. The reader could start at either end or even in the middle and would still understand the gist of the story, if there even is a story in it.
Hom, Mei-Ling. (1990.) In the morning. Women’s Studio Workshop. Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://wsworkshop.org/collection/in-the-morning/.