Contemplating Angels: A Critical Response of an Accordion Book

                Author and artist Ulises Carrión sought for “authors to be more attuned to the book’s materiality and impact on meaning” as well as “demand for a breakdown of the system that privileged writing as intellectual labor and denigrated the physical aspect of book production” (Borsuk 141). Just as Carrión would have admired, my nameless accordion book of angels breaks the standard mold of the book, presenting itself as more of a visual book than the mere textual book that Carrión was so disappointed in. Still, I kept some of the traditional aspects of the book when constructing my work, giving it both a front and back cover. As a visual book, my accordion book is composed mostly of images, showcasing the angels and the pages themselves as works of visual art.

An accordion book with images of angels with the pages cut to resemble wings. Text on the inside cover reads: "Four great angels at my bed; two my feet, and two my head".
[Photo taken by Isabel Sicree] My accordion book of angels, standing open upon the wings.

                Though I mostly used basic materials for constructing the book, the images of the angels came from a postcard book I had owned for a number of years. Interestingly, I tore the pages out of another quasi-book to construct my own bookwork. After all, would a book created to be torn apart and sent all over the world not be considered some kind of alternate book type? These postcards reflect a part of my own past in the meaning of the book, both as a kind of scrapbook portrayal in the placement of the images, and as a display of my faith through the angels themselves. In a sense, my book becomes a prayer book, sending messages to heaven upon the reflection of the reader. Just as Amaranth Borsuk says, “books are always a negotiation, a performance, an event: even a Dickens novel remains inert until a reader opens it up, engaging its language and imaginative world” (Borsuk 147). The material nature of this book entices a reflective reader to find his or her own engagement with the images. Just as the postcards remain mostly blank on the back to allow personal messages to be written, so too does my book remain mostly blank on the backside, leaving space for letters and writing to be added.

                In this way, my desired reader would be a contemplative person, someone who peers into the images and faces on the pages and forms his or her own conclusions. I deliberately try to evoke this response from my reader through the irregular shape of the pages of my book. I cut the folded pages to resemble angel wings, and these pages stick out beyond the cover and the images fastened upon them, implying something beyond the mold of the typical book. Likewise, the sparse text that I include in my book also suggests something beyond the book itself, as the poetic prayers speak of angels and saints at night time watching over us, making the mostly black covers of the book resemble the idea of a Bible or a prayer book. Still, the text acts as an accent to the visual nature of the book, allowing each image to converse with the reader instead.

Works Cited

                Borsuk, Amaranth. The Book. Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 2018.

The Shining Colors

“The Sun is Shining, but I Don’t Trust It” by Kate Horvat particularly stood out to me because of its vibrance. Its red and blue colors are very eye catching and the long rectangular shape is very out of the norm when compared with common publishings.

Silkscreen printing method involves putting ink across a printing frame that is placed on top of the paper. It then is used to push the ink onto the paper under it. The same frame can be used until it is broken. This allows the pages to have its vibrance. This frame uses a very specific font all throughout the book, Henderson Slab. Its wide and boxy shapes take up a lot of space in the pages because of the large amount of spacing there is between the letters. The font is really significant to the book because of how it highlights the significance of the writing. The coloring of the pages is also significant. The pages are all mostly bright red and blue. Even the images and background words of the pages are red or blue and have the written text on top with the opposite color. Most pages are different news articles with their respective text with the color over it.

My favorite part of the book is the binding. Screw post binding is used by making holes into the pages large enough for the size screw that is going to be used. Then the author must create two pages, usually hardcover, and fold page bindings on the corners where the screws will go. It is similar to a portfolio structure yet it does not have a spine since the screws are what holds in the hardcover that goes around it. Since it is an open structure book, meaning the pages aren’t sewn or glued together. They are all individual pages with a joint in the middle, also known as a codex structure book. I very much like how differently structured the book is and how attractive it can be to any audience.

Images acquired from:

Horvat, K. (2020, October 1). The Sun is shining, but I don’t trust it – artist’s book. Women’s Studio Workshop. Retrieved September 28, 2021, from

Color Order

Ever since I was little I have been an incredibly visual person. To be able to understand a topic I always prefer the availability of learning it in person through the use of visual aid. I noticed how big of an impact that took in my learning when I was in elementary school learning new vocabulary words. If the teacher wrote the words on the board, it would become significantly easier for me to learn. Quizzes in which teachers would read the question aloud instead of writing it down also created a lot of confusion for me. I would not be able to understand the question most of the time unless it was written down or I wrote it down on my sheets of paper. This is why I use color when learning and studying. The use of color facilitates the learning process for me. Because of this, I created a color order for me to always use and organize myself. The order is Blue, Green, Purple, Yellow, Pink, Orange, Red, Brown, and Black. I do not have any reasoning for in which I organized them this way but I have always used this specific order for at least ten years. I use it from common things such as organizing my clothes to more complicated topics like studying for class. While other people use the more common color order of the rainbow, I found that my color order was personalized to myself and what I liked. I thought the Accordion Book to be an ideal way to showcase something so important and useful to me for so many years. I also have worked as a photographer since my junior year of high school and have continued to my job throughout my entire time at Saint Vincent College. I thought it an ideal contrast for me to use images on one size of the Accordion Book to present the depth of each color while using the other size to have more external texture. Seeing that I have treated the Accordion Book as a sculpture instead of a textual narrative, I wanted there to still be filled with context, which is why I tried to use mundane objects as the external aid.

Immense Confusion Created by the Needle

By Yariana Pino Sánchez 

When starting with the sewing portion of the book, I was very confused by the construction of the wax string on the needle. I have sewn clothes before and although I have not done so in a long time, the comparison of the two needles hindered my ability to understand how to start. It took me a few tries and Maddie’s assistance to finally understand how to wrap the sides of the book without having any of the thread overlap with each other. Instead of helping me, my past experiences made it harder for me to understand how to sew the book. Once I understood how to sew, I started to reflect on the physical qualities of the string itself. String made of cloth is typically thinner and softer than the sting we used in class. The one I used for the book was significant thicker and defined, so much so that within the string it could be identified smaller and thinner strings composing the one final string. What held these small strings together was the braid they were entwined into and the wax exterior. The wax exterior is very useful because it will last longer than it without it but it makes it harder to work with. The wax creates random pauses through your fingers and blocks the fluidity of the sewing. Slowly, I learned how to use the wax to my advantage to tighten the string around my book. All this “trial and error” of such a simple object did become frustrating after a few tries but I’m glad i learned this very fun skill. Doing it with such knowledgeable and kind people also makes it better. I also had much fun recording the experience. As I sewed the book, I was able to record myself and create a time lapse video (a type of video that records long spans of time and shortens them to a few seconds). It was very fun to view my progress and learn from my mistakes for the next time. Maddie was able to help me with the creation of the pattern for the stitch, which came out much nicer than I would’ve ever expected. I look forward to learning how to make different patterns for future books.