Book Arts Improv Book #3: Unthongfeel

As I promised last week, I worked hard to simplify my approach to this week’s Book Arts Improv. This was a difficult task for me, as my creative process tends to move from snowball to avalanche – I always want to add in one more thing.

My hubby provided the voice of reason many times:

Me: “Do you think I should do this now?”

Him: “No. It’s fine the way it is.”

Me: “Okay.”

Just to remind you, here are the themes I was working with this week:

Here’s the finished product – my third miniature book, this one entitled Unthongfeel:

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "Unthongfeel"

Front cover

In considering the three themes, I wondered what women in a Utopian, male-free society would think of thongs upon seeing them for the first time. How would thongs fit into their social structure?

In a nutshell, they don’t like ’em.

I didn’t write a story this week and decided to go with a book that was more image-based.

I started by hand-carving the female gender symbol into the front cover. The board were then covered in a red Japanese bookcloth. The inside of the boards were covered in a red reptile embossed paper (love this stuff).

Carving bookboard

The basic structure is a flag book – the spine is made of card stock folded like a paper fan and rows of flags are attached to opposing sides of the folds.

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "Unthongfeel"

I thought of the flag book because I was struck with the image of someone’s underwear being run up a flagpole. Then I thought about how odd it would be if someone used a thong instead of full-blown underwear. Yeah, my brain went there.

Once again, all of the images in the book were created using a linoleum cutter and Speedball Speedy-Carve. Carving stamps of undergarments = new to me. Will I use them again? Maybe.

Carving rubber stamps

Thong stamps

I love using embossing powder on stamped images because it acts as a resist for watercolor paints.

Here are some more images of the inside of the book:

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "Unthongfeel"

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "Unthongfeel"

And here’s a shot of the backside:

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "Unthongfeel"

The paper used for the spine was an acid-free photo paper and was printed using Book Antiqua, Mom’s Typewriter, The Doorman, and Shortcut.

The words you see include the following Newspeak words:

  • crimethink
  • doubleplusungood
  • unbellyfeel

These words seemed to reflect the sentiment of an anti-thong movement.

Had I had more time to create the book, I definitely would have done a Medieval Binding. You can see a fabulous example of this binding by Ort Bindery. Believe it or not, this binding involves the technique of sewing over thongs – the thematic match would have been perfect.

I’ll be posting the new (and last) Improv themes tomorrow, so be sure to come back if you’d like to enter the weekly drawing.

On to week four!

8 Responses to “Book Arts Improv Book #3: Unthongfeel

By Monica - 23 January 2011 Reply

Cute! I think this is my favorite so far. Can’t wait to see themes for next week. I’ve really enjoyed following along with you, and I’m already hoping you’ll bring the improv back in the future!

By liz - 23 January 2011 Reply


By velma - 23 January 2011 Reply

now that you have traveled to herland…
really wonderful, elissa. bravo!

By velma - 23 January 2011 Reply

or, should that be brava?!

By velma - 23 January 2011 Reply

or braless?

By Felicitas Sloves - 23 January 2011 Reply

This is great. Love the thong up the flagpole image!

By Jill A. - 24 January 2011 Reply

Another wonderful flight on the wings of your imagination! This has been doublegoodfun!

By Paula B K - 24 January 2011 Reply

Very Fun and Funny! and naughty, too! A pleasure to see.

So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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