Book Arts Improv Book #3: Little Known Facts About Crap

Working on this week’s book was definitely the most fun for me. I got to shop for poop-colored paper (you’ll understand why in a moment).

Here are the themes I was working with this week:

  • A sign that you’re a grownup: Cholesterol tests
  • Something that should never be a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade: The Christmas Poo from South Park
  • A scary place: Any shopping mall on Dec. 24

In considering the three themes, I realized how they could all be tied together with crap – it really was only a matter of time before I created a crappy book.

The crap theme is even more appropriate considering that every other conversation I have with Wiggum is “Do you have to poop? Let’s go out. It’s time to poop.”

Here’s the finished product – a book entitled Little Known Facts About Crap:

Front cover of handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "Little Known Facts About Crap"

The covers are made of butt-shaped bookboard and were covered with Chinese silk bookcloth. The inset was printed in Book Antiqua on a transparency sheet.

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.

Inside of handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "Little Known Facts About Crap"

 Inside of handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "Little Known Facts About Crap"

The flags were cut from Canson Mi-Teintes paper in lovely shades of poo. I printed the text of the book on transparency sheets and adhered the pieces to the flags.

The original plan was to do a text transfer on toilet paper, which would then be attached to the flags. Unfortunately, that didn’t work well. Then I tried to do a transfer with Unryu. Didn’t work. Then I considered printing the text on vellum, but I couldn’t find it in my disaster of a studio.

The thought of using transparencies was totally by accident – I had them out so I could use them for a class I’m teaching next week. Had I actually cleaned up after myself earlier in the week, I wouldn’t have had the idea. As if I needed another reason to not clean my studio…

Here’s the complete text of the book (from left to right, top to bottom):

If you crap your pants, Mr. Hankey will appear and congratulate you.

Holy crap can be repaired with duct tape.

Cutting the crap is easier with sharp scissors.

Crapola is a delicious Italian specialty.

When you’re full of crap, there’s no room for pizza.

Your television will crap out on you whenever you’re watching a season finale.

If you don’t pass your cholesterol test, the nurse will kick the crap out of you.

The game craps is played with actual pieces of crap.

CRAP is an acronym for can’t retain all products.

One day, I’ll get my crap together.

More people buy crap for gifts at malls on the day before Christmas than on any other day of the year.

The contents of this book – total crap.

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "Little Known Facts About Crap"

The insides of the covers were lined with Canson Mi-Teintes.

Just like my first Improv book, DOs and DONTs for Not Being a Dumbass, I incorporated a pocket in the back of the book to hold the colophon. I liked the transparencies so much, I also used them for the colophon. This book will be printed in a limited edition of 7 copies.

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.

I’m looking forward to week four!

6 Responses to “Book Arts Improv Book #3: Little Known Facts About Crap

By Louis J. Cassorla - 22 January 2012 Reply

How’d you attach the transparency film to the paper?

By Elissa - 22 January 2012 Reply

Louis –

I used Elmer’s Multipurpose Spray Adhesive. It’s my go-to adhesive when I have a tricky sticky situation. I’m pretty sure I lost some brain cells using it inside (bad me).


By Hollis - 22 January 2012 Reply

Outstanding as always. Your creativity, especially in such a short timeline, is SOOOOO inspiring. I just love the improv concept…..don’t want it to end!

By Elissa - 22 January 2012 Reply

Hollis –

Thanks! I love this one too.

As much as I enjoy the Improv, I’m exhausted! I’m ready to get back to my regularly scheduled programming.


By Leslie - 23 January 2012 Reply

Hahaha…WOW! Brilliant! How proud I am to be in some small way, a contributor to this book of crap!

By Ellen - 24 January 2012 Reply

Sort of… Freudian?

3M Positionable dry mount adhesive is also great for transparencies and the like, for those of us who don’t use sprays. A Xyron works well too.

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