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Yay! The Ephemera binding is done!

It’s done, it’s done, it’s done!

I completed my binding of a copy of Ephemera, a volume from Uppercase Magazine‘s Encyclopedia of Inspiration. It’s a miracle that I was able to get it done, considering that I’ve also been preparing to teach a workshop at the Focus on Book Arts conference in less than a week.

Just to refresh your memory, I was chosen (along with 15 other bookbinders) to bind an unbound copy of Ephemera and create a cover based on the contents. 

We submitted an artist statement to accompany images of our work for a future online exhibition. Here’s what I had to say:

When thinking about the theme of ephemera, the concept of collections immediately came to mind and then strangely, baseball card holders. These plastic pages are useful for storing all kinds of flat things – for example, I use them to store samples of the papers I’ve used during my years as a bookbinder.

 

The design of my book is meant to evoke this storage solution used by so many youngsters (and some adults) wishing to protect their precious collections. To accomplish this, I decided to make the cover out of clear vinyl purchased at the hardware store. The cover pockets were sewn using fishing line due to its invisible nature and inherent strength.

Ephemera book pages by Uppercase Magazine, handbound by Elissa Campbell.

I bound the book using the Crossed Structure Binding, linked variation. You normally wouldn’t see the stitching on the spine of this binding because a traditional covering material would conceal it. By using the clear vinyl, the stitching became a feature.

Ephemera book pages by Uppercase Magazine, handbound by Elissa Campbell.

The pockets contain memorabilia from a 2016 trip to Japan. These treasures had been tucked away in a shoebox but now, they play a featured role. The straps of the binding made the perfect sized pockets for my ¥ 1 coins. Among the ephemera are a fortune I got from a vending machine, a map of Echizen (a papermaking village), and a paper doll that came with a purchase.

Ephemera book pages by Uppercase Magazine, handbound by Elissa Campbell.

Ephemera book pages by Uppercase Magazine, handbound by Elissa Campbell.

Ephemera book pages by Uppercase Magazine, handbound by Elissa Campbell.

Ephemera book pages by Uppercase Magazine, handbound by Elissa Campbell.

Each signature in the book was wrapped in a red sugarcane bagasse paper from Thailand. It has a wonderful texture and deep color.

Ephemera book pages by Uppercase Magazine, handbound by Elissa Campbell.

While I was a bit terrified of this project at first (I wanted to do the book justice), I really enjoyed the process. Experimenting with vinyl and fishing line was so much fun. I think both materials have a lot of potential and I can see using them again in the future.

Once the online exhibition is live, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, you can check out the other binders’ progress on Instagram – just search for the tag #bindephemera.

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

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