Last night we had a terrific meeting of our local Portland Book Arts Group. This meeting (held at the Em-Space book arts center) was the show and tell for our Ideation Cards project. You may have heard of this fantastic deck of cards created by Barb Tetenbaum and Julie Chen. This creative deck features two sets of playing cards meant to inspire book artists. Barb has used a handmade set of these cards in her classroom for years and now that they have been commercially published, we’ve discovered that not only are they a terrific teaching tool, but also they are also an inspiring artist group project.
Barb tells us, “The Artist’s Book Ideation Cards deck was designed as an aid to the book artist, to jump start a new project or inform one in progress. There are two decks in the set: Category Cards containing approximately eight cards in each of the seven categories (text, image, structure, paper, layout, technique and color) and 54 Adjective Cards of which three are wild cards. Choosing a card randomly from each of the seven categories and five cards from the adjectives offers an unexpected recipe for a project.”
For our Portland BAG assignment we held a meeting way back in April where as a group we all drew a card from each category and we all used that same set of cards as a recipe to make a new book. The idea was that we would meet at a later date and share our books and revel in the many ways a group of artists could interpret the same cards. The cards we drew were:
LAYOUT: Random & Unplanned
TECHNIQUE: Low-tech (typewriter, stamps, stencils, handwork)
COLOR: Single color
STRUCTURE: Innovative structure (tunnel, magic wallet, flagbook, etc.)
FIVE ADJECTIVES (further information to use however you decide):
– Descriptive or Instructive
– Mysterious or Coded
Unfortunately, your intrepid reporter completely forgot to take photos at the event last night. I’ll add them here if the artists send me photos soon. But, suffice it to say it was very fun to see the myriad ways artists could interpret the same cards. Naomi Abrams Reinstein created a gorgeous set of pages that will soon become a book. Her pages were stunningly beautiful cyanotypes with collaged drawings and bits of ephemera covering the bases for random, single color, pre-treated papers and low tech.
Another artist, our new and inspired BAG organizer Becky Luening, created a completely innovative structure using leftover paste paper sewing together varying height pages with a sort of two-sided “frame” that made a lovely dimensional book of days. She easily hit the ideas of random layout, pre-treated papers, low-tech and single color as well as the decorative, descriptive and mysterious adjectives.
The Alabama-based, ever-talented, Sarah Bryant recently wrote a terrific blog post about how she used her Ideation Cards. Check it out here.
You can purchase your own set of ideation cards here. But hurry. Barb tells me she is nearly out of her stash decks and I only have a handful remaining.