Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Week 30: Scavenger Hunt, The Mystery of the Culvert

  The book of the week for Week 30 is a Scavenger Hunt mystery titled The Culvert Mystery. It is inside a box which sits atop a number of boxes and drawers that hold the other books of the Scavenger Hunt series. The unusual little box is called an etui box... all four sidewalls drop flat to the floor when the lid is lifted. 

dropped walls of the etui with book inside
   The etui box's etyomology goes back to old French and means cage, keeper, or holder. In the late 1800's etui boxes were popular for holding women's cosmetics, manicure tools, or as fancy sewing kits. This box was chosen because a mystery is often kept hidden and is often solved by finding clues.. In this case, the Scavenger Hunt is for clues to solve the mystery of the culvert.

an 1850's etui box sewing kit
The title plate is expressed as a paper wrapper reminiscent of the paper ring on a cigar.  The cover paper is the same vintage marbling paper used for the drawer housing the Scavenger Hunt Poem.

   The book is bound as a boustrophedon book. Boustrophedon is Greek for ox going forward and backward. This word dates back to ancient Greece, and has been used in writing and as a book structure for over 2000 years. The lines of a text... or pages of a boustrophedon... run in two directions, changing direction with each new line. With regards to book structure, the pages fold accordion style. Yet, when the pages are unfolded, they re-form into a wide single sheet of paper with text making perfect sense.  Again, this structure was chosen specifically because it reiterated the nature of solving a mystery... picking up clues with no discernible relationship to an outcome, until suddenly they all come together to form a theme with a solution to a problem! 

the unfolding boustrophedon...
   The  book can be displayed outside the box or inside the box with one or more of the etui walls lifted and held in place by the box lid. Two opposite walls can be lifted so that the box itself resembles a culvert and the box serves as a passageway for ideas to float through as water runs through a culvert.
an etui culvert with book inside...

The book began as an email from a friend.  It went like this....

Hi Kathy,

If you have time on your next visit to Le Pin, I have a project in mind--one I hope you find interesting.  I describe it on the attached sheet, and since I know you like walking, I hope you don't find it too onerous.  It's a bit of whimsy, so no loss if it doesn't get done.  (Maybe Peg would have some ideas on the issue, as well.)

 Hope you enjoy the time over there, in any case,

The attachment became the book, The Mystery of the Culvert. This is what was inside...

I have a burning question that you may be able to satisfy when you are at Chateau Du Pin next time. It has to do with a structure on one of the Chateau's walking paths. This structure is an elaborate stone culvert in a ravine that crosses the path, allowing pedestrians to avoid an otherwise steep and sometimes muddy walk. This path is parallel to a creek (La Romme) and seems too elaborate to have been made for the benefit of pedestrians. I wonder if the path is a remnant of a longer road and if it was built during the Roman period for their transportation needs.
I propose seeking an additional clue. It seems to me that this ravine should also cross the other arm of this path. If so, I will bet that there is no similar culvert at that location, because the Romans wouldn't need two roads and two crossings. If I am wrong, and there is another stone culvert, then they must have been built for walking trails. (when we were there, not all of the trail had been cleared, so it may not be possible to look for a second culvert.)

Also, there is a map and two photographs of the culvert area.

the Attachment... becoming a boustrophedon book

The mystery of the culvert was described and the hunt for a solution begun... And it was all put into form in the little boustrophedon book, The Mystery of the Culvert..

seeing through the etui box to Scavenger Hunt books behind
   Scavenger hunts are about gathering a number of things. This series of books on Scavenger Hunts is gathered together in a number of boxes which are all connected into one large piece. There are more boxes and books coming, but these are some of the books assembled so far...

the Scavenger Hunt collection... so far
Stay tuned until next week when Kathy goes to Chateau du Pin to try and answer the burning question about the culvert mystery!

This week's book is dedicated to Ken P. who kindly let me reprint the email and Attachment for this week's book. Thanks Ken!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Week 29: Scavenger Hunt, Remembering

   The Scavenger Hunt series continues during Week 29 with a blank sketchbook journal titled, Remembering.  Remembering is made of italian mould-made paper folios sewn on leather tapes with the kettle-link stitch. Marbled paper covers the cover-boards. The title plate is a letterpress linoleum block print with hand lettering and letterpress printing using 24-pt Goudy Oldstyle type.

the Remembering book and drawing tools...
Inside the book, the array of brightly covered signatures are bracketed by endpapers with gold-flecked vintage marbled paper. The purpose of the blank journal is to make sketches and journal entries of all the things collected, seen, or experienced while on the three Scavenger Hunts... Finding the Caves; In Two Cities; and About the Pyrenees. 

inside Remembering....
Because tools for sketching and journaling are needed to use the book, a multi-section box houses the book. The compartments and lid are covered with mono print paper, Japanese print paper, and vintage maps from a 1950's Michelin Paris Tour guidebook. Blue satin ribbon is used on the lifting tray and the bone clasp closure for the box lid. Tools inside the tray include pens and pencils, an eraser, a tiny watercolor paint kit, and French postage stamps.

top box opened...
Under the section tray box is a drawer for storage of the three Scavenger Hunt books... Finding the Caves, In Two Cities, and About the Pyrenees. A vintage pearl button serves as the drawer pull and the box is covered in the same blue mono print paper used on the multi-section box.

bottom drawer opened...
three Hunts books and two boxes...

When all the books are removed, the interior of two boxes shows the map of old Paris during the 1950's.
two empty boxes...
two boxes...closed up tight
   Some books are read... ingested... we passivly take in the words written by some sage, some poet, some storyteller, some smart person.. and we are better for it. But some books should be experienced as a game.... as a movable interaction that requires our own input to create the book... and maybe the book changes over time... maybe the lines are written over, erased, rewritten, scratched out, written again... without spellcheck or delete. These amazing books are our own bible... they capture a moment, a fingerprint of our being, and make a part of that moment eternal... at least until the book is destroyed or lost. Then... perhaps... it can be found again in some Scavenger Hunt.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Week 28: Scavenger Hunt, About the Pyrenees

   Week 28 continues the Scavenger Hunt series with another traveling scavenger hunt, About the Pyrenees. The cover of the two-page book is a hardcover case with brown buckram spine piece and a mono print cover paper. The title plate was letterpress printed with 24-point Goudy type over a linoleum block print of a map of France and Spain.

Inside, the page spread is a Google® map of the route from Montignac, France to Olite, Spain with 19 scavenger hunt directives printed over it.  The activities are scattered all along the route from Montignac to Olite... and also into the Navarre region of Spain and the Pyrenees mountains nearby. It could take five days or a lifetime to complete this scavenger hunt.

These are the quests.
  •  1. See the Lascaux II Caves in France
     2. Take a photo at La Bacherllerie, France
     3. Take photos of a cave in the Vezere Valley, at Les Eyzies, France
     4. Lunch in Libourne, France at Le Bistrot Clemenceau, keep a paper product.
     5. Take a photo of the Dordogne River
     6. Take a photo in Bordeaux, France
     7. Take a photo of Parc Naturel Region des Landes, France
     8. Visit Musee Basque in Bayonne, France 
     9. Cross the border into Spain
     10. Take a walk and photo at Ermita de Enderlasta, Spain
     11.  Sketch the nighttime sky in Spain
     12.  Stay at Parador d’ Olite in Olite, Spain
     13.  Have dinner in Olite, Spain
     14. Take a walk under the stars in Spain
     15. Walk along a street where the bulls run in Pamplona, Spain
     16. Spend a morning in Alquézar, Spain
     17. See the cave paintings at Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Park
     18. Stop for lunch somewhere in the Pyrenees, keep a paper product.
     19. Sketch the view from a mountain top in the Pyrenees.
the cover from the back
   This Scavenger Hunt volume is meant to help one explore the area in southwest France and the Navarre region of Spain, which is strongly influenced by the Pyrenees. The Pyrenees mountain range, which are a natural border between France and Spain, are still a wild and beautiful region. The area has a rich history, and a landscape that is full of mystery and intrigue... and some wonderful stories.  This  little scavenger hunt is written to give the reader a better understanding of the people, landscape, and history of this amazing place... all that's needed are a car, drawing materials, a camera, some euros... and some way to get to Montignac, France to get started!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Week 27: Scavenger Hunt, In Two French Cities...

   The book-of-the-week for Week 27 continues the Scavenger Hunt series with another hunt, In Two French Cities... The cased-in cover has vintage silk bookcloth on the spine and a monoprint paper on the boards. The title plate is the same linoleum block print image from Finding the Caves, with letterpress 24-point Goudy Oldstyle type for the title.

the cover...

Inside, a single page spread comprises the text, which is 19 scavenger hunt challenges that start in Olite, Spain... move into Bordeaux, France... and continue in Paris, France. They are digitally printed over a Google® map of the route from Olite, Spain to the Gare Saint Jean railway station, in Bordeaux, France.

In Two French Cities, the third book in the Scavenger Hunt series, continues the game theme and can be played with or without the other books. However, a pencil, a map of Bordeaux, a map of Paris, some euros, and a rental car are needed. 
This is what's inside the book...

Scavenger Hunt: 
Olite, Spain to Paris, France 

1. Drive from Olite, Spain to Bordeaux, France
2. Find the Gare Saint-Jean.
3. Find a place for lunch in Bordeaux
4. Walk along the Garonne River
5. Take the train to Paris (Gare Montparnasse)
6. Go to Le Marche Art & Creation, Place Bastille (open 10am to 7pm, Saturdays)
7. Sunday, breakfast at Notre Dame
8. Go to Fondation Louis Vuitton contemporary art museum (Bois de Boulogne, Mon-Sun)
10. Find the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris and go inside and look up some old books: Mayan Codices (the oldest book from N. America)
11. Visit the Musee d’Orsay
12. Get lost in Paris
13. Have dinner on the Pont des Arts
14. Find the home of Victor Hugo
15. Spend the day at the Louvre
16. Watch bocci ball at Jardin du Luxembourg
17. Eat Moulles et Frittes in Paris
18.  Watch the street entertainers at Pompidou Circle
19. Visit a Parisian paper store (L’illustre boutique, 1 Passage du Grand Cerf)

On your mark... get set... GO!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Week 26: Scavenger Hunt, Finding the caves...

   This week's book-of-the-week is step 2 of the Scavenger Hunt book. Step 2 is a real scavenger hunt which follows a route from Angers, France to La Chapelle-Aubareil, France (about 5 miles from the famous Lascaux Cave)... The scavenged items are specific sights and experiences which have been listed in a single-spread hardcover booklet titled, Scavenger Hunt Finding the caves. The hunt is meant to take place in a single day... but could be stretched out over a week or even a lifetime. It requires a car, a camera, some euros, good walking shoes, and a map... The route was downloaded from Google® maps and then interpreted and hand-drawn on a bunch of copy paper sheets that were taped together and then rolled into a scroll and tied with a black satin ribbon.

the book of objectives and the map
   The title plate of the little book was letterpress printed onto Magnani Velata paper with 24-point Goudy Oldstyle type and a carved linoleum block of the outline of France and Spain. The little two-page book is covered with marbled paper and black silk book cloth .. evoking a mysterious and vibrant european history.

a rough hand-drawn map of much of Europe
   To make the title plate illustration, a rough drawing of France and Spain was made. This sketch was outlined with a permanent Sharpie® Marker and then transferred to the linoleum block with Concentrated Citrasolve® cleaner on a cotton ball. This transfer process is easy once you get the hang of it... 1. Copy the image with a laser printer or permanent ink pen. 2. Place the copy, image side down, onto the linoleum block. 3. Lightly rub a cotton ball dipped in Concentrated Citrisolve® over the backside of the copy paper and then quickly burnish the Citrisolve® coated areas with a bone folder until the ink releases from the copy paper and transfers to the linoleum block. This makes a mirror image of the hand-drawn map on the linoleum block... and the Citrisolve® smells nice! But go light on the Citrisolv®.. too much, and the transfer lines become a puddle of ink.

the carved linoleum block... Whoa! the image is backwards
After the linoleum block was carved, it was locked into the press bed, rolled with ink, and then printed onto the title-plate paper. The ink color mixed for the linoleum block map was teal blue. The title was printed in black ink so it would stand out against the map and also reference the coal black pigment of so many cave paintings.
   When looking at the linoleum block print, you can see  the outline of France and Spain and several dots. The dots represent the cities Paris, Angers, and Bordeaux, France. The lower-most dot is Olite, Spain, a tiny town in the Spanish Pyrenees Mountains that was once the capital of the Navarre region. Because this is the first of several Scavenger Hunt challenges taking place in France and Spain, the illustration signifies the backdrop of the entire Scavenger Hunt journey.

title plate, letterpress and carved linoleum block print
   The covers open to reveal a single page spread that has been split into two pages. The list of challenges for the scavenger hunt are inkjet printed over a Google® map of the route from Angers, France to La Chapelle-Aubareile. Beside each item is an empty check box (☐) which is marked when the item has been completed. Unless using a pencil.. which is fine!.. this book is really only good for one game... But that's how it is in life.. nothing is ever really the same when we try to repeat it. We are all living palimpsests.

 Scavenger hunt list book & Angers to La Chapell-Aubareil map scroll
check list of the 17 scavenged accomplishments
the scavenge hunt and its map
The hand-drawn map is meant to assist the scavengers in finding the next challenge...

close-up of the map's last page...  final destination,  the Lascaux Grotte (Cave)
On the last page of the map, the Lascaux Grotte (Cave) is notated... And there's another title plate attached.. just in case this hand-drawn map becomes separated from it's little book of a Scavenger Hunt.

bulls, horses, and other animals of over 10,000 years ago, Lascaux Cave, France

These images of the prehistoric paintings on the caves of Lascaux cannot really express their awe-inspiring beauty. To learn more about the history (and location) of the prehistoric cave paintings of France and Spain you can go to

a herd of bulls, Lascaux Cave, France