Sunday, January 31, 2016

January, 2016: Fun House

   The first book of 2016 is titled Fun House. The book is a four-sided drop sides plexiglass box and the poem that lives inside it.  The piece was made using the criteria posted on the January 2, 2016 blog post. The wild card option was used to replace the TEXT card. So, rather than using another writer's work, this artist wrote the poem Fun House. All of the other Book Artist's Ideation card design criteria selected on January 2 were used in this book.

Fun House book in its plexiglass dropsides box
As a way of illustrating the unexpected challenges and oddities of life, all four sides of the plexiglass box fall down when the lid is lifted. Inside the box, the poem has been letterpress printed on stiff Stonehenge paper that was painted with pastel pastepaints. A subdued green bookcloth binds the pages and gray bookcloth binds the cased-in covers. The covers are plexiglass, like the box. The plexiglass has been painted and stamped with abstract imagery of grids, windows, spirals and other marks.

all 4 walls fallen down...
The box lid is embellished with a number of clay masks... signifying the unexpected rolls we sometimes take on in life. Just as, in a similar way... fun houses distort and contort reality.

weird masks adorn the lid
This is the poem, written to complete the criteria of humor in the piece...

What do you do...

when your ears are too big

and your legs are too short?

your hair is thinning

and your boobs need support?

first two pages

you walk like your Grandpa

and snore like a GOAT?

and all the buttons keep popping

off your pants and your coat?

Do you visit a doctor? 

a fat farm? a spa?

or sit on the couch

eating chocolate pasta?

next two pages
No! you pull up your pants

and head out the door.

Go visit the Fun House

with its weirdness galore.

Because the Fun House is a place

where age doesn't matter.

Everyone's strange and ridiculous...

but mostly the latter.

and so on...
You stumble through its tunnels

and walk its moving floors

gaze into warped mirrors

get lost behind doors.

You get a good workout,

and also a good laugh,

thank god for your blessings

and stop writing your epitaph.

last pages, The End

The last page shows the colophon and background information of the printing of the book.

the colophon

Wikipedia states that unlike thrill rides, funhouses are participatory attractions, where visitors enter and move around under their own power. Incorporating aspects of a playful obstacle course, funhouses seek to distort conventional perceptions and startle people with unstable and unpredictable physical circumstances within an atmosphere of wacky whimsicality. Sometimes life does that too!

inside a Fun House...
an abandoned Fun House, somewhere in the world

The Book Artist's Ideation Cards selected for February, 2016 are:

COLOR: favorite
IMAGE: traced, re-drawn, lifted from outside sources
LAYOUT: minimal or restrained
PAPER: multiple colors
STRUCTURE: multiple openings (french doors, dos-a-dos, split page, etc.)
TECHNIQUE: high-tech (letterpress, offset printing, printmaking, typewriter, etc.)
TEXT: collaborate with a writer or poet
ADJECTIVE: humorous
The wild card option may be used to disregard any ONE criteria. would be delighted to exhibit photos of any artists books created using the February 2016 criteria. Please email the jpegs (and useful descriptive information) to


Friday, January 29, 2016

The January Challenge...

So far, images of two books that were made using the January criteria have come to the Paperbuttons blog...

  Andrea, from Raleigh, NC via Germany, has made a book based on the humorous poetry of Joachim Ringelnatz, an early 20th century german writer, cabaret artist and painter, especially known for his humorous poems about the fictional character Tripe Daddeldu. Her book incorporates some of his poems, typewritten on to bits of paper and sewn in with scraps of neutral-colored fabric, vintage wallpaper scraps, and braid. The book is side-bound onto two pieces of wood.

Andrea's Book, Vier X Ringelatz

The colophon page of Andrea's book

   Pat, from New York, has made the book below. Based on a poem about a spring day by Billy Collins, strips of paper are attached to a snow-globe like spine. Perhaps the snow it sits on is also part of the illustration!

Pat's book.

Photos and information of artist books created using the monthly Artist's Ideation Cards criteria may be emailed to to be posted on

Saturday, January 2, 2016

A new year... Welcome 2016!!!

   January is a time of beginnings, and this January the book-a-week challenge will have a new twist. Rather than a book every week, one book will be created each month based on criteria specified by the Book Artist's Ideation Cards set made by Barbara Tetenbaum and Julie Chen.

On the first or second day of each month, the seven Category cards will be drawn and posted on the blog. During the month this artist will work on a book that meets those criteria. Meanwhile, anyone reading the blog who wishes to make their own book with these criteria is encouraged to join in! If you wish to share photos of your outcome, feel free to post them in to comments section or email them to

These are the Category cards selected for January's book:

COLOR: muted or pastel

IMAGE: abstract

LAYOUT: centered on the page

PAPER: minimal paper usage (emphasis on alternative material such as cloth, plastic, wood, metal, etc.)

STRUCTURE: single leaf (side-sewn binding, comb binding, palm leaf, whirlwind binding, Kelm wire edge binding, etc.)

TEXT: collaborate with a writer or poet

TECHNIQUE: high-tech (letterpress, offset printmaking, etc.)

ADJECTIVE: humorous

Note: There is a Wild Card option where ONE Category may be replaced with your own criteria.

Ready, set, GO!