The Pennsylvania State University

School of Visual Arts

A ED 303 Bookmaking

Summary by class instructor Samantha Nolte, Ph. D. Candidate in Art Education This bookmaking project was created by students enrolled in A ED 303: Visual Arts in the Elementary Classroom, which is a required course in the Literacy and Arts Blocks attended by the elementary education majors seeking a K–4 teaching certification. The project had two major components: initial memory work about a place that was special during their childhood, and a small, handcrafted book. Students first drew a map of a place that was significant to them when they were children (before the age of 16 or 17). Their maps generated sensory memories of that place, far more than if I had just asked them to tell their neighbors about it or to write a list of things they had done there. The maps generated memories of what was in the environment—sights, sounds, smells, textures—and they also generated pathways of movement, lines drawn indicating where students went and what they did. In this way students maximized what anthropologist Tim Ingold identifies as a key quality of hand-drawn maps. Hand-drawn maps, he says, are a “gestural reenactment of actual journeys made” (Ingold, 2007, p. 84). The maps prompted students to tell stories about their experiences in these special places of childhood and served as rich inspiration for the books they then made. In the process of designing their books, students experimented in class with simple folded book forms made of a single page that would be applicable to their later use in an elementary classroom. These forms included a simple five-page book folded and made with a single cut, an asymmetrical accordion, and an extended accordion book. Tunnel book forms were also discussed in one class at the request of the students. After students began brainstorming which interior form of book would suit the story they wanted to tell, students then worked with new materials—cardboards and book binding boards, paper marbling techniques, and plasticine clay printing—to consider options for the cover and decoration of their books. All students experimented with these materials, but none were required to use them; they could use any material and technique learned in class thus far. Students were extremely inventive in working through the combinations of book forms they wanted to use. Kathy’s* project, for example, is an accordion book documenting her experiences of her grandfather’s farm. She used watercolor and plasticine clay printing to create the cover, and pen, ink, and watercolor to create the illustrations inside. Mary’s project is a tunnel book documenting her experience in nature, and Cecelia’s project is a hand-drawn, colored pencil tunnel book documenting a family vacation destination. Hand-drawn maps have the potential to generate layered and specific details that can prompt stories, memory, and experience in art making.   *student names have been changed References Ingold, T. (2007). Lines:  A brief history. New York:  NY:  Routledge.