Googling Black Book Arts as Inspiration for My Book Arts Final

So tonight I’m hunkering down in an attempt to come up with an idea for my book arts class final. I’m to use a piece of my own writing; I plan to use my as-yet-to-be submitted-for-publishing piece about hair, “Getting Caught in the Rain.” Then I am to choose either a traditional or non-traditional form to create a series of 3 identical books. While I’m pretty traditional when it comes to purchasing and reading books, my instinct is to ‘try something different!’ 

Looking for inspiration I Googled ‘black book arts’ and pulled up a few random books but the more pc-inspired search, ‘african-american book arts’ yielded an interesting exhibit that was erected back in 2007 at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. I’m so sad I couldn’t go see this for myself especially since per this article it was the first exhibition of all African-American book artists! Check out this article and some gallery pics of “We, Too, Are Book Artists” I am especially intrigued by the Nelson Mandela book “In the Event Anyone Disappears” by artist Bisa Washington ; a close second is the colorful accordion book, “A Week in the Life of a Black Woman Artist” by Dindga McCannon. *link at bottom

I am inspired although I’m still not sure how to execute my vision. The arc of my hair story addresses my childhood desire to be white and have straight hair and my eventual acceptance of my natural locks. Here’s an excerpt from the beginning:

“I used to lust after white girl hair: bouncy and shiny, bone straight or lustrous curls, anything long would do. As a little black girl attending private Catholic schools, I was the speck of pepper in a sea of salt. Surrounded by girls with hair drastically different than my own vertically challenged tightly coiled locks, I longed for what I could never have.  I’d sit behind Jennifer (there was always a Jennifer) and watch as she twirled a straight chestnut lock around her finger. She’d do this over and over again; I’d get lost in the texture of the hair and the way it behaved, falling just right, back into place. My hair, on the other hand, had to be heated to straighten, would stick out if twirled, and never followed my orders to fall back into the fold. My attempts to wrap my hair around my finger left me smoothing and re-smoothing the same stubborn patch in vain.”

Hmmm, I’m really trying to think outside the box here. I know I want to include my favorite Turkish fold, it creates a pop-up effect like so:

Here is a pic from my book arts mid-term, designed utilizing Toure’s short story “The Steviewondermobile” excerpted from his book The Portable Promised Land.

Above is what the page looked like before I added the Turkish fold seen in the first pic.

I absolutely adore collage and Turkish folds, both must be elements in my book final…if at all possible. Although I’m wondering about using ‘hair grease’ containers and having a pull accordion with text or adding a hot comb element like getting some towel-like textured cloth with striped burn marks from the comb or maybe that could be an image for the cover…hmmmm!!! 

HELP! If you have any ideas please share.

Link to “We, Too, Are Book Artists”: http://www.mprnews.org/story/2007/09/10/bookartists

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