Tuesday, January 8, 2008


I've got this grand conception rolling around in my head at the moment, gathering detritus as it wanders through and getting more and more complicated... the trouble is that the germ of the idea seems like a good one: using slip cases for each monthly instalment, but formating them like childrens' building blocks - brightly coloured, simple shapes (but not just variations on the standard book rectangle), and able to be reconfigured into a bridge, just as Grub's building blocks can make bridges. Fantastic idea! But...

Size? Colour? Contents? Closures...? Lots of issues to sort out. Grub's blocks are no longer than 3 inches, but mostly 1 - 2 inches across. I can't make complex shapes that small for slip-cases, and enlarging the shapes seems to add to the idea of them. But how big? Some of Grub's most intruiging blocks - the ones that started me off down this path in the first place - are rectangles with an arch scooped out of the bottom edge. They're yellow and they look like bridges! We love playing with the blocks: we make castles, fairy palaces, bridges, tower blocks, all sorts of things; I think the idea that the slip cases could be configured separately from their contents is great. The challenge is creating something manageable, that I can get to grips with using the limited resources at my disposal...

So what about contents? Well, as I envision nice, precise building-block-shapes for my slip covers, clad in primary colours, I also envision nice, precise innards, so I was thinking about 12 bridges - one for each month - with two sorts of innards to go inside the cases. One would be a pop-up bridge: a direct physical representation of the real bridge, probably with cut edges to the fold-out insert, and clean text and graphics. The other would be a more personal response, as several bridges are part of my 'history': the Clifton Suspension Bridge, for example, or Waterloo Bridge. They feature in different parts of my life and in a strange way they represent different things. These inclusions might be less precise, deckle-edged and not as 'clean', in a graphic sense.

This leads me on to a provisional list of Which Bridges? I came up with nine off the top of my head: the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Sydney Harbour Bridge, bridges in Venice, Magdalen Bridge in Oxford, bridges across the Seine in Paris, the bridge over the Bospherous in Istanbul, Waterloo Bridge, Coffs Harbour rail bridge, the Stari Most bridge across the river Neretvar in Mostar, Bosnia. That leaves three still to occur to me.

Size-wise, looking at Grub's blocks, I think I'd have to do them at least 400% of their actual size, to make them easy to handle. The shapes are going to cause me enough problems, without complicating things further! I'm going to have to make a run to Spotlight, a local store that's a bit of an Aladdin's cave of wonders for crafts-people in order to get enough card to make 12 slip cases anyway, having used up the last of my UK supplies making slipcases for the two souvenir books I made for my father-in-law and his twin brother, celebrating their seventieth birthday party in Wagga last November.

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