Esther K. Smith: Making Books with Kids

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday February 4, 2016

Esther K. Smith teaches the art of the book to the creative and the curious. First through classes and workshops, and later through her books (How to Make Books; The Paper Bride). Now, with Making Books with Kids: 25 Paper Projects to Fold, Sew, Paste, Pop, and Draw (Quarto 2016), she invites people of all ages and interests to discover a world of magic and to create colorful multi-dimensional books that express their interests.

From the simplest booklet (a sheet of copy paper folded three times and fastened with a rubber band) to accordion books equipped with pockets or shaped like a skyline to pop-ups that mimic your favorite birds, and beyond, Making Books with Kids provides the information and inspiration that will take young painters, poets and philosophers into a world of artistic richness and just plain fun.

In addition to presenting the basics of book binding, Esther also shows how to make decorative paper in different ways (did you know you can make a beautifully textured sheet by sprinkling salt onto wet paint?); how to recycle shopping bags and junk mail (did you know you can weave a large piece of amazing plaid paper out of stuff from the trash bin?); and how to make fun projects into memorable gifts (did you know you can bind a book by making just one hole in the folded paper?).

Beyond making a rainy Saturday into an art party at home, or providing teachers a road map for months of engaging projects, Making Books with Kids is a visual treat from beginning to end. In illustrating Esther's step-by-step instructions, artist Jane Sanders has created a design vocabulary that makes DIY very how-to and beautiful. Type-O-Graphics by Dikko Faust, Esther's husband and partner in printing, create a visual architecture that anchors the chapters and sections of the book. If that weren't enough, the book has a center section of templates for pop-up projects that can be cut out, photocopied, or mimicked; these colorful shapes and patterns can also be downloaded from the publisher's website. Info And examples of the projects, some by children and others by prominent book artists, show how these easy book structures bring out the individual style of each maker. 

Esther K. Smith gives a talk and demonstration about Making Books with Kids (Quartos 2016) on Friday, February 5th, from 6:30 to 8 pm. The Center for Book Arts, 28 West 27th Street, Third Floor, NY, NY. Info

Esther K. Smith is author of the How to Make Books series and co-founder of Purgatory Pie Press along with typographer Dikko Faust. Their artist books have been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum and the Victoria & Albert and are in collections at MoMA, the Whitney, National Gallery of Art, and the Center for Book Arts, where she and Dikko have taught numerous classes. Esther also teaches at Cooper Union.

Exhibitions currently on view at The Center for Book Arts are:

Revealed Terrain: The Semantics of LandscapeInfo

Chris Perry: Ripples Current(ly). Info

Sweat Broadsheet CollaborationInfo

Winter classes are open for registration. Info

The Center for Book Arts, 28 West 27th Street, Third Floor, NY, NY. Info  [BookArts12.18]