art book reviews by Aisling D'Art


Unique Handmade Books by Alisa Golden

book review © 2005 Aisling D'Art
Unique Handmade Books by Alisa Golden is a nice, fat, well-illustrated book for anyone who is interested in making handmade books and journals.

Over 40 projects fill this book with fabulous ideas for making one-of-a-kind handmade books, journals, and albums. It is one of the most exciting and inspiring books for anyone who is interested in making unique art books.

Whether you want to start with a simple folded book or scroll book or leap into a tunnel book, flag book, pocket book, or even a three-panel Jacob's Ladder book, Unique Handmade Books will delight you.

This book includes projects that beginners can complete within an hour or two using paper, glue, scissors and any art supplies that you have on hand. However if you want to learn classic and ornate bookbinding techniques, they are included as well.

One of my favorite chapters is called "Transforming Everyday Life," which includes inspiring illustrations of a mixed media books and related projects. This chapter includes instructions for spiral binding, a card file book, a found poetry journal, and an innovative use of a spell checker to create poetry.

If you've been intrigued by cloth books, the author includes three different fiber projects.

In separate chapters, Ms. Golden includes techniques for illustrating your new handmade book with a variety of media. She also presents fascinating ways to display your handmade books and even discusses ideas for collaborative projects for adults and for children.

If you can only buy one book about making handmade books, this would be an excellent choice. I highly recommend it .

I have referred to this book often for my own work and consider it a vital reference in my studio library.

PROS: Enough ideas to spark and sustain a career in handmade art books. Juicy photos show many ways to personalize these projects. I can't possibly rave enough about this book.

CONS: Beginners may be overwhelmed by the number and variety of projects in this great book. Illustrations can be confusing if you tackle a complex design without prior experience in paper folding and book constructing techniques. Start with the simplest projects, and work your way up.

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