Thursday, December 29, 2011

True Confessions of a Bookbinder

I did something I never thought I'd do: I destroyed a book to make a book.

At work, when customers ask for "a book about birds" and I know they're just going to cut it up for prints, my steps drag as I take them to the Birds aisle. We have a gazillion prints shelved in the back, but that section is not for the faint of heart.

Over the past two years, a friend wrote a series of beautiful meditations on suffering that drew on imagery from the Hubble photographs to explore the greatness of God. When I decided to create a one-of-a-kind physical book for her, I found myself with an Olfa silver in hand, cutting out pages from a stunning book called "Star Vistas: A Book of Fine Art Astrophotography." I reasoned that the ends justified the means. But I still apologized (out loud, even) to the book with every cut.

I had tried to download & print images from the Hubble photos online, but my little printer couldn't really handle the job. The fine coated paper and gorgeous detail of the printed book were simply the only way to do justice to the project.

I did buy three more "Star Vistas" and gave two of them as Christmas gifts, unmutilated. And of course, I kept one for myself.