The Girdle Book Swap Revisited

girdle bookMy girdle book finally has reached its destination. Those of you who can read German may already have read Peter’s review of the book here, and you can also read something about it on his own blog.

Our task for this book swap was to make either a replica or a modern interpretation of a girdle book.

You probably know that I like to clash old and new in my books. My line of thought went somewhat like: “I want something that mimics not only the looks, but the function of the girdle book. Where would you today want to keep a book close and ready for reference?” And I figured that the place where we usually keep written instructions close, while we are not at home in our libraries is when we carry our shopping lists. So the idea was born to create a shopping companion. This book has developed just a little away from this initial idea, and tries to incorporate and play artistically with the design elements that are present at IKEA, as well as a critical side blow at the commercial intend of getting customers into some kind of spending spree.

As I said, I like to clash old and new in my books, and while addressing a up-to-date subject inside, I tried it keep it structurally close to the originals: It is bound on raised cords, the boards are extra thick, laminated from binding board and wood board outside to look like wood to about 6mm thickness, and it has a hand stitched headband on the head. (I didn’t want to use wood to remind the reader of the light build design of the furniture found at IKEA, although they of course do use wood at least for some of their pieces…)

The inside pages are made from IKEA ads, descriptions, and instructions and were colored using wax crayons, a lot of elbow grease to burnish the wax on the paper to a very smooth and non-sticky layer, and watercolors. Of course it also has some blank pages, and some text by me..

For those of you who do not read German, here’s a translation of Peter’s comment:

Yesterday I found Buechertiger’s bookswap-entry in my mailbox: a girdle book! Girdle books have made random appearances in the bookbinding literature since the middle ages, and many have presented more or less chunky replicae. They usually have wooden boards, thick as a thumb, with metal clasps and ornately decorated (deer-) leather turn-ins, and an artfully designed button at the lower edge. The only criterion we set ourselves for the swap was: Do whatever you wish, but the book has to be wearable as an attachment to a belt.

Before I start describing the book I should mention that if you want to review a book made by buechtiger you should not only judge the craftmanship involved in the making, or the art of designing the covers, but you should turn your eyes, most of all, to the content – which is designed with rich imagination and creativity.

So here is finally the description of the girdle book: It has a beautiful, handy format (approx. 8 cm x 11.5 cm x 3 cm), and save the boards is made completely from IKEA information-, advertising- & packaging materials. Many of the pages are individually colored which gives the typical IKEA design an individual aesthetic.
Other pages are written in a fine handwriting and carry additional information plus the hint to remember what should not be bought by any means.

For a covering she used these blue totes that can be bought for little money in the IKEA shops. It is made from a nylon snforced plastic fabric which reminds of a truck tarp.

Hilke’s girdle book can be worn at a belt by means of a knot at the end of the tarp, coming from the Rhineland I would call it “Knubbel”: This thick end is tugged under the belt and thus stays accessible through the whole long shopping procession through the vast home center.
The ominous but essential knob was made from the ribbon that forms the handles on the said totes and was secured by a few stitches.

It must be a devilishly sticky stuff which she used to attach the stubborn tarp to the book’s covers!

Summery: I was much delighted to receive such a clever book. Now I have to take some photos to show it off in the forum to raise the envy of the others.
Personal remark for Hilke: Yes, indeed, the little book has a beautiful punk style, is marvellously creativ, and will be hung at a special place. And I am going to finally get started on some bookbinding projects which I postponed until now, in fear of the several plastic materials involved.Yavol

By now I also finished its sister book. It is a little different: Although I used the same materials, I chose a different cover attachment, and made a different knot at the tail of the book, and all the handwritten text is in English. Click on the image below, to also finally see some inside pages.
Girdle Book