A96. Song of Creation

A96. Song of Creation

A96. John Muir. Song of Creation. Santa Cruz, California: Peter & Donna Thomas, 1999.

70 x 54 mm (2¾” x 2 1/8”), 12-page accordion, 500 copies.

Binding: Nested accordion; covers are cream paper, handmade by Peter Thomas, over boards. Title and illustration on label on cover. Paper: Green paper with plant fiber inclusions, handmade by Peter Thomas. Printing: Digital. Typography: Reproduction of text handwritten by Donna Thomas. Illustration: Reproduction of a panoramic watercolor painting by Donna Thomas spanning entire nested accordion. Notes: Illustration painted on location in Yosemite Valley.

“This was our first use of the nested accordion binding. The concept of adding complexity by layering has been used by many artists. Accordion pages can be layered, or nested, to make interesting artists' books. We were exploring this concept when we saw River of Stars, a book with an interlocking accordion made by Ed Hutchins and Julie Chen. That binding structure inspired us to try and create something similar. We imagined a number of different possibilities, and created several prototypes, before I developed this simple and elegant system to make a book with pop-up-like motion. When we wrote More Making Books by Hand [F1] we finally decided a name for the structure and called it ‘the nested accordion pop-up fold book’ which we later shortened to just ‘nested accordion binding.’

In 1993 I made my first series of one-of-a-kind books using watercolor paintings I had made while backpacking in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. As I was working mostly in miniature at this time, I would carry small sheets of paper with me and paint the scenes ‘en plein air.’ This was the first edition book I made with my paintings reproduced by color copying. I chose to paint Yosemite Valley, as it is my favorite place in the Sierra. This is a 180 degree view compressed into a panorama, a thing that at the time only an artist could do, though now all cameras have the ability to take panorama shots. I chose a quote by John Muir to accompany my drawing."  - Donna

Peter and Donna Thomas