Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bookmaking Classes Head to Japan


Tomorrow I will be teaching the first children's bookmaking class of the fall at Green Bean Books on Portland's Alberta Street!

I hope everyone has settled into a new school year and is ready for some after school bookmaking! The fall line-up includes six structures from six countries. First up: Japan.

After reading a popular folk tale and looking at some calligraphy, we'll take our own brushes and ink and try our hand at drawing and writing with these traditional (albeit child safe and washable!) tools. We'll use our newfound skills to fill a "Book of Great Happiness," a book made of separate pages with a single hole punched into them that are strung on a ring.

These books are based on shop record-keeping books used in ancient Japan. These books were used for inventory: keeping track of what the shop had sold and how much money it had made that day. The books hung in clear sight by the shop's door (I like to think that the "Happiness" part of their nickname, "Book of Great Happiness," is about the joy in a hard days work and in supplying the community with items it needed rather than just the money!) In our books, we will draw pictures and write words (and some Kanji characters, perhaps?) of things that make us happy. The ring that the pages hang from makes it perfect for hanging on our own bedroom doors: maybe to sneak a peek at when we are having a "no-good, very bad" day? (to quote everyone's favorite grumpy literary character, Alexander!)

3:30 p.m.! See you there!

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