This past Saturday, a small group of book enthusiasts gathered at the Julian Edison Department of Special Collections in Olin Library to learn how to craft tunnel books as part of a series of book making workshops generously funded by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.
We began the afternoon by viewing some of the tunnel books from Washington University Libraries’ rare book collections that curator Cassie Brand had put out for display in the Special Collections Reading Room.
Also on display were other books with movable parts, like selections from Washington University Libraries’ extensive pop-up book collection.
After viewing the collection, we headed into the Special Collections Classroom to learn how to make a simple tunnel book ourselves. Cassie led the workshop, assisted by two of Washington University Libraries’ five Book Arts Fellows.
Each participant was given six sheets of paper with which to construct the four pages and two sides of their tunnel book. After coming up with a concept for our books, we diligently went to work cutting out our designs with X-Acto knives.
There was much joking and laughter as we worked, and even the novice crafters who were struggling to make their cutting skills match their artistic visions (most notably myself) seemed to be having a great time.
After cutting out their designs, some participants used paper cutouts and markers to decorate their pages, while others stuck with a more minimalist plain white theme. We became so lost in our work that we were surprised when Cassie announced that the workshop was almost at an end.
Finally, after much toil, it was time for the easy part: actually constructing the books. Cassie showed the class how to paste their pages together to create their three-dimensional designs.
The final product proved to be well worth the labor, and everyone went home with a beautiful hand-crafted tunnel book and a new set of skills under their belts.