Book of Words


The story begins with these: interests in bookbinding and flip-books, and a list of words which have other words within them (example: g[host]). All these elements existed for years independently, but collided when I wondered: "What could it look like if I took these words and created a flip-book, with common letters linking them together?" For over ten years I'd collected these words with the idea of one day doing something with them, and finally, this felt like a fit.

The result: the Book of Words. An exploration in bookbinding, lettering, watercolour, and paper-cutting. It was something I would chip away on over a period of months, often with long breaks in-between.

The first thing to do was to narrow down which words to use, and determine their order. Since I was making a book with one word per page, I needed the total number of words to be divisible by four, otherwise I'd be left with blank pages at the back of the book. For binding, I chose an exposed stitch with beads to add character.

The words selected and their order don't have any particular meaning, rather they invite creating your own story (or not ascribe any meaning, if you'd prefer!). The focus was to have a whole chain of words, regardless if the connections are logical or nonsensical. After much rearranging, the order was set.

The rest of the process looked like this:

  1. Assemble pages and cover. Cut as needed. Bind.
  2. Create a small dummy book of folded paper to marked up and make cuts on before damaging the newly bound blank book. Make sure all the windows work.
  3. Faintly mark in the blank book how wide the letters should be in order for all the windows to reveal the right letters below.
  4. Begin sketching the words. Here be playful with the letter forms.
  5. Cut the windows into the pages. Carefully!
  6. Ink the words, erase the pencil, and add watercolour. Let the water cause the ink letters to bleed faintly.
  7. Once dry, it's done! But place it under some heavy books to flatten it's warped pages. The watercolours were not kind to the paper.

Below are photos of every page in the book. And if you've gotten this far, I hope you enjoyed seeing this project and feel inspired to pursue your own personal projects, just for the fun of it!

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