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Memories of Elementary Book Folding


I do book folding.

Despite the name, it’s actually the pages of books that get folded. I fold old books — one page at a time, two folds per page — into various words and designs: “Hope,” “create,” “Faith,” musical notes, deer, the Nativity.

Last weekend I displayed and sold two dozen folded books at an area Christmas arts and crafts show. As the designs/words came into focus to passersby, they excitedly pointed them out to their friends. I would bet I had more people pointing at my booth all weekend long than any other of the 200-plus vendors at the show.

For some, the concept of “folded books” came slowly, if at all.

“What are these?” I was asked.

“So you unfold each page as you read it?”

“Did they start out as real books?”

Another vendor in the building had heard about my books from friends and came by to see them. She made a passing comment that made me wonder if she had noticed the words and designs I had created. She hadn’t — nor had her friends who had told her about these odd books that no one could read! She grinned, and looked forward to revealing the mystery when she saw her friends the following day.

Many lookers throughout the two days said they had never seen anything like folded books before. I shared that in my childhood I would fold down the top corner of each page of a Sears, Roebuck catalog, then fan out the book to use as a doorstop. Immediately, many of those I was talking with remembered doing the same thing, or folding Reader’s Digests into Christmas trees. They hadn’t thought of this in decades, but suddenly they were back in elementary school.

“We had to get a big book,” one woman remembered. The doorstop created “was what your mom got from you for Christmas.”

#writing

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