Over the last twenty to thirty years, there has been an explosion in book art, especially as technology advances and challenges the traditional format of the book. Many times in these creations, written language is used as part of the design with a de-emphasis on meaning. This trend ignores the desire of people everywhere for story—the narrative in whatever form that delves into the human’s multifaceted relationship with an ethos or a world. For readers, there is a particularly poignant sense of loss when words and language are used time and again without the formation of ideas. This essay examines three groups of female university art and design students who pursued a project designed to question, even redress, the current imbalance between book art and narrative or textual meaning promoted by many in their own fields. Each student functioned in a triple role: first as a writer among a community of writers of an original short story; second as an editor among a community of editors; and finally, in a “real world” role as a book designer and illustrator who produces a handmade book, not for her own story, but for that of a peer. The end product was a non-traditional story-book for adults. Each student documented her reactions and the process of her thinking as she gave over control of her story to a designer/illustrator and in turn took over someone else’s text as a designer/illustrator, which compelled her to juggle the relationships among her own imagination, her own reading of the text, and the author’s own interpretation.
|Keywords:||Story, Story-Book, Short Story, Book Art, Handmade Books, Narrative, Deconstruction, Illustrators, Book Designers, Graphic Designers, Writing, Qatar, Middle East|
Assistant Professor, English, English Department, Virginia Commonwealth University, Doha, Qatar
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