|Clemens-Tobias Lange, CLT-Presse, Mechachal: Shew Ber (2011). Book and Clamshell Box, from Fine & Dirty|
|Michael Kuch, Box: Disasters of Love, a Defense of Delilah (2005)|
Making a basic clamshell box is a fairly simple process. Like making a book, the artist starts with archival quality binder's board, PVA, PVA mixed with methyl cellulose, and book cloth. Once the book you are enclosing has been properly measured (it is important that the book fits snugly inside the case in order to be properly protected), adjustments for the thickness of the board need to be taken into consideration. When building a box, the sides rest on the "floor" (the bottom part that the book will rest against). Since the board has a thickness, that width needs to be accounted for when building the book. In this case, templates are often made with scrap pieces of board and cloth. The last thing the artist wants is to made a beautiful case and have the book not fit inside!
|One "tray" in the Portfolio Box|
|The case and spine of the Clamshell Box|
Once these pieces are glued together (and dry!) the book should fit snugly inside, protected from the elements, even when you travel. As long as the artist is using archival-quality materials, the portfolio box—and the book inside it!—can last a long time.
While the clamshell box shown is more for function than fashion, even the simplest structures can be created into something beautiful. Vibrant colors can be used and designs can be placed on the front, back, sides, or inside of the box, complementing and enhancing the content of what is inside.
For any books you have made throughout these past few months of blogging (you are now familiar with many bookbinding terms, after all!), I encourage you to try your hand at making a box. A class is occasionally given at the CBA and there are websites that can give you step-by-step directions, including this PDF manual. It's a great way to get creative with a book you've already made or a book you already own—no matter how new (or old) the book is. Whether you are a book artist or not, making boxes can be a fun project (just as long as you don't expect perfection when you first start!) and a nice way to store some of your favorite novels and magazines.
Have any stories about your most creative box? Want to give us suggestions or comments? Comment on this post, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit us on Facebook (/centerforbookarts) or follow us on Twitter (@center4bookarts). Can't wait to see you there!