creating beautiful journals and books

Artist’s Book Ideation Cards


I was very excited when my flower fold book titled mana (above) was recently on exhibition as part of ‘The Ideation Experience’ at the abecedarian gallery in Denver, Colorado.

Mana was designed and created as an edition of six in accordance with the Artist’s Book Ideation Cards by Barbara Tetenbaum and Julie Chen (Published by Flying Fish Press and Triangular Press). I got my pack of cards from Julie Chen herself when I met her in New Zealand last October.

The Artist’s Book Ideation Card set was designed as an aid to the book artist to jump start a new project or inform one in progress.

There are two decks in the set: Category Cards and Adjective Cards. Choosing a card randomly from each of the seven categories and five cards from the adjectives offers an unexpected recipe for a project. Learn more at

mana detail

The cards I picked were as follows:

Colour – highly colourful

Structure – innovative

Image – traced, redrawn, lifted from outside sources

Technique – digital

Layout – based on a grid

Text – self-generated

Paper – handmade

Adjectives –  colourful , strange or exotic, impressionistic, graphic, futuristic.

And here is the finished book!

mana open

The text reads:

We discover we have the strength of a mountain

and an ocean of love in our hearts.

I used handmade papers (rag and straw from Pondicherry, India and assorted plant papers from Zizania Paper Mill New Zealand), digital prints, acid free matt board, hemp cord. The book measures 70 mm x 70 mm x 20 mm (closed) and 380mm x 75mm (open).

Now mana is on show at the Civic Library in Canberra, Australia as part of Guild 15, an exhibition of recent works by members of the Canberra Craft Bookbinders’ Guild. The exhibition will run until 10th October.

mana expresses my vision for a future where human communities connect with nature and one another in ways that imbue them with mana which is a  word used in Polynesian cultures referring to power, effectiveness, courage, respect, and love.

I enjoyed using the cards as a prescription for making a book. It’s like solving a puzzle, and very satisfying when the pieces begin to come together. Some of the participants in my Finding Content workshop (with the Papermakers of Victoria) in Melbourne last weekend selected their own Ideation Cards for a future project.

More about that next time.



3 comments on “Artist’s Book Ideation Cards

  1. sandyaureli
    October 9, 2015

    Great way of Finding Content, Marama! X S

  2. dinahpearlbutton
    March 26, 2016

    So beautiful Marama!

  3. Pingback: ‪#‎TuesdayCraft‬ ‪#‎Cube‬ ‪#‎Crafts‬ - Workshops Essayer

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