Little books that will not hurt your pocketbook

There is a certain satisfaction that comes from making something by hand. It is a simple joy that often gets lost in our commercialized and industrialized society. Maker Maker, a program run by the Owen’s Art Gallery, seeks to bring a little bit of that joy to Sackville. 

A free monthly program, Maker Maker recruits various local artists to teach workshops on small projects that can be completed in two hours or less. All materials are supplied at the event. I was able to complete this month’s project several times over, giving me the opportunity to try new customization options. This month, we made small books under the direction of Laura Watson. In addition to being a Mt. A alumnus, she is an alumnus in teaching the Maker Maker workshops. Watson actually conducted the first Maker Maker workshop in 2016. She is an artist and writer known for making zines (small printed booklets, usually with art, that can be bound using the same method we learned), being Tantramar’s poet laureate, and hosting the writer’s open mic night at the Bill Johnstone Memorial Park Activity Centre. She has printed many zines with copies to share and sell and enjoys using the method she taught us during the workshop because it does not require any specialized equipment. 

The process itself was simple. Selecting the colours of paper and cardstock you wanted for your pages and cover, you folded each of them in half and placed them inside of each other like stacking taco shells. Then, you would mark three dots on the crease of the center page and use them as markers to puncture holes through all of the sheets and the cover. Finally, you would use a needle and thread to sew everything together. Also available were various stamps and patterned scissors that could be used to decorate your books. The process was explained and demonstrated in a manner that was clear and easy to follow, making a task that could initially seem daunting quite manageable. It was a great opportunity to learn a new skill that we can use to do things like make our own zines in the future. 

Everyone has to start somewhere, and when asked where she learned the skills she had just taught us, Watson said, “I think I probably learned at an event like this when I was a student at Mt. A.” Maker Maker, and other free community events like it, give people the opportunity to try out new skills that may serve them well in the future. 

When asked for advice for aspiring artists, Watson said “[you should] make what you like making and put it out there.”

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