Saturday, July 09, 2011

Guest Blogger Elizabeth Sanford, Tunnel Books

Elizabeth Sanford is a watercolor artist who was seduced several years ago by the book arts. She is fond of flexicubes and teaches at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film in Nashville, TN.

Elizabeth's website is currently being remodeled but be sure to look for the revised version of this Fall. Elizabeth has kindly agreed to tell us about the tunnel book class that she took at PBI this year. Thank you, Elizabeth.

I love Andrea Dezso's work (, so when I saw that she was teaching a tunnel book class at PBI, I had to sign up! We learned 3 tunnel structures: the Jennifer, the Stephanie and the Luminitza.

My favorite was the first one, the Jennifer, so I spent most of the workshop on that one. It's a structure that Andrea invented that involves sewing the panels to the accordion sides so that they almost float. If you look carefully, you should be able to spot the silhouette of a bird (a yellow-billed cuckoo) in the front panel; there's another hiding in the branches on the second panel.

I started cutting these panels with an x-acto knife but switched to a scalpel in the middle of this model, and it was so much easier! I got mine from the PBI store run by Nancy Morains (here's her website: I'm also interested in trying the kind of Olfa knife with carbon steel blades that Andrea uses.

The other 2 approaches are based on commercially printed books. The Stephanie is adapted from Winnie-the-Pooh's Pop-up Theatre Book (1993). The panels are attached with tabs at the top and bottom, and it folds flat. Here's my model in the open position:

The Luminitza is a 4 layer pattern based on a German book published in 1878. Here's Andrea's diagram, which reveals some of her humor:

I'm currently working on a more complicated version of the first model. Here are the 5 panels:

I'm planning to have more space between the panels this time so it will be easier to find the creatures that are hiding in the woods.


Rita said...

I didn't see any bird silhouette but this was fascinating! :)

MyHandboundBooks said...

They did some amazing work in this tunnel book class!

Michelle Brown said...

These are fantastic. Thanks for sharing this with us, Elizabeth!

shannonstoney said...

I saw Andrea Dezso's installation in Houston and wrote about it on my blog ( It was really a revelation. Hi, Elizabeth Sanford! Loved this post and hope to see you sometime in the future. I used to be in an art class with you at Harpeth Hall. Tried to find you on FB but couldn't.