Guest post: Above the fold

Thanks to Katie's lessons and patience, hers were not the only books on display at the linenlaid&felt booth during the Handmade & Bound show at Watkins College this past weekend. Titled the "Husband's Corner," I showed off my newsprint books, bound in the Italian long-stitch style and featuring my favorite clippings from Sunday editions of The New York Times from 2010.

Before the show, I'd only made these books for myself and a few friends. I first got the idea when Katie made me a book from pages of Italian newspapers during her study abroad program. As a devoted reader of the Sunday edition, all these years later, I began to save page spreads.

The process for creating the books is pretty specific. In most cases, I repeatedly fold the news page in half, then tear it, and repeat until I arrive at the size seen here. This means that each sheet for the book is one-eighth of a page. Many articles and photos and spreads end up being torn into separate sheets, ultimately allowing me to juxtapose the clippings in interesting ways. On some occasions, when I didn't want to cut something in half, I would toss out the "system" and purposefully select a portion of a page to make one of my little sheets. As I answered one fair-goer on Saturday: Yes, the pages are carefully selected. Because of the style that I chose, there is a "center spread" in each signature. I put my best clippings there.

I assembled about 15 sheets per signature, and there are five signatures in each book. The covers are a cardstock that Katie and I both really like. I used simple brads and thread for enclosures.

I often found myself clipping sports and travel stories because of the amazing photography, infographics, and maps that come from those sections. Other favorites included an obituary on a tuba player, a feature on a bail bondsman for celebrities, all sorts of World Cup graphics, and a text-only movie poster for "Black Swan" ("WICKED, PYSCHO-SEXUAL THRILLER"). I tried to include all of the little things in the paper too, like the wedding announcements, the chess column, and corrections. I also selected pages with friends in mind, snagging particular baseball coaches and pop stars for their books.

At this point, I still have two books that haven't sold. But I've been saving the 2011 Sunday editions as well, and plan to bind those in the new year. I also have a special little collection of Supreme Court articles and graphics for a smaller book. And I've been thinking about some wide-format styles that could use the entire width of the broadsheet spread. A wide shape will allow me to show off the front page, as well as the six-column photos that often grace the section fronts. After all, I do call these books "Above the Fold," so I may be able to do a bit more justice to the big impact put out by the paper.