PaperSpecsGallery.com Presents: Exquisite ‘Paper Dolls’ Art Book
As much as I love a good art book, I don’t often get my hands on any that feel like art objects in their own right. “Paper Dolls” is that rare exception. It uses strategically placed die cuts, embossing, foil, and extended gamut stochastic printing to illustrate a poem about humanity’s two deepest questions: “Who am I” and “What could I become?” As we’ll see, these questions are also at the heart of the book’s printer.
Truly Creative French Folds
Much of London artist Hormazd Narielwalla’s collage work explores how clothing tells a story, frequently featuring collage pieces affixed to vintage sewing patterns. In “Paper Dolls,” some of these colorful works are interspersed with full-body self-portraits in which the artist reimagines himself as a geisha. While the Frida Kahlo-esque face barely changes from image to image, her outfit does so dramatically from one page to the next.
Each consists of numerous pieces, each with its own color and pattern brought together like an elegant puzzle. On some of these 135 gm (90 lb.) Gardapat Kiara pages this is offset printed in the form of a straightforward illustration to complement a few lines of poetry on the facing page. In other cases debossing and a spot gloss varnish add some tactile interest to an already visually textured image.
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Other figure illustrations, however, are much more complex. That is because they are printed on a French fold that has been intricately diecut so as to allow a separately printed and finished sheet tucked between the two folded panels to peek through on the illustration side, completing the picture.
These extravaganzas include pages that feature a tipped-on, foil-stamped sheet. Strategically placed hot stamped foil mixed in with tipped-on tactile substrates. Or much like the artist’s collages themselves, they feature different fabrics and substrates, allowing them to shine through the diecuts.
This technique becomes even more impressive when one panel of the French fold is diecut while the other is embossed, completing two different illustrations in different, exciting ways. I’m not even sure there’s a term for this 3-page French fold – that’s how ambitious this book is.
This exquisite experience is rounded out with diecut tip-ons that, in some cases, can be lifted to reveal additional poems. And the Smyth-sewn binding that features different colored threads not only adds a subtle hand-crafted look to the work, it also allows the book to lay open flat.
The result of all this precise attention to detail is something that feels more like an art gallery between covers than a book, which is just what the creators had in mind.
Extending The Color Gamut
One reason the illustrations in “Paper Dolls” are so eye-catching is because of the vibrancy of its colors. Everything you see here was produced using an extended color gamut – what Boss Print likes to call “Vivid Colour.”
Faced with numerous challenges following the death of co-owner Joe Kilmurray the previous year, Boss Print business partner Fenton Smith steered the company into experimenting with adding colors to its already super-fine (10 micron dot) stochastic offset printing to achieve more accurate color reproductions on press. The resulting process uses CMYK + Violet to extend the color gamut on the printer’s Speedmaster CD74 press.
Realizing this enhanced color-matching process is ideal for the fine art/luxury book market, Boss Print, under the publisher name Concentric Editions, has partnered with a different design studio for each limited-edition book it’s printed, such as Ornan Rotem whom, under the name Sylph Editions, crafted the look of “Paper Dolls.”
From its super-inventive use of French folds to its sophisticated placement of diecuts, this book doesn’t just reproduce works of art, it IS one.
Sabine Lenz is the founder of PaperSpecs.com, the first online paper database and community specifically designed for paper specifiers.
Growing up in Germany, Sabine started her design career in Frankfurt, before moving to Australia and then the United States. She has worked on design projects ranging from corporate identities to major road shows and product launches. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, her list of clients included Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Deutsche Bank, IBM and KPMG.
Seeing designers struggle worldwide to stay current with new papers and paper trends inspired Sabine to create PaperSpecs, an independent and comprehensive Web-based paper database and weekly e-newsletter. She is also a speaker on paper issues and the paper industry. Some refer to her lovingly as the "paper queen" who combines her passion for this wonderful substrate called paper with a hands-on approach to sharing her knowledge.