Art Web Site: judyfolkenberg.com
What do we take from a burning home when we have minutes to escape? I recently sat on a plane next to a woman who faced that decision as the wind whipped one of the recent California fires in her direction and she had minutes to escape. She grabbed the two family pets and her children’s scrapbooks/photo albums. Those were her most priceless possessions. (Well, the cell phone was in her pocket.) That’s right, family photos. Because not all photos are on iCloud or on a thumb drive.
Looking at vintage or old family photos, make us laugh, make us wonder at what a relative’s life was “back then.” (“Oh my goodness, look at those cute button up shoes.”) Because we are curious, about a past that goes beyond our generation. And when as adults, we look at our childhood photos, it often jogs of our memory of the time, or place or event…and tells us stories that we often forget.
I recently reconnected with a cousin, the daughter of my mother’s sister, my Aunt Alice. Aunt Alice is now in her mid-nineties and had always been a favorite aunt.
I mentioned to my cousin that I had a number of photos from our moms’ childhood taken in the late 1920’s and 30’s and promised to email them to her once I returned home–a promise I kept. Her mom was ecstatic when she saw them on the computer screen as she had never seen them at all. But vintage photos on a computer screen? Shouldn’t they be in a book? This is a woman in her mid nineties, staring at a computer screen at photos which provided a tangible link to her childhood. No, she deserved a book with those photos. She needed to have the luxury of turning the page and stopping to stare at a photo.
Since I’m a book artist, I decided to make her a small photo book with her childhood photos. I used a book binding technique, called “drum leaf binding,” the construction of which is somewhat similar to child’s board book. It allows me to assemble a few photos in a easy to open format.
I’m getting ready to mail the book to her daughter and she will give it to her mother. I hope my aunt will enjoy looking at the book as much as I enjoyed making it.
See a video of the book on instagram: judyfolkenbergart