Tuesday, February 6, 2018

How We Completed the Cadette Book Artist Badge

We're finished! We drew this Cadette Book Artist badge out for quite a while, because we all enjoyed it so much that I added several extra activities to it, but last week both kids finished the last of their projects and are now fully certified Cadette Book Artists.

Here's what we did, as a troop and individually, to earn the Cadette Book Artist badge:

Step 1: Explore the art of bookbinding.

Fortunately, our local university has a stellar special collections library (at which I used to work!), and so our troop took a field trip there to explore the art of bookbinding. We have Juniors in our troop, as well, and they used the trip as enrichment for the Junior Scribe badge--how much more fun is it to write stories and poems when you can then put them in your very own handmade book!

When I arranged this field trip, I forwarded the librarian a pdf of the entire Cadette Book Artist badge book, and told them that although, of course, the children would be delighted with whatever they wanted to present, I would especially appreciate it if they could cover the requirements for Steps 1 and 2. The librarian came back to me with the plan that they would do not only that, but would also mediate a hands-on workshop for the children in which the kids would get to assemble and hand-sew their own five-hole pamphlet, learning the basic stab binding technique in the process. 

In other words, I HIGHLY recommend that you find a library with rare books that is in driving distance for this step. There is nothing like actually seeing the books in person to really help you understand how beautiful bookbinding can be. The kids are still talking about the handmade, decorative binding and case for the Lord of the Rings trilogy that they saw there.

Y'all, the binder incorporated the Eye of Sauron! And the book's case was the Tower! And you could take the book out of the case and fit it on top so that the eye was looking out from the top of the tower! It was INSANE!!!

Step 2: Get familiar with the insides of a book.

You could do this one yourself, or watch YouTube videos, but this was also covered in our library field trip. It might be hard to find a library, even one that contains rare books, that also has a department for book repair, so you could look for private book repair businesses or antique booksellers. 

Step 3: Try out book artist techniques.

We spent most of our time on this step, as I wanted the kids to learn several ways to make books, and become comfortable enough with those methods that they could happily use them in other projects. I firmly believe that Girl Scout badges are about mastery, not simply checking off steps, and I try to make sure that I don't award a badge to my own girls until I feel that they truly have mastered the skill that the badge is teaching.

Thus the children didn't just make a sewn book in the library, under the direction of the librarians, but they also had to do it independently at home, to show that they could remember the steps without prompting and complete them without help:

The kids had to become proficient with the paper cutter--

--the awl--

--and they had to be able to follow the stitching guide to correctly sew their binding:

On another day, I taught the kids to make a glued accordion book. I meant to teach them how to use my spiral binder to make spiral-bound books, but it's dead simple to learn and use and I could tell that the kids were ready to move on--after all, they'd each made several sewn and glued books by then! We'll spiral-bind another time.

4. Focus on function.

I let the kids loose for the final two steps in the badge. I pulled out all of the supplies that they weren't already familiar with, so that they knew all of their options, and told them that they were each responsible for creating a book that fulfilled a specific function, and a book that was creative.

Will made another sewn book for Syd, who you'll see in a minute uses the heck out of them for her stories, and Syd made a 2018 planner, which she mostly uses to note the dates of her French class and how much she hates French. Sorry, Tatiana! *I* think you're great!

5. Focus on style.

Style simply sounds more fun than function, and the kids both did have a lot of fun with this particular step. Syd got really into using her handmade books to tell a series of stories about a fox war, and two foxes who meet cute from opposite sides of that war.

I was also SUPER impressed by Will's creative book. She made another sewn book, but instead of paper she used fleece, red fleece for the cover and white fleece for the pages. Essentially, she made herself a book stuffie. Doesn't that just suit her to a T?

Optional Activities

Those steps may sound as if we didn't really spend all that much time on the badge, after I told you how much we'd drawn it out. But actually, much of our time was spent doing optional enrichment activities. We made paper by hand (several times, as I required the kids to master the steps)--

did several art activities using old book pages, and made these super cute Book Artist badge SWAPS:

They are ridiculously cute, right? I can't even stand them, they're so cute.

Need more ideas? Here are some more options for some of the steps:

Step 3

Step 5

Want more adventures in Girl Scouting and handmaking? Follow my Craft Knife Facebook page for links and pics and WIPs!

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