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Jimmy Riordan, Artist in Schools at Razdolna, February 2023

Book artist, Jimmy Riordan, worked with the elementary students at Razdolna, February 20-24, 2023, teaching them various bookmaking skills, some folded-paper games, and for grades 2-5, how to assemble their own journal, with a tooled-leather cover and sewn, replaceable pages, including beautiful paper that they had marbled themselves.

Liaison-teacher, Joolee Aurand writes, “Our students learned to fold and sew pages together with waxed thread in such a way that as the week went on, those kids who worked at a faster pace could revisit things he had taught earlier in the week, such as sewing pages, making the 8-page books and playing a collaborative game, in which you fold the paper into thirds, draw a body part, fold it in such a way that it can’t be seen, and pass to the next person. The result is a person or animal or monster with a head drawn by one person, and torso from another and legs or tail from a third. Jimmy had leather scraps prepared for the students to practice on, so they could get a feel for how hard they had to hit the tool, or drag the little spoon. As for the awls, he made the age and behavior-appropriate decision to have the adults punch the holes at first, and as the kids got more comfortable, and proved that they were using the tools responsibly, they started to punch the holes themselves. He had great systems for teaching the painting and staining, and was excellent at providing feedback to inspire those who were stuck, or resisting doing something that would enhance the look of their end product. They quickly learned what he was presenting, and were able to transition to independent work seamlessly. He also used their practice scraps to make small journals.”

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