larger visual poem boxes for the text festival

A review of The Language Moment on Friday night will follow in the next couple of days. I loved it, and hearteningly it was better attended than the opening event of the previous Text Festival.

This post takes a look at the process of making some unusual visual poem boxes.

Philip Davenport is curating the bit of the festival at the Transport Museum where some of my work is appearing. He asked if I could make some larger boxes to accompany the others, so the designs are easier to see.

I initially planned to make them 18cm x 18cm. That was basically due to a mathematical failure on my part. The intention was to make the boxes from A4 sheets of card with two panels to each sheet. A simple calculation says that 18cm x2 is 36 - larger than the 297mm of the longer dimension of an A4 sheet even without the flaps used to fix it together.

That meant reducing the boxes to 12cm x 12cm with 2cm flaps for the 12mm glue dots used in this build.

The first image below shows my initial sketches in blue pen working out how to fit the pairs of panels together and where the flaps should be. This was actually done while walking - partly to clarify it in my own mind and partly to show my sister how it would work.

It was overdrawn a few times in black pen last night when I started planning in earnest. Once before I made a 3cm x 3cm mockup, and once again when the model was complete and I put the letters in on the drawing and the box to ensure I had all the flaps I needed, in the right places, and knew how it would fit together.

I decided to have one set of panel with no flaps, one with flaps on each edge, and one with the remaining flaps required for simplicity. There is also a reminder to me that because of the way I make the panels the one with three flaps had to be cut the reverse of how it might seem.

The second image show sketches of the visual poems I chose to cut into the boxes. Because I was at home away from my copies of the original visual poems in the studio I had to copy from images of visual poem boxes I've previously posted to the blog. Not one of which was aligned in the way they were originally intended - which meant flipping the paper around to get them all in the right position.

The photograph below is the mockup assembled after I'd opened it up and added the letters to the edges.

And below is the mockup opened out showing how the panels fit together. It also demonstrates that my original sketch from which this was planned was lacking three flaps but otherwise not a bad attempt.

I then cut out five versions of each pair of panels. These are examples of the full-sized 12cm x 12cm panels with 2cm flaps.

I part-assembled one of the boxes to check that it fitted together as I expected and that the flaps were in the right places. Below is that first box.

With the components of the boxes made and capable of being assembled satisfactorily I drew the designs on the lower panel of the pair of panels with flaps on each edge. The designs had to be on one of these panels to ensure I didn't accidentally have flaps appearing under the design when the boxes were assembled.

With the smaller boxes when there was less pressure of time I only sketched out the more complex designs. Here I didn't have the time to spare or card to waste so spent time making sure the designs were as accurate as possible, filled the space, and aligned more or less centrally.

The next set of images show the panels with the designs cut and before assembly - with the exception of the pre-assembled box.

Finally the boxes were put together. Below are the images of them singly and in a group. The whole process took around six hours across two days. I'm very happy with the results and surprised there were no disasters on the way.

I'll carry them across to Bury tomorrow.


Unknown said…
Hope to get over to see these Matt. Did you get my email?

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