Concertina is one of those words that confused me when I began working at the Center. I thought it was a musical instrument, and it seemed to be used a lot in place of what I thought was called an accordion. So today’s Thursday term is concertina.
|Wheatstone English Concertina|
Wikipedia says it’s a ” a free-reed musical instrument, like the various accordions and the harmonica. It has a bellows and buttons typically on both ends of it.”. It is apparently like a six-sided accordion, but the buttons are slightly different.
In bookbinding, a concertina is another name for a folded structure that resembles an accordion. Concertina and accordion are often used interchangeably to describe a book like this:
|Carol Barton’s Alphabetica Synthetica, accordion book with pop-ups, laser printing, 2002|
|Brigid Elmer’s Fibre Libre|
Book artists often enjoy making concertina books because they can be stood up on a shelf and viewed all at once- great for display purposes in a gallery setting. While it seems like a simple structure to master, simple things can often be more complicated than you first realize. (Those of us whose first concertinas turned up a little less than square in the spine know what I’m talking about. Whoops.)
The concertina is an excellent structure to expand upon, as it combines well with pop-ups and fold-outs, and you can create a multiple-book-within-a-book-structure fairly easily by sewing a pamphlet stitch through the folds. Concertinas have expanding spines, which also allow for a variety of elements to be added to their pages – photographs, collage elements, paper samples, printed ephemera – just to name a few. In short, the concertina is a popular choice for artists working in the book format, as it offers lots of possibilities.
If we’ve peaked your curiosity and you’re now itching to try to make a concertina yourself, there’s a workshop coming up next month with the fabulous Alice Austin. Her class Panorama Concertina on May 12 still has a few slots left in it, jump on it while you can!
Is there a bookmaking term that confuses you? Want to give us suggestions or comments? Just want to say hi? Comment on this post, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit us on Facebook (/centerforbookarts) or follow us on Twitter (@center4bookarts). Can’t wait to see you there!