Fruit forever ripe

'Imitation of life' cover, Santos Museum of Economic Botany
Imitation of life cover, Santos Museum of Economic Botany

One of the best moments in working on beautiful illustrated books is when you see the final product.

When you’re an editor and/or proofreader, you only see the project at certain stages. You can visualise the final book in your imagination, but even when you’ve worked on the proofs it’s a fantastic surprise actually seeing the published book itself.

I’m always in awe of the work of the writer(s), designer, photographer and others, and grateful to have been a part of that team. And I give thanks to the publishing gods that people continue to collaborate and make big, sumptuous books!

Imitation of life – a visual catalogue is one of those projects. This book is seriously breathtaking. It still amazes me when I look at it, months after it was published. It’s a substantial hardback catalogue – a true visual feast – and won a 2014 MAPDA (Museums Australia Multimedia and Publication Design Awards) Award.

It’s the work of Tony Kanellos, cultural collections manager and curator at Adelaide’s Santos Museum of Economic Botany, with incredible design by Kate Burns and photography by Paul Atkins. (My contribution was tiny, copyediting the texts that bookend the catalogue.) Continue reading

A few stories for Children’s Book Week

It’s Children’s Book Week (16–22 August 2014), so let’s enjoy a few stories about literature for the young (and young-at-heart).

First up, an old school/new kid project out of the University of Colorado (Boulder): the Tactile Picture Books Project.

Tactile books have been around for a long time. They’re fantastic objects for introducing the magical world of books to very young children who are blind or visually impaired. You can read about the Tactile Book Advancement Group here, and about how to make fabric tactile books here. You can also find out more here about Vision Australia’s Feelix Library. It’s a great Braille book library for children who are blind or have low vision.

But the CU-Boulder Tactile Picture Books Project has a surprising ‘new kid’ aspect. It’s producing the first-ever 3D-printed tactile picture books.

University of Colorado Boulder students Abby Stangl and Jeeeun Kim are using 3D printers to assist very young blind and visually impaired readers (Photo by Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado)
Some pages from Goodnight moon – University of Colorado Boulder students Abby Stangl and Jeeeun Kim are using 3D printers to assist very young blind and visually impaired readers (Photo by Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado)

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The presence of books

Last week I was in an inner-city cafe, gathering my thoughts before an important meeting. Without thinking, I did what I always do to calm down. I quietly began studying everyone and everything else around me.

There were the guys behind the counter; the people lining up for coffee; local office-workers at other tables, having meetings over laptops; two young men hovering around out the front, smoking quick ciggies; the hints of traffic movement and light in the busy street outside.

Mio Mia cafe, in Ultimo, Sydney (from the cafe's Facebook page)
Mio Mia café in a quieter moment, Ultimo, Sydney (from the cafe’s Facebook page)

It was a small, noisy place. My eyes lingered on the delicious food on display. But what really stood out was the wall beside me.

It’d been completely covered with wallpaper depicting trompe-l’oeil shelves filled with old-style hard-back books, from floor to high ceiling. Continue reading