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Saturday, March 30, 2013


A Post For Beautiful Spirits Gayle Romasanta and Ramon Abad

[Related Post: JOY: A GLOBAL PRIORITY, Vol. I by E.R. Tabios]

One of the most joyful books I've ever published through Meritage Press is BEAUTIFUL EYES, a bilingual children's book by Gayle Romasanta and Ramon Abad.  Here's its cover:

The book revolves around a Filipino childhood game where people play peek-a-boo with babies and young kids and when the children open their eyes, the adults typically compliment them with "Beautiful eyes!"

It's such a joy-inducing book that it even inspired cookies!  These were baked by stellar scholar Dawn Mabalon for its book launch!

Entonces, I decided to make my third volume of the snailmail-based series JOY: A GLOBAL PRIORITY (Vol. I is HERE and I will post on Vol. II in the future) a special issue focused on BEAUTIFUL EYES, which is to say its content would revolve around the stamps and other postage information from mail orders for the book.  Below are some of the envelopes from said mail orders -- since these all came in white envelopes, I decided to use pumpkin-orange interior paper to spice up the color and to evoke happy kids (the color evoked for me pumpkins, thus, Halloween trick or treats):

For the cover, I decided to recyle an envelope addressed to Mom -- it was some sort of junk mail whose source I can't recall now, but whose envelope had these sports images that also made me think of children at play. I thought of using the envelope as cover material because two of the images revolve around the use of eyes -- the strike in bowling and the bat hitting the ball in baseball:

Here is the front cover to the 2 1/8" x 1.75" mini-book with its title, STRIKE JOY, partly inspired by the image of a strike in bowling:

You would open the book to see the title page facing on the cover verso the smiling image of a clock.  The clock was excised from a cover letter from one of the people ordering the book:

You turn the page to see the postal evocations of someone from Silver Springs, Maryland who ordered the book:

You turn the page again to see the postal evocations of someone from Daly City, CA who ordered the book:

You turn the page to see some illustrations related to seeing; the "Peeps" were cut-out of an exhibition announcement of an O.K. Harris show of Gina Minichino's oil paintings of comfort food.  I inserted this diptych in the book's centerfold when I realized I made too many pages (haha) for the book...the inserted images work, though, don't they?  Just gotta go with the flow ... 

You turn the page to the postal evocations of the last example of someone ordering a book. a peep who lives in Anaheim, California

You turn the page then to more cut-out images from the envelope mailed to Mom; again, I inserted these just because I had set up too many pages in the mini-book (goin' with the flow...):

You then close the book for the back cover image of a bat hitting a ball -- excuse the cheese but BEAUTIFUL EYES, after all, is a homerun!

If you remember my post about doing a mini-book on Juliet Cook's POISONOUS BEAUTYSKULL LOLLIPOP, I had loved the idea of comparing the mini-book with the "real" book and seeing how different they are -- click on link and scroll down to see the difference between the mini-book and the "real" book.  Here's a similar comparison for Vol. III of JOY: A GLOBAL PRIORITY and BEAUTIFUL EYES:

And so we "shelve" this mini-book on the warm teak bench chosen because its length hopefully will contain many volumes of JOY! 

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