Librarians and teachers devise many creative activities and incentives to encourage reading among school children—contests and prizes, charts of progress and gold stars, puppet shows, plays and parties all to make reading fun and interesting. Of course, bookmarks play a role as small prizes and mini-teachers of book etiquette. They may possess more power than we thought, as we learn from Jeffrey Edel, a semi-retired woodworker (and voracious reader).
He lives in Bryson City, North Carolina, USA, a small but beautiful town, which as he notes is “tucked up against the Tennessee border amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains.” He used to live in Jacksonville, Florida where he met his friend Karen, an elementary school librarian. She dresses up as the Book Fairy and has had success in getting young children inspired to read by using the bookmarks he makes - her magic wands! Jeffrey says she is “astoundingly creative” and also works with the Scholastic Book Fair program.
More durable for children than paper, the bookmarks Jeffrey makes are from all types of salvaged wood including oak, poplar, black walnut, cherry or whatever he has saved from his years as a woodworker. He adds bits of broken jewelry, coins, watch fobs, jewelry pieces or whatever might make them interesting and ornamental. When asked if he makes them for sale, he said, “They are meant to be encouraging gifts and if someone wanted one I would try to accommodate them if possible.”
Jeffrey would like to hear from our members — “who better than the experts” — on ideas and feedback for improving his designs. He would also like to know of other initiatives to inspire children to read using bookmarks. Please respond by making a comment below or to the webmaster and we will be sure they get to Jeffrey.
And the next time you use a bookmark, think about its magic powers!
by Keti Gabaitze
Keti is a 15 year old student and nascent artist from Georgia who loves to draw as a hobby and also likes to read books a lot. Recently, as she had to create a project at school she came up with the idea to connect her hobby with her reading passion and to produce illustrated bookmarks matching popular books. Let's hear what Keti has to tell about her project and it's outgrowths after she has finished it.
Mark the Book
What do you think about bookmarks? Personally for me and for the readers generally, bookmarks are important accessories. They are interesting, functional and beautiful. My hobbies are drawing and designing, therefore, I decided to make a project about bookmarks called “Mark the Book”. The aim of the project was to create bookmarks from different popular books among my generation such as: Hunger Games, Harry Potter, The Great Gatsby, The Devil Wears Prada, The Mortal Instruments, Sherlock Holmes, The Little Prince, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Pride and Prejudice. The bookmarks were created with my own illustrations and on the back side they had quotes from these specific books.
After I had the bookmarks ready, it was time to show it to society and prove that even nowadays bookmarks can be fun, interesting, beautiful and trendy. At that stage, I came across the website of International Friends of Bookmarks (IFOB) and saw that some artists and several people had submitted free downloadable bookmarks to promote the very first World Bookmark Day (Woboda). It was easy for me to contribute some bookmarks for this event, I just had to replace the title of the book on the bottom of my bookmarks with the wording and date of Woboda.
Bookmarks I have submitted to IFOB for the promotion of the World Bookmark Day
Later, I decided to distribute some of my new bookmarks in the local city library, mostly to teenagers and younger generation people, because the books I created bookmarks about are popular among them. I also left some copies in a local bookshop, so people could buy them and I sold them at school as well. I got positive feedback, people liked bookmarks and they were sold really fast. With collected money at school, I bought some books and took part in a project in which the city library was collecting books and delivering them to small libraries within the country.
In conclusion, with this project I didn’t just create the bookmarks but I also took part in popularizing them among society, I showed them the importance and the role of bookmarks and that they have to pay attention to bookmarks, and I also helped society and delivered some books to the library.
We from International Friends of Bookmarks (IFOB) wish to congratulate Keti for her wonderful project and to thank Keti for her contribution to our project World Bookmark Day. Keti's project shows how bookmarks can be a employed in a creative way to spark enthusiasm and can be messengers of messages over the borders of countries.
19 March 2017 Asim Maner, webmaster
by Ana Matos
Hi, I’m Ana from Portugal and currently producing custom and handmade bookmarks under the name CraftsforYou.
Before talking about the work that I do and the types of bookmarks that I create, I want to share a little bit about my experience with books. Last Christmas I had a flashback about those times when buying a book was rare and receiving one was amazing. I had a lot of books in my school backpack but few, for leisure times, on my shelf. Back then having a book was so precious that I used to read the same book more than once during summer vacations. Later, in university, I had a lot of technical books to study asap and still no money (as a typical broke student) to buy and add books to my library, or should I say shelf. Fortunately, between friends, we would trade books which was a good solution and a way of increasing the sense of responsibility for shared things. I treated the books with care and tried to read them fast to give them back. But with my own (few) books I didn’t use such exemplary treatment. I used to underline the text and bend the corners of the pages – no bookmarks in my vocabulary! I feel so ashamed! Last week I was picking some books to give away for charity and again revisited my horrible crimes. Underlining was a bad habit I got from school, to facilitate studying and concentration.
Things are different now. I have books all around me, use bookmarks (paper and my own handmade) and have never bought so many books as before. They are still expensive in Portugal, at least for us, but now there’s more competition and so more good deals. Despite all you can see that books are special to me but the start of creating bookmarks didn’t arise from that - it was not at all premeditated.
In the end of 2015, before Christmas, I decided to reproduce some simple bracelets I saw on Etsy, so I bought materials but encountered so many cute charms that I ended up buying more than needed. The bracelets didn’t attract much attention, although now and then people still order. One day my other half was thinking about a present for a cousin and asked if I could do something with my materials. The person in question liked books, so why not a bookmark? Later I searched on Google to see if there was something that seemed like our ideas and there it was: bookmarks in cord, leather, etc.. So I made one and a few days later selected charms, and other stuff I had, and made a bunch of bookmarks. I posted on Facebook with friends and they bought as Christmas gifts. I really enjoyed the results and people buying more than one item to give. Like I usually say, money shouldn’t be a reason for not giving a present to someone. That was not the case because they were affordable, and still are (LOL), and above all I was spreading my handmade items, and so my dedication/energy. That is a lovely feeling, believe me. Am I forgiven for my crimes now that I do cosy bookmarks?
After Christmas time I started to have requests to make custom bookmarks. A client showed me book covers and asked me to do specific pieces. So that’s how it all continued.
In the last year I have been producing three types of bookmarks: custom with faux suede cord, zen and cork bookmarks. Along with these materials I use charms, pendants, stones and crystals, things I pick from mother nature, and sometimes things customers send me to re-use or because it has a special value to them.
Custom bookmarks usually are made in faux suede cord so it can match the colours of the book cover.
Zen bookmarks are the ones where I incorporate crystals, stones and charms related to zen, spiritual and healing vibes. For this type of book marker there’s also a partnership with an online store that sells stones and crystals – Prenda Natural. They choose these last parts and the rest is pretty much up to me. We have created a unique style and for now they are selling these pieces exclusively.
The last type I'm assembling are the bookmarks made in cork. Portugal is a leading country in exporting cork, so how come I did not have this idea before? These [bookmarks] don’t need to match the book cover colours. People just have to choose the combination of charms they prefer or ask for a specific one. I hope cork bookmarks one day become a vintage item, like some old and exclusive bookmarks IFOB members have been sharing.
There’s a world out there of people like me creating bookmarks or even doing for themselves, because there’s no limits when it comes to imagination and materials to use. And who ever likes books likes to accessorize them to enrich the entire experience of reading. Because picking a book, contemplating the cover, smelling the paper and diving in the story is a sensory experience I don’t intend to switch entirely to ebooks. Besides, how could I use my bookmarks in this case?!
Bookmarkly yours ;)
My website: http://crafts-for-you.site123.me