Tara Books

Gita Wolf: The Art of Book Making

I’ve taken pieces of this from one of Shelf Awareness’s articles last week. Here is the link to the original article, which has more information and pictures than I was interested in saving and uploading here.

The eye-catching titles and artwork from Tara Books is utterly amazing and even more so to those of us who know how big publishing houses work versus Tara’s production. “I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail” is based on a 17th-century poem and illustrated by Ramsingh Urveti in the traditional Gond style from central India. It is gorgeous. But that’s not what makes the book amazing.

What’s so special about Tara books is, they’re handmade. Gita Wolf’s “The Very Hungry Lion,” painted in the Warli style from western India, has sold more than 49,000 copies, all of which were made one at a time. Tara also recycles misprints as “flukebooks.” These are unique notebooks (none are identical) for $11.99. Can we say early Christmas shopping? I thought we could.

Tara books and Gita Wolf are on a mission to save the art of bookmaking. Together with her collective of artisans, Wolf is establishing a Center for the Book Arts in Chennai. The center will house a gallery, a bookstore and work space for artists. Makes me want to move to Chennai.

The Great Race, coming in June 2012, by Nathan Kumar Scott,will use the Mata-ni-Pachedi painting style from Gujarat. It is the first time this style of artwork will have ever been seen in a book format. In the future, Tara Books plans to work with artists in Mexico’s Mayan community and presumably other ethnic peoples.

For obvious reasons, Tara Books titles have won the Bologna Ragazzi Award twice. Tara is not about the mass production of reading material, but about the art of each book. When books are made with such love and devotion, they become cherished items. In a world that’s increasingly widening the gap between those who are educated (or financially capable of education) and those who are not, what can be more important than cherished knowledge and thought?

I LOVED this whole concept. What about you?