I have an envelope full of ephemera from a recent trip to Germany. During a 6 week stay there, I held on to the subway tickets, museum stubs, maps and even some postcards I couldn't bring myself to send. Unless I choose to glue these into a scrapbook, or collage them onto the cover of a book, they will sit in the envelope, eventually growing meaningless.
I'm sure most people think of books as a way to capture thoughts or protect precious stories. But, incorporating travel mementos is a way to create something useful from a nostalgic scrap of ephemera. Coins and other collected items can be inlaid into the surface of a book: shells, pebbles, sea glass, a small skeleton key. Paper and other textiles can be used to cover books, as end papers, or even incorporated into the text block.
Recently, a couple approached me to create a paired set of albums, one small one large, each incorporating fabric from a recent trip to Thailand. The two books would become a wedding photo album and an album of their adventure in Thailand.
The two fabrics were wildly different in style-one white with subtle white roundels, the other a brilliant and pure blue with reds, greens and yellows. The challenge was to find colorways that complemented the individual textiles, while tying the books together visually. We settled on a muted, neutral colorway and a French marbled paper with gold flecks to complement the white fabric. The initial color selections for the bright blue matched its intensity, we settled on a muted gold which echoed the subtle gold flecks in the first book, and a bright Batik paper, whose mottled reds perfectly matched the scarlet tone of the scarf, but also reflected similar variation to the marbled paper of the first book.