Design Feature #07


Tiana, Cloudland

Written by Linus
Photo credit by Tinaa

Put a coin and spin and spin and spin the dial…

In less than 3 seconds, a capsule toy slides down. Break it open and then… What? Why isn’t a toy but instead a mini book?

It is the Eggwich Mini Zine, an independent bi-monthly mini magazine, created by a group of young handicraft talents. Inspired by a Chinese character for instance “初 (beginning)”, “雙 (double)”, “行 (walk)”, “歲 (year)” and to name but a few, each issue develops a very personal style with an experimental touch.

How do you interpret a “mountain” out of the capsule?

Regardless of the subject topic, every single book is totally handmade. It can simply be a piece of paper, a 3D reader, an object of a random shape, or even an installation artpiece, but to cap it all it is something particularly small as it has to be stuffed inside the capsule with a diameter of 4.5 cm.

This is why a reader has to try his or her luck when nobody knows which book comes out.

An expectation from dial-spinning. A new fun of reading.

It is Tiana who brings this interesting idea of reading back to Hong Kong from Japan. Five years ago, the craftsman went to Tokyo to learn how to make mini books, and always lingered at Jimbocho, a street which is very famous for selling second-hand books, after school. Not until then did she find a group of people producing capsule toy books called "The Bean Books". Relatively simple in the production, the books were mainly fold-up papers of advertisements without binding before being placed inside the capsules.

“This is very interesting! Will it work in Hong Kong? Or even better here?” doubted Tiana.

After her return to Hong Kong, she gathered seven craftsman friends to hand-make some copies as the first issue of Eggwich Mini Zine and sell them in a bazaar. Beyond expectation, all 80 copies were sold out before you could blink.

Family Assorted Biscuits is Tiana’s acclaim-winning second series in 2007.

Excited by the overwhelming response, Tiana and her partners have on and off been making mini books, and even contacted some arts bookstores for consignment. This is the reason the capsule toy book vending machines can remain until today.

At the time when handicrafts prevailed, goods made of leather, ceramic, wool and even brass are highly marketable; however, books fully made of paper are the last to think of.

One and another copies of Eggwich Mini Zine pop out in the exhibition.

“We want to promote the book art by the launch of mini books. Publication is not necessarily a “big” deal and doing something small can also be taken seriously. After all, books are a form of art, design and, more importantly, handicraft.”

Small, yet sophisticated, in such a space.

To Tiana, the capsule toy books mean a lot. At least, they are challenging everyone’s reading habits.

Exhibition at PMQ: Travel with Little Books, S314, 3/F, Staunton, PMQ (Until 29.3.2015)

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