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  • Writer's pictureKari


I have a bit of an obsession with volvelles - those discs you turn to find out how to make a Rum Collins or how far it is from Owen Sound to Parry Sound (225 km by land). They are remnants of a pre-internet age when finding accurate information was rather more than a simple google search. So as a person who likes sorting things and likes libraries and likes paper and likes accuracy, volvelles appeal to me on many levels.

Red and Green Information Disc Volvelle
Vintage Auction Find!

A volvelle or wheel chart is a type of slide chart, a paper construction with rotating parts. It is considered an early example of a paper analog computer. The definition is from wikipedia with gratitude.

I had had it in my head for a long time to make one. And I wanted to do something that was a prompt book where the wheel would prompt you to do something.

I am a hoarder (yes I admit it!) of certain kinds of ephemera. I have a severe case of "I'm sure this could be useful someday" and we go to auctions a lot. I will leave the state of my basement to your imagination! That said, there are two kinds of ephemera - useable and non-useable.

In the useable pile, I have boxes of stuff that I am comfortable using up as opposed to what I think of as "inspiration". In that box of useable items, I had these little tear-drop shaped sticky notes that were a gift from my sister who finds the most awesome stuff. Those sparked the idea of an artist's prompt book where the volvelle would allow you to randomize colour palette selection.

From there the ball was rolling! Or should I say the wheel was spinning?

The idea rolled out to a second writer's prompt book for micro-stories where I used coloured paper for the pages.

I am well pleased with the finals!


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