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Publication > 11.1 Book Layout

Many hands make churches withstand / Práce jako na kostele

by Stepanka Blahovcova

The book refers to the problematic part of the Czech Republic called Sudetenland. What motivates young Czech atheists to repair old Catholic churches built by the Germans? The objective of this publication is to document the phenomenon of activism based around abandoned churches (an effort of people to rebuild empty buildings) and at the same time to express thanks to all those who still have the energy to cover torn roots with fresh soil.
At first sight we can see a piece of adhesive plaster on the cover of the book titled Práce jako na kostele (loosely translated as many hands make churches withstand). The Czech title is an idiom – and a pun is intended here – meaning “a lot of work – as much as you need to build a church”.
The plaster symbolizes the healing of the buildings, the country and the human souls. In the book there is a package containing a few more plasters with different slogans printed on them. They can be used as “fashion pins, badges” and to dress real wounds. After all, these are real plasters printed with silkscreen.
If we remove the cover and spread it, we can see the word “práce” which means “work” in Czech. The letters are compiled from the remains of the statues of saints and other broken items from one of the abandoned churches, found right inside it on the floor.
If you put the cover front down, you can find a 3D paper model of one of the churches. The instructions how to assemble it can be found in the chapter “What to do to rescue the building?”. The metaphor is clear: each of us has the power to build something. Just for fun you can build your own small church made of paper right at home.
The book itself is bound in a traditional way, but the binding is not finished. The glue is missing. This refers to the damaged buildings as well as to the layers of history. You can see the “insides” of the book covered just with a paper.
For headlines the typeface Teuton by StormType Foundry was chosen. This typeface was directly inspired by an inscription on a German tomb in Sudetenland. For the main text I chose a well legible type from the same company.
The book is organized in chapters with different visual character according to the topic. The book begins with a “slideshow” of pictures – leading us from our homes to Sudetenland. For the part with people’s stories I chose a classic layout where pages of text are mixed with big photographs; the part which describes the step-by-step procedure is made to look like a manual – printed over architectural drawings and maps. For introducing the individual churches in the other part I use self-made hand typography – letters scratched on a wall; a kind of a mental map. The list of organizations at the end of the book is completely handwritten like notes inviting readers to add their own. The book ends as it started – with a “slideshow” of everyday life pictures.
This book was made as a non-profit project for a non-profit organization.
The whole book is printed on FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper.

  • Creative Directors Stepanka Blahovcova
  • Art Directors Stepanka Blahovcova
  • Designers Stepanka Blahovcova
  • Illustrators Stepanka Blahovcova
  • Photographers Stepanka Blahovcova
  • Editors Katerina Kvasnickova, Zbynek Sedlacek
  • Copywriters Stepanka Blahovcova, Lag Czech West Local Partnership, Faculty of art and design - University of Jan Evangelista Purkyne in Usti nad Labem
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