From 1991 through 2002, and again in 2007, I produced an annual calendar. I elaborately illustrated and designed each one—and these limited prints were both true labors of love and experiments in book design.

For people I knew back then, one of the first things they ask when they see me is whether I still make my calendars. They were popular, but they were also a lot of work for something so impermanent, and late nights spent obsessing over the details are not compatible with mamalife.

Please enjoy this archive of a passion on pause.

2007: Binka Goes to the Airport

A collection of quotes, doodles, puns, and parodies of boarding passes and travel posters, made in honor of my dad, an aeronautics nut with a strong sense of wanderlust.

See details of the calendar, along with creator notes.

2002: Mecca

In the months after 9/11, like a lot of us, I learned a lot about Islam very quickly. In a continuing quest for empathy for the vast majority of Muslims who wished no harm on anyone, but instead are a peaceful people, I wanted to learn more about Islam and the culture of the Middle East more generally. I funneled my largely newfound appreciation into a calendar for 2002. The calligraphy and tilework in Islamic art and architecture inspired a lot of the design. I created two elaborate patterns for each month name and replicated some authentic patterns I found in a rare book held by a nearby university library. The covers for the calendars I made were laser-cut over several late nights at my research lab, back when lasercutters were a rare treat.

2001: Extremes

Since this was year "Number One", I took that as a cue to celebrate the best, most, and very tip-top of everything. The calendar was my thickest ever, with one piece of Guinness Book-like trivia for each day. This gave me 365+ frames to use in a thick flipbook on the other side. The chunky pile of pages was bound with a bolt so that multiple pages could be shown. When shipped, it was wrapped in a thin piece of caution tape customized for the calendar. The calendar came with a bonus tiny tabloid, The International Binquirer.

2000: Circus

The visual uniqueness of the year 2000, with its three zeroes, inspired this theme: a three-ring circus. Much like a circus, this was a riot of competing visuals and too many things going on. The front cover had pop-up book elements. The pages were cut into thirds and moved independently: one with fanciful limericks about invented characters at this circus, another with an impossibly goofy grid of bubbly dates, and a third with a circus-related diary entry from Binka. The flip side of the pages could be combined to create 1,728 different mix & match circus characters (pictured here, the "Sea Handile", whatever that is! These third-pages were all bound together with rings, of course! An almanac of circus-related anniversaries and celebrations was stapled inside the back cover. Finally, I loved calendars that came with stickers when I was a kid, so I made a set of circus-themed stickers to accompany the calendar as a bonus gift.

1999: End of Time

With the excitement around Y2K, society seemed to have eschatology on its mind more than usual. I used this as an opportunity to look at how different kinds of people thought about time. As a nod to The Canterbury Tales, I wrote [truly awful] rhyming couplets to share what I learned about each perspective: The Farmer's Tale, The Mayan's, The Astronomer's, etc. The overall design reflected that of medieval Books of Hours. This calendar was my first foray into color printing, and so I designed it so I could use the color prints in two different years.

1998: Ocean

When I heard that the UN would celebrate 1998 as "The Year of the Ocean" I was thrilled! What a perfect theme for Binka to explore. The calendar grid resembled a captain's compass. This calendar had so many things happening in it: models of different knots favored by sailors, two flipbook corners, and biweekly calendar pages that unfurled like a crashing wave or nautilus shell, revealing sea-related trivia and anniversaries inside.

1997: Art Museum

In this theme, I placed photographic images of famous art in hand-drawn settings to make the art museum of my dreams.

1996: Space

A lifelong space exploration nerd, I chose this theme as a unspoken commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the Challenger disaster in 1996. Pages folded out to reveal space-related trivia and images.

1995: Korea

I crafted this calendar with very little computer access while living two hours outside of Seoul, South Korea. It hung long, like a calligraphic scroll, and the dates ran vertically. Koreans use both lunar and solar calendars so both systems and languages were represented.

1994: Egypt

This calendar competed for time with my senior thesis in college, ha ha. I had audited a class on hieroglyphics and thought it would be fun to share what I'd learned, and then I researched beyond that.