BAGCD Stage 2 Bookbinding workshops

This week I had two days of workshops with Stage 2 students in the print room. On Monday we did a Swiss binding, i.e. a multi-section sewn bookblock with a wraparound card cover, and a slipcase to keep the book in. On Tuesday we made a Japanese multi-section book with a paper cover hinged onto the first and last section of the book. This style of book is unusual as the sections don’t have the usual holes pierced for sewing, but they have small slits cut into the fold which means the sewing thread is sunken into the section. It also has a rather confusing sewing style which gets easier with a bit of practice but is quite difficult when you do it for the first time. In the afternoon we made another slipcase .

For reference, I recommend the following books:

Japanese Bookbinding. Instructions from a Master Craftsman, by Kōjirō Ikegami. It describes step-by-step with lots of illustrations how to make the multisection book (retchōsō) which developed in the Heian period (794-1185). It also contains instructions for different stab bindings and a variety of beautiful book cases.

Bookbinding. A step-by-step guide, by Kathy Abbott. Detailed instructions for the slipcase, plus many more bookbinding and boxmaking projects.

Swiss binding with slipcase
Swiss binding with screenprinted inner cover and slipcase
Swiss binding in slipcase
Japanese bookbinding workshop
Japanese multi-section binding with screenprinted cover
Japanese multi-section book
Japanese multi-section book with recycled screenprint as a cover
Japanese multi-section binding with Italian pattern print cover
Japanese multi-section binding with Italian print cover
Japanese books in slipcases
Japanese books in slipcases
Finished! Japanese book in slipcase
Finished! Book and slipcase

Bookbinding for Artists

My course Bookbinding for Artists is finished. I enjoyed it very much, and we got more ground covered than I would usually expect in one week. I think this was partly due to the size of the group (only 5 students) but also partly due to them putting a lot of effort in. We made a Codex binding, a Coptic binding, a Japanese binding, two Concertina books, a dos-a-dos book, a long-stitch binding, and a Solander box. Well done to all my students. I hope you all carry on making books!

This book is a double-sided book, or dos-a-dos book. Each side contains only one signature and is sewn in a simple pamphlet stitch.

double sided book
A dos-a-dos book.

Coptic stitch books. Sewing instructions can be found in Keith Smith’s book “Books without paste or glue”.

Spine of a book sewn in Coptic stitch
Spine of a book sewn in Coptic stitch

Beautiful Coptic stitch book made by Asako.
Beautiful Coptic stitch book made by Asako.

Quite a challenge: Making a Solander box. This project took nearly two days but the results were well worth the effort!

Paolo and Kerree making Solander boxes
Making Solander boxes

Valentina lining her box with her handmade marbled paper.
A student lining her box with her own handmade marbled paper.

Yasuko lining her box.
Lining the box.

Asako's solander box.
Finished solander box.

Asako's solander box fully opened – lovely!
Finished solander box fully opened – lovely!

This accordion cardholder book is taken from Esther K. Smith’s book “How to make books”. In her version the cover is made out of playing cards; for my version I lined greyboard with screenprinted paper left over from another project.

Accordion cardholder book.
Accordion cardholder book.

These long-stitch books have their signatures sewn directly onto the cover.

Long-stitch books
Long-stitch books

Asako and Yasuko with their long-stitch books.
Students with their long-stitch books.

Bookbinding for Artists, 15-19 August 2016

I’m running my Artscom class Bookbinding for Artists this week in Byam Shaw in Archway. I have five students, which is a good size for a class. Not too small, not too large (no long queues for the board chopper!) We started off with a Codex binding today, and we made some beautiful books. I was worried about finishing on time, but miraculously we were finished at 3:55pm – pretty impressive, we even had 5 minutes left to wash the brushes!

Photo of folded pages, ready for sewing.
Signatures ready to sew.

Students sewing books
Students sewing books

Students sewing books
Students sewing books.

Finished books.
Finished books.

Finished books.
Finished books.

Pattern Repeat

Pattern Repeat
Alexandra Czinczel
October 2015. Concertina book, 10.2 x 11.2 cm, 5 colour screenprint.
Signed and numbered edition of 35.

No. 1-3 come in a special edition with hand knitted cover in a solander box with a compartment of knitting / sewing tools and materials.

No. 4-35: Book only.

A knitting pattern depicting fish is repeated to form a landscape image. The image is folded and bound into a concertina book. The book is enclosed in a knitted pouch in a solander box. The pouch is knitted in the pattern pictured in the book. The pouch is sewn shut, so the book cannot be viewed, which does not matter because the information contained in the book is also contained in the knitted cover. However, it is possible to view the book. The box provides the reader with the tools necessary to undo one row of waste yarn, pick up the stitches and leave them on stitch holders. Thus the book can be removed, viewed and put back inside. Then the pouch can be sewn back together according to the instructions. Alternatively, readers who would rather not undo the cover can download the contents of the book in PDF format.
The box contains the book in a hand knitted cover using Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, 1 booklet of instructions, 2 stitch holders, 1 darning needle and small amounts of yarn in all colours used in the cover for replacing waste yarn and also to darn moth-holes, should they occur.
(This text refers to the special edition only.)
The knitting pattern can be used by the reader for non-commercial purposes.
Special edition (Nos. 1-3): £120
Book only edition: £20
Free download: Pattern Repeat

Bookbinding for 2nd year BAGD students, 5 March 2014

Yesterday I had so many students I had to divide them up into a morning and an afternoon group. That meant we did not have time to make a codex binding. Instead we did three different bindings: a perfect-bound book, a Japanese binding, and a Coptic binding. The Coptic was definitely the most demanding, luckily I only had a small group left at that point – it can get very complicated when you try to teach a large group how to do all the sewing correctly.

I had some interest for box making too so I’ve put up some photos of boxes I’ve made, you can find them on the box making page.

A perfect bound book.

Japanese and perfect bound books

Spines with Coptic stitch

Coptic stitch.

Two books in Coptic stitch

Bookbinding induction 26 March 2014

Yesterday I taught my third bookbinding induction for 1st year students. Three lovely students turned up, and I showed them how to make a codex binding. We talked about paper grain and spent the day folding, sewing, cutting, gluing.

There are only two more inductions scheduled – 5 and 12 March – so if you are a 1st year BAGD student and you want to make a book, turn up! On time! If I suddenly get mobbed by students on the last day, I will have to turn people away, as there is only space for up to 12 people.

Here are some photos of yesterday’s session.

Folded signatures
Folded signatures for our book

A student taking notes.
Taking notes is a worthwhile pastime.

Pricking holes
Using a pin vice to prick holes for sewing.

Students in the bookbinding studio
Students working on their books.

Making the book cover
Gluing the book cover.

Bookbinding 12 February 2014

On my first teaching day in the lovely new bookbinding studio in Kings X, three students turned up. One did not stay very long as she had other things to do and she hadn’t realised that the workshop would take the whole day. So we ended up being a rather small group! We made a codex binding and the students said afterwards that it was more complex than they had anticipated. Having said that, it was their choice to make it even more complex than I had intended by asking me about headbands! As we had no readymade headbands, I showed them how to make some using a piece of string and a bit of bookcloth. I think we made some pretty nice books!

Signatures ready for sewing
Students sewing books
My two very keen students sewing their books
Gluing the spine
Using a laying press to glue the spine.
The bookblocks with endpapers and glued spines are ready for casing in.
Students admiring their first books.
Look, we even made headbands!
Book, nipping press
A finished book in front of the lovely nipping press.

Brand new Book Arts blog!

Welcome to my Book Arts Blog. I am currently teaching a series of Bookbinding inductions for 1st year BAGD students at Central Saint Martins, so I thought I’d start a blog alongside our workshops, not only so other students can see what we’ve been doing but also to start an online resource for students who are interested in book arts.

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