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.
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.
Coptic stitch books. Sewing instructions can be found in Keith Smith’s book “Books without paste or glue”.
Quite a challenge: Making a Solander box. This project took nearly two days but the results were well worth the effort!
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.
These long-stitch books have their signatures sewn directly onto the cover.
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!
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
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.
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.
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!
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.