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10 things I learned from book binding

March 9, 2017

Are you a book person?  I am a bookworm, reading everything I could as a kid, which sometimes got me in to trouble, but always kept me invested in new knowledge. I also fell in love with the book as object very early. The smell, the feel, the thickness of the paper. The tightness of the binding and how the papers spread when they wrinkled from the bath. 

When I began bookbinding just after my undergrad, I discovered so much more about the book that I never could have learned without learning how to bind. So today I reminisced a little and have written about 10 things that I learned when I learned bookbinding. 

Image 1: caterpillar stitch by Thaleia's Bookbindery

  1. There is a specific way to fold paper. This is because the fiber aligns in one direction in the water when it is being made. 

  2.  Modern libraries smell different than historic ones. The off gassing of the old materials smells completely different than the fast rotting of modern ones. See more about it here

  3. Gluing paper also has a very specific technique to prevent wrinkling. The moisture in the glue means you have to smooth out the glue and press the final product to keep it flat. 

  4. Cutting a whole book of paper with a utility knife will rarely come out smooth. They use a guillotine cutter in manufacturing, but done by hand it's a big job.

  5. There are so many kinds of stitches and binds to learn. I use the utilitarian but aesthetic coptic stitch for my hardcover books, but I want to learn the caterpillar stitch. 

     

     

    Image 2: 3 coptic stitches by me

     

     

    Image 3: long stitch with beads by me

  6. A book doesn't have to contain text. A sculptures book is a beautiful thing. 

  7. Whipping up a great functional book on the fly is pretty easy. You need paper, string, a needle and an awl. (okay you have to be prepared but it's quick!) 

     

    this cover already had my name on it when it arrived in the mail and just needed some paper and a quick tweak to become a book. 

  8. People are afraid to write in a pretty book. Everyone wants to save it for the right thing. 

  9. Making a book is very meditative and creative, balancing craft and art. Kind of like knitting, you can do some of it in front of the tv. 

  10. That I can't live without a handmade book to write in. From grocery lists to addresses and notes to remember, my books are a beautiful, mostly chronological, view of my life in it's truest form. Books become souvenirs from adventures and every day life. And alongside the ideas and sketches are reminders to buy milk. 

You can learn how to make a quick and super functional stitch, a hardcover coptic stitch and a beautiful Japanese bind in my 6 week book binding course starting in April. More information is available here. Linkoln is begging you to come as he models the books we will be creating. 

 

Interested in learning about Bookbinding check out our upcoming course