Thursday, November 14, 2019

Something New

mini 2 needle coptic binding 4-3/4 x 2-7/8
I've moved from sketching to bookbinding! This is the first project in the on-line bookbinding club I've joined. I can't tell you how long I've been wanting to try this coptic stitch binding; as per my m/o, sometimes I just need the right incentive. Yes, I could have found on-line tutorials or even a class, but I think this club is more my style, more apt to get me actually doing the work. It's more of a community with a forum and a facebook page depending on your preference and there is really something inspiring about seeing people posting their finished books and sharing what materials they used and any issues they had. So much information, such great tutorials. I am so please.

I've done a little what I think of as casual bookbinding, like my soft fabric covered journals and that recycled materials accordion book. But I've never worked with real book board, let alone learned how to properly cover a hard cover (in spite of the books I own or have read on the subject or the tutorials I've watched) or tried any of the fancier decorative bindings I've seen and admired. As I started in on the first tutorial, I was struck by the fact that, just like quilting, I had many decisions to make, much measuring to do that had to be accurate and even a little math to figure. It never occurred to me how much time would be devoted to preparation before I could get to the stitching - again, very much like quilting! While if I followed the instructions, at least I didn't have to choose what size of book to make and then figure all the dimensions for its various parts, I did have to decide what I was going to use to cover those book boards. Although I do have some suitable papers and eventually will try using fabric, I'd been lured to try a method of making faux leather from brown paper bags (another thing I've been meaning to try forever). The instructions I chose suggested using watercolor paints on the paper that had been crumpled, thoroughly wet with water and then spread out flat, I decided to try those Art Graf blocks instead which you can use like watercolor paints. Whether it was the brush I chose to use, my own unfamiliarity with them or just the nature of the beast, I could not get the wash gradation and blending that I was going for. Much of the brown of the paper ended up without paint and it still looked like a paper bag to me, not leather!

I used a 70lb drawing paper for the signatures.

Still, I decided on this first "practice" book, I'd use some of it. It held up to my gluing it into place and I liked using the orange thread with it. I may end up stamping something on the front cover to jazz it up a little. I had the same issue as many first-timers in my community in that the cover doesn't really want to stay closed even after putting it under weights. But in the live chat that is another great feature of the club, our fearless leader, Ali Manning, addressed the problem and gave us tips to prevent it from happening. I'm anxious to try the "level up" version which will be slightly larger and use 4 needles instead of two to sew it all together.


Michele Matucheski said...

Mmmmh! I look forward to seeing the other books you make. I don't think I've ever done a journal with the copic stitch either, though you see them a lot! Oh-- this makes me want to get out my stuff and do more surface design, and then turn them into book covers! And then I remember the 25+ journals I have waiting in 2 tubs for a purposeful use, or loving owners, the fact that the one craft sale I attended every year is now more, and the fact that I can't get the lovely stationary I liked to use for the paper inside. One of my first journals in a class with Sue Bleweiss taught us to make that faux leather paper. Her method worked pretty well -- I was using acrylic paints, not watercolor. There were several layers to it, ending with a copper metallic stamp pad to ad iteral highlights over the top. That's still one of my favorites! It looks like the book binding club is closed now -- Just as well: I have too many other hobbies to keep me busy for the rest of my life! Catching up on some quilts, and the weaving, dyeing, and now loom knitting. I'm also looking into card/tablet weaving ... So many ways to spend our precious time on this earth!

Anonymous said...

I like that you're going with what inspires & motivates you. The club seems to offer a variety of resources with advice & encouragement! Your method with brown paper bags looks like lots of fun! Jan in WY

The Idaho Beauty said...

Thanks Jan - yes I can feel the difference in motivation as I work to expand my skills in this new area with a different sort of carrot and stick to keep me going!

I've tried the paper bag thing again with better results - of course will post about that later - but something still seems lacking. Michele, it's interesting that you note your class instructions had you layering and ending with the metallic stamp pad. One of my art group members must have taken a similar class because when we met yesterday and she saw it, she talked about the same thing - a finally rub across the wrinkles with some kind of metallic product. Well! More things to try.

Michele, if you are really interested in joining the book binding club, I believe you can sign up on a waiting list. I don't think she plans on adding people until January. But I know what you mean about all those other things we want to do and try so plenty to keep us busy. And I had to laugh about your comment about not needing any more journals or blank books. This was a question that came up early on in the community - just what do you all do with the many books you make/we will be making? I had the same question because I really don't need any more sketchbooks at the moment - have many unfilled and several never touched already! Some people do sell theirs and of course, many are gifts, but the people I envy are the ones that already have pages needing to be bound, ones they've gel printed or used other multi-media techniques on. And then there are the rest of us that just shrug and laugh at our enjoyment of trying out these bindings on books we at the moment have no use for. But I am hoping some of them turn out well enough to be used as gifts.