Thursday, April 14, 2016

Adventures in Bookbinding

My cabinet card sketchbook, along with the book that helped me to create it
I took the plunge, inspired by the recent Philadelphia Art Book Fair, and got my bookbinding resources off the shelf and onto my work table.

For my first project, I've created the cabinet-card sketchbook from Jeannine Stein's Re-bound, in which she encourages the use of recycled and re-purposed materials for creating books.

The cover of my hand-bound book is a cabinet card purchased from the Allentown Paper Show.

My husband thinks she looks quite a bit like one of his ancestors; I think she looks amazingly similar to the woman that Jeannine used for her example in the book:
I see the man in the cabinet card on the back cover as a kind of spouse or companion of the woman on the front:
It wasn't until I had the project underway that I realized that I was actually binding three different books for the project, all using a stab binding technique.  Inside the outer cover are two smaller books.  On one side, the book has drawing paper, while on the other side the book has notepaper.
Each pad has a sturdy piece of cardboard at the back, which fits into a sleeve I made on the inside of each cover.  The pad slips in and out of the sleeve, and I can make new pads to replace them when I am finished, so that the cabinet card cover is re-usable.
Ingenious design, no?

I was thinking about giving this blog post the title: "Bookbinding is not for the faint of heart."

But through the process of binding this rather complicated book, I realized that there is definitely a simple secret to making the activity easier:  punch yourself large enough holes so that you are not fighting your needle's way through each one!

An awl is a fine way to start, but the Japanese screw punch is really indispensable for the bookbinder or book artist.  I'm no expert, but as a beginner, I'm finding that these are a few of my favorite things:
My favorite adhesive (UHU glue stick), Japanese screw punch, awls for
punching small holes, ruler, sharp utility knife
I also discovered that the first time through a new binding technique can be a little rough, while the second time through is exponentially easier.  For example, I ripped the cardboard backing on one of the books that fits inside my cabinet card book, and I went ahead and bound it with no strong backing, thinking I could get away that.  Once I did the other inside book, and saw how much better it fit into the sleeve with the cardboard backing, I realized I had to re-do the first one, and do it properly this time.  This time the stitching went so much more quickly! I finally knew what I was doing, and had done it a couple of times before.  There is a bit of a learning curve, but the patience required to catch on is worth it in the end!

And, really, isn't that pretty much true of any creative endeavor?

I'm on a bit of a bookbinding kick, it seems, so there may be a lot more where this came from!

5 comments: said...

Ha ha -- I like the faint-of-heart comment. I find bookbinding tricky......and I cheat and punch holes and add rings. I love what you did using the old cabinet cards. Very cool. You've been busy!

Susanne said...

Fabulous project, and yes a great design. I bet stab binding would be great for working out frustrations. I have an identical awl - which should have been required to have a cap - as I stabbed myself with it several times getting it in and out of my tote bag at last weekend's crop.

Jewels said...

This is so COOL! I would never had thought to use those old cabinet cards (and I have a bunch)'ve got me thinking!

Jane LaFazio said...

Brilliant! I've dipped my toe into book binding recently and it us satisfying. You've convivced me I need a srew punch!

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