Friday, July 26, 2013

Basic Bookbinding for Beginners with Seth Apter

Seth Apter, at the beginning of class
My final workshop at the CREATE Mixed-Media Art Retreat was a three-hour introductory bookbinding class with Seth Apter.  I was so excited for this class, since I have been wanting to try making my own books for a long time.  Though I've purchased various books on the subject, I just really needed someone to walk me through the steps to jump-start the process.  Seth's workshop was just what I needed!
One of my classmates, at work on her binding
Seth studied bookbinding at the Center for Book Arts in New York, which trained him to be very exact and precise in the bookbinding process.  Now, though, he describes himself as "a bookbinding rebel"; when it comes to cutting with a blade as opposed to freehand cutting with scissors, for example, he said, "I can't be bothered!"  He told us that he wanted to make the process "do-able" for us, and he succeeded in doing just that.
Bookmaking in progress!
After introducing us to a list of key bookbinding terms, Seth led us through the steps needed to create accordion fold books, the pamphlet stitch, and a simple form of Japanese stab binding.  He was hoping that we would have a chance to create one book of each kind following his instructions, and then create a second book of each kind to help build our "muscle memory," so we would be more likely to remember the steps.  We did not have time to create those second books, but he sent us home with all the materials we needed to make them on our own.  And, thank goodness, I took copious notes to take me through the binding processes back here at home!
Another classmate at work on her books
To show you what an effective instructor Seth was, I will show you the books I created for the class, as well as the books I've created since coming home.  What a great craft for those of us who enjoy immediate gratification!  It didn't take me long at all to amass a whole pile of hand-bound mini-books.
First, we created an accordion-fold book, and I was able to come home with Seth's materials to create a second one:
There is no doubt that the bookmaking process is majorly facilitated by having someone pre-cut all of the necessary pieces!

Second, we learned the pamphlet stitch, which is super-simple, easy to remember, and highly useful.
It's so simple, in fact, that I quickly ended up with quite a stack of little pamphlet-stitched books!  I especially like this tiny one:
And I made my first effort to attach beads as part of my binding here:
I enjoyed digging into my stash of hand-painted papers to create my books covers!

Even my five year old got in on the book-making action, creating a half-circle book (which I thought was brilliant!) and asking me to stitch the binding for her.
Finally, after a couple "false starts," I managed to master the simple version of Japanese stab binding that we worked on in class:
I kind of love the paper I made with my gear stencil!
I used scrapbook paper as a cover for this one.
The black and white cover is the one I completed in class.
Now I've pulled out all those art books with bookbinding instructions, and I feel empowered to try them all!  I know the lingo and I understand the basic process, and I'm excited to expand my repertoire of bookbinding options.  Many thanks to Seth Apter for getting me started down this path!


If you have not yet entered my giveaway, please visit the previous post to enter.  Please remember to include in your comment the art retreat workshop you would most enjoy taking!  I'll announce a winner on August 1, 2013.


I have one final art retreat post to share, giving you a peek at the Artists' Faire and my hotel room art studio set-up!  See you soon.


Art and Sand said...

Book making is one of my favorite pasttimes. I love to create books as gifts and I also sell them. Sometimes I fill them with quotes and other times just give them to be used as journals. It is just such a great creative outlet.

Have fun!

supplies overflowing! said...

wow, Andria...small world! I received an email from Mary of Joyful Ploys, and guess who she mentioned! Holy cow! I came for a visit via her blog!
I wish I'd taken that class with Seth. I have been working on some ideas and decided that my own handmade books would be perfect. I have been devouring the Pages magazine with all the info on book-making.
Your daughter did a great job on her little book. Kudos to her!!

Parabolic Muse said...

Andria, isn't this fabulous? Isn't it fun? I love this! Your books are so pretty! Love that stenciled cover.

Basically, I'm just commenting to say the round book was a stroke of brilliance!

Jane LaFazio said...

wow! you've gone into production! waay cool.

Janet said...

I just read your previous posts about your classes at the retreat and all I can say is I'm so envious!! What a treat to be able to attend such a fun event and then to meet so many creative and talented people.

That little round book of your daughter's is brilliant!! I love it.

Seth said...

I am so very happy that you were part of this workshop Andria. I am even more happy that you (and your daughter) have taken the techniques and really run with them. Your books look great and I can tell that you are absolutely having fun with the process. It doesn't get better than that!

Shopgirl said...

WoW, this is wonderful, I can not pass by a journal, it would be so good to make my own. Have fun, happy summer, Mary

Patty said...

I was checking in to see what you are up to Andria. As always, something very interesting. Book binding. Now I would love to take a class on that. Love yours. Happy Saturday!

Adriann said...

Your daughter's book is super cute. Love the Japanese stab technique. I want to try that one out. You make it look so easy.

Karen Isaacson said...

fantastic - what a successful workshop. I really love that Japanese stab binding with your gear paper. gorgeous!

Joyfulploys said...

Hi Andria...What a wonderful opportunity to take that class with Seth. Looks like you have book binding down. Your daughter's book is really cute! Good job!

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