Sunday, July 5, 2009

Four Classes & Three Books

In a recent class on basic bookbinding, we made three books in four class sessions.

This one has six signatures, with an envelope as the last “page.” Even though I had to complete it outside class, I think it’s my favorite. The cover is handmade paper, flax I think, with thin leather tapes we sewed over (at the spine) and on (the "X"s on the covers). The flax cover has tough texture and strength, but folded beautifully with a bone folder. I like the cut squares on the spine showing the sewing and the slits where the tapes are woven through and then sewn on the cover.

The second book we made is a Moleskine-type travel journal with a ribbon bookmark, a folding envelope, and a piece of elastic to close it. We sewed the signatures and then attached it to Davey boards, cutting a tip off the ends and sanding them to round the pages. Those rounding paper punches would do a better job than I did!

The last is an album with a sewn concertina, making it expandable for photos, collage, or other thick items. We used paste papers provided (we didn’t make them).

I’ve learned a lot from both book binding classes I’ve taken this year. Although I’m not destined to be a book binder, I do love the book form to put art in and to make artists books around. After returning to painting, I’m also altering a photography book using cuttings (scissors and a cutting tool) and collage.

An inspirational book, Book + Art: Handcrafting Artists' Books by Dorothy Simpson Krause, will keep me on the book-making path. It is a very artistic, classy, upscale guide to making art within the book form. I’m impressed with the muted palette she uses—brown, black, and red. It transforms her work with a dramatic, chic, old-fashioned, aged, timeless, wise, and somber tone. The style is far elevated from common crafty-cute styles and a departure from my own love of wild colors. You get a definite aura of being in a rich, private library, sitting in a deep leather chair, classic leather-bound books spilling over solid wood shelves--a comfortable but elegant room for serious studies. She also picks serious subjects for her artist’s books, probably prompted by her international travel and academic background. Highly recommended!


  1. great reveiw! It is a rich book. I like the ones you have done here as well.

  2. Thanks for your comment on my blog! Love yours!!

  3. New to your blog and haven't even looked around but just wanted to comment right away that I love that you wrote that the style of Krause's book is "far elevated from the common crafty-cute styles". I've never known how to put (nicely) into words what bothers me about the latter styles and you've nailed it! Thank you.

  4. Your books looks great! I just made a starbook and it was a lot of fun. Have a nice day;) Annika

  5. Hi Leslie. I can get so inspired by book- making books. And so frustrated in creating my own. The planning, precision, and detail are traits crafts like bookbinding need, very similar to my day job. That becomes a hindrance because in art I often just want to play! BTW, a few of Dorothy Krause’s books appear in Making Journals by Hand by Jason Thompson. I’m glad she has written her own book.

    Thanks for visiting and also becoming a follower, Manon! You have a great blog with your twin focuses of mosaics and paintings.

    Hello and welcome, Me. I’m glad I found a phrase you can relate to. I have to tell you I often struggle with my writing on this blog. It is the old adage that most of writing is really editing.

    I have seen those star books, Annika, and they look so intriguing.