Bookbinding Epiphanies

Want to get started on a book project, but you’re not sure what kind of structure or form it will take? Nothing beats browsing through your local (often University) library’s special collection or artist’s book collection for inspiration, but here are some links that will get your mental pages turning:

Start by thinking about what kind of binding you’ll use. You’ll want to get familiar with all of the hand sewn methods, starting first with the pamphlet stitch or saddle-stitch. After that, get to known the Japanese stab stitch, with its seemingly endless variety of designs and shapes. Becca Making Faces does some really interesting stuff with this.

At some point, you’ll want to buy some bookbinders’ glue so that you can get a little more intricate. The accordion book is a favourite at workshops and in classrooms, and this design in particular is popular with kids and adults. Next, you’ll use your glue to create a hardback cover, like this one. You can use it to cover a pamphlet stitched signature just by attaching the front and back pages to the inside of the front and back covers with glue. When you’ve mastered that, move on to the Coptic stitch, a simple but tedious binding for a larger, thicker book. You won’t need glue for an exposed Coptic stitch unless you are applying paper or linen to your cover boards.

Here’s one of my favourite book artists, Karen Hanmer.

Cathryn Miller, a local book artist who creates some spectacular altered books.

A completely digitized journal of bookbinding arts, with articles on everything from printmaking and stitching to making your own travelling punching jig, The BoneFolder, is accessible here.