Book making practice

After looking at the samples in the bookbinding workshop in Vernon Street I decided to start experimenting with some bindings of my own. I tried a mix of concertina, stab stitch with the stitches hidden, hardback stab stitch and making a book box.

The paper in the circular concertina book sticks out over the edge slightly at the corners which is annoying because I thought I had measured correctly so it wouldn’t do that. Apart from that I really like this one. When I first saw it in the sample box, I thought it would be horrendously complicated to make but I managed to work it out and it was much easier than expected. I suppose with printed content it would be harder to make but that is something I will have to try in future.

I think the small, circular format contrasting with the long geometric content works really nicely. It would easily fit in a pocket or a purse so you could read it on the go and carry it around with you. This would help to solve a problem that people who took my survey said they had, not having the time to read. If you had the book in your pocket then you could just pull it out and read whenever you have the time.

I tried the triangular bind as an experiment with shaped binding to see if I could incorporate shape into my books to contextualise them even more. This was a simple experiment that worked out really well and sparked loads of ideas for shaped binds that relate to the theme of the book for example, Dracula in the shape of a coffin. When you open the first page however, it doesn’t quite match up with the end paper which is a problem I’m not sure how to fix and I’m not sure where I went wrong so I will have to talk to the bookbinding staff about it to see if they have any ideas.

I made a huge mistake with the stab stitch hardcover book. I forgot that because the cover was solid, it wouldn’t bend to open and the stitching meant that it couldn’t open at all without bending the cover and creasing it. This is a mistake that would be hard to get around but I’m sure there is a way to make hardcover stab stitch books so I am determined to work around this problem.

For the book box, I measured it to my copy of Moby Dick so it would be the accurate size for the book. I wanted a simple, nautical, chest feel to it to reflect the setting of the book. I glued a simple sailor’s knot on top to reflect this. There are however a few problems with this box. It is slightly too small for the book because I pushed the book down to try and get an accurate measurement of it. Also, when the book is taken out, the cover falls inside the box and is very hard to get out without pulling the knot which causes it to come unstuck. I think both these problems could be solved by making the box bigger and the lid wider so that it contains the book better.

For having done them without any guidance, I’m pretty pleased. As far as first attempts go they’re actually alright. There are a few problems with each of them but now that I’ve made those mistakes, I can work on them and do better next time.

I really enjoyed making these and I really want to make more. I think that bookbinding is definitely the direction I want to take this project in. I’m going to experiment further with binds and see what I can make and what ideas come out of it.



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