The weather here in Dunure continues to be glorious – if this proves to be the best couple of weeks weather this summer then I can’t think of a better place to spend them! But you can only sit in the sun reading books and eating ice cream for so long ….
Handmade book using coptic stitch
My fourth handmade book is bound using Coptic stitch. The front and back covers are stitched to the paper signatures leaving the spine of the book exposed.
Handmade book with Coptic stitch
I realised last week that I didn’t actually have the tools I needed to do a good job on this book. But thanks to internet shopping I was able to buy coloured linen thread, eyelets and a wonderful new tool – a Japanese screw punch. I could have just used an awl to make holes in the front and back covers but that would not have looked as nice as using eyelets. Bookbinding may ‘just’ be a ‘hobby’ for me but if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well!!
Japanese Screw Punch
The weather in Dunure has been glorious. So much so that I got a little sunburnt on Monday – pink is definitely not my favourite colour! But every cloud has a silver lining and in this case it meant staying indoors for some of yesterday making books. As hobbies go this is seriously addictive!
My second handmade book
My second book was constructed in the same way as the first but I used cotton rag paper for the pages and a bookbinders waxed linen thread for the stitching. I’m much happier with this one – the paper fills the book a bit more and the thread looks more ‘substantial’ on the spine.
Front of my third book
My third book is A4 rather than A5 and I added some detail to the front cover. Because I had converted my hand dyed fabrics to book cloth I was able to glue the layers in place and did not need to worry about them fraying. The longer spine meant that I could be a little more creative with the stitching. I used the linen thread again and introduced a variant on some of the long stitches. Working on a larger book was a bit awkward at times (could have done with a third hand) but the results are worth it!
Spine of my third book
We’ve just started a two week holiday in my favourite place – Dunure. It was grey and raining off and on yesterday but today we work to sunshine, blue skies and crystal clear water. I started my day with a cup of coffee sat on the beach – perfect!
View from Dunure beach
I’m giving my hard working sewing machine a holiday as well (otherwise known as being serviced!) so I’ve brought my bookbinding stuff with me. I had a lovely weekend making bookcloth and making my first book cover in April. Today I have finished my first book. I have used long stitch to sew in the signatures (folded paper pages to you and me!). I didn’t overload the book with pages as I figured I needed wriggle room for my first attempt at stitching. I used a thick 12wgt yellow thread but I think a thicker thread might have looked better. I’m pretty happy with the result!
My first handmade book
I realised last night that I hadn’t blogged for about 10 days despite promising myself that I would blog at least once a week. I told myself that I had a good excuse – the day job has been a little distracting but I have still managed to get about 13 hours a week in the studio. So why haven’t I blogged? Maybe because it is not a fully formed, hard to break habit yet? The answer, for me at least, is to keep going, just in the same way that I keep going into my studio to work even when I’m tired or distracted. I turn up and do the work!
So what have I done in the last 10 days. Well the good weather lasted longer than expected so I have about 12 square metres of gorgeous fabric to cut into ‘bricks’ ready to build more Ruins pieces.
Breakdown printed fabrics ready to cut
And I worked on a miniature piece that, if I like it once finished, will be entered into the miniatures category at Festival of Quilts this summer. Stitching a piece that is only 30cm square is so much easier than working on my recent, mammoth, Ruins pieces!
Work in Progress
Breakdown printing with Rust thickened dye
There’s a saying ‘make hay while the sun shines’ which would be a silly way for me to fill my weekend. I don’t live on a farm and I’m already suffering with hayfever. I prefer ‘make breakdown screens while the sun shines’. The weather is glorious and I’ve taken full advantage this weekend to make and print off multiple breakdown screens. In between, as the screens dry out, I have sat on my new garden furniture drinking good coffee and contemplating life. Only in the UK could that furniture have been covered in snow 2 weeks ago!
Looking up through the cherry tree
The contemplating hasn’t been particularly productive but the breakdown printing has. Lots of lovely new fabrics for my Ruins series.
After batching and rinsing … yummy!