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
This time I used a lighter weight, more expensive Kiraku Kozo paper, again from Shephards. Being lighter weight meant it was more tricky getting the paper laid on top of the cloth. It’s a shame you can’t buy a second set of hands and keep them in a cupboard until you need them! But being lighter weight meant that it was easier to get good adhesion to the cloth. Again I followed instructions given in the Big Jump Press blog. Just like the piece made with Kozuke paper this piece was quite stiff when dried.
Recording my experiments!
However I don’t think the stiffness is a problem. I used the first piece of bookcloth to make the outer cover of a ‘soft’ spine book following instructions on a DVD by Paige Martin called ‘Stitch this book’. As it was my first attempted I glued each piece of book board separately and placed these onto the book cloth. I had no issues with blisters or creases – it went together easily. My corners weren’t great but practice will make perfect.
I left the cover overnight to dry then added a liner made from the second piece of bookcloth. Again it was pretty easy and I now have a finished book cover! It’s been really enjoyable so will spend the rest of today making more bookcloth with the other two types of Kozo paper I have. A nice way to spend my weekend off!
Completed book cover – outside
Completed cover – inside
I was due to spend this weekend visiting Ruth Brown in her studio on Sunk Island. We get together a couple of times a year and generally do some printing or other surface design work; either experimenting together or doing some of our own stuff. This time however I didn’t really have any wet work that I wanted to do so suggested that we do something completely different – making bookcloth and bookbinding. I’ve been thinking about taking up a hobby for a while. Yes, crazy I know given how much I pack into my days already. But sometimes I just want something I can do that I am less ‘invested in’. Something that doesn’t have deadlines. And bookbinding really appeals to me – it requires precision and attention to detail, it can use some of my stash of hand dyed fabrics and it can include stitch. And, no surprises to anyone that knows her, Ruth happened to have some DVDs on bookbinding that she could send me.
But unfortunately Ruth is poorly (get bettter soon!). So, with a deadline looming, I could be sensible and spend the time working on my latest Ruins piece. Or I could stick with plan A and learn some new skills. I’m opting for plan A. So here are all my new treasures ready to go. Gorgeous hand dyed fabric. A selection of Kozo paper. Paste and glue. Book board. Tools. And a lovely sketchbook that Ruth gave me to record my experiments in bookbinding in. Fingers crossed!