Thursday, January 24, 2008

month of loves: books

So, maybe this is a little vain, but for the book topic today, I thought I'd write about the books I've made. I decided to take the bookbinding class at BYU after seeing the products of several of my friends' semesters in the class. I finally got a spot my last semester and loved it. It was so nice to have a creative outlet to help forget about all the other stresses of school and work, and I could be artistic without having to have a talent for drawing, painting, or sculpting. I certainly wasn't the most creative person in the class-- the art majors and a few other people who had a lot of time on their hands and great ideas did some incredible things with their books. But that was also what made the class so fun. I got to see other people's books and ideas and think about what I could do.

Unfortunately, that semester was a busy one and it was all I could do to get the bare minimum done. And afterwards, we moved away from BYU which had a marvelous stockroom full of bookbinding materials. So I haven't been able to fully explore all the book ideas running around in my head, but there are a lot of them! Someday I'll splurge and buy a big, heavy duty paper cutter and figure out how to sharpen the blade often, and that'll make projects much easier.

In the mean time, I thought I'd try a Japanese binding. It's a very simple binding that we never did in class; my teacher just gave us a set of instructions and said we could try it out on our own. Finally, without working, I had enough time to give it whirl. I found some great cheap paper at Archiver's ($.14 a sheet!) for the cover. I already knew I wanted to bind it with the hemp twine I've had since junior high. I bought some acid free Elmers-- a step down from the glue I like to use, but readily available. I used some cardboard that some art had been shipped in and regular printer paper. Here's the result!

The binding was technically simple but manually VERY hard because my holes were so small (I only had an awl to punch them, and not a drill which is what every instruction and website I found suggested). The knot is supposed to be hidden, but that was never going to happen with tiny holes, so I tied a bow instead. And the covers are a bit warped since I didn't check the grain of the cardboard before I made it. But for so little money and effort, I'm generally pleased with the result.

Check out past projects here:

And if you ever want to commission a book from me, I'd be pleased as punch!


lizzie said...

Your book looks great. Did you take bookbinding from Mark Pollei? That's who Micah took from and he loved it. Do they have a Utrecht Art Supply store near you? We have some friends who were able to get some binder's board there. I wish I knew of some more resources you could try. I'll ask Micah if he has any ideas. He usually does.

Anonymous said...

Oh I like it. The cover paper is different than I had imagined it; it's better. Would the warping go away if you pressed the book under a whole pile of books?

laska said...

I love that it looks like there is a silhouette of utah...or maybe it was just me. :) Great job!