Saturday, 16 April 2016

Book Making Round-Up

As I haven't blogged for such a long time, I thought I would make a post about some of the bookbinding work I've been doing over the past few months.

I've been attending a bookbinding class for the past two terms, at a local adult education centre.  They have a nicely equipped bookbinding studio, which means I have had the chance to use "real" equipment, such as a plough and lying press.  It has prompted me to (finally) buy my own book press - a thing I have been procrastinating about for years!

It's also given me the chance to improve techniques I had already learned and to learn new techniques and methods also.  In fact, I have learned loads, from our wonderful tutor, who is a bookbinder and book restorer - and a really nice bloke too.  

A selection of the journals and notebooks I have made in the past few months.

I've made quite a few with leather covers, also a set of leather notebook covers, with matching notebooks to go inside.  
I've also made several hard-cover journals, in different styles, including traditional case-bound books - one with a leather quarter-bound spine, a few with coptic-style chainstitch bindings and some where the pages are sewn to a concertina, which then forms the book's spine, secured with a ribbon fastening.  

I've also worked on a few nice albums and guest books, which I'm quite proud of: 
A natural-coloured linen album.  This is very large - about 13.5" x 10", with stiff pages of white, slightly textured paper.  

It has a rounded drop-spine design, where the pages are attached to a separate strip inside the cover. 

The design allows the book to open out flat all the way through. 

I lined the covers with this camper-van design fabric, as the customer wanted this as a theme.  
It's gone off to be a memory book, for a tiny boy who lost his daddy very suddenly (and his mum who was widowed unexpectedly, leaving her with a baby of 15 weeks old).  I do hope it brings them some comfort and helps to keep happy memories alive. 

I also made this photo album, which is an unsual design.  It has lovely Italian paper (by Rossi) on the covers and gorgeous deep, midnight blue pages, made from a fabulous stiff paper that my tutor found in Germany. Sadly, the paper was expensive, so this will be the only one I can make from it, as G. only bought a very few sheets and sold me what he had left!  

The spine is a concertina of stiff paper, onto which sets of pages are sewn.  This allows lots of room for expansion, so photos and other items can be attached to the page, but the book will still keep its shape.  
It's necessary to tie the book, in order to stop it springing apart at the spine, but the ribbon tie will look attractive and makes a good adjustable fastening.  

You can see the spine/page arrangement here.  A set of pages is stitched to the point of each concertina fold, giving you lots of space within the album.  

The book will open nice and flat, all the way through.  It will hold 6" x 4" or 7" x 5" photos, in portrait or landscape orientation (two portrait to a page, or one landscape). 

This was an experiment, to see how it would work.  The covers are made by wrapping a lining sheet all the way round the cover board, then wrapping the outside cover paper vertically over the top and tucking it inside.  There is a minimum of glue required, but it gives a really nice finish.  I experimented further with this design - one of the journals in the top photo-collage is made in the same way.  

Some of the work here was done at home, but a few were projects done in the bindery at the craft centre.  This includes the three traditional hard-cover books in the top collage (photos 1, 4 & 5), plus the two albums above. 

I hope you've enjoyed my "catch-up" post.  I seem to do this from time to time - disappear for a while, then come back and try to catch up.  I suppose that's just how Life works!

I did join in with a "What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday" post this week and hope to do so again next time, so feel free to take a look at last Wednesday's post and come back next time too.

Thanks for reading! 


  1. Lovely books! Good to see you back :)

  2. My goodness, Lizzie, you have been busy! That drop spine book looks wonderfully flexible and it's nice to read you have been enjoying expanding your already considerable repertoire of skills. Good to see you back in Bloglsnd :).

  3. It looks like you have been really industrious: - Some beautiful books and interesting structures here! I am looking forward to seeing your studio with a plough in it! :-)


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