Posts tagged Book Making
Taking a break

What better way to spend Bank Holiday weekend then with my friend Ruth Brown. We try to meet up two or three times a year in one of our studios for some dedicated 'play' time. This time I visited Ruth in her studio on Sunk Island and took over all my book making stuff.  In between lots of catching up, coffee and cake (and some experimental work with breakdown printing that I will share later) I finished a book that I had started during our family holiday in June. It is just smaller than A5 and I used a waxed, coloured linen thread and coptic stitch to join the book covers to the signatures (paper). Really happy with how neat the stitching looks! 30 August 2016 1

I also took over some mulberry paper to see how it performed when making bookcloth. My previous pieces have all used Kozu paper which is a little pricey. The mulberry paper (from Colourcraft) worked beautifully. I have covered 3 boards ready to make a sort of 'double' book in which one of the boards is a common back board. This is a seriously addictive hobby!


Coptic stitch and a new favourite tool

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 sun is shining and I'm making books!

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


Time out

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


Bookcloth part 2

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

Making bookcloth part 1

Last night I made my first piece of bookcloth. I used a piece of my hand dyed cotton poplin with a sheet of Kozuke (44grams) from Shephards. I followed the excellent instructions given by Sarah Bryant on her blog Big Jump Press. Sarah tells you how to make your own starch paste - I cheated and brought some ready made from Ratchfords. I diluted the paste about 50/50 with cold water. Diluted starch paste

I found the process really easy but had to use a stippling brush across the whole surface to get good adhesion between the paper and the cloth - maybe a combination of not getting the fabric wet enough and the starch paste being a little too thick?? Or because of the weight of paper?

Fabric on paper ready to leave overnight to dry

It dried nicely overnight but feels stiffer than I thought it would. So this morning I am going to make another piece. I'm going to spray more water on the fabric and leave it for 10-15 minutes before adding the paper. I'm going to dilute the paste just a little bit more. I'm also going to use a different, slightly lighter weight paper. And yes the scientist that I am in my day job is screaming about the dangers of changing too many variables at once! But, what the heck, it is my weekend off.

My first piece of bookcloth

Taking the weekend off

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!


On a retreat - good company and great news!

Last week I spent 5 lovely days with 10 other members of the Contemporary Quilt group on a retreat at Rydal Hall in the Lake District. I took my ipad with the expectation that I would be able to blog whilst there. That didn't work out as the wireless network was too, too slow for Wordpress. I did, with some patience (and a little bit of swearing), manage to read my email and got the most wonderful news. My Ruins 4 quilt has been selected for Quilt Visions 2016! I floated on a cloud of smugness for the rest of the week!! Which must have been rather irritating for my fellow retreat members. Sorry about that. One of the great things about the retreat is the amount of sharing we do. We share ideas, we share materials and we find solutions to problems together. All done with lots of coffee, cake and the odd glass of wine. Everybody is encouraged to bring a book or books that they have found inspirational in the previous 12 months. There was a wonderful variety but I fell in love with this one. I think the level of neatness and precision appeals to my 'tidy' gene and it definitely got me thinking about how some of my breakdown prints would look as book covers. I am not somebody who uses sketchbooks or notebooks routinely as part of my design process but I do love the idea of owning them. Maybe making my own would encourage me to use them?