Little Black Book

May 17, 2015

Bookmaking in the Afternoon

Bookmaking in the Afternoon

Sometimes I make a book for no other reason than it’s something I like to do. I like folding papers and sewing them together. I like working out the details: the  color and weight thread to use, which folds to make, what papers to use, what sewing pattern to follow.

3 signature book in progriss

Papers folded, sewing stations pierced

I have quite a number of heavy weight black paper strips  left over from last week’s school residency. This paper has a linen-like finish, it feels good in my hand, and it is rich and beautiful. I wondered what kind of small book I could make. The strips are 4 inches tall and 26 inches wide (about 11 cm x 68 cm). I folded a number of accordion pleats from the center out,  left enough unfolded to so I could fold in a cover.

I have stacks of interesting papers which I like to mix up when I’m making a book. I used white, beige flecked, gray, graphing, and soft white papers, cut to 4″ x 6″.

3 signature book before sewing

Getting ready to sew

At each stage of construction this book looked good to me. This is a reliable sign that the finished product will have some charm.

3 signature book shwoing thread insideAfter this book was sewn together it wanted to pop open all the time. Here’s something I’ve never seen anyone write about: often books don’t seem to want to stay shut when they’ve first been made. A book like this should be placed on bookshelf, fully closed and between other books, and a week later that same book that was popping open now remains shut. It’s like the papers have to get used to the idea of having been transformed into a book.

3 signature book pocketThe cover of this book is two thickness of paper, created by folding over the ends. I wanted the fold to stay shut, but didn’t feel like gluing it down, so I sewed it down, and the folded over paper became a pocket. .

3 signature book other pocketThere’s a pocket on the other end of book, too. I sewed one of the accordion flaps on to the cover to make a narrowe pocket.

4  3 signature books

Over the last few days I’ve made 5 or 6 of these books, trying to work out what looks best to me. The book on the left is where I started. First thing to change was the sewing. It just didn’t look good to me. I had seen as description of this linked binding and wanted to try it out, so that’s what I did. I like this change in sewing (though it used far more thread: 45″ of 4 ply waxed linen) , but it seemed to me that the signatures were too thick, so the next book the signatures were made from 5 papers rather than eight (5 papers = 10 leaves = 20 pages, and since there are three signatures, that makes this book 60 pages long). All good. But then I wanted to see if liked a more colorful spine, so I tried out purple. I’m not sure whether I like the black or the purple better, so now I’m stuck, and will stop here for now. Which is good thing because I need to get ready for teaching tomorrow.

6 Responses to “Little Black Book”

  1. Candy Says:

    It looks great, Paula. I love seeing how you changed it as you went along.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. annieambo Says:

    Hi Paula, they all look good from my perspective, although I wonder if a finer waxed linen or perhaps some stranded cotton may enhance the spine. Must find some black paper in my stash.
    I taught A4, stab bound albums with my small, monthly, Sunday afternoon group. They have done their covers and we’ll play with the decorative bindings next month. Cheers from “down-under”.

    Like


    • I know what you mean about a finer thread. It’s actually what I started out with (though it’s not pictured.) What I didn’t like about them (and I tried stranded cotton as well as a finer linen) was that ,in this case, with the white paper under the black paper, too much of the white showed through around the thread at the sewing stations. A thicker thread seemed to hide more of the white, which, of course, I would probably be the only one to notice.
      I would love to see what your group is doing with the stab bindings! Send photos, esp of the simple ones. I love seeing the solutions (of paper choice, book size, sewing station placement) that different people work with!

      Like

  3. dariawilber Says:

    Paula, I really like the little black books!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ivasallay Says:

    I like both the purple and the black spines.

    Like


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