exposed sewing · Sewn books

Buttonhole Stitch Book


Buttonhole Stitch for bookbinding
Buttonhole Stitch for bookbinding

It takes me too long to write posts. I am going to try to write lots of short posts this month, not just as an exercise, but also as an excuse to photograph and write about all these books I’ve made but have never shown. The thing is, every book I’ve made has it’s own story, sometimes several stories, and I have this idea that I will pull out these books and tell a little about them.

Buttonhole Stitch Book
Buttonhole Stitch Book  directions on page 136

I made this colorful little book years years years ago….saw directions for it in Keith’s Smith’s first book: It was the only one of his that I had at the time. I decorated the paper using a technique that an artistic high school girl had showed me after she learned it in school. It’s done with crinkled paper, crayons and acrylic paint.  I really worked at figuring out the best papers, colors, and paints to use for the decoration. The next time this young lady came over (she babysat my little boy) she was irritated that I had made papers which she thought were more beautiful than hers, and said that she was sorry she had showed me the technique. I tried to let her know that she could take from me the way that I had developed what I learned from her, and that way we both benefit. I don’t know if I got through.

Wrapped Boards
Wrapped Boards

When I had studied with Hedi Kyle at The Center for Book Arts, when it was still at its Bowery address, I had been thrilled with the way that Hedi demonstrated of wrapping, rather than gluing boards. I worked out a way of using just one piece of paper for the whole book, folding and wrapping from end to end.

a letter from Paulus Berensohn
a letter from Paulus Berensohn

I sent one of the buttonhole books I made to Paulus Berensohn. A friend of mine had recently taken a his coptic binding class. This was over twenty years ago. I had Berensohn’s clay book, and loved the way he expressed himself in his book. I also really liked the binding that he showed my friend, so I made him a book, my way of saying thank you for his inspiring work, and he sent me a lovely letter back. I stored this letter in his Finding One’s Way with Clay book, then lent this book to a friend. Just about two weeks ago, twenty-some years later, my friend Gina returned the book to me. I was happy to get it back.

2 thoughts on “Buttonhole Stitch Book

  1. I love the Berensohn book. I lost my original copy many moves ago and just found one in a thrift shop. I took a found object workshop yesterday and met someone who also follows your blog. Your blog brightens my day and your friendship brightens my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At a workshop I took in NYC a couple of years ago, someone turned to me and said, oh, I was reading your blog last night. It was very sweet….The Benensohn book I have I bought in a little store off of George St in New Brunswick NJ when I was at Rutgers. Didn’t know anything about Berensohn at the time, but I was just swept away by the book, and spent a whole $20 on it, a small fortune for me at the time (some things never change….). Too Bad the dust jacket is in such bad shape…it’s a first edition of this book, and ones in excellent condition are pricey. But I really used that book. Poured over it. Still love it.


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