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.

V-Pockets Book Cover

January 27, 2012

V-pockets Book Cover

Click on drawings to enlarge or print

        Last Sunday morning  I was trying out different ways of folding 11″ x 17″ paper to make a folded book cover.  When the structure that I’ve drawn out in the document above appeared in my hands I was so excited that I kept making one right after the other, and, thus began my Off To South Africa day of bookmaking.

When I wrote the post about sending off the V-Pockets books that I had made I wondered if anyone would notice and ask about the folding method. I wondered if anyone would ask how to make it, and how long it would take for that inquiry, if ever, to come.

After posting it took me three hours to get back to the computer to look over the post. Bronwyn, who is literally half the world away from me, had already noticed and asked. I was so pleased that I immediately got to work on some sketches and sent them out to her. Here’s an excerpt of her response, which might be helpful to people who work with A3 rather than 11″ x 17″:

“….those instructions – they work perfectly!! I…. got an A3 piece of paper (which is 29.7cm x 42cm) …. and cut it to 22cm x 34 cm – not the same size as yours, but the same proportional dimensions.  I’ve ended up with an 11cm square, so you probably end up with an 5 1/2 inch square.”

So, there you have it, the metric measurements! Roughly, a proportion to keep in mind is that the starting paper proportions should be 1:1.5,  so if your paper is 10 units wide, is should be about 15 units long.

Thank yous to Bronwyn and to the others who asked for instructions on this structure. I hope you enjoy making books (or folders) with these directions.

%d bloggers like this: