Saturday, 5 December 2009

Sewing books and other tales from book binding work shop

So far on this blog I have managed to write about 2 films, as gripping as my poorly spelled film reviews are I can't help but feel that I'm selling myself short on what I've been up to so far this year.

Here is a brief account of my book binding workshop with Lucy.

Up until a couple of weeks ago I had never bound a book before, I'd folded a couple of beak books and concertina pamphlets with Sue Platt in second years 'Suep Kitchen' workshop but the mystical art of getting pages to stay between their covers had managed to elude me. Since my work for the Silence brief had turned into a book I thought it would be helpful if I learned how to make one. Merely a few hours after entering the new book binding rooms myself and ten other lucky students were busy discussing paper grains, the merits of a nice thick gsm (but not too thick) and knocking up booklets like we were pros. Here is a break down of the tips, hints and general facts I learned from the incredibly knowledgeable and very talented Lucy/Lucie. I really need to find out how she spells her name.....(EDIT: I just checked the intranet and it's Lucy, crisis averted).

head, foot and spine - the top, bottom and edge of your book/pamphlet
knocking up - tapping your pages together along the foot and the spine so that they're all in line
perfect binding - pages knocked up and glued across the spine, leaving no trace of the bind.
pamphlet/ saddle stitch - using needle and thread to literally sew a book together. By doing as directed and showing a bit of care you can sew together a small book in minutes. You can use staples, but that's a bit like a concrete flower bed (ugly and shit).
japanese stab stitch with french folds - paper is folded and arranged so that the folded edge is the turned edge and the edge usually used for turning is at the spine edge. The spine is created by circle punching 5 holes, the holes at head and foot roughly 1.5x the distance from hole to edge and the next 3 holes equidistant between them. By sewing around the spine, then connecting each hole to its neighbour and also looping the head and foot of the book a very secure, very elegant looking book can be created. I liked the cross continental theme to this book and am researching more binding techniques with names of countries in them to come up with a truly multi cultural book binding process.

We also had a look at some simple origami and a quick reiteration of the concertina fold. A really useful day, proved instrumental in the success of my (still unfinished) silence brief and just a useful skill to have.

Bit gutted my work was deemed not of the right type so I have been asked to leave the friday book binding club and now have to sew my books upstairs with all the non book binding people who laugh at my inability to figure out what grain my paper is and my blind panic at ordering 190 gsm instead of 115 gsm cartridge paper for a folding dust jacket.

As workshops go it was easily one of the most fun and useful that I have been to whilst at uni in MMU, however I think everyone who know works in book binding hates me as I keep wondering around and making a fuss during their lessons.

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