Monday, January 31, 2011

The Challenge of Creating A Good Book

Way back in college, in a split second one day, I decided I was going to learn how to make books. Really cool handmade, coptic style, hand stitched books. It was one of those spur of the moment determinations that came about during a printmaking class. We had been given the assignment of making books with our prints. I made a book, actually out of my prints. The pages were torn pieces of prints collaged together on wax paper, with more prints/transparencies of sketches I'd done/poems on top. The binding was tape, and it was very very rough looking. I liked it, but when the day came to show the class our books, everyone else pulled out these super cute, professional looking little books with their prints glued inside. Mine was NOTHING like theirs, and I saw in a moment that I had misunderstood the assignment. Theirs all looked roughly the same and mine, well, did not.
I still feel grateful to my prof for not pointing out how unprofessional mine looked, but instead praising it's originality. I didn't feel bad about my book, because of the way she handled it, but the moment did make me determined to learn the basics of bookbinding. I played around a bit on my own at home, and then, when the opportunity came, I hooked up with the Minnesota Center for Book Arts and took some classes. I learned what a coptic binding was and how it differed from a Japanese Stab binding. I learned the difference between according books and books with signatures. It was an education gleaned mostly from books, trial and error, and those couple of weekend classes. That's how I learn most everything though, so it was good. And crazily enough that first book became the inspiration for the upcycled art journal in my book. I love it when things like that happen.
A few of my handmade books

Today I pulled out some of my first books and handmade books and thought I'd share them and this story with you. Then tomorrow I have a tutorial for making a spiral bound journal from the salvage of an old torn book. It turned out pretty cool so I think you'll like it. Yay!

Have you ever had moments like that? Moments when your life took a turn and you decided you WERE going to do something? It might have been something that had never occurred to you before that instance but you were now determined to have it happen. It happens to me every once in a while in art, a couple times with trips (I was determined I was going to go to Italy some day- thx to my sweetie I did!) and once in a while in my personal life or career. How about you? I'd love to hear!


Single Stone Studios said...

So, you're now doing tutorials on book binding, right? Yes, Shell, that's a GREAT ideas ;)

It's been a long time since I've made a book. I played around with the idea a little last yr but nothing much came of it. with a tutorial though..... ;) Just sayin'

Anna said...

I've always wanted to make books but just never knew where to start! I'll be very interested to see your tutorials.