Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Limp bindings from Tallinn

I recently received Limp bindings from Tallinn by Monica Langwe Berg. Oh my goodness, what a wonderful book. She has examined a set of limp leather bindings at the Tallinn City Archives in Estonia and in this book she reveals them to us with photos, diagrams, and terrific descriptions. In addition, she juxtaposes a series of contemporary interpretive bindings by professional bookbinders from Sweden and Estonia. The book itself is lovely too, with medieval style illustrations, offset print, gorgeous paper... and I just found out that there was a limited edition of 100 bound using a limp leather structure - how perfect!

Check out the last issue of The Bonefolder to read her teaser article about this book.

Monica Langwe's website:

Friday, November 14, 2008

More headbands

After I saw PiedCrow's tutorial for sewing headbands, I decided I could not delay any longer. I learned to sew headbands way back, like 5 years ago. At that time I did a few, but stopped and eventually decided I would never remember how to make them. Iris's instructions were great - it all came back to me. Just like riding a bike. So thanks for doing that Iris! These are all full leather bindings. With two of them I decided to make the covers a bit more three dimensional by adding raised letters and a crane.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Virtual Trunk Show - Trans Canada Etsy Team

Everyone is invited to the TCET first Virtual Trunk Show! This is part of the "Around the World" Trunk Show that is being hosted by Etsy. Teams from different regions around the globe will be participating. Thursday, Nov 13th, at 10:00pm Eastern in the Etsy Virtual Lab. These team members will be presenting their work:
  • MyHandboundBooks
  • Enthral
  • RikRak
  • DesignbyRJ
  • PaisleyBaby
  • PinkfireDesigns
  • iHeartThatDance
  • StringmeAlong
  • Intuibead
  • TanisAlexis

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blog A Day Giveaway

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am participating in the Blog A Day Giveway extravaganza over at the Sweet Figments blog. There are 30 prizes to be won from 30 different Etsy sellers. All you have to do, is pick one of the Etsy sellers represented and post about them on your own blog, or your MySpace page, or anywhere else that you can link to. Then go back to the Sweet Figments blog and put your link in the comments there. Easy! And it is called "Blog a Day" because you can write up a new blog post every day and enter your name every day for multiple chances to win!! Definitely check out all the cool stuff and get your name in, you might even get a leather journal from MyHandboundBooks!


I'd like to feature one of the other Etsy sellers right now! If you like unique and beautiful jewelry, check out MuseACDonline on Etsy, a design house with a mission. Their shop profile states that "we create fabulous ornaments and clothing that make a person feel good to wear them. We want our piece to be your favorite piece. There are many other clothiers out there. There are also a lot of jewelers, but we want to be your MUSE... we want you to wear one of our accessories, or items of clothing and feel inspired."
Shown here are a pair of earrings by MuseACD.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Newest issue of The Bonefolder

The Fall issue of The Bonefolder was published last week. I was looking forward to this particular issue because of the Bind-O-Rama component. The past four years, they have hosted this online exhibit, with a different theme each time:

2004 Springback
2005 Millimeter binding
2006 Flag book
2007 GBW Anniversary Catalog

For the 2008 Bind-O-Rama, submissions were accepted for books made using any of the binding styles previously featured in The Bonefolder. So quite a mixture, including: the springback binding, drum leaf binding, the tunnel book, the millimeter binding, the flag book, the limp vellum binding, a twined binding, and some others. You can download the PDF to see all the books, including a springback binding that I made.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Giving, in different ways

Check out the covers on these books. The pictures are from a calendar full of Japanese scenery, and so pretty! The pictures were sent to me by Jay, of Loopy4Ewe, an Etsy friend. Are those "stepping stumps" on the first one?! Jay saved the pictures for me, thinking that I could put them to good use so here they are! Two of them, anyway, I still have more to work with. Thanks Jay! Jay is participating in the Weekend to End Breast Cancer event, so I am giving this book with the red umbrella and cherry blossoms, to her fund raising efforts. I have the book for sale in my Etsy shop and will make a donation when it sells. Changing the subject a little bit, I am giving away this leather journal as part of the Sweet Figments Blog-a-Day holiday fun! There are 30 items being given away, and it is easy to get your name in the draw.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

More about Coptic Sewings

I had a few people ask me about the Coptic endbands after my previous post. I answered a couple of emails, responded to an inquiry through Flickr and just now also in the comments here on my blog. So, I'm going to post about it again and maybe answer questions for a few other people too.

I have seen instructions for sewing Coptic endbands in just one book, "Making & Keeping Creative Journals" by Tourtillott. I found the instructions difficult to follow, and I'm not sure that I actually ended up doing it quite the way it was described, but I had some success with it. There may be a better resource - if anyone has a suggestion - please share. Edit: "Headbands: How to Work Them" by Jane Greenfield is apparently a better resource! thanks for sharing that, Marloes.

One of the other questions was, would these endbands help stabilize the book's spine and prevent it from skewing diagonally. The short answer is, Yes. And if this kind of skewing is a problem for you, keep in mind that this kind of chain stitch binding is not well suited to big or thick books. So if you are making a really big and thick book with many signatures, an unsupported and exposed chain stitch is not a good choice. On the other hand, when used on a smaller slim book, the unsupported, exposed, chain stitch could be perfect!

This question also led me to my bookshelf, to refer to Szirmai's descriptions of the early and late Coptic bindings because I seemed to recall that these bindings were not really meant to have exposed spines. In his description of the early multi-quire Coptic bindings (pre 7th Century), Szirmai describes one example which had leather strips pasted across the spine, then a larger piece of leather pasted over the whole spine surface, obviously completely covering the chain stitching. And in the later Coptic bindings, Szirmai writes that the chain stitch bindings of that period had cloth pasted to the spine for stability. Usually a coarse blue cloth, pasted directly onto the spine and extended on both sides and pasted to the outside of the cover boards.

Here is a beautiful example of a leather-covered spine, from Kaija, Paperiaarre. Thanks for finding that perfect example for me, Astrid!

To some, it may seem crazy to cover up the beauty of a well-formed chain stitch, but if a book is meant to be durable and reliable, then having a binding that is functional and effective should be more important than having an exposed spine. As always, I keep ranting about structures. So now I'm wondering, what's my point? We just need to keep this stuff in mind when designing books. All the different elements have to work together. And if a binding needs support, then support it.