Sunday, June 19, 2011

Secret Belgian Binding - not a secret anymore

A few years ago, I posted on my blog a list of historical bindings that I wanted to revisit. One of the bindings on that list was the Secret Belgian Binding. The history of this binding was obscure and, other than it being somehow Belgian in origin, nobody seemed too sure about it. As it turns out, it's not even an historic binding!

Hedi Kyle and Emily Martin were both at PBI last month, and they have been the unofficial experts on this binding. So, as I'm sitting across the lunch table from these two, I made some mention of the Secret Belgian Binding. I don't remember my question, and it doesn't matter, because the two of them became excited about telling me the important news: they found the person who invented this binding! Anne Goy invented the Secret Belgian Binding - and she does indeed, live in Belgium.

In the 1980s, Anne Goy developed this binding because she really liked the look of the Japanese stab bindings, but wanted a structure that would open fully. She showed the binding structure to a few people, they showed a few people, and they showed a few people, etc. Eventually the origin of the structure was obscured but its popularity had spread across the globe.

Thank you, Anne Goy!

18 comments:

  1. can you do a tutorial? I never new this style existed.

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  2. Very interesting to know. We should be thankful to Anne for being willing to share!

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  3. Tuttie, it would be very labour intensive to do a tutorial for this binding. I think Emily is planning to produce an article and tutorial for the e-journal, The Bonefolder, in the near future. So hold on, her tutorial will be worth the wait.

    PP, I agree. Although I don't think she ever imagined that it would become so widespread and take on a life of its own the way it has.

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  4. Here's the directions. I found and saved this a long time ago. It's very clear:

    http://members.usvoicedata.com/~dearsam/bookarts/

    Sue Cole
    Fairbanks, AK

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  5. This really is exciting news. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Anonymous11:52 pm

    I really like this style of binding, how the covers will flip completely around like a magic wallet. It's one of my favorite styles.

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  7. Anonymous11:56 pm

    Akartisan: that link is where I learned to do the secret Belgian binding, and I can vouch that it works; my only caution would be to watch the kind of tape you use when sewing the covers together. The first time I used the blue masking tape because it said it wouldn't leave the stickum and would come off easily if you took it off within three days. I had it on for less than an hour and I thought I was going to tear the paper right off the covers!

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  8. robsurfreport: I found that you don't need to tape the covers together at all - just check their position as you sew and try to tighten the thread evenly.
    It's better to have a bit uneven covers than teared up ones I think :D

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  9. Your version of it looks fabulous!!!

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  10. That particular tutorial is not very accurate, however. This binding should not be done by making the cover first - so take those instructions as an "alternative style" or something. I don't think there are any online instructions for doing it the "correct" way. So I'd still recommend getting Emily's instructions when they become available.

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  11. Anonymous11:05 am

    Ta Vrana: I have considered doing it again, and instead of taping I would eyeball the gap. I haven't gotten around to that though, because I'm still experimenting with so many different binding styles. I'll give that a shot in the near future.

    Rhonda: I'm looking forward to Emily's instructions then. I feel like the tutorial at the posted link did well, but if there's a different way of doing it, I definitely want to know. I have a book called "Making Handmade Books" that has similar instructions, except instead of making signatures to sew into a textblock, each sheet is folded into quarters to form two pages with pockets, which I thought was cool but kind of awkward at the same time. And of course, there's no mention of tape or clothes clips.

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  12. So very cool! I always appreciate knowing who invented a structure. Now I can pass along a name with the binding. Thanks!

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  13. Thanks for this post, Rhonda - and thanks to your commenters for the extra info!
    I will have a look at this - I would love to be able to do this binding - I think it's quite attractive (with the benefit of it opening flat too!).

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  14. Great to see who created this biding, I've just completed a tutorial on the Belgium Binding from Margaret at Marcadeartspress on Etsy.com, here's a link to my finished books - http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=7498816&l=5d51a4f1dc&id=658891845

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  15. how funny, I just saw one of these at a small press book fair and came home instantly to learn it. And was surprised that it was less difficult, although tricky, than I expected and I love how it looks. Yours looks fab!

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  16. anne goy3:35 pm

    thank you very much for your text. I am always astonished to see the walk of my technique. I never imagined that. This binding is called now crisscross binding.

    Anne Goy

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  17. Thanks for visiting my blog, Anne. And thanks so much for sharing your crisscross binding with the world :)

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  18. Anonymous6:42 am

    Hello Rhonda!

    A fantastic tutorial, thanks for taking the time to make it. Just a quick one to let you know that I’ve added your tutorial as a resource in our latest ‘Top 10 Secret Belgian Binding Tutorials – http://www.ibookbinding.com/blog/top-10-secret-belgian-binding-tutorials/"

    Thanks again and keep up the good work!

    ~ Paul

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