Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bookbinding workshop in Kentville

Yesterday, Gaspereau Press held their 12th annual Wayzgoose in Kentville, Nova Scotia. As part of the event, they were offering a bookbinding workshop with Ruth Legge, a local conservator and bookbinder who I'd heard of but never met. I was looking forward to meeting her and taking part in the class. So I left home early and drove to Kentville for a 9am start.

It was a 10-person workshop, just the right size. Ruth provided a kit for each person, with pre-cut materials. This is a great time-saver, of course, when someone else does all that fiddly work in advance! We each made a blank book, with a basic case binding structure. Mine has six signatures sewn with a French link stitch and kettle stitch, sewn without supports. And, although I've done a tonne of case bindings over the years, I still learned many things from Ruth.

My finished book

First of all, I don't think I'd ever made a case binding with a paper spine before. She also showed me a new way of turning in corners, very simple and effective. The way she planned the placement of the cover boards and spine liner onto the spine covering, also different and very effective. She quickly mentioned her method of making wheat paste - which included an extra step that I'm going to try next time. I also learned about a Quebec paper marbler, Lucie Lapierre, whose marbled papers we were using on our books. There were a number of other little tidbits that I picked up as well; all great information. It was perfect way to spend the morning!

Everyone's books in the press


Lizzie said...

Funny, isn't it, how although we know things, there is always more to be learned from others?
Love that marbled paper - gorgeous! The book looks nice.
Definitely a lovely way to spend a morning!

Penwiper said...

Okay, now I want to know about that secret folding corner technique. I always have trouble with the corners; if there's anything that could be unprofessional about my books, that's generally the spot where I look. (Or the sewing.) I just made about 10 covers for coptic bound books for a printmaking class and something was wrong with each one of the corners! That's just not right! I must be missing something.

I'm hoping the paste papers I made last class will end up helping cover up the messy bits, but argh.

I am so jealous you live in an area where you can take bookbinding classes and I wish my college had a studio class for it. My print professor is talking about offering a class on sculptural books next fall, though, even if it's not quite the same thing it's close!

Anonymous said...

Your books are absolutely gorgeous. Do you have a preferred supplier for leather? Thanks for sharing.

MyHandboundBooks said...


Lizzie, I agree, always more to learn :)

Penwiper, maybe I'll do a little blog tutorial on corners someday when I have time! I hope you are able to find a bookbinding workshop someday. They are scarce here too, actually. To get classes that cover new and more advanced things, I've travelled to the USA. There isn't a lot here for me.

Unknown - I don't have any particular favorite leather supplier - but there's quite a lot available on Ebay, a good place to start if you don't want to pay the high price of expensive bookbinding leather.