Sunday, October 13, 2019

Reinventing the Slot and Tab binding

Back in July, I went to the Morgan Conservatory in Cleveland, Ohio to teach a workshop. The workshop was called "Reinventing the Slot and Tab Binding." I first encountered a slot and tab binding, many years ago, when I got Alisa Golden's book, Creating Handmade Books. I really liked how it came together. The idea is simple enough and once you get the hang of it, making a book with this technique is quite easy and great for folks who don't want to do a lot of sewing. It looks like it has signatures (sort of) and it opens up nice and flat.

However, I was never quite satisfied with the cover options and I didn't like how the spine tended to 'creep' as the textblock gets thicker. And since it was a fully exposed spine, this 'creeping' was, well, fully exposed. If you've ever made one of these, you probably know what I'm talking about.

So I decided to seriously look at the binding to see if I could make it more satisfying to me. In the end, I came up with a number of variations. I was most interested in finding new cover options. And because of the spine 'creep,' I also wondered if a little spine backing might give it a more traditional shape. I don't really care for exposed spines anyway, so it didn't bother me to cover it up.

So, in July I took all this to Cleveland and taught a keen group of students how to make some of these variations. We did a simple wrapped cover version that looks like a basic pamphlet. We did a thicker one, with the exposed spine, with soft paper covers. Then we did two hardcover versions, one with a flat spine and one with a forced round. Then we made a simple slipcase for our set of books. It was a lot to do in just a 2-day workshop, but most of the students got everything done.

It was a lovely weekend. The students were really enthusiastic and my time at the Morgan Conservatory was great fun, as usual! Here are some photos taken during the workshop.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Fore-edge Marbling

I think fore-edge decoration is a wonderful thing. There are some rather amazing and beautiful examples to be found throughout the history of bookbinding.

My own experiments with fore-edge decoration have mostly involved marbling. I decided to pull together photos of some of the books I've done so that they are all in one place. As you can see, I like things to be matchy-matchy. Every time I marble a textblock, I always make a matching paper so that I can use it on the cover of the book.

Fore-edge decoration is not limited to marbling, though. There are many techniques including painting, speckling, gilding, etc.

There are some really interesting examples of edge decoration on the Princeton University library website, using many different techniques. There is also a good article on Wikipedia about fore-edge painting.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Happy New Year

To kick off the new year, I have two weekend workshops coming soon at the Nova Scotia Centre for Craft.

First is Feb 9-10, when you can learn about the Early Coptic books, also known as the Nag Hammadi books. Second, is March 9-10, where you can spend the weekend immersed in the intricacies and elegance of Japanese bookbinding.

Visit the Nova Scotia Centre for Craft website for registration and for more information about these workshops and all the other workshops they are offering this winter.