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.