Growlygracepress's Blog

learn you a bookbinding for great good.
January 16, 2013, 12:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


I have never wavered in my belief that a little bit of bookbinding skills can bring massive dividends particularly for art students. I have always began the long workshops with asking to see sketch books I don’t want to in them I just want to point out some time forcibly that as “books” they suck big style. Every thing about them is wrong they engender fear and loathing in equal measure. Now that’s a pretty strong thing to say but I’ve been talking to students for years and it’s true. The paper is rubbish, the size makes them unwieldily, the covers don’t offer protection, the wiro binding is ugly, the books don’t open flat and the students want to have different papers inside the one book. 

If all I can achieve at a workshop is the students can make workbooks that work for them then that’s a hell of achievement. While I am at it I will also point out the thriving cult and fetish around what their “sketch books” should look like is both phoney and baloney. 

Again a little bookbinding technique and reverse engineering makes for the proverbial “beauty book”.

On my last course I took the time to prepare the materials. : “we will have a ream of SRA 2 paper, grey board, kraft paper, scrim, pva, tyvek tapes, coloured end paper, linen thread and beeswax. We will turn all this in to books.

On previous courses I would turn up with the piles of offcuts, this course I used a full ream.

On previous courses we made small hand size books on this one they made big hefty books. 

Again on previous courses I used leather off cuts on this one they were working with goat and calf skin materials I would use my self.

On one level this course is about playing and learning with tools and this is where I got my most important insight : All the tools we had at hand were blunt and they don’t know how to sharpen them. Student after student want the leather to “turn in” over the boards but a blunt Stanley knife cannot pare leather. I didn’t think they would want to pare the edges of leather but they do. Next course I will have really, really sharp blades and a first aid box.




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