I had some leftover 11×17 paper from a project, so I folded it up into a number of quires, and then found some papers and cardstock for covers for them.
The result is a trio of handsome sketchbooks, including the one with fishy covers that reminded me of the emblem or personal sigil of my high school friend, the painter Fred Poisson (who does some amazing work!). The books’ covers are covered with papers from Michael’s DIY, nothing particularly spectacular; the interior of the covers are a heavy cardstock, and the body of the covers is a medium-weight pressed cardboard that provides the book with its substantiality and weight.
The use of waxed black thread provides a nice contrast with the lightness of the covers; but I must admit that it results in some stains on the pages from the process of binding the book. And, since I don’t have sewing frames (for case-binding a book, which is the traditional method of making hardcovers in the western European style), nor a guillotine cutter, the arrangement of quires and covers is sometimes a little uneven.
The binding of a book is not a particularly difficult process; I’ve documented it before in my writings on the Coptic Stitch, of which these are examples. In essence one (or in these books’ cases, two) thread is passed backwards and forwards through the quires in a long serpentine or Celtic interweave not unlike a knitted stitch. The result forms these thick black bands along the spine of the book (not visible in these photos), and eventually emerges as those lines that run perpendicular to the spine on the cover both inside and out.
I have one more of these books ready to bind, in a lovely blue marbled paper cover. All four are likely to wind up as Christmas presents this year, though I may put one or two up on my Etsy shop for sale. Are you interested in buying one?
Mostly, though, I think of the making of these journals as an intermittent project, or practice, or a way to use up materials for the larger project, which is producing my own books — The Book of Splendor, which explores my own Sun and Moon poetry; the Behenian Stars, the Decans of the Zodiac, and the Mansions of the Moon. Would you buy those, in a format that involved the author hand-binding each copy? I hope so — I’m planning to do it whether or not anyone buys them.