My first five days of art class were at the San Francisco Center for the Book two weeks ago. I took the intensive workshop to get a certificate in bookbinding. The best part of this class is that it allows me to use their bindery and all of the amazing machines/tools inside.
Over the course of approx. 45 hours in the bindery, I learned how to make 4 different styles of books – coptic binding, flat-back case binding, limp paper binding, and classic rounded back cloth binding.
The first thing I learned is that making books by hand is difficult, it’s tedious, even when you have a very patient, brilliant instructor (thanks Juliayn!) and it’s really easy to make mistakes that make your book look umm… less than awesome.
Also, I learned that making your own book headband is REALLY, REALLY HARD (even if you already love sewing like I do). Seriously, for the love of god, save yourself some time and just buy the pre-made headbands. No one will notice.
We also created our own “paste paper” which is what bookbinders call the paper on the outside and inside of the cover. We used acrylic paint with a sticky methyl cellulose base and swirled the paint+base around on the paper. It had a very kindergarten arts & crafts vibe and since I’ve found a lot of stunning paste paper online that blows mine away. Here’s great directions on how to make your own paste paper, if you’re curious.
Here’s some photos of my finished books!