Multi-signature bindings for the win

Encasing multiple signatures between covers makes books look so very … booklike. This is how the hardcovers we read all the time are bound. Something cool about managing to do it myself. (Also: Guess it was a good thing not to give up when my first attempt at this fell apart utterly after all. Because this one’s so pretty!)

I want to say that this one looks like a real book, except from a bookbinding perspective, there are so many kinds of real books. Like a traditional western book, maybe?

Multi-signature case binding Multi-signature case binding

Multi-signature case binding Multi-signature case binding

More bookbinding

I continue to play with bookbinding, which is a not-bad way to decompress after turning in the draft of Faerie Winter, in between working on a short story and not catching up on my email. (Umm, sorry about that. If I owe you email, I’ll try to get to it soon.)

After doing a couple of hard-backed single signature case bindings (basically, a batch of folded stitched sheets of paper between hard covers), I tried to multi-signature case binding (several different batches of folded stitched sheets of paper side by side, much like in a “real” hardcover book), had it fall apart messily, went off in despair, came back and did a bunch more single-signature books to get a handle on just what I was doing, and then managed, tonight, a more successful multi-signature book which is drying even as we speak.

The new book is in no shape for pictures yet, though–so here are some pictures of some of the single signature books I worked on instead. I really like the effect of combining book cloth along the spine with paper on the rest of the book. I’m also especially fond of the dragonfly paper.

More here. Bookbinding, I’m learning, is all about a certain sort of patience which doesn’t come naturally. I think that may be what this particular new-thing-I’m-learning has to teach me. (Well, okay, it’s also about the cool tools. Did you know there was such a thing as a book drill? Me neither, but now I want one …)

Book (binding) geekery

So at Kindling Words West last year, Alison James had us all make our own bound notebooks using Japanese stab binding. I generally think of myself as a not-crafty person (the glue and glitter were the scariest part of being a scout leader for me), and so was surprised at how, well, satisfying it was to stitch a book together. Alison wisely insisted we all use our books at the retreat — because of course the temptation once one creates a pretty notebook is to want to save it for something special, and so never use it — and that was actually the thing that kind of got me hooked.

I filled/wore out the notebook I made that weekend with Bones of Faerie sequel notes, found I wanted to continue filling notebooks I made myself, and so went off, gathered some supplies, and made another one. I’m using that new notebook for my writing notes now.

I played with cardboard and tissue paper and stitching a while more, then picked up Heather Weston’s Bookcraft, which guides one through successively more complicated bookmaking projects, and learned how to stitch basic book signatures — the building blocks for most hardcover books.

And then today, I bound one of my signatures into my very first hardbound book.

There’s something very satisfying about creating a real little hardbound book.

Fun stuff. And making notes in my own books has reminded me how much blank pages have always been thinking places for me, both story-thinking and more general life-thinking. It hasn’t quite gotten me back to journaling, but it has gotten me back to working out more of my thoughts on paper.

I think I may have found my new obsession-of-the-moment. 🙂

(Pictures of more books here.)