I hope all of you are doing well and staying safe in the midst of all that is going on in the world right now. I have to admit that I’ve been distracted as of late. Unfortunately a few people in my husband’s immediate family have been hospitalized with the virus and are currently being treated and doing what they can to get well. Luckily their situation isn’t as bad as it could be but it’s apparent it may be a week or so before they are back to good health. As for myself, I’m doing well and staying in my home. As someone who doesn’t have children and works from home, I already live a lifestyle that doesn’t involve a great deal of social interacting so I can’t say that current events has caused a drastic change in my everyday life but I feel for those for whom it has. I pray for those who have been lost and that for those of us who are still here, that we all are able to make it through these trying times safely.
In the meantime, I’ve managed to work a little more on my bookbinding skills. I had this old 11×14 Robert Bateman Cover Series sketchbook full of blank paper, that’s been just sitting around since…wait for it, 1995. Yeah, 1995. That’s a long time to have a empty sketchbook. I have a tendency to hold on to stuff beyond forever. I still have and use my high school art box, which is really just a cute toolbox for art supplies. Anyhoo, I decided to take my Bateman sketchbook and turn it into a 5×7 sketchbook with my own cover art. Cutting the paper was a pain. No matter whether I was using my cutting board or a ruler and an exacto knife, my paper kept coming out at slightly different sizes. I ended up spending a great deal of time trimming up edges. And then there was the gluing for making a perfect bind. First off I don’t have a book press so I made a makeshift one from two old linocut carvings and a C-clamp I stole from my hubby’s pile of tools. This did a fairly decent job but I realized that I really need to get a book press or at least make one if I plan on making more books using this method. This was my second go at using the perfect bind method and this time was a little trickier since I was using thicker paper at a larger size. After five coats of glue a few of the sheets of paper didn’t bind together too well but that was remedied once I put the cover on. But then I learned 110lb card stock seems to work best for smaller sized books that require less glue. The spine of my 5×7 sketchbook has some minor warping where the glue was placed. Maybe I put too much glue on or next time I should use a heavier material for the cover. In all it turned out pretty decent for my second try at perfect binding. I now have a much more manageable sketchbook that I’m eager to fill with drawings. What started off with me wanting to just put a few quick drawings in my new handmade sketchbook has now turned into a cute little project of me doing a mini series of Nature’s little creatures that hatch from eggs. I really don’t know how this project came to mind, it pretty much just manifested on its own, like most of my projects do. But if you look at that adorable thing in the drawing above, you’ll see my first creature and there will be more to come.
It all started with staple saddle stitching in order to make some illustrated pocket journals as another way of sharing my drawings and now here I am, diving deeper into the art of book binding.
Over the weekend I got myself a basic book binding kit. Since I started making my journals I’ve developed a growing interest in book binding and this interest has surprisingly come just when I thought there was nothing else in arts and crafts that could capture my interest. So I’m a bit excited to have a new interest. I find the whole idea of book making fascinating. I’ve always loved books but not necessarily for the stories they told but for the artistry that goes into them. I’m a sucker for a decorative gold leaf classic or a well illustrated cover. And yes, I’m one of those people who literally judges a book by its cover…as well as its paper quality, font and feel. In the past I’ve bought books simply because I found the cover and construction to be appealing yet never actually read the story. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good story, if it’s short but my love of books has always rested on the craftsmanship rather than the storytelling. So, it’s not surprising that book binding has sparked an me.
Lately I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos on book binding and decided I’ll try my hand at what’s called the “perfect binding” method. Right now the only binding method I know is saddle stitching with staples, which is a quick and simple method to use if you’re putting together a brochure, comic or booklet of less than 40 pages (that’s counting the front and back). Perfect binding is good for making books and journals of more than 40 pages, especially if those pages are single sheets of paper. While saddle stitching uses staples (or thread, another method I haven’t tried yet) to hold your pages together, perfect binding uses glue but not just any kind of glue, rather a PH neutral PVA glue specifically for bookbinding. I had to order this separately from my book binding kit but neither the glue or the kit cost much. It’s a basic kit that I got all together for $22 on Amazon.
Prior to any gluing, I prepared a soft cover made from heavy weight card stock then cut and cornered 48 4.25×5.5 single sheets of 20lb paper for my pages. I don’t have a book press and since my journals are pocket size and no more than a quarter inch thick, I can probably get away with not having one, so I use four binder clips to hold the sheets of paper together while I added three coats of glue to one edge. Once the pages were dry, I added glue to the spine area on the inside of the cover and then adhered the pages to the spine. Once dry, voila, I had me a perfect bind 96 page pocket journal…all that’s missing is a nice drawing on the cover.
For some time now I’ve had this bag of beads just sitting on my shelf collecting dust and taking up space. I can’t recall how I obtained this bag of beads, all I know is that it was there and so, I figured I should probably do something with them. Departing from my usual activities to unwind, (listening to music or watching Netflix), I took the bag of beads off the shelf, sat in the middle of my floor and spent the next five hours beading. I had nothing particular in mind but with a few internet searches and some color coordination, I pulled together a few designs that were to my liking. It was nice to just sit and create something without being concerned about profit or productivity. Oddly enough, my husband popped his head into my room, saw what I was making, thought they were cool and reflexively asked, “Are you selling those?” (He asks this whenever I make something.) “No. That hadn’t crossed my mind.” I replied. “You should.” he responded before disappearing back into the hall while closing the door behind him. I thought about for a minute, maybe I should but after finishing the six pieces I created, I realized that deep down I just wanted to create something for myself for a change, something that I had no intentions on selling. Creativity doesn’t always have to offered to the gods of profit.
Well here’s the result of card making bug that bit me this weekend. I suspect that this itch won’t be going away soon. Actually I got into card making about two years ago when I simply got fed up with going to the store and having to search through a plethora of cards just to find one that resonated with me for the special people in my life. So with a little creativity I started making my own just for friends and family. But now, here I am making my first set. It’s a simple “Thinking Of You” note card created from an original sketch I did a while back. I made this from a heavy cardstock base and added a little message inside. It’s something simple and sweet and great for those thoughtful moments without a lot of fuss. I’ve been coming up with more ideas for future sets but I have to admit, as simple as they look there’s a lot involved in making cards. My brain feels like it’s been stretched a mile but now I feel a bit more crafty and having some fun learning along the way. 😊