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July 30, 2019

Making Paste Paper for Bookbinding is ADDICTIVE!

I love making "paste paper" and spent 1 1/2 days last week making some with a friend for an upcoming bookbinding project.  Next week we are going to make portfolios, and decided that was a good reason for me to teach her what I learned about paste paper at Center for Book Arts here in NYC..

We used corn starch paste, acrylic paints, and Strathmore series 400 drawing paper per Lynn Gall in my workshop at CBA.

These are a few samples made last Tuesday.  The polka dots sheets were created using a 10 x 10 Lego Base Sheet as a stamp to create the design. 


These 3 books which I photographed on top of the above papers are examples of how I use these papers in making books.  From left to right: decorative papers for the covers of a Coptic book, an accordion book, and a wrap around cover for a small book with "perfect" (glued) spine.  I also use them as end papers in some of my watercolor sketchbooks.


bookbinding.  IMG_20190726_071607357SIZE.jpg 


July 9, 2019

My New Paris Watercolor Sketchbook

We are going to Paris this Fall, and I always recycle a theme-appropriate book as a watercolor sketchbook for our trips.  Five years ago it was a book of old Paris black and white photographs by Atget.  This time I found a wonderful, used photography book called Paris in Color.  I remove folios from the original book, mix them with folios of 140lb watercolor paper, and case-in the signatures to the original cover. 

The original cover of the sketchbook, shown below, has a photomontage of the photos from the book.



I used two of the original book folios for the front and back end papers.  This is a photo of the front end papers in the completed book.  We previously stayed in an apartment near the Conciergerie and Place Dauphine, so I loved that inner cover photo.



During a previous visit to Paris we saw a magnificent Givenchy exhibit with all of the actual clothes that Audrey Hepburn wore for her movies.  This folio of Audrey and a painted blue door makes me remember a wonderful day from a previous trip.



Another folio - with a characteristic menu from  a Parisian neighborhood restaurant.



The photographer, Nicole Robertson, wrote that she walked around Paris and followed a color theme based on one of the first things she saw that day.  The photographs in the book are arranged in color sequences, and portray common items of iconic Paris.  

My book has 5 signatures, each with 2 folios of 140 lb Fabriano Artistico Watercolor paper.  Six folios of Nicole Robertson's Paris photographs are divided among the signatures.

There is a text and photograph tutorial for my Recycled Watercolor Sketchbooks at this link:


May 16, 2019

Single Signature Pamphlet Book in Boards

I love this book structure, and my student and I each made one this month.  You are limited by the number of folios you can put in a single signature.  Hers had 10 folios of a drawing paper.  Mine had 4 folios of a Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper.  Instead of tipping on end papers to the front and back of the page block, you fold both of them around the spine of the signature, along with a piece of bookcloth (2-4" wide piece of bookcloth as hinge) and stitch them all together in a 5 hole pamphlet stitch.  There are a few other small changes, but it is easy to learn and great for a small project of gifts.  I made my "bookcloth" with a piece of fabric I hand dyed and fused to a piece of Kozo paper. 



Full Cover: demonstrating the gap between the front and back boards which allows the book to open flat.



April 19, 2019

Bookbinding 101 - Long Stitch Leather Books

I am sharing my knowledge of bookbinding with a friend, and this month we each made 3 leather long stitch books.  I only made two previously, in 2013, and we had to work out many of the details re: making a jig and then punching the leather.  I bought 8 pieces of shoe leather scraps for about $1 each and only had used 2.  We split the other 6 and each made 3 books.  The maximal size possible was 7" high.

I used Mohawk 24lb extra-white paper that I purchased on sale at Talas - 100  sheets for $5 - and was delighted that the only pen out of a combination of ballpoints and drawing pens that bled through the paper was a Sharpie.    They were 8 X 10" and grain short.

These are my 3 books:


These are the spines - photographed while wedged between 2 bricks wrapped in plastic as bookbinding weights.



March 22, 2019

Making a Coptic Watercolor Sketchbook

My major reason for making books is to have a watercolor sketchbook that meets my needs, and isn't expensive to make.  I make cased in books with dyed fabric covers for my standard watercolor sketchbooks, but this month my bookbinding student and I made Coptic books.  They also open flat.

I made this book with a single sheet of Fabriano Artistico 140 lb soft press paper (3 signatures with 2 folios for a total of 24 pages) and a paste paper cover.  It is approx. 7.5 inches square and watercolor can be used on the front and back of each page. The paste paper was made with a corn starch recipe and inexpensive acrylic paint.  The end paper is a piece of decorative paper in a similar color.  The stitching was done with 3 ply linen thread.  

Coptic Book


I chose this stitching method because there are two loops of thread through each cover hole, and the last signature and the front cover are sewn on separately.




End Paper



We used a large awl to make the holes and it was hard to punch through the cover binder boards.  I'd love to know how easy it is to punch holes into Lineco 0.067 binders board with a Japanese screw punch - and what size punch is best.  This is only my 4th Coptic book in 5 years, so I haven't invested in one.