Newsflash

We interrupt your regular(ish) viewing to bring you this breaking news: I like making stuff.

At the moment, I really like making books. I’m eight weeks into a ten-week course in bookbinding at City Lit, and so far I have made it to seven-and-a-half classes, which is pretty good going for me. It is not easy to spend that much time in the company of other humans who I don’t know well, and who mostly arrive straight from their young-professional jobs or internships. But making books is brilliant.

There is something very satisfying about learning to make everyday things – things which are usually only ever seen ready-made and machine-finished, so that you never really notice that they have component parts and were made out of other things.

I have made:

A coptic binding (a book with the spine exposed & cover boards sewn onto the book block)

 

Various books with folded paper covers

 

img_0586-1 A Japanese binding (left) and a long-stitch binding from the fabric of a skirt (right)

 

Most of a case binding (a proper hardback book) – pictured are the endpapers, the inside cover pages which are glued to both the cover boards and the book block. The cover is going to be plain, either deep red or turquoise, because I love books which look plain on the outside but then have patterned or colourful endpapers – it’s like they’re hiding themselves away just for the people who can be bothered to get past their first impressions. The text is from two poems by John Glenday, Undark and For Lucie.

Aaand a flag book. This is my favourite. This book has a concertina-fold spine and pages which can be turned the regular way, but then it opens up to create the effect in the bottom right-hand picture. I think this could be a really good way to show how texts are influenced by other texts, or to present translations; it’s possible to make a book where the text on the paper tabs shows only one text at a time when you turn the pages normally, but then shows two or more texts interlocked with each other when you open it out. I have a poem I wrote many years ago which is based on a passage from Wuthering Heights which I’m going to use to try this out.

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