Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hand-made books during ‘Teen Crafternoon’

Handmade book, stood-up with front cover forward. Visible behind it are the spines of shelved books.

Having been exposed to the rewarding task of library book repair, I’ve long wanted to try hand-bookbinding. I got the opportunity during “Teen Crafternoon” with the Ashland library teen department.

Local artist Mary Kelly led us step-by-step through constructing a handmade book. First, we glued cardboard panels onto decorated papers that would serve as the book’s outside cover. We lined the panels up so that they were even across the top and bottom. We left a space between the two panels (the width of a popsickle stick) to serve as the book’s spine.

Next we trimmed back and folded the decorative paper along the edges of the cover panels and glued them into place. We used wallpaper to create pastedown endpapers that concealed the cardboard panels and the folded-down edges of the book’s outside cover.

The book’s pages consist of cardstock paper, which we folded in half and inserted one inside the other.

Kelly punched holes through the folded papers at their gutter. She likewise punched holes through the endpaper and outside cover at the location of the book’s spine. We then used twine, cord or ribbon to sew the pages into the book.

Many people used envelopes, found objects and images to decorate inside pages of their books, but I focused my embellishments upon my book’s outside cover. I traced the shape of a peace symbol with glue onto the book’s front cover. I affixed tissue paper, let the glue dry, then tore the paper away. It left a ragged-edge peace-symbol shape that resembled spray-painted graffiti.

I also glued lengths of fabric ribbon along the cover’s top and bottom edges. I concealed the ends of the ribbon lengths beneath the book’s end papers.

End result: A rewarding expression of a beautiful form of art. I look forward to continuing exploration into the technique of hand-bookbinding.

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