"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind". - Henry James

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Books from Scratch!

Last week was class one of a really wonderful bookbinding class I'm taking at the Sharon Arts Center in Sharon, New Hampshire called "Books from Scratch!"

We made amazing, and surprisingly beautiful, paste paper for our covers.  Our teacher, Celeste, mixed up a big batch of Elmer's Paper Mache Art Paste and colored it with globs of acrylic paint and set us to work swirling and layering and smooshing and stamping on sheets of drawing paper.  While our papers dried, we folded stacks of signatures of drawing paper for our books.  

This week we used our amazingly gorgeous paste papers to cover binder's board for the covers.  Using waxed linen thread, we learned how to stitch the signatures, end papers, and covers together.  At first I felt all thumbs and sort of hopeless.  I went off track a few times.  But, miracle of miracles, by the end of class I got it!

Celeste sent us home with more thread and instructions to keep going until all the signatures are sewn in.

Done.  (I only had to backtrack once and pull out some stitches when I realized I had missed a loop or gone through the wrong hole or something).

I was never a big fan of Coptic Stitch books.  But I have to say, these are quite lovely.  And the big appeal for me is they lay flat when open!!!  This is crucial for a sketchbook.  I'd like to make one with hot pressed watercolor paper for the signatures.  It's wonderfully smooth to draw on and you have the option of adding color if you should want.  Yay!


  1. i just learned how to do the coptic stitch about the same time you did - i would have never learned it on my own, but i had a great teacher and was totally tickled by the laying flat feature too. love the book you made!

  2. Thanks Aimee! I would never have learned it on my own either. I want to make another one quickly before I completely forget how to do it!