Wednesday 29 July 2015

sewing single sheets

‘Bookbinding at its ultimate realisation is not a physical act of sewing or gluing, but a conceptual ordering of time and space.’ Keith Smith

I was recently commissioned to bind a book. This meant I had to think in a very different way to how I would normally go about making books.The content while being important was not mine so I had to make a book that acted as a carrier for someone else’s work. 

When I have an idea for a book usually the structure and the content are formed together. A certain size of page or binding method will seem appropriate for the idea or are often essential for the book to communicate what I intend. 

For this project though I had to make an album. The album contains 44 placemats that guests to a wedding have illustrated. The brief was to create a book that contained them but did not bind them. The sheets themselves are quite large so to make a page so I ended making large sleeves with a large window cut out that they could slide into. As a result there were no folded page to bind together as I would bind a traditional book. I was left with a stack of loose sleeves. 

To work with this and produce a book I came across a book by Keith Smith called ’Smith's Sewing Single Sheets’. I have come across these manuals for book binding before and refer to them regularly and if you have an interest in bookbinding I would highly recommend them. With this single sheet binding method I was able to bind the whole book in a nondestructive way to the paper placemats contained inside. 

As a result I am really pleased with the structure and the overall look of the book. It has got me thinking that the structure of the book has a lot to offer the content and the methodical process of binding helps you shape and understand the object that you are dealing with. I think this process of binding someone else’s work has given me more of an impulse to explore the binding structure, after all it influences your reading, handling and overall experience of the book. 


This will be the last Wednesday Post as we will be taking a break for the summer. Join us again in September when we will be continuing are posts along with more guest posts. Thank you for your continued interest in our blog.

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