It only took me two years but I made some more books! OK so I did make loads more in that time but they were put on my website which I now can’t afford and I failed to migrate the posts here before my hosting was up so, fresh start?
I’ve not tried any coptic or exposed bindings before but these were college projects so a lot of things were new. We have this great tutor, her name is Alison Mercer and she is a fantastic artist, not to mention a very encouraging teacher, so I’m always finding new ways to be creative in her classes. Learning how to bind is not too hard for me but learning how to be creative and how to use my work is actually really tough. I’m not a natural artist so doing the college course has helped, not only by showing me new techniques but also by giving me the bravery to adjust them and just run and play with ideas until I get something I really like.
This is my first Coptic binding and it wasn’t as daunting as I originally thought it would be. OK, I made some big mistakes but it’s all part of the process and I know what to look out for next time.
When I started to make this in class I was not prepared at all, I didn’t have any papers with me and I had to make the covers at the same time as I arranged the signatures so I grabbed some sheets of paper from my sketch book, which I’d been doodling with a Sharpie and had painted with watercolours, and I used them with some bright rainbow paper.
The result is actually really nice and I never would have used my own doodles to cover a book before but I actually really love having them on the front of my journal!
Now for the problems with this one: Originally I started stitching with some Perle cotton and though I loved the colour (bright orange!) it was a total bitch to work with. It kept knotting and slipping so I had to find an alternative, I could have used my linen thread but I only have white and no dye so that was out of the question so I tried to use a corded cotton instead. Whilst this was way easier to work with it does have drawbacks, like being quite thick so it’s tricky to push through the signatures when the thread is fed back into the holes and it makes large gaps between the signatures when opened flat so it’s great for filling the pages but not so good when you realise the added bulk to the spine means the book can never close flat unless you really do fill the pages!
Another problem was that when I got to the last signature I realised that I hadn’t fed the cord all the way through on the previous signature which meant I had a huge loop in the middle of it. I tried undoing it but the cord was knotted so tight I could not go back, I had to cut the cord and tie it together, which caused more problems as the cord knots are quite thick and unsightly but it was too late so I finished up and this was the result. It’s not too bad and I do really love the cover.
This is an exposed tape binding, I’ve made regular tape bound books before, they’re my usual thing but this was slightly different and instead of using linen tapes I used some of the wall paper I used to cover the book. I forgot to reinforce it with some soft card which may be the books undoing when it eventually falls apart.
I wasn’t confident about this book at all, the signatures should have had more pages in to make the structure more stable and I think I would have liked to attach the tapes more securely than just by gluing the end papers over them. It was interesting to make and I love the monochrome wallpaper I used to cover the board but I don’t think I’ll make one again like this.
I’ve got a few more under weights and drying at the moment so hopefully I’ll have pictures of those soon.
(FYI: I used two tutorials to help me when I wasn’t sure if I was doing things right those were from Hyde Co. Designs for the Coptic journal and MollyBrooks.com for the exposed tape binding, her method is much better though so use that!)