I made this notebook for my “invisible friend” this year, using one of the book blocks we’d already readied in the summer. We are improving our hardcover technique!
Almost all the materials used for this one were bought: the bookcloth for the spine, the flowery cover fabric, the red headband, the endpapers, the greyboard and of course the tools, glue and thread. The pages were found in a print-shop’s dumpster though, and the bookmark was a present’s wrapping tape.
Between using found or bought materials, the main difference is that most materials we buy are beatiful and made on purpose for bookbinding, which makes the job a lot easier and the results look a lot fancier. For example, the grey bookcloth I used for the spine is reinforced, so it won’t wrinkle and it is a lot easier to work with it than with the regular flower fabric I used for the cover. I think if we bought a lot of nice supplies it would be very easy to make a lot of beautiful notebooks. But I find the input of chance and found materials is what makes each of our books unique!
I am pretty happy with the result, even though I should have put some greyboard inside the spine and in the end it felt a little flimsy. I hope it lasts a long time, though!
Fotos de TAU*MH / Photos by TAU*MH
Once again some brown paper meant for the trash was the origin of this notebook’s creation. This brown piece of paper, that I found all wrinkled and in a ball, was very thankful that this new life has now been offered to it and I hope Gina finds something nice to write or draw on it.
The cover includes: a little paper wrapping bag, tea bags, kraft paper (thicker than the one used for the pages).
Inside: brown wrapping paper, sewn with linen thread.
All of this came together thanks to some cardboard (cereal boxes and such) and our best friend, white PVA glue.
We’ve had a little bit of a non-creative while as of late, but I suppose that changing location and moving all the time doesn’t help with the peace and quiet that this kind of activities require, at least for us. Gathering the materials, planning the project, realizing it… They kind of require a worry-free mind.
This notebook was made using a long roll of wrinkled recycled paper that had been used as filling for some mail package. After flattening, folding and ripping the pages I made four-page sections and stitched them together.
The cover is some light cardboard (from a detergent box), covered on the inside with a used brown envelope and on the outside with some crocheted fabric made with cotton and linen yarn that also includes a string to tie it closed and protect the pages.
On an other subject, some of our readers mentioned a little bit of confusion between the terms recovered, found and recycled paper. Usually when we talk about recovered and found paper we mean paper that was destined for or even already in the bin. This kind of paper we just use as it comes, with minimal processing: cutting, folding, and such.
On the other hand, recycled paper is the kind that has been mecanically or industrially reshaped or remade in order to bring it again to the user. We don’t do this process ourselves as of now, so whenever we mention recycled paper it is a property of the kind of paper we are using.
Nevertheless, it is possible that we’ve used these terms confusingly in the past, and we’ll try to pay more attention to our terminology in the future.
This one took us a while, a lot of head scratching and eye-straining. A friend of ours wanted us to print a very special edition of his first, as-yet unpublished novel; just something to hold in his hands and be able to read from a planar surface that doesn’t emit light. Something that you can flip the pages of… So we were honoured to print a single-copy edition of his first completed novel and perhaps set the ball rolling on his future publications.
A perfect bound soft-cover was the plan and we came out with what I like to label a faux hardcover, because of the rigid nature of the board we used to shield the pages. We had to head out to a local shop to print the text as we’re not fully situated with the necessary equipment, but what can ya do? Luckily, they had recycled A4 paper, which lends a very nice “paperback” quality to the paper.
Fold, Trim, Clamp, Glue.
We found some really nice grey construction paper in the scrap bin at a nearby print house which we found useful for the cover and on the morning of the edition’s completion, Zahara had the absolutely brilliant idea to screenprint the titles, so we spent an hour or so working out a design template on a piece of paper and fixed it to the frame directly, which seemed reasonable for a single print and it stood the test of our bravery. Below you can see how it turned out; we were simultaneously blown away and relieved that our ballsiness paid off.
Clayton still has to perfect the gluing process: the end papers suffered a bit of stickage to the cover as a result of some leak, which was more or less remedied but still lends a less than desirable wrinkle to the pages. As it turns out, he also reversed one of the pages such that the spine was out and the page ends were glued into the spine. Yikes! Oh well, it will surely be one of these highly sought after first editions in only ten years time.
The dimensions of this copy are approximately 120 x 180 mm.
One lesson learned in this process is that despite the most strained and valiant efforts of perfectionism, errors still occur; that’s forgiveable but on word of honour it pays to remedy them before too long.
In a mad rush to use up all the paper we collected from various deposits around Berlin, Clayton glued together a bunch of sheets into perfect-bound blocks of various dimensions. Thanks to his industriousness and Z’s ingenuity the world has the good fortune of more beautiful little books wandering around. We didn’t manage to use every last scrap but we did a good job of it nonetheless.
A sad bit of news is that we lost the lovely little lino-cut stamp featuring our edicions cotton flower logo. Now we have the sad fortune or perhaps shining opportunity of deciding to carve one anew, or digitise the old one from finished prints and send it off to a stamp-maker to laser engrave us a rubber version. The benefit of the latter is expediency but perhaps thereby we’d lose a bit of the artistic touch of the lino-cut. We’ll see.
Clayton’s favourite is the fishy. What’s yours?
It’s difficult to determine when mere effort and due dilligence transcends habit and becomes passion, but it’s starting to feel extremely comfortable and even natural expressing creativity through my finger tips. It’s easier to see that perhaps even archivists are, in a certain measure, artists: of observation of insight, collection, selection, care and analysis. If the process of collecting materials and assembling them to render something which some consider a mere vessel can be so rewarding I’m really looking forward to the act of filling those pages
We set out to try our first hardcover notebook and the end result gives me a source of optimism for the future.
It has a really reassuring quality of strength and durability to it. I don’t imagine I’ll be producing these for every edition but they definitely have their place in my rubric.
Important things to remember:
- Harvested magazine paper can be beautiful but it easily drowns and ripples when being applied with WET glues
- Sew strong and tight and don’t give any slack.
- Evenly space the hole/sewning marks for an equally distributed tension between the signatures
- Puncture along the spine only marking the sewing holes
- Score appropriately for the thickness of paper used
- Hold on tight
I think I’ll continue to work on learning the more difficult aspects of bookbinding while commencing my own projects and ideas to fill these empty pages.
I recently made a new friend and it seems that I’ve been in the possession of a letter, on the cover of which her name is emblazoned, a time just a hair longer than one year. To remedy this lamentable trespass into the realm of ignorance and malpractice I rendered her this sweet treat that is very much in line with a personal obsession for playing the ukelele. I wonder if she’ll use it to scribe pretty little ditties and play them pluckily, wandering the narrow passages from now until tomorrow?
The nitty gritty: I recently found a postcard on the window ledge of a shop adorned with and devoted to ukeleles and their endless accoutrements. It was an instant association and understanding that the universe had willed me there on a magnificent day in the midst of a morose Berlin summer(weather-wise) and all I had to do thence was accept inertia’s creep and do the deed of manifesting its intent.
It’s perfect-bound with glue and I lined the postcard with kraft paper as it became the book´s interior; then I folded the card around the book block and glued it all together to set for a while.
I did have more problems with “lifting” so next time I´ll try folding the card before gluing in the lining to prevent too much distortion or crumpling.
We have another sheet of this hearty wrapping paper and I wanted to cut some to use for a notebook that was intended as a gift bestown upon my best friend for his concurrent birthday. This is the result. Finally, my efforts have born good fruit that hangs low from the tree; gotta love them easy pickins.
As ever, we had more of this containered colour-coded paper to use up and I oriented it to trim neatly the page-bottoms. I had the half-baked notion of trying out a japenese stab-stich to hold in the block and turned out well enough, if a bit sloppy, but I will think thrice before attempting to implement that device ever again in such a thick book, especially a perfect-bound/hard-cover hybrid as this.
As you can see, Z impressed upon me the widsom of giving it a bookmark.
In order to use some paper rests that were lying around I made these tiny books. It’s actually a little hard to work at this size… And even though they took so much to make, it’s not completely clear if it is humanly possible to write in them: I already tried it in one of the miniature books (which are twice the size of these ones) and it’s harder than I expected!
No worries though, at least they are useful as construction blocks.
By the way: we do have smiley keys!