There is a charm, a magic about agendas that I can’t really explain. In my schooldays, I remember how special the day was when I went to the book store to get my textbooks and also choose an agenda for the next school year. I would spend so much time looking at all the available ones carefully, the cover, the size, the design… It was a difficult choice but very enjoyable, and I loved using them month after month.
With time, though, as my life follows no schedule and I have little to organize, my agendas would growingly end up empty, unused, sad. So, even though I still browse through them when they appear in the stores by the end of the year, I don’t let myself buy any, because it just makes me sad to keep them blank.
But I discovered something: I can revisit some of that magic in the action of bringing an agenda to life.
These pockets are an envelope divided in two by the binding.
So I ended last year and started 2016 immersed in this process. I designed how the week would look, printed each page in my home printer, manually feeding the pages one by one to print the back sides. I found a nice fabric in a small shop for the cover, and with some paper that I decorated as a craft in my childhood -yellowed with the years- as endpapers, some fun details like back pockets, a bookmark, made with a ribbon I found on the street, and an elastic closure, I am very happy with the overall result, and as always I hope it is durable enough for intensive use.
One of the illustrations… Anybody recognize the scene? And the back pocket.
And there is something else: as I was working on the page design, I was testing the use of typographical symbols as a separation line between the weekdays… But I had a better idea: couldn’t it be actual text, in small print, forming a visual line, as a separation, yet at the same time adding a bit of extra content? From here on it evolved into the idea of using the beginnings of books and texts, some classics, some books I really like, some poems, that would in fact become a riddle for each week: what book is it? Would it be easy to guess? And if not, it would become a book recommendation. On the opposite page I included illustrations related to each of the texts.
This one is in several languages: catalan, spanish, english, french and italian. I am playing with the idea, though, to make a version in a more accessible mix of languages or in just one, and see if anybody would like to have one.
I must say I had a lot of fun doing it, I hope it’s also fun to use!
We’ve been a little busy during the year change season trying to get the more than 25 agendas we’d been commissioned to ready! Here’s to hoping they’ll help their now owners organize themselves :)
Above and below these lines there are images of the agenda that The Kruch designed and that he sells online in his Etsy store. It’s been good practice to bind for the first time a considerable series of books with content in them, of which we only had the experience of a single copy of a novel for its author. The fact that we print such small editions and we have to depend on printers over which we have no control whatsoever makes printing irregularities the norm, something we are not completely pleased about. But, what can you do! The results are nevertheless quite satisfactory and their recipients seem to be happy about them!
We also did a small edition of a 2013 version of the monthly view planner (we only have one page of the portuguese tiles’ calendar left!) and we designed our own weekly view planner, based on the earlier’s design, but in black and white for economy.
In all of the agendas most materials are new: the pages are white paper printed digitally in a copy shop… But the inside of the covers is made with cereal box card or something similar and, of course, the monthly planners’ covers are still made with an old calendar.
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.
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.
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.
This is our first attempt at making a longer notebook with the recovered paper and other reused materials. It’s also the first one in which glue has a structural role (and not only for applying decoration), but we still haven’t investigated much on the subject of different glues, so we’ll see if the craft and stick glue we used are at all durable!.
I decided to use it as a handbook of bookmaking where I take notes of different techniques, tricks, etc. so that they are always at hand while I am making a book (this way I won’t have to stop to look through 3 different books every time I don’t remember a little detail…) Please make no comments about my ability to embroider: I can not be good at everything!
Also, this one has a twin brother; it will be shown when its time is due.