Posts Categorized: Book Arts

Papermaking Explorations (May)

Papermaking can be used as a catalyst for bookmaking, printmaking and drawing, as well as an art form all in its own.  Our introductory papermaking class walks students through the satisfying process of turning plant fiber into luscious handmade paper.

Students will learn how to form basic sheets of paper with a mould and deckle, and then expand upon that skill by exploring ways to manipulate the pulp. For example, students will add pigment to pulp to create custom tinted sheets of paper. Dyed pulp will also be used to integrate patterns and imagery into the papermaking process through pulp painting. “Inclusions” like fragments of prints, organic materials, or thread can also be integrated into the paper. Finally, using a wire armature, students can explore dimensional structures. Through these projects, students will also learn about the science behind papermaking, and how to select and use various plant fibers like cotton and abaca.

After surveying a range of papermaking skills, each student will be able to focus on a self-directed papermaking project with guidance and support from Teaching Artist, Molly Berkson. Students will graduate from this class with a hearty stack of their own handmade paper as well enough experience to continue making paper at home or at Spudnik Press. This is a wet process, so dress down for this class.

Bookbinding Workshop: Simple Self-Publishing (June)

This workshop focuses on styles of bookbinding that are low-cost yet dynamic, and well suited for poetry chapbooks and portfolio books. Students will earn how to choose materials and create simple book structures that best highlight the content within their book.

The workshop will address the logistics of organizing poetry or artwork into a book form, explore the book as a vessel for information, and how material choices can inform how the book is read. While the workshop will create blank books, each style of binding will begin with standard 8.5” x 11” paper to allow your poetry or artistic content to be easily printed from a common inkjet or laser printer.

Students will complete four sample books: Two pamphlet stitch varieties, a perfect bound book, and a more elaborate Japanese stab binding.

In addition to learning hand skills, the class will discuss the history of chapbooks, their role in publishing over time, and ways to share and sell chapbooks. If you have writing or images you would like to promote, this is a great workshop to jump start your self-publishing!

Bookbinding Workshop: Secret Belgian Binding (July)

There are many mysteries about Secret Belgian Binding, yet it’s no secret that this style of bookbinding is extremely versatile and attractive. It is the ideal structure for albums, portfolios, and journals because of the flexible lay-flat binding.

Students will learn how to plan out the book, first deciding the size of the pages, which will determine the proper size of covers and lengths of thread needed to finish the book. In addition to learning the sewing pattern for this binding, students will learn or practice wrapping book boards with cloth and decorative paper, and drilling the holes that will connect the sewn pages into the cover. Through making their own complete book, students will learn the logic behind the complex woven structure and develop sewing techniques that are useful in a variety of other bindings.

While the sewing is elaborate, the workshop welcomes beginners as well as intermediate and advanced bookbinders.

Bookbinding: Longstitch Books

The long stitch bound book is characterized by its classic style and its ability to employ a range of visually dynamic sewing structures. A combination of long straight stitches and braided link stitches adorn the spine of the book, which can be made of leather, fabric, or paper. Long stitch bound books are durable and lay flat when opened, making them the ideal structure for sketch books, journals, and artist books.

Students will become familiar with bookbinding tools, materials, and terminology, as well as sewing techniques that will allow them to complete three 5″x7″ long stitch bound book variations from start-to-finish. Bindings that will be taught include the Soft Cover Slitted Spine Long Stitch, the Hard Cover Italian Long Stitch, and the Quarter Leather Long Stitch. For the fourth and final project, students will be given the chance to design and complete their own unique long stitch binding. This class will give students essential technical bookbinding skills and vocabulary needed to continue making books for years.