Handmade / Handbound books
I'd like to further explore the idea of handmade books that came up in a recent thread. Creating beautiful handbound books for my clients really appeals to me.
Any tips, techniques or resource recommendations would be much appreciated. Archival materials are especially important to me.
Are you looking to make your books from scratch, binding photographic prints into place, or kit books with leafs and mattes for holding your prints? What direction do you wish to take on this?
there is a great artist book author who writes very well on how to make
hand made books. his name is keith smith.
i have 3 of his books i think ...
there is another book written by franz zeier called "books boxes and portfolios"
that offers simple instruction as well as a variety of other things to make
( boxes and portfolios as the title implies ) http://www.amazon.com/Books-Boxes-Po.../dp/0830634835
i learned the olde fashioned way. when i was in high school
i was a boy scout and i earned bookbinding merit badge.
i studied with a master bookbinder and helped him ( really i watched him )
restore books from a university rare book collection ( books made in 1000ce )
and then i repaired and made books under his guidance. as a high school senior
and later as a college student, i made photographic books / hard bound ( covered spine )
with him. in one case i masked off 11x14 single weight photo paper and printed images on it,
and later folded the paper in half, arranged the images in order and used the photo paper as signatures ( packets that were stitched in a sewing rack )
and in another case i just folded one edge of the paper and stitched them like signatures as well.
when i didn't have access to a professional bindery or the tools of the trade, i learned japanese binding
which is very simple - a cover with a hinge, a back cover, pages and thread. i have made most of my books using
this method. if you don't want artful stitching ( the smith books show countless stitching techniques ) you can get posts
and use these screw posts to secure the pages and covers. i don't have screw posts and always use a simple stitch.
i have also done a variety of different ways of presenting the images, from using the photo paper as pages,
cutting diagonal slots to feed corners into ( rag paper ) to pasting / tipping an edge of the print onto the paper.
as i mentioned in the other thread, the hardest part in making books is waiting for the glue and paste to dry ...
and after you make one or two books, it is kind of addictive, like making paper negatives instead of film
if you live near an art school they might offer book making classes.
if you google "bookmaking" " bookbinding " and other related topics
you might also find a ton of information.
here in the states places like gaylord brothers ( http://gaylord.com )
sell bookbinding supplies - tools, presses, sewing racks, cover cloth and bookboard ... they supply to libraries, and also sell archival supplies ..
and are wonderful to work with. if you live elsewhere,
i am sure you will be able to find a similar company ..
If you want to learn - just go to work to bindery or printing house (the poorer - the better) as a "unqualified man to work". Within two weeks you'll learn and understand nearly all what is needed to do the job. And meet the people that will do your job , and maybe do some interesting photos.
Good if you'll loose a day searching for materials in the net. Next few days you'll waste for experiments, printing, gluing, drying and so on. After years (!) you'll be sure your work is done well - or not .
In general all you need are simple tools (and printer) - big needle, proper glue (in Poland there are two glues in use - one for tear-offs, one for books, but they're almost identical!) and threads, few slats, knife. Paper guillotine may be not cheap if it is good for cutting books (but you will have your new friends with such tool!).
Don't think there is a book/resource covering doing beautiful books on your own. There are some resources, but I've seen nothing treating of which sort of thread or glue to use, or how to make good "hard" covers and attach them to books in the way that will last for 50-100 years.
Even wasting some books you'll learn the result, not the way to it.
Thank you each for your responses. I think I envision creating a handmade album to hold prints, but one that speaks to the prints in the way a beautiful altered book can speak to the original text?
I appreciate the suggestions for how to begin. Clearly this could be as much a lifetime adventure as is photography itself.
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You can also check Hollanders.com website for bookbinding/making supplies and books, etc. Your local library may have books about bookbinding in the crafts section too. Maybe you will see some examples or ideas that will inspire you. I hope this helps you.
I'm sure this book isn't one of the best for books, but it has some basics - Books and Boxes
I bought it mostly for the boxes (and I was in Borders with a gift certificate). I've also thought about making a book with prints, but haven't even figured out which images much less how to do the book.
talas-nyc.com is a great mail order site for bookbinding supplies.
you might also look for bookbinding workshops in your area. should be no problem if you live in western massachusetts, new york, or los angeles.
Yes, my wife is a bookbinder and she can do bespoke work with archival materials.
It is like photography: after a short time one can take pictures but to become expert takes rather longer!
All of the above are great suggestions. I have the Zeier book, and have been working my way through it. I'll try to remember to post some of my projects in the next few months...