19 March 2008
Book making is one of the beautifully redundant things I do to recharge my batteries and fire up some creative spirit. It’s one of the only things I can think of where I get complete creative control of the final product, from the shape of the book, to the materials it’s made of, to the design of the page; it’s all me, baby.
For now, I’ll talk through the process I went through to make a book to celebrate my Mum’s 21st (ahem) birthday.
Part 1: Thinking book
I don’t really enjoy making blank books, so I normally start with some ideas for content. As with all things, I’ll scribble away on an A3 pad until the ideas seem right, and then get to work on the mac.
At this stage, I like to think about the form of the book. I’m into fiddly things, so I usually turn to the excellent Keith Smith for inspiration, an end up picking a binding style that’s miles beyond me.
Part 2: Sewing book
For some reason, signatures break my head. I normally have to print a stupid number of versions of a book before I get it right – in the photo below, I’m trying to fit 16 pages into an 8-page signature. In case you’ve never made a book before, this is a silly thing to do.
Binding the signatures together is great fun. If you like stabbing yourself with a needle. I ended up stabbing myself in the leg doing this one.
Part 3: Making book
This is the messiest part. You take your carefully-cut cover board and your carefully-cut cover cloth and introduce them to huge amounts of glue. If you’re lucky (or not me), the glue stays where you put it. If not, you get to scrub your book covers for hours to get rid of the errant glue.
In the photo below, I’ve gone for some fancy binder-style covers that will be held together with cloth on the spines.
Getting the book block to stick to the covers requires the use of fly-leaves. The fly-leaves are the heavier, prettier sheets that are glued to the inner covers and attached to the first and last signatures. Shopping for fly-leaf paper is a fantastically masculine pastime that I encourage you to try.
Part 4: Profit
The finished book, ready for emotionally exploiting my mother. She cried on just about every page.
For more photos, visit my Flickr set.