Hey y'all. Ref checking in here, for a third and I-guess-possibly-final post on the Art of Bookbinding.
Turns out while drafting this post I realized my original, Part #1 - Fuckin' Bookbinding, Yo went up exactly 363 days ago (as of today's date, which may be a draft date, but anyway is March 16, 2017). Update: As of actual posting, 366 - I just missed the one-year mark precisely, but that's ok. PS Can you believe I spent 4 days drafting a post for Hubski? Siiiiiii
And if you haven't seen it, here's Part #2, THE ART OF COLLAGE, OR, FUCKIN' BOOKBINDING, PART DEUX. Posted a less portentous 139 days ago.
As of typing this sentence into this draft post right now (11:34 AM, again, 3/16/17), I'm something like bare minutes, no more than an hour or two, worth of work away from completing my very first 100%, from-the-paper-on-up, homemade book.
I know in post #1 I snarked thusly:
- 4) Making Paper At Home Is Even More Pointless Than Book-Binding, So No, You’re Never Gonna Bother Making That 100% Handmade Book For Your Mom
The truth is that I have an absurd penchant for spending hours, whether it is tens, dozens, hundreds, or maybe even at this point now thousands, of them buried in creative, 'artistic' endeavors which ultimately yield finished projects I could have bought in two seconds at the store. Bread; pasta; now books and paper.
There is something ineffable I relish about looking at a finished product and thinking, "I made that. I made all of that."
I am sure there is also something bougie and privileged about it - not to mention possibly a little self-serving - but that is ok. If I have the privilege to burn loads of time in making pointless art I'd rather actually use the privilege than simply feed bad about my ability to do exactly that. I'll be grateful, on the sides, beside.
I think I am supposed to use some of this space pontificating or at least pondering on "What Haff I Lurnt?" After all, this has now been a year-long artistic pursuit.
Primarily what I feel I have learned is that a year is hardly enough. I feel like there is a lot before me, lots more to learn, but also just lots more art to create and ways to take this form of art.
WHAT CAN BE LEARNED/WHAT HAVE I LEARNED
I'm going to try to keep this limited to "Since my last bookbinding post."
1. About making paper - This is the big one.
I'll be honest, I read about papermaking and thought it was possibly the most static, redundant, and bound-to-be-unsatisfying artistic endeavor I could undertake. As a result, I wasn't that interested in hustling on it.
I finally started making paper.
I fucking love it.
It's possibly the most magical part of book-making. I wish I could show you all my paper in person, sheet by sheet, because I think there's a level of detail and interest that you get in person that simply doesn't deliver on a virtual, 2D photographic level. I could lay out close photo after close photo of my favorite sheets of paper and I still think you'd miss the best parts.
I'm re-using drafts and manuscripts, as well as all sorts of other paper materials, to create my paper. It's amazing. Depending on how much I blend the material, you can still read words, phrases, even on one page a portion of an old address. I recently closed a bank account and I have all these checks left over and I am using them to make paper and deliberately not shredding them fine, so that you can see they are check material in the new pages. (The acct # is invalid, the acct is closed, AKA it's perfectly safe for me to do this - but no one looking at the paper knows that!)
I was struggling with finding a proper finisher for my collage and paper covers at the time of last post. I've now expanded my collection of finishers and, basically, tried:
- modge podge
- fixative spray
- a finishing gel
- adhesive laminate
- heat laminate
As methods to seal collages and prevent paper from being marked up or torn or damaged when I use it on my covers. So far, nothing's perfect, but I think the laminate methods are far and away the better options than any liquid or semi-liquid finishing option. It's impossible to prevent wrinkling, no matter how thin a layer you may spread, with any wet finishing option I've found. I'm still on the look-out though!
I wanted to try and tell you guys what bookmaking was like, again, for the third time. So this time I sketched out kind of a step-by-step summary. I tried to approximate timesinks and such like that but frankly, didn't do that great a job. Maybe you'll get an idea.
1. Covers - Prep
a. Purchase your heavy chip boards in 8.5 x 11, bulk
b. Measure and cut to size (Bulk) (Few hours)
2. Covers – Create
a. (Style Options - Choose One) Fabric, Collage, or other
b. If fabric, cut & measure fabric – glue w/glue gun (Every once in a while I go through my fabric backlog and try and rough-measure and pre-cut lots at once so when I want to make fabric covers I'm ready to go. The rough-measure and pre-cut might take 1-2 hours for several books' worth of covers. The gluing of fabric covers...Maybe 30 min/full set of front & back covers? each?)
c. If Collage, create collage elements – glue; laminate. (No idea on time estimates for this. I haven't made many collage covers. Still in process. However takes much longer process than for fabric covers, of course.)
d. If other (likely paint) – create, then finish (laminate or etc) - Paint is quick, dry time is a factor, then spraying a clear fixative to finish the paint; Another "other" cover idea I want to try is using newspapers as cover material, which I'd have to finish using a laminate of some sort
e. Prior to sewing, punch - Barely takes any time but takes any time anyway. 5-10 m?
a. Create (LOL my best paper creation time is 90 min of effort yielding 16 usable pages - but I'm hoping to keep improving my time here)
i. Print grid, lines, or etc if printed (Doesn't take time but takes supplies. I try to covertly print patterned paper at places I get free printing, but that limits when and how much I can print)
ii. Literally create if handmade
b. Fold (Try to do in bulk, easiest when printed pages - 30 min to an hour for a few books' worth)
i. Signatures – 4 sheets, 6 signatures to a book (current standard; varies sometimes depending on supplies, mood, thickness of paper, etc)
c. Press (This is down time where the pages really need pressing but all I can do is twiddle my thumbs for a day, minimum)
d. Punch (Doesn't hardly take any time but takes any time, anyway)
4. Assemble – Sew (30 min/book?)
5. Finishing – (30 min/book, probably)
a. Tie or glue binding ends
b. Final fixation if anything is sticking out or up on collages or laminate
I finished my first 100% handmade book for you guys. (This post pushed me to it.) So here it is. I'm pleased.
Anglerfish are a symbol/association of mine.