Thursday, January 05, 2012

Bound for Adventure

One of the gifts I received over the holidays was a copy of Adventures in Bookbinding by Jeannine Stein, published by Quarry Books. The author, a veteran book artist, offers ten mixed-media projects (each with two variations) that push the boundaries of bookbinding by combining traditional techniques with handcrafting that is generally not used to make books.

The projects are clearly explained and are accompanied by several helpful reference photos; all of them are in color. The back of the book contains templates, patterns and resources, and it looks like all the stitching involved is clearly illustrated. Beautiful photos of the completed projects are also included in each section to give the finished look. Quarry obviously does not skimp on production, and the end result is a lovely edition.

The extreme coolness of this artisan's book is in the diversity of the materials and projects. Ms. Stein doesn't confine herself to journals and paper. There are projects in here that include needle felting, weaving, doll making, clay sculpting, jewelry, metal work, painting quilting, crochet, lino-printing and decoupage, and go into creating sketchbooks, mini books, idea books, notebooks and work books. When I want to go on a creative adventure, this is the kind of variety I want.

That said, this is not a book for the total beginner or the casual hobbyist who wants to slap it together in less than an hour; most of the projects require a certain amount of time, materials and handcraft skills to accomplish. A basic bookbinding tool kit is a necessity (and the author explains this in the getting started section), but it's not difficult to put together an inexpensive one. Anyone with basic sewing skill could attempt the quilted workbook project, but the jewelry and metal pocket sketchbook would probably be pretty difficult for someone who has never before made jewelry. I was glad to see the author used a lot of recycled and on-hand materials throughout the book, and showed shortcut variations of each project that produce a similar look with less time and expense involved.

If you're seriously into book making, and want to extend your range or take your binding to the next level, this is a book you'll want to add to your instructional collection. Art journalers who are interested in creating unique mixed-media bindings should also check it out.

6 comments:

  1. Sounds like fun -
    Hope you enjoy it.
    I did some scrapbooking for awhile, but I am not into it as much anymore.

    And then I used to knit and crochet, but with my meds - my hands cramp so that is out of the question now.

    So I do mostly writing.

    Cyn

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  2. This looks wonderful and I need a new art book. Really, I do.

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  3. I've been enjoying your adventures in bookbinding!

    I'm curious if there are any more beginner type how-to books you'd recommend? I'm crafty, but I've never tried my hand at making books (besides the usual stapling together method).

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  4. Cyn wrote: I did some scrapbooking for awhile, but I am not into it as much anymore.

    I gave scrapbooking a try myself (I didn't think much of it at first, but it's gradually evolved into an artform.) I think my biggest problem is that I am not into the commercial/themed bits and emphemera that make up most of the available supplies.

    And then I used to knit and crochet, but with my meds - my hands cramp so that is out of the question now.

    I had to give up knitting for the same reasons, but I still crochet a little now and then when I'm having a good hand day. I do small projects like baby booties and socks don't require a huge amount of time, that sort of thing.

    So I do mostly writing.

    As long as my voice holds out, so do I. Although this year I'm going to make a determined effort to bring more art into my life on a daily basis.

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  5. Darlene wrote: This looks wonderful and I need a new art book. Really, I do.

    Sure you do. Like I need more books for my TBR. Ha.

    It is pretty neat, though.

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  6. Vom wrote: I'm curious if there are any more beginner type how-to books you'd recommend? I'm crafty, but I've never tried my hand at making books (besides the usual stapling together method).

    I really liked Pages, Cloth Paper Scissors' new magazine for book making (I wrote a blog post about the first issue here, and I thought some of the projects would be ideal for a beginner. For an encyclopedia-type book making source, I'd recommend Alisa Golden's Making Handmade Books, and for more traditional techniques I'd go with How to Make Books ~ Fold, Cut & Stitch Your Way to a One-of-a-Kind Book by Esther K. Smith.

    Also, I think it's a good idea for any beginner to check out book making sources at your local public library; they might have some or all of these titles available to borrow and test-drive before you invest in purchasing anything.

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