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.