Monday, October 11, 2010

Learn to bind a book...

Can you bind a book? I think that book-binding is one of those ur-craft skills that you just need to know, like throwing a pot, or sewing a seam, or weaving a basket.  Now, I'm not much of a potter-but I have done it. I know what it's like to wedge that clay lump and then try to center it on the wheel. I know what slip is, and how to slowly pull that clay higher to form a coffee cup. The first time I sat at a wheel I dreamed of the lovely, smooth-sided coffee cups I would make for family and friends. I imagined rainbow glazes, twisted handles, graceful feet on the cups I would give as birthday gifts over the next year. I cannot yet produce an actual coffee-holding cup, mind you, but I know the general vocabulary and the basics of the process. I appreciate, all the more, hand thrown coffee cups and soup bowls because I have tried to do it myself. I know what the parts are (clay, slip, glaze, balance and finesse) and suddenly the whole item is so much more interesting.

I think book binding is a similar craft skill. Once you do it, no matter the result, you are changed. Suddenly, that cookbook you keep on the kitchen counter becomes more than just a cookbook and you can see how the binding was achieved, how the cover was attached. If you have hand-bound books you'll suddenly realize just how they got that way. You'll see the parts and know how they go together to produce the whole. When I made my first book I became a bit addicted and knocked together five in quick succession-sketchbooks or journals I still treasure for the way they show the progression of my binding skills. I have even been known to bind a book quickly, as a last-minute* gift for a friend. This last summer I taught my older daughter to bind simple books made from envelopes and then she taught me a binding she had learned in school. And then we both made several envelope-books with simple stitched bindings and I remembered that I really love making books of all kinds. 

Wait, when is your birthday?

Japanese Stab Bound Book
October 15, 6:00-8:00 pm
instructor Dawn Meisch
(She can bind a book so perfectly that you'll be amazed human hands ever touched the pages. After this class, you really appreciate how difficult that is.)

click here for more information, call 919-834-6260 to register

*because I am the kind of person who will be late to your birthday party because I was binding you a book. Or making you earrings. Or trying to decide which pair of shoes to wear.