This week’s Reference Collection highlight is “Cover to Cover: Creative Techniques for Making Beautiful Books, Journals and Albums” (REF.BB.0830) by Shereen LaPlantz. The title provides a step-by-step guidebook for the book arts beginner, taking the reader through the process of creating a variety of books, journals, and albums. The book is divided into three main sections covering bookbinding basics, techniques, and presentation.
The first chapter explores the papers, boards, adhesives and other materials that go into the creation of a book, as well as the tools and techniques required to assemble them. Here, the reader will learn just what it is that makes a quarto; how to tip in a single page to a book; and how to make wheat starch paste in a microwave.
|folded quarto and numbering positions|
The second section deals with binding structures and techniques. Here, the reader will begin by learning about the pamphlet stitch, perhaps the easiest and most versatile technique to use in bookbinding. Building upon these basics, the book then moves on to discuss the structure of the basic codex (the type of book most of us think of), and then to an exploration of various stitching patterns. Further chapters cover stab bindings, fold books, combination books, and unusual bindings.
Within each chapter, LaPlantz includes a variety of format (the shape and style of the book) options to provide ideas for the reader. For instance, within the Combination Books chapter, readers will learn about the piano hinge format. As LaPlantz explains, “Another method for reinforcing the concertina spine is to use a hinge. The hinge is made of lightweight board and extends across the entire spine. When the hinge pin is removed and the hinge opened, an unexpected hidden compartment is revealed. This compartment could hold the answer to the story’s puzzle, a different slant on the story, or a final, special illustration.” An example of the type of hidden art that might be revealed on the spine of a piano hinge book is provided below:
|We Beg the Favor of a Dance, O Ah Puch and Kukulkan, Elsi Vassdal Ellis, EVE Press|
The way a final piece is presented can often go a long way in defining the way that work is received. As such, a discussion of presentation (the look of the finished piece) rounds out the final chapter of this book. As LaPlantz explains, “A simple example is a Christmas present. Regardless of what’s inside, some gifts are wrapped so beautifully that the wrapping itself becomes a joyful present…Through the involvement of the reader, the process of reading the book may become almost ceremonial.”
LaPlantz closes by encouraging the reader to take everything learned from the book and adapt it to his / her own tastes and styles. This, she explains is one of the greatest joys in art – that of transmutation.
|In Search of Paradise – Night Vision, Peter Sramek|
With more than 170 photos to provide inspiration and hundreds of illustrations accompanying the detailed instructions, this book will guide the reader through all the steps needed to create handcrafted journals, albums, and books. This title would serve as a valuable reference for both the beginner bookbinder and the enthusiastic artist looking for project ideas.
The Reference Collection is one of three collections at The Center for Book Arts. The other two include the Fine Arts Collection (composed of artists’ books and prints) and the Archives (containing Exhibition Catalogs and the Center’s ephemera). All three collections can be viewed on-line via the Center’s website or in person by appointment. Note that the Reference Library is currently being cataloged, with roughly 60% completed.
-Sarah McCarthy, Librarian