When I was in college I briefly took a bookbinding class. It was so much fun and I really loved it, but I was at the end of my time in college. I was dating my ex-husband at the time. We were going through a rough patch in our relationship at this point. Constant cheating and I was horribly co-dependent. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my degree. I wasn’t doing well in most of my classes so my GPA had tanked.
Above is one of the books I made while I was taking the class. I made this book specifically for my mother as a present. It’s supposed to be an open spine journal, but I don’t believe she ever used it. She kept it for sentimental reasons.
I honestly wish I had taken better notes and paid better attention when I took this class. Our teacher was so passionate. I remember her telling a story about going to Italy and just falling in love with everything over there. She used to dish clothes at the house she was renting to make book covers for books that she made over there. She even did a small seminar about bookbinding at SCAD in Atlanta while we were taking her class, so we were allowed to tag along.
The two names that stuck in my memory were Keith A. Smith and Esther K. Smith. I’ve of course gone back and looked up both of these writers and yearn to get their books so badly! To purchase Keith A. Smith’s books directly, you can go to his website. Without the tax, his 7 main books (I left out the autobiographical one) would cost $210. Oof. That’s honestly … not horrible. But my wallet screams. I’ve looked for all of those books on Amazon though. And linked them below!
I couldn’t find a website for Esther K. Smith, but she was another really important book creator that my professor spoke about. I could only find a short blurb about her on the Penguin Random House website.
ESTHER K. SMITH, author of How to Make Books, collaborates with typographer Dikko Faust and other artists and writers at Purgatory Pie Press in New York City. Their handmade books have been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. Their artist books are housed in many rare book collections including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, and the National Gallery of Art. Smith teaches throughout the United States, Canada, and England, and every term at Cooper Union in New York City.https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/77978/esther-k-smith/
I actually remember finding this book briefly at a library. So I have some photos of the inside! It might not make sense if you haven’t done any bookmaking before, but it’s very informative. I honestly feel like bookmaking is on par with martial arts. It’s something that you honestly need some hands-on training to learn some of the techniques. You can stumble through doing it, but until you’ve seen someone else doing it, it can be difficult to master.
I found photos of some of the books I made back in college. I really enjoyed making some of the Japanese stitched ones and the exposed spine books were my absolute favorite. I don’t think I actually have any of these anymore, sadly. I don’t have a ton of the supplies to make books right now, but I think I might try to scrape together enough to make something interesting in the near future.
Anywho, this was a fun stroll down memory lane! It got my creative juices really flowing. Thanks for stopping in and reading my post today! Catch you guys tomorrow.