I ♥ bookbinding class: spineless

A screwpost album, with holes drilled through the paper for the screwposts. The paper has been dubbed “elephant-paper”, or “moon-paper”, and I added a sheet of colored paper on either end to liven it up a bit. This is a single-sheet binding, since none of the pages were folded into folios.

Why yes, books can be spineless! As far as I understand, based on this article, the spine is the bookboard-part of the book that is facing you when it’s on a shelf. The backbone of the book is the edge of the papers all collected and bound together.

I guess it’s impossible for a book to not have a backbone, but they can be without a spine! This is the next batch of books I’ve made in my class, and they are definitely a step up from the first round we did. The sewing is a little more advanced, and we’ve started using bookboard and covering them with decorative paper.

Japanese stab-binding – though the traditional method has a lot of rules that I’m sure we broke! The covers are bookboard, but the front has a little gap in it to allow for the cover to open.


A double pamphlet. It uses the simple pamphlet stitch, but with two pamphlets sandwiched between this little flap of the cover paper, which I think looks so lovely from the outside. It reminds me of a Moleskin!


A hardback pamphlet – with bookboard covers, but just a soft bookcloth spine. It looks a lot like a “real” book though!

I’ve built up quite a paperstash in the last few years, and with my upcoming move, it’s been great to be able to use some of that stash to make books. For some reason it feels more acceptable, and worth it, to lug around things you’ve made, compared to the materials it takes to make them! It’s not too strange I guess – we add a lot of value to the raw materials when we bring them together into a made object. It’s no longer just paper, or just fabric, or just yarn – it’s a book, a dress, a sweater that I made.

Another thing I’ve enjoyed with the bookmaking, is the color-combinations. I strive for a nice end-result in all of these books, so I try to choose my colors carefully. I’m certainly seeing quite a consistent color-scheme in the books, and so in line with colors I’ve been choosing in other areas lately as well; rich green-golds, dull turquoises, and greyish sea-foam. It is fun to show my books to other people, only for them to tell me that the colors are “so me”!

The longstitch binding. Originating in the medieval times, the paper is sewn directly on to the cover, and each other, all at once. I’m finding that I’m loving the sewing aspect of bookbinding, which makes sense with my love of sewing period! I’d really like to make a longstitch book with a leather cover – I think that would look spectacular!  

An album with stab-binding, and folded covers. The cover is one long strip of paper, which is a bit unusual – most books have two separate covers. And I couldn’t help myself – I had to add some decorative paper to liven up the inside a bit!

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And finally, for some eyecandy, tipinfold books.

“Art Wandawega book construction, 2009”

The lady behind tipinfold books is Julia Stotz, and my goodness…. her work is gorgeous. It looks like she does a lot of custom work, and it all looks stunning – the complete range from wedding albums to portfolios and lookbooks, to art objects and installations touching on paper and books. It’s work like hers that gives me something to really aspire towards.

8 responses to “I ♥ bookbinding class: spineless

  1. They look so well-done! Nice job.

  2. I just learned coptic binding. That´s pretty cool too.
    Your work is beautiful, as always!

    • Hei Janne! I thought I spotted that in one of your pictures! The coptic binding is actually next up for us, and I’ve been looking forward to that one for a while!

  3. I’ve attempted bookbinding on a 40-page booklet. Even with a 1/2″ spine, it doesn’t set correctly – the spine looks too wide. . .I guess. Does anyone have any creative ideas about doing some type of different spine yet I want the hard cardboard front and back with material covering. Thanks.
    LB

    • I actually really like the japanese stab-binding, and the soft spine (but hard-cover) binding both in this post for pamphlet-sized books. When we did the proper bookbinding in this class, I think we had somewhere around 100 pages or more, and I really think it’s necessary to avoid that “too big spine”-thing (which I’ve experienced several times myself). Good luck!

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