Way back in the day when I was in freshman design class, I decided I should learn how to make a book. My grandmother had written her memoirs in a spiral bound notebook that was falling apart, and we had an open assignment in class, so I asked my professor to point me to some resources to learn how to do that. She immediately shot me down, saying it was too complicated, too messy with the glue, and I shouldn’t even bother and should just design the book cover for her class. I am still so angry looking back at this, but it worked out because spite is the best motivator.
I marched myself right to the library and checked out a few books on bookbinding, then figured out how to design the book, rearrange the pages so when I folded the signatures everything was in the right order, print it, bind it, etc. I made an edition of 6 books and distributed them to my family. Proving my professor wrong was fun, but making books was even more fun.
Considering there were bookbinding classes within the design concentration, I found more supportive professors, and bookbinding became the focus of my BFA thesis project.
I thought I’d go on to get an MFA in book arts, and got into a few programs, but instead worked at a small print on demand photo book studio for 3 years after college until I got sidelined by a repetitive stress injury. A couple of years ago I picked it back up, and now I’m all in again.
When Mal mentioned getting a booth at the Chesapeake Printers Fair, I figured why not join him? I dragged out my giant paper cutter, ordered some supplies (apparently I am very into metallic paper right now), and am in the middle of making 15 books.
We’re also planning an Etsy shop (another thing I said I’d never do), where Mal will have prints and art, and I’ll be selling books as I make them. I’m excited to try different spine sewings, binding methods, and cover materials. I have big plans for using up fabric scraps from my garment sewing for covers. I’ll be posting photos and details here as I work and experiment!