Bookbinding Level 1

Back in April of this year (2016) I had a break between semesters and I found myself with a month of free time. How did I spend the first week of that free time? Taking courses! I signed myself up for Bookbinding (Intensive) Level 1.  This course ran for 6 days about 7-8 hours each day.

I’ll showcase a little of what I learned in level 1!

In day 1  we went over the proper tools needed and had a basic lesson on the types of materials we would need (I’ll cover this in a later post!). This included a section understanding how paper works and a little bit of history. We ended the day by making a picture frame – this was to teach us proper techniques of pasting, getting familiar with the tools, and understanding how paper works.

Day 2  got much more hands on and we made several things. All of them were pamphlets as we weren’t quite ready to move onto books. We learned how to do a 3-hole stitch and 5- hole stitch and then we learned how to make a two section pamphlet. Dan Mezza – our instructor – also showed us how to do an adhesive binding.

Day 3  saw us continue working on pamphlets, we learned how to do a stab binding and a Japanese binding. At the end of the day though we also started prep work for the books we’d be making.

Day 4  saw us preparing to make our books. We started with sewing the text blocks for the books, we also made end papers – both historical and hooked end pages.

On to day 5! We made end bands for the text blocks and began to create the covers for the books. Which brought us to day 6:

The last day of book binding day 6, was the day it all came together, we finished the covers by adding cover paper and then put the text blocks into the covers! Viola two completed hard cover books. These were German cases, the red book has historical end pages and the blue book has hooked end pages. These are case bindings and not true bindings which we would do later in another level.

Taking the course was an incredible learning experience Dan Mezza has been bookbinder for many years and before that he was a paper maker. He has so much knowledge to pass on. I loved learning about the anatomy of a book and how to create these works of practical works of art. So much so that I signed up to take Introduction to Leather, which is a prerequisite to level 3. I’ll post about that next!

I can also now officially say I’m a member of a guild! (Pretty cool right?) I’m a member of the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild (as mentioned) – which you can check out here:

Until next time!




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