Covers and Content

Bookbinding, writings, general creativity

Archive for the tag “book”

Relief work

One of my favourite ways of decorating a cover is with relief patterns. It’s very easy, really. You can either cut out the design in thin cardboard (or heavy paper) and paste it on before covering the boards, or you cut it out in the board itself and peel away as many layers of the cardboard as you want (make sure you don’t go all the way through, though, that would be embarrassing . Or a combination of the two, of course. For letters and suchlike, you can also use thread. I recommend using thinner thread than you think you will need, or it might get too bulky.

Then there’s a secret trick to make it a lot easier and better looking. Because when you’ve put on the cover materials (don’t use too thick book cloth, and remember that if the pasted-on relief design is in another colour then the board itself, it might be visible through light cover materials… my, this was a long parenthesis, I almost lost track of where I… anyway.), the design is of course going to dissappear completely, and you have to track the edges carefully with a bone folder (if the cover material is delicate, put a paper between it and the bone folder to avoid scratches), and trust me, sometimes it’s very hard to find the design. Even though you just made it yourself.

So, after that confusing paragraph… there is a trick to make this easier. Take a piece of sleeping pad, or some other kind of not-to-fluffy foam material. Put it over the covered relief, and put in the press for a short while (about ten seconds will do it). The foam will press down the design, making it much easier for you to just trace the contours. You can also use the foam when you put the finished book in press, to protect the relief.

Tough Guide to Fantasyland

This is another book by Diana Wynne Jones, my favourite author. It’s a pocket book, rebound into hardcover using a method I hope I’ll never ever have to use again.

I cut off the spine, so that I had just a bunch of loose papers, then I pasted them together with strips of thin paper, two by two in the right order, to make signatures that I could stitch as usual. The original cover is attached to the first and last signature.

Once that boring part was over, I started on the cover. I’m… not good at plain covers. For this one, I decided to go with the fact that there was a map in the beginning of the book. I drew the map on a smaller piece of paper, folded it using the Turkish Map Fold that I’d learned just the week before, and embedded it in the front cover. Just for the fun of it, and because I don’t know how to stop once I’ve started, I embroidered a compass star thingy on the map cover, and the F in the beginning of the title.

Another book

I love books with open backs. Not using them – they’re far to flimsy for me – but making them. There’s just so much you can do with them.

This one has some sort of jewelry theme. A figure with a hanging necklace on the front, a necklace clasp as fastening, and made with oriental stitching with glass beads and velvet ribbon.

The Game by Diana Wynne Jones

Today the exhibition with the dragon book opens in Falun, so with some kind of logic, I decided to show you what I made for last year’s exhibition: The Game by Diana Wynne Jones, bound for the exhibition ”Kometen Kommer”.

Kometen kommer would be the comet is coming in English, and the exhibition is inspired by the meteorite that fell here in Dalarna, Sweden some 377 million years ago. So the books we’ve made are a lot about space and stars and comets – and The Game was really the perfect book to make.
Since the book wasn’t of the kind that can be easily taken apart, I scanned and printed it. Each chapter got its own size and font. Then I dyed all of them in tea.

I printed the covers on better paper (Hahnemühle butten ingres) and drew the pictures on them. (Possibly spoilery text under the pictures)

I forgot to print the last part of the book, A NOTE ABOUT THE CHARACTERS, in time to dye it with the rest, so that got to be around the box that would become the base of the book instead. Then I got some metal wire (copper and something else, I don’t know exactly, but probably iron) and started putting it all together, with small glass beads representing the golden apples.

1
When Hayley arrived at the big house in Ireland, bewildered and in disgrace, rain was falling and it was nearly dark. Her cousin Mercer had called the place just “the Castle.”

2
Then [Grandad] showed her atoms, molecules and germs—after which Hayley for a long time confused all three with planets going round the sun and, when Grandma insisted that you washed to get rid of germs, wondered if Grandma was trying to clean the universe off her.

3
He had stood, for as long as Hayley could remember, rain or shine, in the exact same place outside the pub called The Star, playing high sweet notes on a shabby little violin that looked much too small for him.

4
A young lady in a white dress came down the bank towards the shore. When she was right beside the water, she looked around, grinning mischievously, and crouched down. Her white dress melted into her all over and she was suddenly a swan.

5
For a moment, she thought she was crying. Drops were falling heavily on the pretend cat and then splashing onto her leg. It was only when more drops fell on her head that Hayley realised the water must be coming from somewhere else.

6
The next day, it was hard to believe that it had ever rained. Hayley woke to find the sky a bright heavenlike blue with great snowy clouds hustling across it.

7
Hayley looked at her card. It said, FETCH A GOLDEN APPLE FROM THE ORCHARD OF THE HESPERIDES.

8
She was a proper comet, not like Tollie’s pretend one. Her hair gathered together and flung itself out ahead of her like the flame on a blowtorch. Behind it, her body was a small, curled-up, icy ball.

9
There was a hill to one side, and she could dimly see someone trying to heave a boulder up it.

10
He and Harmony held the tall longbow steady while Hayley picked and peeled at one of the lower twinkles. To her relief, it came free quite easily and rolled into her palm like a small loose diamond. Very carefully, she zipped it away into the smallest of her trouser pockets.

11
Another woman came along with a huge earthenware jar of wine and tipped it into the first woman’s face. “Drink up!” she shrieked. “Drown your sorrows!”

12
Part of the clump immediately rose up into a tall, square shape. It unfolded two long legs like chicken legs and stalked towards them. When it reached Martya, it stopped and let down a ladder from the balcony on its front. “Is my hut,” Martya said.

Silver book

This week, we had an exchange thing between classes at my college. I spent one afternoon teaching bookbinding, and one afternoon learning some very basic metalwork. It turned out better than I ever dared dream.

So this is a necklace pendant in silver – and, of course, it’s a book.

The necklace chain goes through the cut-out A, but I’m thinking of adding a small ring, that might stop it from turning inside-out all of the time… My favourite part of it is that the hallmark stamps is in the place of page numbers.

 

 

Drottningens Väg – a book in three variations

In November 2010 I wrote Drottningens väg (The Queen’s Way) for NaNoWriMo.

In April 2011 we had our annual spring exhibition at Leksands Kulturhus. The theme was Från det ena till det andra (From one thing to another). I’d had plans for a book jacket since the year before, and this seemed like the perfect time to make one. So from one thing to another (and another, and another): From my story, to a book, to a jacket and at last (because as I said in post about gifts, I don’t really know when to stop) to a necklace/choker.

I could have covered the book in the same fabric that I used for the jacket, but I felt that there would be more of a “transformation feeling” if I just chose a paper very similar to the fabric, and I think I found the perfect one. The book in itself is straightforward enough, leather back with foil print and leather corners, french headbands.

Then the jacket. I used fake leather for the back and corners, and printed it with the same machine we use for title prints. I wanted to silk screen print the lining, but since I didn’t have the necessary equipment, I did it with those iron-on papers that you just print from the computer*.  This had the effect of making the fabric a lot stiffer, which wasn’t really what I wanted, but maybe looked better than if I had got my will. The “beginning” of the jacket-book (that is, the right side) is lined with the prologue, the “end” is lined with the epilogue, and the ruffle around the cuffs are my favourite parts from the middle.

I’m always making mini versions of stuff, so before I knew what I was doing, I had a mini book in the same paper and even with similar headbands. I wanted to make a necklace that would be visible together with the jacket, so a choker felt like the best choice. The  leather band around the choker is printed (in the same lovely machine as all other foil prints, of course), with one of the first lines from the book: Aldavera, värdshusvärdens dotter, hade aldrig följt floden längre än en dags vandring neråt. (Aldavera, the innkeper’s daughter, had never followed the river more than one day’s walk downstream.)

 

*The word “print” just stopped looking real to me from typing it too many times, by the way.

 

 

Making of The Seventeenth Step

After I copied the whole body of text into Word and printed it on nice paper (after some hours of editing, such as replacis soft returns with hard returns in the entire document), I stitched the book with flax thread. When I thought about if I should wax the thread or not, then I remembered Sussex and the bees, so beeswax it was.

After stitching it, I glued the spine and… argh, I really don’t know what it’s called in English, but well, I shaped the spine. With a hammer. Then French headbands. I used silk thread, grey and blue for Holmes and Watson. There is a third thread that is just for tying the knots around, that you never see, and I made that red for hidden love, because I’m silly like that.

After gluing on the cover boards I measured the leather for spine and corners. The lovely green machine is a Shärf-fix, you use it to thin out the edges of the leather. I glued on false raised binds (direct translation from Swedish, I really need to learn some English terms), then pasted on the leather.

Then time for the paper. This, too, is silver and blue for Holmes and Watson, I made it especially for this book. (The paper on the box, which I forgot to take a good picture of before cutting it up, is made especially for this book to, with the London fog of the 1880’s as inspiration.)

Then box-making, a french box with a hollow spine. Last, I printed the title with “gold” foil.

 

Bookbinding: The Seventeenth Step

This summer, I had plans. I was going to sew clothes and write lots and and and… and I read Sherlock fanfiction the whole summer. I’m not that surprised, really. One author, Katie Forsythe, really had the voice of the original books perfectly down.

The thing is, since the text was so like the books, I felt that it needed to actually be a book. It would fit so well between covers of leather and marbled paper. My fingers itched for a chance to bind it. So I mustered all the courage I had (I’m kinda shy, and absolutely terrified of talking in English to people on internet, especially people I admire) and asked Katie Forsythe for permission to print and bind her works.

The format is called dos-á-dos, meaning back-to-back in French. I call it tvillingband in Swedish, twin binding. I wanted to make a box to protect the book, and ended up with a box that I’m tempted to make another box to protect… I made the cover papers especially for this project. Since the seventeenth step in the title refers to the 221b Baker Street staircase, I printed the title… well, like a staircase.

Since it’s Sherlock Holmes, I just had to make a secret compartment in the spine of the box. There should be a cocaine syringe in there, but there are limits to what I do for my art…

 

The ultimate combination

…is being both a writer and a bookbinder. Because that mean that when NaNoWriMo is over, I can turn my newly written novel into a hardcover book. With embroidered covers. Just because I can.

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