50 books in a year of being 50

In this year of being 50 I have decided to follow one of my creative passions
and make 50 handmade books over the year.

Early next year I will find a way to exhibit the books and auction them.

The money raised will go to Plum Village in France,
a monastic retreat centre inaugurated by Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Book number 51, How long does it take?

Current bid for this book stands at £10
This is an addition to the original 50 books as I made this one after someone asking how long it takes to make a book. The book measures 11 x 15.5cm with 92 pages of cartridge paper and a ribbon bookmark with a heart attached.
It is the simplest form of book-making with pages divided into signatures and sewn together then glued down the spine and attached to the covers.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

How long does it take to make a book? - part 2

How long does it take to make a book?
How long does it take to grow a tree
to create the wood that can be cut down
to make the pulp to form the paper?
How many years of practising and learning
the art of book-binding to produce
this book I offer to you?

They say it takes
10,000 hours to produce a craftsman
10,000 hours of working it out and
trying it this way or exploring that way
getting it wrong as well as getting it right.
More to learn from the mistakes I make
next time try this
instead of doing it that way, do this.

How many hours of choosing paper and card
of building up stock
so I can look at my shelves and pick
this for the pages
this for the cover?
How many books have I read to learn this art?
How many hours of practising, investigating
of 'what if' and 'maybe'?
How many hours to develop muscle memory
so the hands know what to do without
engaging the brain?
How many hours does it take to make a book?

© 4 May 16

Saturday, 7 May 2016

How long does it take to make a book?

 My friend asked this question recently, as she said it might be helpful in giving people an idea of what to bid for a book. I couldn't answer the question at the time as I haven't made one this year so I made one yesterday and today to check. Of course each book is individual but this should give you some idea of the time and processes involved in making each book.

This is the simplest form of book, pages put together in sections called signatures,
sewn together and attached to the cover. 

It starts with sheets of paper and a selection of card.

 The all important bag of accessories - 

from which the various equipment emerges - 

Cutting the paper to the correct size is the first step, 
using a metal ruler to slice the paper and leave lovely rough edges

Now the signatures, 6 double pages per signature, 
are ready for sewing holes in their spines.

Holes are pencil marked ready to be stabbed.

Making the holes

Starting to sew the signatures together

Signatures sewn together, ready for gluing.
At this stage it goes into the book press.

And the scrim that holds the spine together is glued in place.
The signatures are now left in the book press overnight to set.

Meanwhile, the cover can be prepared.
The pages are measured with precise millimetres added to work out the size for each card cover.

The card covers and spine are cut.

A selection of gorgeous papers to choose from to decorate the cover.

The equipment for the cover.

Gluing the corners down

Preparing the triangles for the front cover

The cover is now ready for pressing
with vital kebab sticks to press the spine neatly

As the book press is occupied I use a pile of books to press the cover overnight.

Now everything rests under weights overnight for the glue to set.
It is important to let the glue dry properly before the final stage of assembling
the signatures inside the cover.

And here is the finished book, with a ribbon bookmark and heart attached

 Another view of the finished book.

So how long does it take? 
This took 2 hours 16 minutes without the pressing time overnight.
But bear in mind this is the simplest form of book, with no added text or printing or embellishments!