Friday, 22 February 2008

Blank book

Another blank book I made recently - quarter bound with leather, my very first attempt at using leather in bookbinding. The leather is Arctic wolf-fish skin, dyed black. It has an interesting grain and shape, and so I did not trim the edges to make them straight, but covered the boards first with this interesting paper and then applied the leather to the spine, overlapping the paper to show off the uneven edge to best advantage.

I will probably use it as a journal on my next holiday, or I may give it to someone deserving, to be used as a diary, travel journal, sketch book (although this is not the best kind of binding or paper for that), or recipe book.

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A woman in my bookbinding group has been covering books with salmon-skin leather, which has an even cooler texture, but when I went to the leather shop to look at skins, the only salmon leather they had didn't have a nice texture, so I didn't buy any.

I did buy some other kinds of leather to use on books: a small pale golden-tan goatskin (morocco), a red-dyed spotted wolffish skin and a lizard skin that I would love to use in one piece to cover the spine of a book. It would have to be a big book, like a photo album or a scrapbook. I also saw some snake skins, but decided not to buy one until I have the right book for it. They also had some cool crocodile skins, but those were unfortunately too lumpy to be used to bind books, but I think a piece of such skin would make a fine embellishment on a book cover (provided the book was not to be stored in a bookcase where it might dent the other books...).

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Reading journal

I made this reading journal for myself in December and have been using it since the beginning of this year. It’s 336 pages long, a traditional hollow-back half-bound book, with Rexine on the spine and corners. The paper covering is gift-wrapping paper with decorated gilt letters copied from old books and manuscripts. That paper was a total horror to work with, and it wasn’t until the second attempt that I managed to get it smoothed onto the boards without tearing it (the trick was to use very thin glue, brush it on very quickly and smooth down the paper onto the boards before the glue weakened it). Since it is so delicate, it should become interestingly worn as time passes and it gets some handling. I have had both good and bad experiences with using gift-wrapping paper in book-making – this was one of the bad ones, but it's so beautiful that it doesn't matter.

I used regular office paper for the pages (weight: 80g per square meter), which is fine for journals as long as they are not intended for heavy ink drawings or watercolour art.

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