Thursday, 22 November 2012

Bookbinding as a Handcraft by Manly Banister: A Book Review

Bookbinding as a Handcraft by Manly Banister

This is Dennis from Kleiner Eisbar, a bookbinder, paper crafter, and designer. You can find me and my wife, Krissy, on Etsy, Facebook and our blog.

If you're anything like me, you like to do things on your own time and at your own pace. I started bookbinding in 2011 because Krissy and I were getting married and needed a guestbook that wasn't boring and ugly. I'm not one to throw around words like "art" or "artist" and "fine art" practically forces me to roll my eyes whenever I hear it. But, I do quite favor the idea of being considered a creative or a maker and that is my relationship with bookbinding and essentially every other craft or art form that I pursue.

Manly Banister was a World War II Veteran and  science fiction writer before writing books about various crafts like bookbinding and printmaking. He was born with what can be considered one of the most amazing names on planet Earth and the photos in his book, Bookbinding as a Handcraft, showing his hairy paws prove that his name is no misnomer.

Manly Banister during World War II

I'm not the type of person who's going to go to school, so I had to learn bookbinding the only way I know how—books and a whole lot of trial and error. Bookbinding books come in two flavors: old and new. Old books are very comprehensive (for the most part) and may or may not have illustrations. New books are very pretty and offer plenty of photos, but just aren't the greatest tool for learning the craft of bookbinding—they're more about projects than core concepts and fundamentals.

Bookbinding as a Handcraft bridges the gap between these two classes providing a whole lot of illustrations and photos, as well as many of the basics and requisite techniques for bookbinding as opposed to "here's how you make this specific accordion-fold book."

But Manly's books are by no means perfect. Manly Banister was a consummate amateur with no formal training. And this is why his book appeals to me (and perhaps you as well). I've been meandering my way through bookbinding mostly through trial-and-error, figuring out what works and what doesn't and that's pretty much how I imagine Manly did it as well. Due to this, some of his techniques are not ideal, such as not using archival, reversible pastes in lieu of glue. But you will find plenty of older books that make no qualms over using Formaldehyde when binding books and I think we can all agree that that doesn't sound like such a great idea either.

Manly Banister the craftsman

One of the best aspects of this book is the illustrations for equipment. As I said, Manly was an amateur but he was also a craftsman. Rather than buying a plough, press, or leather stamping tools, he'd build them himself. And for many of these self-built tools he offers great directions and fantastic illustrations for building yourself one too. It should come as no surprise that bookbinding tools are not easy to find, and the ones you do find tend to be rather expensive. So having the plans to build them yourself should make this book worth getting alone.

Manly Banister, Sci-Fi writer and artist

—Dennis from Kleiner Eisbär

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Books About Books

What is your favorite book about books? I must say, I for myself find it very hard to make a choice. I recently asked the question on the mailing list and most of the answers I got named books about bookbinding. I hope all those who came up in favor of one or several titles will have the time to contribute a short review of their favorite book. Many titles I personally didn't know, and I love to expand my library of books about bookbinding!

Other than more or less instructional books about bookbinding, there are also gallery books showing off books, bindings and book art. There are novels where bookbinders, librarians or other "book folk" and their work are in the center of focus. And many more genre that would fall into this category. What is your favorite? - Let us know in the comment section!

Oh, and then we could of course open up this category for other media about books. For now I would like to finish off with this delightful little movie about books and libraries and reading:

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Tutorial: Simple handsewn French headbands

I once wrote a tutorial on this handsewn French style headband with bead on the front; Originally I wasn't doing it with any public blog in mind, only my own, but I think it might be helpful and interesting to many, even with its little shortcomings. This is my first post in the team blog, so greetings from Finland!

A handsewn French headband

A sturdy headband is beneficial for the structure of the whole book, so I'd like to encourage everyone dealing with a bit more expensive bindings to learn some basic styles. As it's somewhat time-consuming and not always easy to produce a good result I don't recommend sewing headbands just for the sake of "sewn headbands", if you know what I mean. But you are always free to experiment, and if you develop a passion for it (like I have done) you'll probably start sewing more and more each day... Because my tutorial concentrates on making a well-made and traditional looking headband yet with relative ease, I have sewn it only around one core. Traditional French headbands were often sewn around a double core - which has basically the same idea, only with more twisting.

Supplies for a handsewn headband

You can read the full tutorial on my blog V for Books here!
If you're interested in what kind of work I do, see also my Etsy shop and Facebook page.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Spot On BEST Mini Books

Miniatures can be really fascinating. Viewers often sway between shouting "how cute!" and awe at the maker's skills. Of course members of the bookbinding team also make the most amazing small books! Some of the books are already filled with content:
I LOVE YOU - Teeny, Tiny, Valentine Blizzard BOOK in Masu Box by MarcadeArtsPress
I LOVE YOU - Teeny, Tiny, Valentine Blizzard BOOK in Masu Box by MarcadeArtsPress
The Smiley Oracle by buechertiger

Others are sold blank for you to write in them. What to write in such a small book, you wonder? An example would be a blessing for a child or someone who is starting out an adventure of any kinds, or a favorite line of a song or poem for a lover. You can write one word or just one letter per page depending on the book's size.
Little Brown Book by badgerandchirp
 Mini Books don't have to just live a life on a shelf, they are being used as keychain adornments:
Functional Leather Book Keychain by WeAreBoundTogether
as necklaces:
Space nomad II - miniature book necklace by veterok
and also as magnets, earrings, and finger rings. Click here to discover more mini books by the bookbinding team.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

BEST Tutorials: Japanese Screw Punch by SeaLemon

Have you heard about Japanese Screw punches but wondered what exactly they are and how they work? There is a new video tutorial by our team member  SeaLemon in which she shows you how it works and how it is used.

Friday, 2 November 2012

BEST Zombie Award Winner 2012: Doctor Frankenstein's Monster Book

All the votes are in (in fact, I forgot the check the results yesterday, so a few extras may have snuck in there!), and the winner of this year's contest for Hallowe'en themed books is Doctor Frankenstein's Monster Book by Red Pumpkin Studio.

This book has sold already, but you can check out more of her work at her Etsy shop, or by visiting her blog.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Vote Now! BEST Zombie Award 2012

Vote for your favourite: free polls 

The winner will be announced on Hallowe'en!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Hallowe'en Challenge 2012

It's that time of year again. Did you know that Hallowe'en is the second-most commercially successful holiday (next to Christmas), and it's not even a day off!

BEST is holding its Hallowe'en Challenge again this year, and invites you to make you most creative book based on Hallowe'en, monsters, Day of the Dead, Bonfire Night, or anything else that sparks your imagination and fits the season.

Have your book up in your Etsy store, and tagged BESTHalloween2012 by the 24 Oct. The winner will be chosen by a vote on the blog, and announced 31 Oct.

The winner gets full bragging rights for the next year, and a graphic to display on their personal site.

We've had some really great entries in the past years, take a look to spark your imagination!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Winter Swap: Camille Riner

 "Winter Walk"  --  It may be March and spring in some areas of the world but at my house it is the time for the biggest snows. I made this miniature artist book to embrace the snows of March. The digital images inside the book are based on one of my original linocuts about the peace of the woods at night called, "Forest Bedroom." While the wind may be cold, it can be quite magical to walk under the moon through the trees on a snowy night.

Inside the book is a poem I wrote inspired by South Dakota winters and the work of poet Robert Frost. An excerpt reads, “Breath curls from under hoods. Downy flakes melt on Cheeks. Tracks wander in the quiet whiteness.”  --Camille Riner

Camille's offers her handmade artist's books, relief prints and note cards for sale in her shop here

Winter Swap: UsefulBooks

My recipient this time lives in Canada, so I was happy to make her a Versatile Travel Journal featuring a lovely map of her country.  This modified accordion book is the most popular design in my shop.  People love the pockets and envelopes and the way it opens from either side or all the way out for display.  I hope she enjoys using it!  --Cindy of UsefulBooks
Cindy's eco-friendly and cruelty-free handmade books can be found in her shop here.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Winter Swap: RoundtheWorldin80Pgs

This is a 5x7 album covered with a soft flocked paper from India. The album has 24 pages and nicely fits 4x6 photos with a nice border. The album was bound using a coptic stitch with a gold linen thread adding a regal look to the album. --Beth from RoundtheWorldin80Pgs
You can find Beth's one of a kind items, with papers from around the globe, in her shop here

Monday, 26 March 2012

Winter Swap: MakingMyRent

I bound this miniature book necklace with smooth white leather. It closes with a brown leather lace tie, and inside are 120 tea-stained pages sewn with waxed linen thread. The endpages are white textured handmade paper, and the headbands are white silk. I hung the little book on a long piece of white-gold ribbon, which can be tied at any appropriate length. --Amber of MakingMyRent

Find all of Amber's handmade journals for sale in her shop:  MakingMyRent

Winter Swap: LinenLaidFelt

This little book is a delicate accordion that incorporates two different printmaking techniques and features a collection of mixed papers. The covers are printed with a gridded pattern using a drypoint technique. I used a collagraph process to print the subtle lines inside the book, which are reminiscent of notebook paper used in school.  Folded signatures cut into geometric shapes (triangles, trapezoids, rectangles, and parallelograms) are sewn into each fold of the accordion.  These pages are made from an assortment of papers including notebook paper, graph paper, and pages from vintage geometry textbooks.  

I've titled this book "Isosceles Romance," and the inspiration behind it stems from a high school geometry class where I first met my husband at age 14.  The first time we talked, he asked me a question about isosceles trapezoids from our geometry homework.  Somehow that lead to our first date, and — nine years later — marriage.  We always give credit to geometry for the the start of our relationship.  --Katie of LinenLaidFelt

Katie's handmade wedding guest books, baby books and journals can be found in her shop, LinenLaidFelt.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Winter Swap: Textured Expression

This petite journal subtly buzzes with contrasts. Most apparently, the crisp apple red pops beside the understated brown paper shimmering with light gold floral designs. The first five signatures of the journal are "certified green" ivory-colored pages from Wausau Paper. The remaining signature is a funky collection of mostly recycled papers, although a new piece of maroon vellum is included. The majority of recycled pages come from SCRAP, an incredible nonprofit in Portland that is dedicated to the art of reuse. These sheets include a letterhead in Chinese, a page of Braille, and an empty data spreadsheet. A simple chain stitch in brown linen thread is exposed along the spine. The book is 5.75 inches wide and 6.75 inches tall.    -- Candyce from Textured Expressions

Handbound books and other items that Candyce has created can be seen in her Etsy shop, Textured Expressions

Winter Swap: Sprouts Press Designs

This book stems from a lifelong desire to marry painting, printmaking and bookbinding.  All the things I love!  It was created in a series (the printmaker in me, I cannot help it!) and this is the second to last one.  It pretty much sums me up, so I figure it’s perfect for the book swap!

This little gem is hand bound and has a hand painted cover in several shades of blue, a dash of red here and there and the odd shimmer of silver with hand printed lino cuts randomly placed. The cover is watercolour paper, doubled over for added durability. There is a beaded green linen thread tie to keep the book closed to protect the pages from unwanted creases.

The binding is a variation of longstitch in the same waxed green linen thread as the beaded tie, while pages are an eclectic mix of new and reclaimed papers. Everything from blank and found papers to maps are used as page materials.  Journal measures 5" x 5" and is approximately 1/2" thick, including covers. --Carolyn of Sprouts Press

 Visit Carolyn's shop for more books, paper arts and other handcrafted items.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Winter Swap: The Orange Windmill

This journal was made from the hard covers of a discarded book from the series entitled A Series of Unfortunate Events. While the covers were in great condition, many of the pages had been abused, so this book was headed for the dump. I reclaimed the book covers for this journal.

There are 180 pages of brown recycled paper with 9 signatures. Bound with the coptic stitch, this journal lays completely flat when open, enabling the user to utilize all of the page. The pages were individually hand torn by me.

This journal measures approximately 7.5" x 5", making it a great size for on-the-go writing. -- Shirley of The Orange Windmill. 

 Shirley's handbound leather journals and notebooks can be found in her Etsy shop, The Orange Windmill