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.