Oh, August you say? Yes, rather a slack poster of late. There was a trip away to twiddle my thumbs in Taranaki, score some mean fabric and baking tins, eat whitebait fritters and let Rata push her trolley all over the place. Then I came back to find that the Beach Store in Paekakariki had sold all the books we made for them earlier this year, and would we like to make more? I ditched my craft malaise and got busy, albeit in a tidy, orderly fashion. Something that is utterly beyond me in sewing (and baking) but seems easy in paper craft.
Here, arranged on the ironing board, which incidentally is one of the few surfaces that Rata cannot in any way reach, are my chosen books from the archive of ‘things to cut up’. The Monkeys, Gravity is a Mystery, High Roads and red book on the right with hands were liberated from their spines and will be ring-bound. The others I carefully removed their innards leaving their covers pristine. If you don’t like talking about cutting up books and maps and stuff I think you should probably look away now…
Fortunately I had the good idea of choosing books that were only two sizes to cut paper for, marking the dimensions on the cutting mat and cutting my chosen paper stock to each book size. It turned out that by doing this I was more efficient in use of resources, working out quickly how many pages I could get out of each large piece. I was using old maps, ship engineering diagrams ripped out of books, aerial photographs, interesting pages from encyclopedias and annuals, mixed in with decent drawing and water colour paper.
Once I had some decent piles of materials, divvied them between the five covers with their spines intact, to put together folios to fold, sew and then glue back in. Basically repeating the construction of the original books, but for the purpose of drawing and introspection.
I then set to work on the books to be spiral bound and have sworn NEVER AGAIN will I do spiral bound notebooks for anything bigger than 10x15cm. I started making them to use up the scraps of paper from the hand-sewn books. When you get to cutting paper especially for larger books, the endeavour loses its sheen. It is a lot of cutting, and while you quickly get to a books’ thickness when you’re folding pages, with spiral binding there is no such luxury. Then you must trim them without the security of stitching. And then pay for their binding. The original attraction of this style of bookmaking – to use up entrails – is lost, and what’s more they look cheaper than the beautiful hand-bound books. Lose lose lose. But this bit was fun:
Anyhoo, enough ranting. All up, it hasn’t taken as long as it has in the past, being an efficient production line of sorts. I mean, it has taken me two weeks, but that’s just an hour here, ten minutes there, sneak a bit of cutting in before I realise Rata is eating the nappy cream. It must taste really good, she always makes the most of any opportunity.
Anyway, I’m one session of glue away from five completed books – three have been weighted overnight, one is hanging out under some heavy books as I type, and the fifth is having its spine glued like this:
Now for some finishing touches, such as gluing in old library card envelopes and putting in our ‘card’, saying our email address and whatnot, and we are done. And dusted. And ready to make more books.
I’m waiting to hear back from the copy centre where I took the spiral bound books. I happened to talk to the most experienced ring-binder of them, who was going away for a few days but asked if I could wait until next week so that he could do them himself. Sweet service! So photos of those to come…