Dear Friends, Students, Faculty Members and lovers of books,

This is Deb Stevens. I am the administrative director for the American Academy of Bookbinding based out of Telluride, Colorado. This blog was started as a way for all of us, those who have studied at AAB, friends of AAB, as well as those who want to find out more about this place, can keep in touch with each other during the year. I'll be posting all kinds of photos, news and updates as regularly as possible (or newsworthy). I hope you will also share any bookbinding thoughts, questions, revelations, etc. Send me your photos and let us all know what you're up to. Keep connected!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My first head band...English style (or so I'm told.)


It turns out it was too hard to take the class and work at the same time, so I quickly fell behind. I've almost finished my half leather binding, and I've just started on the full leather binding. But, I LOVED THE CLASS! As an artist, my working style is quick and messy, and in fine binding one has to do the opposite: be patient, take care, and work with precision. I can do it if I have to, and in this class I absolutely had to. When I pared my leather to quickly, I ruined several pieces. If I eyeballed something instead of measuring it, my line was crooked. Yes, I had to slow down, and if I really was just taking the class (and trying not to worry about my job) then it was a blast. And the joy I felt when I got something right was fabulous! I do see why so many people study here, and are hooked, and come back year after year. There is something very meditative and intimate in the making of a book.

Here's how the rest of the class progressed: cover the half leather book; glue decorative paper on the covers; make and glue the paste-down; and then attach the end pages. Then repeat everything and make a full leather binding. In between all that, we sanded, pared and sanded some more. Here are a few things I've learned:

One must have a sharp knife and keep it sharp; do not let paste or PVA dry on your brush; don't wet your leather and walk away for any reason, a tide line might form (it did!); measure, then measure again; dividers are really cool little instruments; there are different kinds of bone folders, and a small pointy one is good to have; paring leather is hard to do well; using a scharf-fix takes practice; I need glasses; be patient!

My half leather binding

Don explains how he comes up with a design.

Kirsty with her two books.

Michelle with her half leather binding.

Don applies paste for his full leather cover.

Emily with her books.

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