This is my latest book. The paper on the cover is handmade mulberry that I bought in Sydney at Shop Kraft. Inside the cover I used paper from Amazing Paper, which I think is hairy abaca paper, but I’m not 100% on that.
The binding is waxed linen thread over leather tapes. I taught myself how it is done, and as such take full responsibility for any mistakes or misinterpretations of the instructions. I used two books to guide me, reading Keith Smith’s first volume as an initial introduction, but following the lovely diagrams and instructions in Cover to Cover, by Shereen LaPlantz.
It’s not too bad for a first attempt, although the stitches aren’t as even as I would like them to be. I found the signatures needed a bit more juggling and manoeuvring than with a coptic, which probably implies I was doing it all wrong!
I’m trying out a few different bindings at the moment as I have some books with clay covers planned. These will be heavier than usual covers, and so I need to be sure the binding will support the extra weight.
During the week, as part of the process of getting ready to make the clay covers, I recycled some old porcelain clay that had dried out. It’s nearly two years since I finished my masters and I haven’t done any work with clay since then.
The dried clay had to be broken up into small pieces and soaked in water (slaking) until a thick, wet, sticky mass is created. Then it is set out on plaster to have the moisture sucked back out, till it reaches just the right level of hydration and plasticity for handling.
This whole process takes a number of days and wow! was that physically-demanding! I was rather amazed to think how much of this sort of thing I used to be able to do. It’s a bit scary to think about. In future, I think I might just go right ahead and buy a lovely new workable bag of clay and forget about recycling. My energy is too precious!