Saturday, October 09, 2010

Learning New Bindings

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. Amanda Watson-Will


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!


  1. I love your paper choices.... and the asymmetrical 'tapes' are really effective - I think you can call this book a great success amanda!

  2. I like this one too, Amanda. Congratulations on working out a style you hadn't done before; it looks great. I know it's nice to recycle but conserve your strength, buy some new clay.

  3. How about a grog bin? Or does that involve the same level of hard slog?

  4. Love the cover and the way you've done it asymmetrically (not sure of the spelling!). Looks like you're having fun, but I'm with Carol, reserve your strength! It's such a precious commodity. Sara x

  5. Thanks for commenting everyone! It's so good to hear your feedback, and you are right about the recycling - it's just not the best use of my energy.
    Di - the thing about this clay is that it was unused, and had gone hard in the bag just because it had been sitting so long. Recycling your scraps is a lot easier!

  6. The book looks great! I love your choice of the covering paper, and the idea to turn a piece of leather around on the front cover - very effective!

  7. Great looking and very stylish book! Congratulations!!!