Posts Tagged Book-binding
The Tri-Gear Journal
The Tri-Gear journal was a fun one to do. It had a great weight and feel to it. It had 12 signatures and measured 6 inches square. The only thing that made it a little wonky was that the clock winding key that I attached on the back, so that it didn’t lay completely flat. It looks really cool, but does not, as I said, lay flat.
I’m particularly proud of the way the stitching turned out on the back. That’s where my love affair with working out intricate stitching began. A well patterned stitch is a nice subtle touch that can really make the back cover of a journal pop.
The GS 01 TOP SECRET Journal
One of the first in my “Punch Card Key” series, The GS 01 was more of an experiment. GS 01 taught me a lot about making small landscape journals. It also taught me about making metal journals without using lots of found objects and refining my designs. The punch card journals were also the beginning of a piece of fiction, about a super science organization that spans the centuries, that I am currently working on.
I placed the fictional corresponding lock that the punch card key would open in London in 1943 I thought that it would be a good setting for a story and where my fictional super science organization “Gearskull Lab” would be located at that time.
That’s my quick-ish update (Two in one day? I know. Crazy, right?) on some of the journals I’ve made in the past year or so. Next post will have some more of my recent work; and soon there should be a bit of news about whats coming up at the Artfest Annex on First Thursday.
The next journal that I made is the Leather X’s Journal. With this one I wanted to explore fully covering the metal of the back and front cover using multiple types of leather (both in color and texture) and using the thread that binds the leather as a design element. I also made this one a smaller size, about 3″ X 5″. I found working with the smaller size a challenge. While I was working on it I had half of a quote to a book that I can’t really remember running through my head; basically the quote said that if you could create something in miniature then you would work out all of the issues in creating at a normal size. This has been sticking in my head for the last few journals, but I’ll post about them later.
For the cover of the Leather X’s Journal I decided to use a dark brown leather for the base of the cover, spine and back. For the other pieces of leather I tried to grab some contrasting colors. To gain a sense of depth I placed the light tan leather under the midtone brown. With the shapes I tried to create a dynamic, flowing edge to them drawing your eye all over the journal but always bringing it back to the center. In attaching the base leather I went with making a lot of smaller x’s to give myself a larger space to work with for the design of the cover. While the base leather is attached with evenly spaced x’s, the mid- and foreground leather are attached with slightly irregular x’s. Additionally I used alternating colors of thread to add some more contrast to the cover as a whole. I chose the bright silver closure because as a whole the cover seemed too dark to me, with there being only a small amount of the tan leather showing. To rivet the closure on to the cover and strap I used some brass nails. To create a base for the closure to rivet to on the strap I sewed a small clipping of copper to the underside of the strap and riveted the other side of the closure through the leather to the copper underneath. All in all I’m fairly happy with the way the cover came together from my initial design ideas.
As with the Metronome Lever Journal, I decided to keep a simple approach and just bound it and created a smash knot in the center of the top. At 10 signatures of 3 pages per signature, the Leather X’s Journal has a nice weighty feel to it without being too heavy.
With the back of the Leather X’s I decided that simpler was better, and mirrored the stitching on the front cover for the dark brown leather. To attach the strap of the closure I chose to do two rows of x’s and maintain the minimalist approach that I took with the back.
I’m very pleased with the way that the Leather X’s Journal came out. Both the size and the weight give it a good feel in your hands. I don’t know if it’s the way I bound it or if I simply did something different with the binding but the opening and closing of the book even has a nice feel to it. That’s it for the Leather X’s Journal.
Next up is the Tri-Gear Journal. See you then.
The Metronome Lever Journal is actually the third journal that I made. The Mica Journal was the 2nd journal I made; but I’m gonna go a little out-of-order, as I don’t know where the Mica Journal is because of my recent move to Seattle. It’s in a box somewhere. When I find it I’ll post it up. I learned how to make the Mica Journal in a class at Journalfest, taught by Dan Essig. Anyway…
The Metronome Lever Journal was made when Tracy held a class at his studio and invited Trista and I to attend. I had some ideas kicking around for a smaller journal than the Brass Tome. Clocking in at 7″ x 9″ and 9 five-page signatures thick, the Brass Tome is a bear to lug around. My idea was something smaller to carry arround and have the Brass Tome to work in at home or on special occasions. I looked to the paperback books that I love so much (for their portability). The size of a paperback is approximately 4″ x 5″. That seemed a little small to me, by and large not giving me a lot of real estate to draw, create, and write; so I increased the size to 5″ x 7″. With 6 signatures of 3 pages each, it is much more portable.
And thus the Metronome Lever Journal was born.
While I was trying to come up with some ideas for the cover I kept coming back to these 2 plates and camera lens. The plates were no problem to attach, some rivets and its good to go. The camera lens presented a huge problem in mounting it to the front of the journal. One idea that I had was to sand down a small piece of plywood, drill out a hole large enough to fit the lens, and rivet it to the copper before attaching the leather. That was what I went with as my attachment method, but all of the large-bore bits were either slightly too small or slightly too big. Rather than force it, I decided that it would be better to g too big and then glue it in with gorilla glue. I was a little wary of using glue cause if i messed it up i probably wouldn’t get a second chance and could potentially ruin the lens. but it all worked out fine and the lens looks great.
I didn’t do too much to the spine of the Metronome Lever other than the binding. The only concession to anything slightly stylish is how I dealt with melting the knot. After binding the journals signatures together, instead of using a charm, which i have found breaks my knots, I melted the knot down; and while the wax polyester was still hot I mashed the knot down on to the pine plank that I’ve been using as a drilling surface. This gives me what i call a smash knot. It makes a small flat disk and keeps everything bound nicely.
Like the back of the Brass Tome, I opted for the use of 2 running stitches with 2 colors of thread. I also then added on the other metronome plate on the back. I was really lucky that I found the cool scars for the back of the journal.
For this one I decided that a 6 signature book didn’t need a closure and I think that its given the book a really clean look. The copper was originally polished to a mirrored finish, and I really like how it’s tarnished up as I’ve handled it.
Well that’s the Metronome Leather Journal. Thanks for taking a look at it.
Next up is the Leather X’s Journal.
First, some background…
About a year and 3 months ago a few friends of mine and I went to Seattle to visit some other friends of ours. One of our friends, Tracy, makes these really awesome handmade metal cover journals. While we were there we all asked him if he could teach us to make them. He of course said yes because hes an awesome guy, and we all got to go home with an awesome metal cover journal. This one was mine.
The elements on the cover I got at a few different places. The rusted spigot knob and cabinet handle came from an antique store in Port Gamble. The shift lock key came from a vendor at the, appropriately named, vendor night of Artfest. The latches that form the closures were purchased at Archie McPhee in Seattle.
I had originally planned on filling the negative space on the cover with lots of other do-dads and what-not, but found that I really liked the open unadorned brass. It gives it a nice space to just be; as opposed to being overcrowded with lots of cool, but ultimately overwrought stuff. I especially like how the brass has aged as its been handled.
The spine of the book is fairly simple as far as books go. The binding I used is the one Tracy taught me to do. It works great on journals with leather spines. It has the added benefit of looking really cool and being really easy to do. The buttons on the spine came from an antique stone in Port Townsend. I don’t entirely know why i put the buttons on the spine, but I’m glad that I did. I suppose that I thought that it would look cool, and it does. I was a little worried that they would end up getting pulled off in my travels and getting stuffed into and pulled out of my backpack. So far they have held up really well.
The back of the Brass Tome Journal is again really simple, almost to the point of being utilitarian. The only little element of style that I put in was the grey thread that I used for the running stitch on the interior stitch. The attatchments for the closures have a little bit of superfluous stitching to give it a certain look. Other than that though I really liked the look of the full leather back on the, well, back.
And that is my breakdown presentation of the Brass Tome Journal.
Now its a year and three months later and alot of things are different. Since I made that journal I fell in love and moved out to Seattle from Albany, NY. The wonderful young woman that I fell in love with is Trista Moore, daughter of my friend Tracy.
I’ve been cranking out lots of new journals lately and I can’t wait to share them with you. More to follow soon here on Gearskull