Saturday, April 28, 2007

CBAS Study Group: Six-Needle Coptic Binding

I have been traveling the last two months and, regrettably, have missed the last two study groups, the second session of Interlocking and Woven Book Structures, covering Slit/Slot & Other Paper Hinging Techniques, (see Piano Hinging for part one), and most recently, Potato Print Papers.*

No photograph can convey the simple beauty of the potato print papers that were produced during this last meeting. Even so, I thought I would include one here. As you can see in the photograph above, many of these papers were used in today's project.

Here's a photo of our eager-to-learn group. All that was required of us was that, prior to our meeting, we pick up our precut book boards, covers for the book we were going to make, and cover them, preferably with the decorative papers made the month before.

Our first task was marking and making holes in the book signatures. For this, we used a hole punching cradle, a device to position the signature for accurate hole making.

Here is a closeup of both sides of the cradle, top and bottom. This one is made with medium weight binder's board.

Cran is instructing the group on how to accurately mark their covers for punching so the resulting holes will line up properly with the holes in their signatures.

Jeanne is sewing her first signature to her back cover. Coptic stitch can be done with one needle but we used six needles, worked in pairs. Once we got started, it was pretty easy going. If you are interested in this stitch, check out Keith Smith's Non-Adhesive Binding, Volume III: Exposed Spine Sewings. We worked from one of the diagrams in his book.

I didn't have any stamped paper so I used a paste paper I made in a workshop last year. The term refers to a method of decorating the surface of paper with acrylic or tempera paint mixed in a paste medium. I'll be writing more about this in a future post.

A closeup of the stitched binding. What is nice about the coptic stitch technique is that, once you catch on to the stitching, it is fast, it uses no adhesive (except for what is needed to attach decorative paper to the cover boards), and the book opens flat (nice for sketching and/or journaling).

*Red potatoes were said to be the best.