Creative Goals: Bookbinding

It doesn't matter how amazing the internet gets, I'm always going to love books. Whether they're cheaply mass produced or old and beloved, books are one of those things I can't imagine my life without. I love the sensory experience of books, which is something sadly lacking in computers. Oh, sure, you can feel each identical key under finger pad for a moment as you hurriedly type. But books have a smell, one capable of reminding us of long forgotten events and moments.

I love that covers and pages each have a texture to be subtly explored while your eyes flick over the words. As you read, your fingers absently move over the cover and the pages the book is open to. If the cover is embossed, fingers trace over the raised pattern, sometimes without your notice; subconsciously, you memorise the pattern and the feel of a favourite book. Even years later, you know the feel of the book, and running your fingers along the embossed pattern you remember the feeling of enjoyment that came from the original reading.

Each page of a journal is a promising expanse of white to be filled as you see fit. The tap of keyboard keys doesn't seem to come close to mirroring the beauty of the soft scratch of a pen and the rustling of pages. Books are a community experience, where people can add a piece of themselves at will. I have a book of poety that was given to my Grandmother in 1926. The flowing, beautiful birthday message is a trip back in time, a captured moment of joy and love. Her aunt searched out this book, took the time to write in it her wishes for my Grandmother's life, and sent it to her. My Grandmother treasured that book. Some books have notes and ideas scribbled into the margins, giving future readers insights and potentially, a chance to explore a different opinion than their own. Stumbling across a note included book in a library is like finding a hidden message.

Given how much I love books, it's hardly surprising that one of my 2011 creativity goals is to learn to make my own.

There are some beautiful hand made journals out there (here, for example, are some of the most beautiful I've seen), and while I'd love to buy many of them, they're also deeply inspirational. I'd love to create something even half as beautiful.

My (very) long term goal for book binding is to one day make myself a few books like the Book of Shadows in the movie Practical Magic (you can see what I'm talking about here). Beautiful, isn't it? What it is, at its most basic, is two books as one; a larger section and a smaller, almost hidden one behind it. So far as I can figure, it's just about extending the cover so that it's able to cover the two books easily and making it strong enough not to fall apart. I really love the notion of that book, but definitely not the price of it. I don't want to spend a couple of hundred dollars on a book unless I've made it myself. For me, it's ok to spend a lot on making something, but I feel uncomfortable spending that much on something if I think I can manage it on my own. The examples for sale I've seen are astoundingly beautiful- I possibly will never manage to make it that beautiful, but the idea of trying seems like a good one.

So far, though, my brave and wonderful need to try bookbinding has remained at the research stage. There's a wealth of information and ideas online, so much so that you could spend a lifetime reading the different ways of bookbinding without ever giving it a try.

I don't think I'll try the leather worked covers, but I've been toying with designs for mixed media covers. I love the idea of making sketch books or note books in various sizes; and at the moment I'm very into the idea of creativity based fundraising. I live in Queensland, and while I avoided being flooded, I'm feeling an incredibly strong pull to finding ways to help.

Two of my favourite resources when it comes to crafting are at and Both are free, and if you're thinking of trying your hand at a new skill, they're certainly worth exploring. So far they've given me a wealth of ideas to try.

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