Well, I’m 2 for 2– two books in two weeks, that is.  I’m not a “scrapbooker” in the conventional sense, but I do like making books with whatever I have on hand.  What I happen to have on hand is a true packrat’s delight–boxes and boxes full of odds and ends (and paper scraps) that I can’t bear to part with because of the possible art potential I see there.

I’ve been wanting to make a book for months to help me remember our year spent in beautiful western Massachusetts last year.  I’ve also been wanting to try a Coptic Stitch binding– a binding I learned years ago but haven’t repeated since, and that is beautiful and useful.

So I did just that:

~first, by cutting a stack of maps, brochures, envelopes, notes, etc., saved from our stay in MA down to a uniform size

~then, covering two recycled book covers (from a disassembled child’s board book) with one of my ink paintings ink-jet printed onto green Thai Lokta paper

~finally, stitching it all together using directions for the ‘Single Needle Coptic Binding’ beautifully written out and illustrated by my book-binding artist friend, Emily.

You can find the directions to the Coptic Stitch in many book-binding books, but the best way to learn is to be taught by a person sitting next to you, of course.  Since I didn’t have a teacher in the room I used the next best thing, finding Emily’s diagrams much clearer and easier to follow than a book I had with the same information (thanks Em!).

Here are the photos I took of the before and after cover and finished scrappy little book, measuring about 6 1/4″ x 4 1/4″ :

ink painting and ink-jet copies

ink painting and ink-jet copies

finished book, and directions

finished book, and directions

fanned book

fanned book

scrap pages

scrap pages

colorful spine

colorful spine

From start to finsh, the whole thing took less than 3 hours:  an hour of sorting, choosing, and cutting paper for the pages then organizing them into sections, about half an hour to prepare the cover papers and glue them up with PVA, and another hour to pierce and sew the covers and sections.  Not bad.  My coptic needs more work–especially getting the thread tension right, but I’m glad I chose it for this particular book.  My plan is to use this book as a place to keep brief notes and descriptions of our life and travels in New England, as well as paper mementoes and drawings from our time there.

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