By Claire Brach
This workshop, taught by Jean Riley, aimed at teaching the method of producing a chain effect woven rigid spine for a book with multiple signatures. Due to class time constraints Jean had put in an amazing amount of work in advance so we could spend most of the time learning the binding and creating the slip box/cover, as opposed to cutting and covering templates.
So she came with some components ready-prepared (thanks Jean, because I, for one, couldn’t have completed the project in one day otherwise).
In addition to the book construction, Jean demonstrated how to prepare fabric book covers by adhering fabric to a rice-paper backing using wheat paste as an adhesive. Once dry, the fabric and paper bonded, you have a stiffened surface ready to line with cardboard to create a rigid book cover.
Note: The red arrow below shows the wheat paste. The consistency was quite thick and it was applied to the rice paper using a pouncing movement so as not to damage, drag or tear the paper. The fabric was then laid over this.
As if we weren’t learning enough, Jean also managed to squeeze in details of how to make patterned papers using wheat paste, acrylic paint and rubber combs to create swirls and designs. She had prepared some sheets as samples and also provided some for our inner book covers and fly leaves.
Then we were onto the stitched binding, which entailed 2 needles at the same time – the first time I’ve attempted this.
It was pretty quiet in the room at this point – concentration was all!
Once the stitched spine was complete we worked on the front return, adding a button and elastic fastening. We lined the inside and started on our book box. This was constructed from 3mm box board, covered and lined, and, yes, the books fitted perfectly.
A great day and a lovely book project.