Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Japanese Stab Binding


On Sunday afternoon, my boyfriend and I took a walk down to the Canal Basin to attend a bookbinding workshop, taught by our friend Rosie as part of the Japanese Cultural Festival. I did some slap-dash bookbinding back in my uni days, but Rosie, an art student herself, is crazy about it and could definitely teach me a thing or ten.

The workshop was only an hour long, so Rosie chose to demonstrate a technique that requires little equipment or time, but is incredibly useful. She explained to us that she uses this method a lot, including for making her own sketchbooks. The books can be taken apart when full, and edited to her liking before being easily sewn back together. It is also great for mending old books that are falling apart. In fact, the most difficult part of this technique, we found, is threading your needle!

Rosie started the class by telling us a little bit about Japanese stab binding - 'Yotsume Toji', and its uses. She provided us with everything we needed, which were stacks of paper; lots of lovely decorative front and back papers; awls and hand drills for making the holes, and needles and coloured thread for sewing them together. The class was really relaxed, and Rosie was full of useful little tips such as the importance of paper grain direction, and the little shortcuts she's found for measuring the holes.

Being reunited with bookbinding has got me thinking about the possibilities it holds for turning my work into more than 2 dimensional prints, which I've already started to explore. I really love the overall feel that stab binding gives a book: there can be no doubt that it is hand made. I'm hoping Rosie has the time to show me more of her bookbinding, as there is no better way to learn or be inspired than by someone actually doing it there in front of you.

Rosie finished the class by giving us each a lovely little scroll of hand-written instructions. Unfortunately, she doesn't have any online presence that I can share with you at the minute, but perhaps I can persuade her to aid me in putting together some little tutorial blogs at some point. Otherwise, get out there and search the web for one, and have a go. It's an excellent art.

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