|March-April handbound sketchbook|
With sketches dated from March 3 through April 15, my eighth handbound sketchbook is done. (One book is still in the Museum of History and Industry exhibit, but I count the two separately bound volumes from the Barcelona Urban Sketching symposium and my related travels as one sketchbook, so that’s why you can still see eight books on the shelf [below]. Not that you’re counting, but this blog serves as documentation for myself, so I feel compelled to account for everything accurately.) Featured on the covers this time are sketches of MOHAI’s beautiful clock and a maple finally showing signs of spring.
It’s probably not apparent in the photos, but instead of the black bookbinding thread I used on the previous volumes, I tried an olive green thread this time. I like the way the thread coordinates with the various shades of green in the cover sketches. It’s one of several thread colors I got recently from Oregon Art Supply. Although it’s 3-ply like my black thread, it feels a little thinner, so I wondered if it would make a difference in the binding, but it doesn’t seem to.
|Stitching visible in the center of a page spread.|
It does, however, bring up an issue I’ve considered occasionally in my bookbinding explorations: how the binding thread looks in the center page spread of each signature. More often than not, I enjoy sketching across the opened page spreads, so the thread ends up marching rather obtrusively down the center of the sketch (see image at left). Of course, I always scan the sketches while they are still in signatures that are temporarily stitched with white thread, so the stitching is less apparent in the digitized images (see the blog post in which this sketch initially appeared). I could do the final Coptic binding with white thread, but then I’d lose most of the visual impact of the exposed thread on the spines, which is the thing that appeals to me most about Coptic binding. I guess it’s an acceptable tradeoff: Slightly obtrusive thread in the center of each signature offset by beautiful spines.
Even after nine (not counting do-overs from errors and books made while learning) Coptic bindings, I still find consistent thread tension to be a challenge. But that, too, is something I’ve come to accept as part of the hand bookbinding process. Most of my sketches are wonky in some way; if the binding is too, then they are made for each other.
|My handbound sketchbook collection (with an old fuzzy friend serving as a bookend).|