|Barcelona/Spain travel sketchbook.|
You may recall my hemming and hawing about whether to bind all the signatures into a single volume, or separate the symposium workshop exercises into a separate book. On the one hand, the Urban Sketching symposium was the impetus for the trip, so sketches done in the workshops seemed like they should be integrated with the rest of the sketches. On the other hand, most of the work done in workshops were incomplete or mechanical exercises, and the subject matter were often gesture sketches of people or value studies of café umbrellas – content that doesn’t indicate the location. They don’t seem to fit in with the rest of my travel sketches.
|Symposium workshop exercise sketchbook.|
The front cover of the workshop sketchbook is a collage of a small poster we received and the symposium logo. The back cover is a map of Barcelona. The thicker travel sketchbook’s covers are also made of maps and a collage of postcards and other ephemera. I used a few blank pages in both sketchbooks to hold more postcards, cards I traded with symposium participants and other keepsakes.
One excellent feature of the Coptic binding stitch I used is that the signatures do not have to be exactly the same size to be bound together. I removed the staples from the symposium program (which is slightly smaller than the signatures), punched holes to match the sketchbook signatures, and bound the program right into the back of the sketchbook as a keepsake (a much better place for it than a file folder or bookshelf, where I’d never find or look at it again).
|Symposium program bound into the sketchbook.|
I love the Stefano cover, especially the flexibility it enables of using any kind of paper (as well as the potential to use a variety of papers while still maintaining chronological continuity). I enjoy temporarily pamphlet-stitching the signatures before the trip as well as the Coptic stitching afterwards, which is such an elegant binding mechanism. Making the collages for the book covers was also fun. And overall, it was highly satisfying to make my first travel sketchbooks entirely by hand. (The latter feeling is residual from when I first began sketching. At that time, I idealistically considered making all of my own sketchbooks for the rest of my sketching life because it seemed like such a perfect integration of media and message – hand-drawn images kept in handbound books. But idealism gave way to convenience, and other than a few greeting card sketchbooks, I’ve purchased all of my sketchbooks ever since.)
The parts about bookbinding that I didn’t care for were cutting the cover boards (not to mention measuring them accurately, which unfortunately didn’t happen), punching the pages, drilling the cover holes, and the relatively time-consuming process of applying and waiting for acrylic medium on the covers to dry, and then applying and waiting for the final acrylic varnish coat to dry (though I now really like the result of the strong, thoroughly protected covers).
There’s also the matter of discovering – after I had completely finished binding the larger, more time-consuming volume – that I had inadvertently bound two signatures out of sequence, so I had to cut it all apart and start over! Oh, well – it was a recoverable error, and the thread tension of my second attempt is more consistent, so the spine looks better anyway.
|Coptic-bound spine, which I unfortunately had to stitch twice.|
I suppose I could store away completed, unbound signatures during the good sketching months, and do all the binding during the winter doldrums, which would be more productive than complaining about the weather.
(Edited 10/20/13: See my post "The Hand Bookbinding Groove" to read about how I streamlined the cover-making process and how I'm now hooked on bookbinding.)