Bookbinding in Bristol

Long stitch binding
Long stitch binding

I spent most of yesterday at a bookbinding class at Heart Space Studios in Bristol ( with Lori Sauer.  I have been interested in making books for a while, and really like the instant results of the rubber band books which are the absolute simplest to make (just fold over some A4, make a slightly bigger scrap cardboard cover and hold the whole thing together with an upcycled red Post Office rubber band), but I had a hankering to learn how to make ‘proper’ books.  I am also interested in using the book itself to critique academic production (but that’s for another time), and the artisan quality of handbound books seems to me to be a good vehicle to explore this.  So, off I went with trusty companion Mike, and his sister Sarah.

We had a great day and all three of us came home with books that we were proud of (even though we knew we weren’t up there with the tutor whose work was really immaculate), but we had done it all ourselves including cutting every page inside the covers.  We did long stitch binding as in this example of mine:

Self-coloured binding
Self-coloured binding

There was something tremendously satisfying about these books, making them and holding them in the hand.  They have a great weight despite having only strong paper covers, and they stay flat when they are open which makes them possible to work into!

Lori was a great tutor, very informative and good-natured with our ham-fisted attempts, and she held a great balance between helping us out and making sure that we had actually produced the work ourselves.

I am now left wondering how I can use these techniques with fabric, which won’t be quite so easy, but which I don’t think is impossible.  And I went away feeling as though I had mastered something rather than being a dabbler!

One thought on “Bookbinding in Bristol

  1. Hi Ann,
    I am so glad that the bookbinding class has got you thinking of fabric books – I am really wanting to make a rag book – actually a fabric book for patch- workers. I have often thought that there is a good idea here i.e. make a rag book, like the ones I had as a child that were printed with pictures and stories, but now make a book of fabrics with instructions to make a patch work – I really like the idea of putting some fabulous fabrics together in book form for a purpose – I do think that maybe we could discuss this further….the purpose doesn’t have to be just decorative although that is sometimes enough.

    All of which makes me so sorry that I didn’t get to attend the bookbinding class at Heart Space beyond sorting out lunch as I run the studios!!!!! But duty called in other directions that day..


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