On a beautiful spring-like day in February, a group of artists gathered at my house to learn how to bind their own sketchbooks. Sometimes you just want one that’s unique, small and has just enough watercolor paper to be able to finish it on a trip. I scout thrift stores, second-hand bookshops and garage sales for interesting gently used books and rebind them for watercolor sketching. Everyone who came to this workshop left with a beautiful completed book and the skills and enthusiasm to make more.
The first step is to (very carefully!) cut out the old book block from the cover.
If for some reason, we accidentally cut the book spine during this process, we can repair it with cloth book tape.
Next, using the measurements of the original book block, we figured out how many pages we could get out of one sheet of 22″ x 30″ watercolor paper.
Pages were then carefully cut or torn. Many used torn edges as a deckle.
Each page was folded in half, creased well and two put together to make a signature.
Holes were punched in each signature. Then came the hard (confusing? tedious?) part of sewing the signatures together to make the new book block.
When that was done, we were ready to bind the new book block to the old book cover using decorative end papers we had chosen to go with our books. But first – lunch! Our main course was Georgia O’Quiche. The artist, Georgia O’Keeffe, grew her own vegetables and was said to be so fond of spinach that she sometimes ate it three times a day! Fresh fruit, green salad, mini-muffins and Arnold Palmers (non-alcoholic!) completed our lunch.
Then back to work. We “cased in” our book blocks, added a secret pocket in the back, had dessert of gelato and pirouettes and showed off our new books.
Come join us next time, and watch for the opening of my unique watercolor sketchbooks rebound from gently used books – on ETSY soon!