Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bookmaking Fun

Hooray! I'm celebrating the very first hand bookmaking workshop I've led since moving to Massachusetts this past summer. 


For years, I've led students in grades 4 through 8 in basic hand bookbinding techniques, through classroom visits and a great program called the Student Creativity Festival, run by Success Beyond the Classroom in the Twin Cities. 

Yesterday marked my first workshop with kids in the Bay State.

It took place at a really great public library in the area, Goodnow Library in Sudbury, MA, and was funded by the Friends of the Goodnow Library. Full disclosure: this is also the library where I work part-time in the circulation department and children's room, so I'm (a little bit) biased in its favor. 

The workshop was for ages 11-14, and we had a good group of about ten for a school vacation day event. After I showed some examples of books made from clay, papyrus, and parchment, we made three simple blank books: 


  • a skinny, small sewn sketchbook, based on Japanese side-sewn books
  • another variation on Japanese side sewing using a rubber band and coffee stir stick, instead of thread
  • a traditional sewn pamphlet style book with a velcro button closure


One surprise: the group was divided equally between boys and girls.
One disappointment: Scotch brand velcro buttons don't release easily enough from their backing
One lesson: pre-thread the needles next time!

FYI, if you want to know more about these crafts, check out my oldie-but-goodie book on the topic, co-written with Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Bookworks: Making Books by Hand (Carolrhoda Books, 1995). It's out of print, but still available in many libraries.

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