Another gift

Eventually I'm going to have to break this pattern of notebook after notebook but here's one I made earlier. This is for a mate who's solidly into quizzes and is a member of our quiz league team. The bookcloth is sepia brown and it has matching endpapers, head/tail bands and ribbon marker. The casewrap is Curwen T Lowinsky Tan from Shepherds. It's half bound with reinforced corners which take far longer to get right than you'd think. I can never seem to get the casewrap positioned absolutely right around the corners - no matter how accurate I think my template is and the likelihood of getting glue on the cloth is heightened immeasurably. I wasn't 100% happy with this one - as well as the slightly wonky half binding, I ended up overtrimming the book block which resulted in larger "squares" (the bit of the caseboard which overhangs the text pages). Tom didn't seem to notice and called it "a work of art". I wouldn't go that far but he was pleased so all good. Maybe I'm too finicky.

Crossword time

Not posted for a while but I've not been completely inactive. Had a few commissions for personalised notebooks and also have been busy making up stock for a local community enterprise which have been selling steadily. Here's one of the commissions done for a friend's wife's Dad (that close eh?) who's a bit of a crossword addict. The observant among you will recognise immediately that the pattern on the front is made up of the Guardian Weekend Magazine Crossword from June 6th 2012 but I'm a bit clueless and don't have all the answers I'm afraid. It was scanned and duped in InDesign and then output on my laser printer onto a laid writing paper sheet to give it some texture. Still a little nervous about doing that as I'm not completely happy that the image is permanent enough but my inkjet printer did not give me a sharp enough image so I'd be happy if someone could suggest a way of fixing or protecting laser toner. I halfbound the book (ie added cloth on the foredge corners) to make it more durable

I also personalised the title page with a pic supplied by the customer posterised in Photoshop and output on my swanky Epson inkjet printer in grey. I am keen that the personalisation of my books is permanently a part of the book fabric and not just stuck on as an afterthought. My title pages are sewn into the first signature of the book and glued to the tipped on endpapers.

From all this....

The component parts of one of my notebooks: Japanese Chiyogama paper (background), then clockwise from top left - 2mm binding boards for front, back and spine; artists' cartridge paper for each endpaper; kraft paper for spine lining; mull to reinforce spine; head and tail band; ribbon marker; folded sections plus printed title page (which can be personalised); linen sewing tapes; linen sewing thread and book cloth for quarter binding.

I could use less material and dispense with the tapes and possibly the kraft spine lining but I don't like to scrimp and I'd hate it if one fell apart.

To this...

The completed book made from the parts above. I'll post some more pictures of the process in the next few days and I'll also show some pics of how it's done in mass hand assembly in China as a contrast.

Back to the binding

It's been some time since I last added to this blog but I've been busy with a publishing trade show in Italy and now that's over I can post some of my recent notebooks. Here's a few more I made - A5, quarter bound with real cloth and Shepherds decorative papers. I exhibited at a recent Made in Bradford exhibition for local crafts people. Much interest and admiration but sadly no sales...

Musical Interlude

This one just finished for a friend who has a business running community choirs. It's A5 (210 x 147mm), half bound in durable black buckram with black endpapers and a personalised title page. The case wrap is an old sheet of piano music I found in a junk shop in Pembrokeshire which has just the right sort of creamy aged tone to it.

Getting personal

Two new journals just finished as Christmas presents for friends and family...Two new personalised journals ...each with a personalised title page.
A Robber's Notebook ...and nice contrasting head and tail bands plus ribbon markers.

These are the same size and materials as the three below. The red/black casewrap paper is a Brookfield paper by Elisabeth Hyder, made by using hand-mixed colours, traditionally letterpressed on to a woven paper, supplied by Shepherds Falkiners. The black and white paper is Curwen Paul Nash Ivory - also from Shepherds.
I'm going to open my Etsy shop in the New Year once I've got enough varied stock together (and stop giving them away as presents!) but I will take orders for bespoke journals at . Just send a nice decent quality JPG and the wording you want and I'll get in touch.

Three New Journals

Just finished a set of three blank journals which I'm working out how best to display online. After a long session working out white balance and how to light these to best advantage, here they are.

These are the first set of journals I've made as a batch - all three at the same time which made for better productivity and gratifyingly they all came out the same size.
They are 64 pages, 162 mm x 120 mm, made using acid free 120 gsm watercolour text paper, 2 mm millboard quarter bound with real cloth and square back (not rounded) , black ends, black and white head and tail bands with spine tapes and Shepherds decorative paper cases.


Next up are a couple of personalised Christmas presents that I'll post here as soon as they are finished and have been given to their new owners.

Bold beginning

Here's one of the first efforts from my initial stock of papers and boards. It's an A6 half bound 16 page notebook with a bespoke title page made for my daughter. Real cloth covering on spine and foredges (a bugger to keep the glue off this) and nice thick black endpapers.