Sunday, September 16, 2007

What Could Be Better Than Handcrafted Books? Linda's Review of Creating Handmade Books by Alisa Golden

When I first saw Creating Handmade Books I immediately thought about books for my grandchildren. After all, I'm a HUGE proponent of reading. If you're familiar with my blogs you know that I always buy books for the grandchildren for Christmas. To me there is nothing better than reading and improving one's mind.

So, when I saw "Creating Handmade Books" I was intrigued. According to the back page "take one piece of paper...a pair of scissors...and you have the tools to make a book! Now how much fun would that be to create a book. And, talk about family heirlooms. I decided that I definitely had to find the time to make some of these.

In the preface Lisa gives us a little insight into her background and experience in the field of book arts. I found her journey fascinating and especially loved her sentence, "In 1997 Michael and I had a son, Ezra. He currently eats books."

The introduction outlines basic tools, sizes, and terms that you need to know. After that Alisa provides step-by-step instructions and illustrations for making cut & folded books, simple sewn structures, simple adhesive structures, intermediate compound structures, multiple signatures or thick sewn books, Jacob's ladders, soft and hard covers, portfolios and boxes, easy ways of decorating paper, and portable books.

The cut and folded books section shows you how to make a hidden book, simple accordion, simple accordion with tunnel, twist card, house card, palm leaf book, venetian blind book, simple pop-up card, fan book, and slot & tab book.

In simple sewn structures we learn a few basics and then are shown how to make a ledger hanging book, utilize stick binding, make a side-bound book, utilize single signature binding, make a two-sewn-as-one book, and make a tea bag book.

With simple adhesive structures we learn about making a flower fold, album-flutterbook, concertina with tabs, endless accordion, tunnel book, accordion-fold book, circle accordion, hand scroll, and hanging scroll.

Intermediate compound structures introduces an accordion with signatures, pocket book, flag book, and piano hinge with skewers.

Multiple signatures or Thick Sewn Books shows you knots for multiple signatures, western multiple signatures, multiple signature onto a ribbon, exposed stitch, and chain stitch.

The Jacob's ladder section introduces two panel with (or without) cards, and a six-panel book with boards and ribbon.

Soft and hard covers introduces information on working with glue, soft wrap cover, open spine soft cover, open spine with ribbon, wrapped hard cover, hard covers, insetting a title, and backing cloth. Projects include covering separate boards, split boards, hard cover:side-bound, hard cover: single signature, hard cover:multiple signature, hard cover: with ribbon, hard cover: accordion/signature combination of hinged cover, and hard cover: ribbons at spine.

Portfolios and boxes shows you how to make a folded envelope, pocket folder, paper portfolio, painted slipcase, covered slipcase, hardcover portfolio with ribbon tie, hardcover portfolio with envelope pocket, postcard portfolio, two-piece box, and clamshell or presentation box.

Easy ways of decorating paper introduces you to stenciling, carving rubber stamps, and painting with acrylics.

All throughout her book Alisa takes you on a journey of her life and her creations. She also provides you with tips and how-to's she's learned based upon her experience. Her book is a filled to the brim with everything you need to know to create a handmade book.

If you are looking for a challenge and looking for something that is truly unique then you should try your hand at making one of these elegant and romantic creations.

I haven't quite decided which book I'll choose for my grandchildren. Knowing me I'll probably choose several. Since I have no experience with book arts I think I'd better start at the beginning of Alisa's book and make my way to the back. By the time I finish following Alisa's step-by-step instructions I should have some wonderful heirlooms for my grandchildren.

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