Friday, October 19, 2012

"Tools and Tricks of the Bookbinding Trade" Workshop

Last weekend I attended a "Tools and Tricks of the Bookbinding Trade" workshop at Bonnie Stahlecker's bookbinding studio in Plainfield Indiana. What a treat to spend time in her wonderful studio with her and 8 like-minded friends (old and new.)

The above photo shows the finished pieces I brought home from the workshop: the hand-bound book, a book sewing cradle, a sleeve for the cradle, a book weight and Fimo clay awls with an awl caddy. In addition, Bonnie had a few loose sheets of handouts for the various terms and a few special techniques we'd be using. She also had her notes printed on the pages to use as the first section of our books. Our own notes made up the second section, and a third blank section was added for future notes. All these were sewn into a neat little booklet and wrapped with a cunning little cover that included a title label sewn on in our choice of stitch patterns. I am guessing that no two books were exactly alike.

We made awls from darning needles and Fimo clay. We each chose three half blocks of fimo dough to knead and shape awls with. One of mine is a pear shaped mass of the clay fitted to my hand for those hard-pushing tasks. The other three I made are suitable for use with the book cradles.

Above is the book I made. Below is the book held open with the book weight I made. It is lead type slugs wrapped in book-cloth.

Below are two book cradles in class. One is Bonnie's that I used as a pattern for mine. Thankfully, she had already cut the book board pieces on her heavy-duty cutter. We added the book-cloth and cut the notches for the legs to fit into.

The cradles were actually the reason my friend Doris urged Bonnie to teach this class. We had wanted to buy them, but Bonnie doesn't sell them. (They are tedious to cut. Though I'd love to have a back-up in case anything happens to mine, I will probably never do another, so I will jealously guard this little treasure!) The book cradles come apart and fit into the neat little sleeves shown below.

Bonnie is the most well-organized instructor I have ever had, so I love taking her workshops. She may teach another workshop there in early December to teach a particular binding style and make one or more journals suitable to give as gifts. I'm not sure if I'll be able to attend that one or not, but all who do will certainly be happy with their results. Here are some photos of Bonnie demoing in class to a rapt 'audience' and some students stitching their books.

In the last photo you can see one of Bonnie's new museum quality pieces. It is a book structure based on a shield and is part of her latest series. Magnificent!

This was a delightful workshop and a great time to connect with friends. If you are into book making and have a chance to take a class from Bonnie Stahlecker, you will not be displeased. Her organization, patience and friendly manner coupled with her KNOWLEDGE of the subject are well worth seeking out.

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