House bound

By Lisa Towner – Collection Development Library Assistant (and bookbinder extraordinaire)

Pile of bound notebooks with small mug
Bound books – Lisa Towner

When bookmaking during lockdown I think about a book by Mark Williams and Danny Penman, Mindfulness a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world. Making books has given me moments of peace and distraction from all that has been happening outside of my home. I have a tendency to over think and bookmaking has been the ideal remedy for me. I get lost in the act of doing and create a handmade item with purpose as a result of my endeavours.

Book binding tools
Book binding tools – Lisa Towner

Making a book involves quite a few techniques. Folding, cutting, stitching, measuring, gluing and pressing are all part of the therapeutic process the craft gives me. I can lose myself for an hour folding and cutting paper and then return at another time to mindfully stitch the pages together. Choosing paper for the cover and thread for the stitches always causes me some enjoyable deliberation. I marble paper for some of the book covers, or make paste patterns. The paste gives the paint a thicker consistency to enable you to print or mark with it.

Marble paper covered notebook
Marble paper cover – Lisa Towner
2 turquoise paste patterned covered notebooks
Paste patterned covers – Lisa Towner

A Coptic stitch method of binding allows the book to lay completely flat when open and the stitching is visible, ideal for sketch books. The stitching is decorative with Japanese Stab Binding but the book will not fully open. Case Binding is the traditional way to produce a hard backed book with a covered spine.

Coptic stitch bound notebooks upright on shelf, shelved among books
Coptic stitch – Lisa Towner
2 Japanese stab bound books 1 A4 landscape 1 A5 Portrait
Japanese stab binding – Lisa Towner
Pile of case bound hardback books
Case binding – Lisa Towner

Spending so much time at home over the past months has resulted in me being very productive. Friends and family have been gifted a selection of books, the latest batch are pocket sized sketchbooks. My stock resulted in an online stall at a Christmas Market Place run by Community Base in Brighton. I am preparing more books for another online sale in May.

Photo of 3 pocket sized sketchbooks
Pocket sized sketchbooks – Lisa Towner

Tea and biscuits, coffee and cake, a nice evening meal and bookbinding have all played an important part in my day whilst being housebound.

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