OMG! I am in love with bookbinding! Aside from this blog, I write in a journal nearly every day. My musings range from shopping lists and reminders to deep and meaningful tirades, depending on my mood. This journalling means I get through a lot of journals. I prefer to write on blank paper and the other day when I finished one book I didn’t have another to continue with. I decided to use up some of the materials I had lying around to see if I could make my own.

Starting simple!

YouTube teachers no match for a real person!

After a few Youtube videos, I had cobbled together a rather wonky, but serviceable hardbound book.  It was fun and allowed me to use my crafty skills. I looked around the interwebs to see if there were any courses available. Just my luck, there was a two-day beginners bookbinding course coming up the next weekend in Sydney and there was one space left! A message from destiny. I signed up for my first in-person course in nearly two years! (Thanks Covid!) 

Developing my skills

The course was terrific! The teacher was amazing and I came away with five “books” which progressively developed my skills. Starting with a few sheets of paper folded and stitched to make a pamphlet, we worked step by step to a multi-section sewn book. At one stage in a flow-fueled frenzy, I actually exclaimed “I feel like such a boss!”. This was my sort of course. I like being arty but can’t draw to save my life. This craft which combines mechanical skill with aesthetic features is perfect for me.

This experience challenged my skills and provided a goal-orientated focus putting me right in the coveted state of flow I have talked about before. On Sunday we started at 9:30 AM and one group member interrupted our quiet reverie with “My goodness, it’s 12 o’clock already!”  None of us had stopped to look at the time, go to the toilet or get a cup of tea. We were fully absorbed in following the instructions and creating a little bit of paper and board magic. 

Great location

Sadly, there is no longer anywhere in Australia to do a trade course in Bookbinding. This course run by the NSW Guild of Craft Bookbinders is part of the Sydney Community College program. The Guild offers more advanced courses and memberships. They share a space in the same building as Writers NSW on the grounds of Callan Park. Callan Park or Rozelle Hospital as it was later called was an infamous psychiatric hospital. Its close to Parramatta River and very close to the CBD. The grounds are spectacular and the building itself heritage listed. You can get there by public transport.

The sewn multi-section book block

Christmas sorted!

Watch out, friends and family! I’ve already ordered a ream of lovely paper and I’ll be practicing my bookbinding skills over the next few weeks. Christmas gift list sorted! 

(Next, I want to do a paper marbling course to make the endpapers!)

Our combined treasures!

PS: The promised Part 2 of Eco-friendly painting will be here soon!!

6 thoughts on “Bookbinding

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