A Reflection on Japanese Stab Binding

The bookbinding process took me back to elementary and middle school when I would spend the day eagerly awaiting art class because of the chance to make something that was my own. College has afforded me few opportunities to do this, so there was something rather nostalgic and relaxing about this assignment.

As a self-proclaimed bibliophile, the chance to make my own book felt exciting, as the assignment allowed me to create the entire book from beginning to end. I was able to tear the page shapes, create the template, add the holes, and sew the binding. The tutorial I used is linked here. All of this came together to create my very own book, and the process was so fun to see.

I also enjoyed observing the creations of those around me. Each book was unique and creative in its own way, which showed a lot about each person’s creative space. Seeing the different books was like looking at individual concepts and ideas as a physical creation, and it was interesting to see how other concepts of the stab binding book differed from my own. I ended up learning a lot about the concept of the book just by looking at the work of my classmates, which was somewhat surprising.

A photo of my completed project taken by me

Unlike the creative work of some of my classmates, my book is rather simple. The binding itself doesn’t stray very far from that of the book in the tutorial and I chose not to take very many artistic liberties. Despite this, I love my humble little book simply because I made it and its mine. There’s something rewarding about creating, and I found myself completely immersed in the creative process. The process of Japanese stab binding helped transform the book into something familiar and attainable by allowing me to be part of the book’s creation, and as a result, my own concept of the book is beginning to transform.

3 thoughts on “A Reflection on Japanese Stab Binding”

  1. Sophie, I completely agree with you that the process of creating a book – simple as it may be – is a very rewarding experience! When I created the stab-bound book in class, I expected to be underwhelmed with the final product, but instead I was proud that it was my creation (even though it was a very simple book). This process, like you mentioned, is also very different from my usual coursework, which made it even more rewarding for me. I really like how your book turned out, as well – it is very neat and tidy, and the simple lines add a subtle elegance to it!

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  2. Lovely book and reflection. The hand-made-ness is a quality that, with mechanization, changes and increasingly dissolves–so we are getting back to something very fundamental when we entertain these ways to “make” the book. The idea of the “humble little book” is no small thing–it’s what we’re going to talk about in class today with the “chapbook” form and phenomenon.

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  3. it really is interesting how everyone in the class decided to craft their book! Despite all of us being given the same prompt, we all managed to create wonderful books that are all so different from one another. I also think you’re totally right when you mention how rewarding it can be to make your own book; after you’ve put so much time and effort into making it, to be left with a creation all your own is so fulfilling!

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