Typically, crafts of any sort make me want to stab whatever I’m making out of the lack of patience I have in seeing my artistic abilities being put to the test.
Luckily, it seems that bookbinding satisfies my want of creating and my urge to stab my creation.
I actually already have a small experience with bookbinding from my high school, where I studied in the Writing and Publishing department. The publishing side of things included the chance to volunteer at BatCat Press, the only high school student-run press in the United States.
I, of course, did not take the chance to volunteer there. Instead, I worked for The SIREN, which is the school newspaper there, so while my friends were making beautiful coptic notebooks and chapbooks and becoming fluent in the ways of the letterpress, I would look across the room and witness their success instead of listening to the rather important lecture on libel law (which I do understand, by the way).
My sophomore year of high school was my first year on the newspaper staff, so I wasn’t too interested in joining. Junior year, I would’ve participated in both the small press and newspaper, but I was learning the in’s and out’s of what it takes to be an editor. Senior year was COVID, so that threw any chance of learning how to do complicated bookbinding techniques out the window.
All that is to say that I was thankful that I was finally getting that chance to learn about bookbinding from scratch with my meager experience. I’m also proud to say that I didn’t draw blood as many do while using the awl to stab the paper.
I was quite excited upon the finished product, especially since I made up the binding design. Then I saw how I lacked a criss-cross design on the bottom rectangle of the binding… and the holes where a little too far from the top and bottom… and then one of the main problems from my high school experience came back: making the binding too tight to properly open the book.
Soon enough, I snapped out of my nitpicking and became proud once more, and let’s just say I’m looking forward to the next project I get to do while simultaneously keeping my record of a bloodless book up.