The Strings of Fate

[The image above shows five different, stab-bound books by Matis Stephens.}

For a while now, I had wanted to try to bind my own books. It sounded incredibly cool to make my own sketchbooks and fancy, fantasy-esque notebooks. But every time I had seen quick, short videos of other’s homemade books, I had assumed it would be much harder. Perhaps that goes along with the fact that they tended to be hardcover books. I had never looked into the process of bookbinding. So it comes to no surprise hopefully to hear that I was ecstatic at the idea of being taught the act of stab binding.

At first, I was cautious and very worried about getting each and every step done correctly, especially since I had to step out of the class right after the hole punching stages. Asking for assistance later in the week, I quickly was starting to guess the next steps. I had wanted to start testing different placements of hole placement and see where that took the strings. Then I wondered about different string colors. And what would the book look like if it was tea-stained or dyed in some way, which i have yet to try. Other inspirations were using the clean edge of the paper near the binding over the ripped, and what shapes I could make the string look like. Lastly, in this grouping, I tried having two colors of strings in my binding. Admittedly, in wanting the specific blue colors for this, I started searching. I could not quickly find the right blues in waxed string

All of these are still practices I am still learning and of course they are not perfect. But I have multiple possibly ideas for them and different experiments to try out. I thought the process would be VERY difficult, but I was gladly wrong. I cannot wait to keep trying different binding styles and try out ideas I have to make more and more books.

5 thoughts on “The Strings of Fate”

  1. Matis, I really enjoyed seeing the variety of different books that you made! The idea of dyeing one of the books is also very intriguing, and I have to wonder at how that would turn out. Your different books underscore that the book object itself can be a form of art, which is not something I had really considered before taking this class.


  2. gorgeous, Matis! Keep experimenting with different styles and patterns of stab binding. I like how you let them wander almost to the middle of the page…sort of centering an aspect of the book that is usually confined to the edge.


  3. I love precise you are about the experiments you take with the basic bookbinding techniques, that it couldn’t be just ANY two colors for a two colored threading, but that it HAD to be blue. It’s amazing how such simple things as paper and thread have so many varieties and combinations to be considered, to make different effects, not to mention the varieties of methods used like you mentioned! And yet, even with the plethora of options available, there’s still the personal preferences that insist on doing things in a certain way. Great experimenting!


  4. I love that you’re getting the chance to finally do something you’ve been looking forward to, and it’s great that you’re already experimenting with all of the little details! I feel like bookmaking is one of those things that looks tricky at first, but the more you do it, the easier it gets; like any art form, it just requires a bit of practice. Your books look lovely, and I can’t wait to see what you do next!


  5. I love how you played around with different patterns and colors! They’re all so interesting and pretty! I also thought bookmaking would be much harder, and I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who was super surprised to find out not only how easy it is, but how fun it is, too! You mention dyeing the pages, which sounds really interesting, and I wonder if it would make the pages look older, more worn, like an ancient text of some sort. Super fantasy-esque, in essence. I also wonder about pressing ink between the pages, if it would create some interesting, intricate patterns along the lines of Rorschach ink blot tests.


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