Part of the challenge of making my way through the bindings in Keith Smith’s first book has been trying to come up with interesting covers. I’ve been working a lot with Tyvek, which is my new favorite material because of its strength and versatility. Tyvek is the material used in house wrapping and for mailing envelopes. It’s thin and flexible and takes paint in a way that’s sometimes unpredictable but always interesting.

The next book involved two cover layers – an inner cover to which the folios were stitched ¬†using a slight variation to the last longstitch book, and an outer layer. Tyvek was perfect for the inner layer; the outside required something a little stronger. Combing through my studio, I came across the vellum I’ve been using to practice calligraphy (lettering and calligraphy being another recent obsession). The vellum is thick and strong and ideal for the cover.

So since I was using the vellum, why not do some calligraphy. I started by painting the cover with a mix of acrylic and glaze, then penciled in the alphabet, later going over it using a dip pen and blue black ink.

The inner part of the the book is the core, and was pretty easy; it’s a basic longstitch book. The outer cover is attached with tabs at the spine. The tabs are cut at the exact spot of the gaps in the inner cover’s stitching, then woven in. I thought the measuring would be the tricky part, but it turned out to be pretty straightforward. The hardest part was sticking the tabs into the inner book’s spine. The Tyvek crinkles easily. I ended up cutting the tabs shorter.

In the end, I think it turned out pretty well. It’s a good, solid book, one I’d like to do again, next time with a more contrasty spine.¬†

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