For years, I’ve been putting myself through my own private bookbinding school. I wanted to take a real class, from experienced teachers, but though there are many excellent art schools around here, none are currently offering classes specifically in making books. Maybe someday, when the kids are older, I’ll sneak away for a class at the Center for Book Arts, but that’s a few years away.
In the meantime, I’ve collected the books of one of the masters of binding, Keith Smith. His books are easy to follow and he has an extremely inspiring attitude towards creativity in general:
“The artist and the craft person must always find the essence of an idea and extend it to its full potential. It’s like telling a joke. You don’t want to reveal the punch line at the beginning. You build on it for all its worth.”
I have a few favorite bindings (basic case binding, coptic and a mix of coptic with tapes), but wanted to expand my horizons. So I’m embarking on the Keith Smith Project, during which I’ll try to make at least one book a week with a binding I’ve never done, working my way through Smith’s Non-Adhesive Binding: Books Without Paste or Glue, Volume I.
I’ve already started on the first one, which should be done tomorrow.