Sunday, August 13, 2017


This summer the kiosk in the Humboldt County Library features creative nontraditional book bindings made by several NORBAG members. Many thanks to Donna Gephart, Edge Gerring, Dolores Guffey, and Michele Kamprath for lending their books and to Lynne Gurnee for arranging the display.

In traditional book binding, individual signatures (sets of pages) are sewn together and then bound between two covers with a spine which hides the stitching. Modern book binders sometimes eliminate the spine so that the stitching is visible becoming part of the decorative art of the hand-bound book.

Exposed Spine Bindings

• Coptic binding comprises methods of bookbinding invented by Egyptian Christians (Copts) as early as the 2nd century AD. Coptic books did not have a spine. They were spineless. 😉

• The French Stitch and Bow Tie Stitch are sewn over tapes. Functionally they are used to tighten up the binding, applied to every third or fourth signature. In a traditional binding the stitches are concealed by the spine; in nontraditional binding a stitched exposed spine is a decorative element.

Decorative Bindings on Spines

• Caterpillar binding is a decorative stitch that is sewn on both covers & spine.
• Buttonhole binding is sewn around cutouts in the spine to attach the signatures and cover to the spine.
• Pisces binding (resembling fish) is a 3 signature binding designed by Keith Smith.
• Secret Belgium binding has the signatures sewn onto the spine which floats separately from the covers.
• In Raven’s Foot binding the cords crossing the spine are wrapped with waxed linen thread.
• Both tacket binding & rope stitch have thread wrapped around a long stitch, which is a long running stitch.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

X STITCH BINDING with Kris Nevius

Kris Nevius, a NORBAG member from Graton CA, is also a member of the Sonoma County Book Arts Guild. She will be traveling here to teach Keith Smith's "X Binding" (a two signature binding) and the "Twisted X" (one of his variations). There are more variations that Kris will share so participants will be able to choose which variation they would like to make for additional books, time permitting. This is a great opportunity to learn a Keith Smith binding WITHOUT having to decipher his often complicated instructions.

PLEASE NOTE: This workshop is limited to 15 participants. Registration will be by mail only. The first 15 who send in a check for $10 will be in the workshop. A waiting list will be made in case of cancellations. You will be notified immediately upon receipt of registration if you are in the workshop or on the waiting list. Send your check for $10. made payable to NORBAG along with your name, email address, and phone number to: North Redwoods Book Arts Guild, P.O. Box 225, Cutten, CA 95534.

Members are still invited to attend a short meeting and the usual book exchange before the workshop. The meeting will begin at 12 noon with the book exchange to follow at 12:30. The workshop for registered participants will begin at 1 p.m.

The materials list and tool information for the workshop are all in the newsletter. If you have any questions please contact Kris or Dolores. Their contact information is in the newsletter.
When:       Saturday August 12. 
   Meeting at 12 Noon 
   Book Exchange at 12:30
   Workshop from 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
Where:      Eureka Methodist Church at Del Norte & F Streets
RSVP:        Register by mailing a check payable to NORBAG to P.O. Box 225, Cutten, CA 95534
Cost:         $10.00
Questions: Email Kris or Dolores, contact information is in the newsletter.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

NORBAG July 17, 2017 - Machines and Tools

Members bring a myriad of skills and interests to book arts. In the last few years we have had artists who started with card and scrap-booking interests enter the guild. Those two fields have strong support in the craft industry and have given us many new tools and machines to use in book arts. We have always used stamps, scissors, die cuts and embossers. Today, because of the craft industry, the options are unlimited. How do we decide what will work with our own books?

This month, Connie Stewart had the answer. She invited us into her home. Connie converted her guest bedroom into her art center. It is impressive how she stores things so that they are readily available. She had filled tables and counters in several areas of the house with her supplies, tools and machines for us to play with. Then she invited us to see and touch every single thing. We were off to explore her supplies.

This is Connie. She immediately said to touch and try everything.

Kenzie is in the middle of the art room. If you look in the corner you can see a box on the wall that is filled with punches. Connie displays her books on the shelf that is about 18" from the ceiling. The white boards are magnetic and have die cuts that are purchased in graduated sizes. 


To the right of the first picture is a second wall with another storage unit. This is for a particular brand of stamp pads with both ink pads and matching pens. Kenzie is on the left, Judy R. is seated, Sandy V. is in the foreground and Kay is checking out the stamp sets.

Connie used a clothes closet for an additional storage area for her materials. She built shelves above where the clothes would normally be hung. She has put in several plastic towers with drawers for some materials. Connie said that she used to keep her smaller papers in 12x12" plastic boxes but it wasn't really convenient. So now she uses magazine (clear plastic) to store the papers. She sorts them by the rainbow color method. Everything is easy to see and get to. (Sorry, no picture.) Even those things that are in chipboard boxes are labeled. No real guesswork about where something is.

Connie has a ring binder system that she keeps all of her bits and pieces in. Bits and pieces? Ribbons, ephemera, odd bits of paper, die cuts of things she uses.

In the art room were stamp pads. Here in the living room are paints, spray inks, palettes, a spray booth and general storage for various kinds of paints and sprays.

The kitchen table has three print makers/embossers/die cut tools. And we played with each and every one.

Barbara came to see what machines she might like to buy eventually. I am not sure about her, but I was overwhelmed! So many things to have fun with. In front of Barbara were die cuts with related stamps.

Kathy dove right in!
On the table were stamp and die cut sets along with examples of how they can be used.

Connie demonstrated a punch that cuts multiple parts and makes a little bow. In the foreground is a punch that is upside down showing a punch that cuts multiple parts.

These are some of my favorites. Connie is demonstrating a scoring board that will enable you to score either vertically or diagonally. The green paper cutter has a different technology. No circular blade or cutting platen to be replaced. Instead, there is a blade in the white section that self sharpens on the metal side piece. And the grid is 1/4" instead of 1/2" spaces. Kay, Denise and Judy are around this area.

Dolores is holding a clear plastic ruler. The blue part is a 2" piece of plastic that is perpendicular to the ruler for holding on to while cutting.

This cutting board is magnetic and comes in three parts. It is not a solid line but a curved edge that snaps together. Also, the ruler is steel and adheres to the board. Notice the snap blade box cutter in the middle. If you don't like Xacto type knives, Connie said this is the best.

There were so many other things: an envelope maker, awls, stamp positioners, a computer controlled die cutter and many more that I simply can't remember.

Since we were away from our usual meeting place, we had our meeting and book exchange at the end.

We had the exchange books set up and did our usual blind pick. For a close-up look of the books on the Flickr pages tap the "Guild Flickr Gallery" in the left hand column at the top of this page.

Sunday, July 9, 2017


The 7th annual Puget Sound Book Artists (PSBA) Members' Exhibition for 2017 is winding down. If you're in the Tacoma, Washington area this would be a great opportunity to see a wonderful collection of artist books by 31 different members. The exhibit will close on July 28. This was the first time a theme had been chosen for the event. Members were asked to "submit books that focus on the beauty and grandeur of the Northwest; books that provide commentary on social issues that affect our communities; or books that evoke a memory, a space or an idea that reflects the Northwest." The exhibit is at Collins Memorial Library on the campus of the University of Puget Sound. For more information about the exhibit, photos, and the hours of the library visit this link:

29 Nations by Debbi Commodore

Sol Duc Memories by Mary M. Ashton

Pine Beetle Book Vol. II Bug Ruts
by Suze Woolf

49.79 degrees N 121.74 degrees W: Mapping the Glaciers
by MalPina Chan

Hit the Road Two! by Laura Russell

The Littoral Library by Bonnie Julien

InSpired by Randi Parkhurst

Through My Father's Eyes
by Nikki Farias

Indianola Beach Field Guide
by Kathy Dickerson

Salish Sea Octopus
by Mari Eckstein Gower

Revelations at Ebb Tide by Carole Sauter

Saturday, July 1, 2017


Connie Stewart is the queen of tools and gadgets. She HAS to have the latest ones available. Cricuts, Cuttlebug, MISTI, new paper cutters, punches, Thinlits, embossing folders, and some simple tools that make life s-o-o-o worth living!

This is NORBAG members once a year chance to come play with tools for free and decide for yourself which ones you can't live without. Some are great and some are duds and Connie will share them all and give you the low down. The only change from our usual monthly workshop is the time and place.

We will meet at Connie's house
Please check the newsletter for directions to her house.
Saturday July 8
Time: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

You are welcome to come anytime during those hours. Connie will have stations set up all over the house so that you can go straight to playing with tools you aren't familiar with and bypass the ones you know well. You're also invited to bring a friend(s). 

We will stop for the book exchange at 1 p.m. and because we are a book group, we will take the samples of the techniques made from a variety of tools and turn them into a book.

There is no cost for this event. Please RSVP by July 3 to Connie. Her contact information is in the newsletter.

Saturday, June 17, 2017


On June 10, Michele Kamprath led the NORBAG workshop on tacket binding. Michele took Margo Klass’s class on tacket binding at the Newport Paper & Book Arts Festival in Oregon. “Tacketing is a form of exposed binding, in which each folio (we call them a signature) is sewn directly onto the spine, rather than combined into a single text block, with visible stitching.” (

Our tacket bound book had two signatures with wrappers for the signatures and a cover with a lining. Michele spoke not only about the structure but also about the creative possibilities within this structure. Signature wrappers, pockets, colors, folded ends and windows are some of the possibilities. Because we were learning a tacket binding, we had solid colored covers with contrasting stitching.

Michele brought several examples of tacket bound books that were made by our members at the Newport Paper and Book Arts Festival. She also brought a sample card for waxed linen.

We first folded our covers, wrappers and signatures (folios). While the signatures and signature wraps were simply folded in half, the cover and lining needed to have a 1/2” spine. Michele showed us how to make sure that the spine is centered by using a method found in Volume 4, page 43 of our compendium. (If you don’t have any of the compendiums, contact Dolores Guffey and she will let you know how you can obtain them. Her contact info is on the second page of the newsletter.)
Michele showed us a way to center a spine on the cover by using a tip in our compendium.

After putting holes in the signatures, wrappers and cover, we sewed the signatures to the cover. In the tacket binding version we used, we had two separate tackets attaching each signature using either waxed linen thread or perle cotton. We had the option of using the same or different color for each of the tackets.

We all use different types of tools. For example, in the three above pictures, two people use artist awls and one uses a carpentry awl. We use everything from phone books to sewing cradles while punching holes.

In this picture, the patterned paper is the wrapper for the signature and is being sewn onto the grey cover.

Each signature was attached to the spine using two sewing stations with two holes each. The well-waxed thread was put through both holes two times and then the remaining thread encircled the long stitch. In this picture, you can see the bottom tackets of both signatures, one yellow and the other is blue.

The signature had two sets of two holes and this shows that a single signature used different colors in each sewing station. After the first signature was completed we sewed the next signature to the spine.

 The results were quite varied. And you can tell from the photos that we had a good time.
Valerie left long tails on the four tackets and will be adding beads.

Lara and Sarah (mother and daughter) laughed throughout.

Beth is holding up her two wrapped signatures that will be put into her orchid cover.

Edge decorated her cover with some old maps from our local library.

 We also have something new that we are doing at our monthly meeting.  It's a "show and tell" table. It's for things that members are working on. Donna G. brought in several books: one bound with an eight needle Coptic stitch, one with a buttonhole stitch and and another had exposed tape with a french link stitch. 

Eight needle Coptic stitch

Exposed tape with French stitch made during a play date with Edge

Buttonhole stitch

The exchange book photos will be on Flickr near the end of the month.