North Redwoods Book Arts Guild

If you are interested in more info or joining, please email to

Thursday, August 23, 2012

September's Workshop

Double Needle Coptic Binding

with Dolores Guffey
Saturday, September 8, 12 noon. Materials Fee $1. RSVP Dolores.

Dolores' lovely Coptic Binding
Coptic binding refers to methods of bookbinding developed by early Christians, the Copts, in Egypt and used from as early as the 2nd century AD to the 11th century. The exposed spine highlights the sewing. There are two types of Coptic binding: single needle and double needle. We will be learning the double needle variation for this workshop. My philosophy in teaching workshops is to provide instruction and guidance for the creation of a prototype of the structure. With this model in hand you will be ready produce a beautiful end product at any time.

Materials to bring:
♦ 8 Signatures: please cut and fold signatures prior to the workshop:
16 pieces of 8 ½" x 11" text weight paper cut in half to 5 ½" x 8 ½"
Fold 4 sheets of 5 ½" x 8 ½" in half for a finished signature measuring
5 ½" x 4 ¼"
♦ 2 Cover Boards: 5-5/8" x 4-3/8" grain long (grain runs along the spine edge)
Note: you have the option of sewing on plain boards (mat board or illustration board) or, if you wish, you can cover your boards ahead of time. Please make sure that the grain of your decorative paper matches the grain of your boards. You will need to cover both sides of the boards and they should be done prior to the workshop and put under weights overnight.
♦ Piercing Cradle: if you have one, otherwise extra cradles will be available at the workshop.
♦ Thread: You can supply your own thread, or use what will be available at the workshop. Please see information about types of thread at the end of this article.

Supplies to bring:
♦ Cutting mat (or magazine on which to pierce signatures)
♦ Piercing tool (extras will be available to borrow if you don't have one)
♦ Bone folder
♦ Scissors
♦ Ruler
♦ Pencil & Eraser
♦ Bees wax (extra will be available to borrow)
♦ Desk lamp (optional) – there are outlets at each seat to plug in lamp for extra lighting at work station

Note on Needles: For this workshop, we will be using 4 needles per book, which will be provided as part of your workshop fee. They will be blunted, bent and ready to use. If you came to the July workshop, you received a needle box, please bring it with you to store these needles. If you weren't at July's meeting, boxes will be provided. Curved needles will also be available for you to try as an alternative to the bent needles.

Note on Thread: Because this is an exposed spine, colored thread shows off the binding to its advantage. I prefer DMC Cotton Perle #5, available in numerous colors both at JoAnns and Michaels (around $1.60/skein). You may purchase your own (to match or complement your covers) or use what I will be bringing. I suggest a lighter rather than a darker shade to best show off the Coptic stitch. You can also use 6-strand embroidery thread, carpet thread, buttonhole thread, or waxed linen.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

August's Workshop

Board Books Galore (plus one Bored Book)

Ellen Golla's impressive collection of board books! Felt like kids again.
Board books created during the workshop turned out to be much more than "child's play". Instructor Ellen Golla demonstrated that the structure is ideal for creating carved pages, providing two page layouts, or for opening flat. 
Accuracy counts. Improvised square for assembling.

Two boards at a time are glued to decorative paper.
Triming the oversized backing.
Cindy with her sister and mother joining in the fun.
Ellen demonstrating her spiffy corner punch.
Some results!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

August Workshop

Board Book with Drop Spine
Taught by Ellen G.

Saturday, August 11 at 12pm, in our usual meeting place. Materials fee: $1

This versatile structure is essentially the same as that of most commercial children’s board books. It provides page spreads that lie flat with no stitching, and the books have a satisfying weight and bulk. Ours will include a drop spine, a common feature in commercial board books, which allows the book to have a tight fitting cover yet still have room for the pages to open flat. For those of you who like to alter board books, consider making your own from scratch! Examples, both handmade and commercial, will be brought to give ideas of what can be done with board books. 

Some board book examples made by the instructor.
Materials to bring:
  • 6 boards5 x 4", grain long, plus an extra scrap to use as a spacer. These can be 4-ply museum board, illustration board or mat board.
  • 5 pieces of card stock or similar weight papers for page spreads: 5½ x 8½", grain short. 
  • 1 piece of card stock or similar for the cover: 5½ x 10", grain short. 

Note: The more straight and squared your boards are, the better your book will look. Cut carefully. It also never hurts to bring a few extra pieces of board or paper in case of unforeseen disasters. The Art Center in Arcata and Ellis in Eureka are good places to check for museum or illustration board. NORBAG members get 10% off at Ellis. If you are new at this or still unsure how to determine grain, search online for "paper grain." Most how-to bookbinding books also have an explanation of this.

Supplies to bring:
  • PVA glue
  • Glue brush
  • Water jar for brush
  • Scrap papers for gluing on 
  • Craft knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Your preferred scoring tool
  • Ruler or straight edge. See note below.*
  • Pencil 
  • Bone folder

  • Drafting or artists' tape
  • Weights to put on top of your boards as they dry
  • A flat metal carpenter's square: a 12 x 8" square can be found at local hardware stores for under $10. (In general, these are handy for lining up book covers and very handy if you make boxes—it's a tool you'll use again.)

Provided: Written instructions and extra glue and drafting tape. A heavy-duty corner rounder will be available if you want to add that finishing touch.

*Note on straight edge
If you don't have a metal square, you'll need another other kind of straight edge or ruler. You can use a quilting ruler, a plain (not cork-backed) ruler, or even a plain, narrow piece of metal around 8" long will do. Another alternative is to glue a straight piece of book board about 9" x 1" onto the bottom of a larger piece of book board to use as a jig:

A diagram of a jig made from book board

Please don't use a cork-backed ruler. We're going to be using our straight edge to align our boards. The boards will slip under a cork-backed ruler, but if you turn over the ruler to avoid that problem, the cork might be damaged by the tape we'll be using.

Most of all, plan to have fun. Board books are addictive!

Please note: This was originally posted with incorrect dimensions for papers and boards. It has now been updated to show the same dimensions as is in the newsletter. If you've already cut your boards and paper with the previous measurements that were shown here, go ahead and bring them--they will still work fine. Sorry for the confusion!