North Redwoods Book Arts Guild

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018


Welcome Fall! Here in Humboldt County our schools and colleges are open once again and it is always a good time to get back to the books!! Now on display in the kiosk at the Humboldt County Library are books celebrating the alphabet, counting, science, libraries and reading. These books, made by members of the North Redwoods Book Arts Guild both past and present, use Coptic binding, embossing, tacket binding, and pamphlet stitching. Some are hand stamped, computer printed, letterpress printed or printed with beautiful calligraphy. Also included are a folded pencil structure, a back to back accordion with tunnels, a star shaped book, and a cow shaped book of poems. We hope you enjoy our back to the books display!


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Buttonhole Stitch Binding Workshop

We just completed our ninth workshop for 2018. Of those nine workshops, five have been sewn books. This month Lara Cox shared how to do a Buttonhole Stitch binding. Unlike many of the books we have sewn, in this one, we have an opening in the middle of the spine and we sew one end of the spine encircling the paper cover and tying off at the last signature on one end. Then we have a new needle and thread and sew the other end, again sewing each of the signatures and then bind off the thread.

While we were working, Lara kept our attention by giving us variations and design ideas to try as well as pitfalls to avoid. She also made sure to bring oversized props that made it easier to see what she wanted us to do without having to stop at each table.

Lara demonstrates with an oversized prop to show how to center 
the spine on the cover.

After centering the spine on the cover, we measured the fold over at each end. Then we cut a buttonhole in the cover. First we marked it and then cut an "X" diagonally from each corner. Note: this cover had a hole that was open only on the edges of the spine. In other pictures, you can see that some of us extended the hole as a different design element.

After making the opening, we placed the jig inside of the cover and marked the top and bottom edges of the opening. This resulted in just two holes being pierced in each signature.

Next, we pierced the signatures. Some used signature wraps as shown here.

In this photo, Becky is using a phone book as a piercing cradle. Putting the 
signature over the corner of a box or simply a pad of cardboard will also work.

We started the sewing on the inside of the signature.

From the inside of the first signature, we sewed out through the hole in the cover and over the end of the cover and to the inside of the signature. We tied off the thread on the inside and returned to the outside that you can see from this picture. We then moved to the second signature. Note: We are sewing only the left side. When that side is finished, we turn the book over and do the other end.

And we sewed. It is always interesting to see that there is no one way to accomplish any of these steps. While sewing, some set the book on its tail and did the sewing. The next two pictures show people laying it more or less flat on the table or simply holding the book almost in their lap. It all works as long as we are careful to get the thread tension right.

As usual, we had two people on one side of the table and one on the opposite side. 
This gives us plenty of work space and enables us to laugh, talk and encourage each other.

Enough! Here are the books we made.

The book on the left has an extended opening and also signature wraps. The one on the right used a rather simple cover and used the thread to emphasize the color of the the cover.

In this book the signatures had cover wraps and the thread 
was chosen to pick up the wrapper colors.

Maps! We frequently use maps in our covers or signature wrappers.

These are Lara's books. Look at the interesting way she cut the hole.

This is the end of the pictures. As usual, it was a good day.

Sunday, September 9, 2018


Several NORBAG members also belong to the Sonoma County Book Arts Guild (SoCoBAG). Their members (43 members strong) recently participated in an exhibition at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. The Center hosted three bookmaking and book-art themed exhibits featuring local and international artists. In the main gallery, “Bibliophoria V”, visual and sculptural re-interpretations of books, their components and methods of making were included. In gallery II, “Blind Stitching” and “In Touch with Art” featured textile works by artists with vision loss. Gallery III’s “Bound & Unbound” included works by the SoCoBAG members. Each of the members could place at least one piece in the show.  Many thanks to Kris Nevius for sharing photographs of this inspiring exhibition (now closed).

NORBAG member, Dena Bliss

NORBAG member Renee Owen

NORBAG member Kris Nevius

NORBAG member Kris Nevius

NORBAG member Renee Owen

NORBAG member Barbara Briggs-Letson

NORBAG member Renee Owen