FMP - Creating a Hand-Made Book.

Last year as part of Surfaces and Strategies Module, I attended a book binding course in North Devon and created a couple of books including an A5 notebook, which can be seen here, with four signatures and a hard back properly bound and stitched, so I had an idea of where to start. Also Portes et textures de Toulouse, was a first book attempt using natural acid-free paper and acetate, and an artist sketchbook, ’Sick Art’. I did find myself refreshing my memory using on line tutorials and an e-book on Hand-Book Binding, by Aldren Watson was useful.  You can download a free sample too and read quite a lot of it on Google Books if you prefer not to buy. The book was originally written in 1986 and is wonderful and reflected my workshop where we used all the original materials, including waxing our own cotton, linen mull, acid free paper etc., Watson lists suppliers and materials too which is helpful. The original drawings are the authors and its a delight to read and just to have to hand. 

InDesign: I spent one full day learning Indesign and I am still finding my way around it as I progress with developing the design layout, exporting and saving documents. I experimented with double bleeds, different texts, positioning images and mixing abstract with black and white personal images as well as preparing the images and document ready for printing. Main difficult was reorganising images for folded pages. Indesign prints for booklet, but assumes you are stapling the separate pages. There may be a way, but I haven’t discovered it yet. 

Developing A Story Line: Here I had a lot of help at Offspring PhotoMeet, written up here, if it was just to get a pattern of thoughts on personalising the book with documentary images, in the main the reviewers thought yes, although there was an overriding suggestions to make the book different, especially from Francesca Seravalle, who came up with some great ideas, but none I can do in the short time left now to completion of the course. So I am going to work on a a further idea for a book post MA and hope to present this to as part of my book explorations. The great thing about creating a book is that it forces you to focus on the story line, and clearly explaining it. It also brings everything together and I really felt that I wanted to do this. The work feels more complete now. Originally, I thought I would develop a simple signature book with just images, hand made and that would be enough of a representation of the project. Then to personalise I added images of a trial participant which helped, but it still wasn’t right. So I decided to add more text based around both the  scientific research and my interpretation of the image created for each image. Now it started to make sense and feel right. After others proof reading, and corrected my own typos and errors several times, it seems ready to go. 

Title: This was difficult! Mapping 1 is the title of my FMP Project, I have completed a press release Art and Science uncover M.E and Mapping 1, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, seemed just too long a title as well as too long to say, so I finally settled with ‘Mapping 1, An art science Collaboration,’ since this what the project has been focused upon. 

Printing for the final version: Printing was fiddly, but after I successfully reorganising the images in InDesign, so they printed in the correct order for folding spreads, the only fiddly part was lining the paper up in the printer for the second spread on the back of the image. Tip ; Its really important to leave your guide cutting lines in for cutting, I did do this but it was accidental and I wouldn’t have necessarily thought of it first. So the images are printed and cut on one side only so that I can fold, finish cutting and then stitch. Printing for the final version. 

Developing a Prototype: Initially, I decided on a book size of 250mmx180mm and set inDesign up to do this. I made a layout of 16-24 pages with some scattered images and a little text. I could only create a prototype on A4, as I need A2 sheets for printing the full spreads. Following a tutorial with Stella, I decided to increase the number of pages to 32, to cover more information and more images, plus section the work in reference to the three photographic shoots and three case studies of my work. This has implications for finally folding the paper and the thickness required, reducing from 150gms to approx 130gms, although I might try both.  Increasing the number of pages has allowed me to include three areas of research, clearly expressed under different headings; Immune Dysfunction, Cellular Dysfunction & Neurological Dysfunction and as chapter titles. This breaks up the work and also now reflects my research more clearly.

I have made a very rough prototype, and practised cutting edges and just working with ordering of images for printing, the margins are key as the fold on the inside will use up some border and the outer edges will need to be trimmed after folding. I have also practised the stitching and deciding whether to keep the final tie on the outside or in the centre of the book. Usually it’s in but I am tempted to copy Yashinoga’s way and keep it on the outside. In the end it stays in the centre as the waxed cotton is fine and wouldn’t add much to the final finished version. 

The finished version: A single signature, 32 pages hand-made book. Size: 250mmx180mm

I bought Dayler Rowney artist paper, 150 and 130gms and decided on to go with the thicker version, off-white/cream sheets and I need 16 sheets, as attempting to get  4xspreads onto one sheet back and front was too tight for any error.  I ordered a slightly heavier paper for the outer cover, racing green and a soft black, but in the end I flooded a thicker textured paper with colour dark racing-type green on the outside and a grey on the inside. This helped with the contrast of the cream paper running through and made it a little more contemporary. I matched the grey to the colour of the abstract and summary pages. I matched the Heading text to the cream colour of the inside pages. 

Printing for the final version: Printing was fiddly, but after I successfully reorganising the images in InDesign, so they printed in the correct order for folding spreads, the only fiddly part was lining the paper up in the printer for the second spread on the back of the image. Tip ; Its really important to leave your guide cutting lines in for cutting, I did do this but it was accidental and I wouldn’t have necessarily thought of it first. So the images are printed and cut on one side only so that I can fold, finish cutting and then stitch. Printing for the final version. 

First Cuts: Following printing, you can see just two sides of the spreads cut on two sides, waiting for ink to dry properly before I fold and cut the final edges. The outer cover will be folded after I’ve cut the insides as I’ve allowed a few mm overlap for the cover. 

Folding, Trimming, Sewing, Pressing: is key and a good sharp awl to make the holes, then a sharp scalpel to trim the edges important too. The Waxed cotton finishes the job and I choose to keep the tie on the outside. The sewing is relatively simple as long as the holes are made without too much damage and just thick enough to take the cotton. The awl helps to do this neatly.  These images take you through the making process, which would be followed by pressing overnight.

Finished Pages.

I am delighted with the final versions, and will probably make slightly smaller version to reprint, to keep the cost down and I can then print these at home. Version 1/30 complete. Here is a short video of the final book. Mapping I : An art science collaboration.

CRAWFORD Y. 2019. Mapping I: An art science collaboration. Vimeo. [online] Available at https://vimeo.com/348607848

CRAWFORD Y. 2019. Mapping 1 : An art science Collaboration. Prototype. Vimeo. [online] Available at https://vimeo.com/346820991

WATSON A. 2012. Hand Book Binding, A manual instruction. New York: Dover Publications. 

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