Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Little Class

I don't know if I mentioned that I went to Hollanders book binding supply and paper shop last time we drove through Ann Arbor. I can't think of how I found out about them, but I thought it was worth a stop to look around. I enjoyed the visit and picked up a few specialty papers.

I also asked about classes and, while they don't offer them right now, they made some suggestions, including the Morgan Conservatory, the largest arts center in the United States dedicated to every facet of papermaking, book arts and letterpress printing (that's according to their own website).

The Morgan had different classes every Saturday in January and February and they all looked tempting! I settled on a class to make a book with a piano hinge binding and a special concertina spine that opened up into a surprise! The Morgan is in Cleveland, which is a bit of a drive, but I decided it was worth it to try it once. (They have more classes running this summer....)

Display in the reception area. What is it? I'm not sure,
but it's made with paper so I love it.
And paper not...question mark?
It's located in a converted industrial building and looks it! The space is big (although crowded) and has all those old high windows that factories used to have so they didn't have to pay as much to light it. But it sure didn't help with heating. The place was cold enough everyone had to walk around with their winter coats on! But certain areas like the classroom and bathroom--thank goodness--were heated. (And every heated area had with big signs on the doors to keep them closed!)

I got there early so I could "settle in" and because I had to buy one of the items on the supply list. I didn't have a bone folder and after looking online and deciding I didn't have time to run into town to see if local places had any in stock, I took advantage of the fact that they sold them on site.

I chose a lovely hand carved folder that fits my hand nicely. It was made by someone local out of elk bone. I really love the feel of it. And now I feel like a professional paper folder! :)
You use the pointed end to score the paper where you want to fold it and use the smooth rounded edges to make the crease. Much better than your fingernail. He tried to sell me a teflon one because they clean up better (nothing sticks to teflon!) but I couldn't do it. The bone feels so smooth and silky. You gotta love your tools, right?

Here are some more views of the building and the things on display as I walked back to the classroom:

I was so tempted to play with these typesetting letters.
What is it about letters, words and paper?
Stuff hanging from the ceiling everywhere!
Here is the classroom. Slightly heated.
The woman standing was the instructor, Clare Murray Adams. She was really great. She's "really" a quilter (worked in quilts and displayed her work for about 30 years) but now spends more time in collage and mixed media projects. We got along fine. :)

We got started with the hinge pieces. Here I am testing the size and shape to make sure the dowel pin will fit by weaving it between the two pieces:
To the left of the gluestick, you can see the hinge pieces are now covered with dark paper and the dowel is back in to test the fit again.
I've also started to pick out papers for the covers and endpapers. There was a bit of a mixup in the instructions and none of the students were told to bring paper to use for this. We ended up using papers the instructor brought along to complement our supply. (Luckily.)

Jumping forward in the process a bit, here is the book with the covers covered, endpapers in, and hinge spine attached.
The concertina spine paper has been folded and inserted as well. When I remove the dowel pin, the spine is released and you can see what picture I chose to use:
I'm sure this picture came to mind in part because Bowie has just recently passed away, but it also is the perfect shape for what was needed--very wide and short.

Here's what the concertina spine looks like from the inside:
I still have to add the pages ("signatures").

I made a hole-punching template on my hinge template so that the holes on my signatures would line up with the holes on the spine piece. All of them were pre-punched before I sewed in the signatures.
The instructor showed us how to do a three-hole simplified sewing pattern, but I wanted more support since my spine paper was not very heavy. I punched five holes and sewed a running stitch down and then back up the page. doesn't look like I got a picture of that, but you can see the stitching on the back side in the bottom picture below.

Once the signatures were sewn in, the book was done!
The way I folded my spine, I had room for six signatures in the book. We were given nine pages to use but since I wasn't worried about having a lot of pages or space in the book, I just did one page per signature.
Six pieces of paper folded in half for the signature gives me 12 pages (24 sides) and I think that will be plenty.
So with the dowel in place, it mostly looks like an ordinary book, but when you pull it out, you reveal the concertina spine,
and the special surprise image!
I don't know if I'll take another class at the Morgan. It was a long drive and I had to stay in a hotel overnight. But I think the class was definitely worth the cost and time to do it. I really enjoyed it!

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