Saturday, January 19, 2019

Can You Design & Craft A Hand-Bound Book?

My wife and kids like to make home-made pizzas.  They taste pretty good, too.  I suppose one could say:  Why bother?  Just go to your local pizzeria and get a pie for 15 bucks – or less.  But there’s something about making something on your own, by hand, that still appeals to people.  This may hold true for those interested in making their own books.

In a new book, Bookforms:  A Complete Guide to Designing and Crafting Hand-Bound Books, created by The Center for Book Arts, readers are treated to a comprehensive manual for making books by hand, with a focus on functionality in design.

Bookforms presents all the instruction one needs to craft a book by hand, showcasing an array of historic bookbinding styles from all over the planet.  It is for professionals and hobbyists alike, tackling a wide range of projects.  It traces the functional roots of each structure, explains their appropriateness for various uses, and provides projects for making an essential structure for each style of binding.

“The objective of Bookforms is not only to provide you with a solid foundation that can be built upon, but more importantly to demonstrate the inherent artistic qualities of bookmaking as a multi-disciplinary art-making form,” says Alexander Campos, the director of The Center for Book Arts.

“We want you to understand books as creatively as possible,” adds Campos.  Bookforms will become an invaluable resource to you as you grow familiar with the different tools, materials, and structures and learn to master the tools and materials you need to bring your brilliant ideas to life.  Bookforms is a window into fine craft.  It will give you an insight to the world of bookbinding and to the binder’s line of thought, helping you to think as a bookbinder.  Emphasis was put on the intersections between the craft of bookbinding and the work of the book artist.”

Bookforms, published by Rockport Publishers (January 22, $30, 176 pages, hardcover, ISBN:  9781631596056), an imprint of The Quarto Group, covers many topics, including: how pamphlets and accordion books are assembled, the secret to crafting multi-signature books, how non-adhesive bindings work, and how the worlds of fine art and bookmaking merge together. 

So why is Bookforms a noteworthy book?  Just ask Lydia Anderson, the marketing manager for The Quarto Group:  “I think people just love books, and many recognize that they can be works of art, booklovers and artists alike can be interested in making their own.  And to that end, it’s directed at artists who wish to explore the book as object, and also booklovers who wish to fully understand the craft that goes into making one.”

The Center for Book Arts in one of the few contemporary arts organizations dedicated to the art of the book.  Founded in 1974 in Manhattan, it was the first not-for-profit organization of its kind in the nation, and has since become a model for others around the world.  The Center promotes active explorations of both contemporary and traditional artistic practices related to the book as an art object.  It facilitates communication between the book arts community and the larger spheres of contemporary visual and literary arts.  They achieve their mission through exhibitions, classes, public programming, literary presentations, opportunities for artists and writers, publications, and collecting.

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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