book review: How to make books

by kath_red on 24/10/2007

in Books, Paper+Mixed Media

How to Make Books: Fold, Cut & Stitch Your Way to a One-of-a-Kind Book, written by Esther K. Smith from Purgatory Pie Press, with illustrations by Lindsay Stadig and photographs by David Michael Zimmerman and published by Potter craft.

This is one of those books that is a pleasure to hold and touch and you just want to keep on feeling it. It is weighty with a solid brown cardboard cover with red vintage hand set type for the cover and each chapter title page (by Dikko Faust of Purgatory Pie Press), it just looks and feels good. This is one book that I really enjoy the matt textured paper, the images come up slightly faded with a vintage feel to the colours – it fits really well with the hand set type throughout the book.

The author, Esther K Smith, has a lovely natural writing style, not too teachery, but still with lots of advice to impart. The chapters go through the various types of ways to make a book by hand – without using presses and lots of fancy equipment and glue. These are folded books and stitched books with lots of variations and examples. I was immediately taken with the very first chapter – ‘Instant books’ such a simple idea – folding a single piece of paper to make an instant book, zine, sketch book, note pad. I immediately made one from a scrap of paper, then I showed the children how to make them too and they spent the evening at home making little books and writing poetry, doing sketches and other secret children’s business. My 5 year old boy was so impressed with himself that he took his books to school the next day and taught the teachers and the class how to make them and now a whole bunch of pre-school kids are making their own books and writing and drawing their secret business.

I found these instructions for the ‘instant book’ or otherwise known as an ‘origami book’.

The rest of this book is just as wonderful, with lots of new ways with old techniques and new ideas to combine different techniques too. There are gems like making books from cereal boxes, and using recycled papers as well as 3D books and different decorative and basic stitches to use. A real gem of a book.

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