One of the books in this photograph is going to be my thousandth* handmade book, by the time I am done with my bookbinding today.
I started numbering my journals in 2001, when I looked back on the previous 7 years of bookbinding self-study and dogged making, and realised with a pleasant shock that what had begun as a hobby, a trivial fling with the craft, had turned into something I cared very deeply about. When I thought I had developed a unique style of my own, that they were “good enough” to sell, and knew I wouldn’t feel ashamed of them if some other bookbinder were to inspect them, I dared call myself a bookbinder.
The number’s not so terribly important—signifies neither the beginning nor end of anything—but I’m going to have a tiny celebration, anyway, by making myself a new journal this month (it will be Book 1,001). And by posting a bookbinding tutorial on this blog, though more about that later…it will take time to prepare.
*I didn’t count the first couple hundred that I had made while I was still learning the basics and making lots of mistakes.
Here’s a bright and sunny little film that shows the bookbinding process, give or take some of the heavy machinery, that all bookbinders know intimately, and love.
This video shows the process of making just one of the many different made-by-hand possibilities that come from the Binding Studio, a bespoke bindery in Auckland, New Zealand.
Directed & shot by Joseph Jowitt
Music by Bonobo