Monthly Archives: October 2011

A Flock of Books

Cross-posted as Bookmaking for Beginners

On Saturday, I took a Bookmaking for Beginners workshop taught by Sarah Smith through GSLIS Continuing Education. The workshop began with a short lecture about different kinds of bindings through history, and how contemporary artists are re-using and making books. The rest of the day was all hands-on: we started with the one-sheet fold-up and the accordion structure, then the blossom fold, Turkish map fold, and Korean map fold; then we learned how to make single-section and two-section pamphlets, and finally how to do chain-stitch.

All the books! From top to bottom: Blossom fold, Korean map fold, accordion fold (with covers), woven flexagon, Turkish map fold, two-section pamphlet, one-section pamphlets, chain-stitched binding.

From left to right: two-section pamphlet, one-section pamphlets (3- and 5-station), and Korean map fold.

This is the Korean map fold book: it’s the same one that looks like a little cedar block in the previous picture. It’s bulky because it contains six pieces of 8.5″x11″ paper, folded into 8 sections each.

This is the two-section pamphlet; the sections are each made up of four sheets of paper, each folded in half once. The cover has a pleat in the middle, and there are three “stations” (holes) where the waxed thread goes through all the layers to hold it together.

This is a one-section pamphlet, also with three stations. I gave the other pamphlets rounded corners, but I folded the edges of this cover in, so it has French flaps (like fancy trade paperback editions sometimes do).

All four pamplets: the top two have five stations, the bottom two have three.

Standing up like this, these remind me of The Monster Book of Monsters from Harry Potter (when Hagrid teaches the Care of Magical Creatures). On the left is the blossom fold; on the right, the Turkish map fold.

Here’s the Turkish map fold, open. It does fold down nice and flat – I think I have a city map of Paris folded in a similar way.

This has the best name of all: woven flexagon. We started with one long sheet (the cream-colored paper), and used a blade to make slices about 1″ apart; then, we took the colored papers and wove them between the slices. It’s quite cheerful-looking, but I have no idea what I’ll do with it.

A simple accordion fold, with covers made of binder’s board covered with decorative paper. We got to use polyvinyl acetate (PVA), an archival-safe plastic adhesive, to glue the paper cover over the board. Sarah showed us how to tuck the corners in with a bone folder to make them smooth and sharp.

The same book, lying open. I preferred the sewing to the folding; I couldn’t make the folds 100% exact. Sarah also showed us how to make an accordion fold with pockets, which I would have liked to cover with the binder’s board, but mine didn’t quite stack straight.

Finally, the chain stitch – this is the longest book, with five sections, or signatures, sewn together.

Here’s the chain-stitched booklet, closed. The stitching makes a nice pattern.

Other than being pretty, the chain stitch is also a nice binding because it allows the book to open flat, which is good for journals and sketchbooks, because you can write or draw deeper into the margins without worrying about the gutter.

All the bindings!

A flock of books – all hand-made in less than seven hours. Even though I probably won’t be using these bookmaking skills in a practical setting anytime soon, the workshop was a good experience: I learned new things, stretched the part of my brain that relates to making tactile things, and created a physical product to use or give as gifts. All in all, a Saturday well spent.

What I’ve been reading: The Mirador, Elisabeth Gille; The White Darkness, Geraldine McCaughrean; The Blood Confession, Alisa Libby
What I’ve been listening to: Her Fearful Symmetry, Audrey Niffenegger (audiobook); Clarity, Jimmy Eat World

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Western Mass.

We went out to Hampshire for Family & Friends Weekend, and western MA  showed all its pretty colors.

Also, llama! (We visited the farm.)

And cows. 

Running for cover: a mostly sunny, breezy day was interrupted by a brief rainstorm.

But the sun came out again.

We stopped by Atkins for cider donuts.

The trees in the middle of campus always turn the most spectacular colors.

It’s always worth the drive out – and it’s much closer to Boston than to New York, so now I can get there and back in a day. Fresh cider donuts only a couple of hours away…dangerous.

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Charles Riverboat Tour

Last weekend we took advantage of the beautiful weather to use our Groupon for a riverboat tour of the Charles.


The MIT dome, site of many pranks (hacks).


The CITGO sign, we learned, is a historical landmark, and when the Red Sox hit a home run, it lights up: C IT GO (see it go). Fun fact!

A nod to the Vikings.

The tour took about an hour; not a bad way to spend a pretty day. (I’d advise calling, though; their website isn’t the most functional/up-to-date.)

What I’ve been reading: The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson; Pretties, Scott Westerfeld

What I’ve been listening to: Passion Leaves a Trace, Black Lab; Pay Attention, Mighty Mighty Bosstones


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When September Ends

…and you realize that you haven’t written a single blog post all month…then it is time to summarize. Or, in the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, “sum up” (“Let me ‘splain. [Pause] No, there is too much. Let me sum up”).

I made oatmeal-apricot scones (twice, they were that good).

Saw some pretty snapdragons outside Cafe 1369 in Inman Square.

Took a ferry out to Spectacle Island and swam in the very, very cold water of the Boston Harbor.

View of Boston from the ferry on the way to Spectacle.

The beach was a little rocky. Someone took advantage of this to sculpt a mouse. (Sand mouse: it rocks.)

We had to take a closer look at the Duck House when we got back to Boston. Does it have the same connotation as being in the doghouse? Are the ducks in trouble?

Also, after eleven years of listening to the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, I finally saw them live…

…at Fenway.

And they were totally amazing and awesome and lived up to all my wildest expectations. They were followed by the Dropkick Murphys:

Who were also good, but who were not so mighty as the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

We had a housewarming party, at which a guest made “chocolate death cake.” (It was amazing. And there was extra mousse.)

Made these peach muffins from a recipe in Good to the Grain. They were supposed to be ginger-peach, but I didn’t have any ginger. They were delicious nevertheless.

Apparently, if you turn the muffins sideways in their cups (see above) after you take them out of the oven, they cool without getting soggy? I’m not sure this made a huge difference. However, I would definitely agree with the “best when fresh” advice in the recipe; they do keep all right for a few days, but they are the opposite of lasagna (which is tastier a day or two or three after it is first baked than it is when it is fresh out of the oven).

Played at Mixed New England Sectionals. We came in second in our division! And had beautiful weather both days.

Post-frisbee, we added some additional illustrations to this pre-printed paper placemat.

And that’s all the news that’s fit to print. When I’m not reading or studying or writing for one of my three classes this semester (my last semester!), or playing frisbee, or cooking, or sleeping, I’m posting more often on my “professional” site (mostly library-related, fewer tirades against cable companies) and on Things I Put In My Container Today (fun for us, odd for you). I’m also keeping track of my reading on Goodreads; it’s mostly teen fiction right now because of my young adult literature class, but if you’re interested, I usually post reviews there. Finally, I am looking for a job! So if you know of any library jobs in the greater Boston area, let me know.

What I’m reading: Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi
What I’ve been listening to: the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Barenaked Ladies, Motion City Soundtrack, Black Lab, Nick Cave, Eluvium

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