Bookbinders tickets

6SmThere was a fascinating discussion on the bookarts listserv about something called a bookbinders ticket. It’s a small paper glued into the back of the book with the binder’s unique mark and it tells you about the binder and when it was made. They’ve been around for  about 400 years and give a offer a history of bookbinding.

2SmI do not make tickets but I do have a little round rubber stamp that I use to mark in the back of my books so people will know I made them. When I get to making more elaborate case bound books and such on a regular basis, I think I will make up some of these. I think it’s important for future generations to know as much about where a book came from as possible. Do you mark your books?

And for the record, I think the artist book colophon has it all over the ticket. (detailed in the next post on bookbinding).

Some links on the topic of bookbinders tickets:

Slow Books

Okay I am really excited about this project. I wanted to give away a copy of Keith Smith‘s Volume 1: Books Without Paste or Glue, and not in just a number drawing. I wanted to do something more, I don’t know, spectacular. Then Leslie Herger of Comfortable Shoes Studio gave me an idea (so if you don’t like it, you know who to bother). The contest is…

an essay contest! Yep, you write a little essay and post it on your blog or in the comments and you’ll be entered. The topic for this essay is S-L-O-W books. Slow books. It’s a post I’ve been thinking about since I first heard the term slow fabric (and then slow food) a year or more ago. The idea of slow books in a nutshell is that your materials are local if possible and you do as much of the process as you can, from making the paper to carving your own needles and spinning your own binding thread. How much of the process are you involved in? Where do your materials come from? What about chemical dyes and adhesives vs. natural? How important is the bookmaking process itself to you (as opposed to admiring the finished product most) and how would slow books help you enjoy that process more? Do you use recycled materials?

I want to hear your thoughts on what a slow book means to you, if you have ever made one, or any aspect of slow books that appeals to you. Or maybe you think it’s not necessary–or even possible–to make slow books. I think this is a topic that should be discussed more in the bookarts community. I hope you’ll take a few minutes and think about this topic and enter. We are all winners when you share your thoughts.

If you would be interested in starting up a regular slow books bloghop please leave a note in the comments. I think it would be great to connect with other books artists on this idea.

Details on the contest:

Word count: up to 2000, whatever you need to say it. But at least 250 please. Make sure you leave a link to your blog post in the comments.

Deadline: August 31, 2009 midnight CST

Winner will be announced September 7, 2009 here on my blog. If the winner doesn’t contact me in 7 days it will go to the next in line. If that doesn’t work out then I will draw randomly.

Jury Duty (you didn’t think I’d be the only one deciding this did you?): click pics to visit their sites. They are being so generous with their time to help me with this project.

Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

Alexia Petrakos, book binder (and winner of my last giveaway)


I follow them on Twitter and love their work and hope you’ll show them some love for helping with this contest.

You can judge a book by its cover

The cover of a book, especially an antique, determines its value. A great volume with an intact spine and flyleaves is sought-after by collectors the world over.

When you make a book, keep in mind that the cover is not an afterthought. It is not simply a holder for the title or something to keep the pages inside from getting ruined. Yes it is all that too but it’s more.

It’s like the front door. It’s the readers first interaction with your work. It’s the thing they hold and manipulate to get to the “good stuff.” It’s the first stop on a journey through your work. Why not make it really count?

An article to enjoy is this one on an exhibit of the Morgan Library and Museum. A limited collection of their books spanning 1400 years displays the exquisite detail of the covers. You almost hate to open them up for fear the text won’t live up.

When you maker your next book I hope you will take the opportunity to make the cover a work unto itself.

Finding artist book inspiration

Creative block is one of the things I struggle with. Things are rocking along and then one day, without warning, it’s like someone dammed up the river of ideas. Suddenly I got nothin‘.

If you are stuck, lacking inspiration or just afraid to try something new, maybe you can try one of these:

  • Found Magazine is filled with ideas and inspiration. It’s all about old receipts and love notes and pictures of strangers just begging for their story to be told. It’s fun to peek into the life of a stranger this way.
  • Watch a video at TED.
  • Leave your work, close the door behind you and take a walk. Clearing your head does wonders for the creative process.
  • Check out these these packaging solutions. How creative!
  • Visit Vamp & Tramp Booksellers to peruse all the artist book happiness they have available.
  • Visit the Handmade Book Community‘s board to see what amateur and professional bookbinders from all over are up to.
  • Zybooks also has a good variety of artist books to drool over.

There are ton of other book artist sites but these are a few that I enjoy.

Otis artist books

Otis College of Art and Design has one of the most user-friendly artist book catalogs I’ve come across. This site is great because you can search by things like technique, binding and more. Lots of eye candy but I am not responsible for what you may run across there, as I did not look at every book. Enjoy!