Making books by hand is not for the faint hearted; I should also add that it is not profit driven, it is more a labour of love than anything else. It is however deliciously satisfying when you hold the finished volume in your hand and that makes all the trials and tribulations worth while.
I have spent the last couple of days restocking my little bookshop with the addition of a brand new title “Barleycroft Farm”. I thought I would show you just some of the steps that go into their making.
When the illustrations have been finished they are scanned and saved onto a digital file, next comes the designing of the pages and then the printing, with many frustrating and annoying things that get in the way such as running out of ink or paper at a crucial moment. Space has to be found on my constantly cluttered table, and then the pages are laid out to dry.
Next comes the scouring for the folded edges, this is done with the help of a metal ruler and a nice pointy bone folder. The pages are then cut with the “Think twice, cut once” motto in mind. (Learnt the hard way, I might add).
Folding and assembling the pages is next, followed by the bit that I dread, the gluing. I cannot tell you how many times, particularly with the alphabet book, that I have stuck pages together upside down or in the wrong order. The glued pieces are then carefully dried under weights, making sure that they don’t stick to the table, (also learnt the hard way). Finally, after all the folding, gluing and assembling have been finished the book is coaxed into shape and pressed in the nipping press.
Finally, a card folder is made; the book is signed and numbered, photographed, listed and placed in the shop window. Phew!
My name is Valerie Greeley. I am an artist, surface pattern/textile designer and illustrator. I have a special interest in the book arts including illustration, bookbinding, printmaking and artist books. I also have an interest in quilting, nature and bumblebees.