10/16/2009

Making books by hand.



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!

31 comments:

  1. Looks like a very satisfying production line.


    Celia

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  2. Very tedious and meticulous process but it looks very satisfying in the end! What a beautiful handmade book, Valerie!

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  3. Valerie, I love your art. The amount of work that goes into it is amazing! I would not have understood how much work it is to put out such beautiful work. Thank you for sharing it with us. Vicki

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  4. Oh what a lovely book. I hope you're charging enough for it in your Etsy shop!!! Nothing like a handmade anything! What a great feeling to have it done. What a painstaking process, although I'll bet it's fun in the doing!

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  5. Wow. All I can say is that it is beautiful from start to finish.

    Willow

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  6. These are beautiful. I just love your work! Such detail.

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  7. What a delightful book! Thanks so much for sharing your process---a real eye-opener. I just love your work ; )

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  8. What a long process, but how satisfying and beautiful.

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  9. It is just beautiful! :) Someday I am going to make one too. who knows when that someday will be, but i will.

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  10. There must be a wee bairn who would love a hand made book from his grandmother! ;-)

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  11. Valerie - those are indeed labours of love and little works of art - how I envy you that ability - and that little darling grandson who is going to be inundated with the most exquisite little books when he is old enough to look at them rather than chew them.

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  12. hello acornmoon - that's the quintessential labour of love. so beautiful - i'm always thrilled when i see skill that has been elevated to the level of craft in a person's work. steven

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  13. Dear Valerie...what a gorgeous book and such an honest description of the making...I laughed when I read about all the pitfalls you have encountered as I and so many others artists have been there too...running out of ink at midnight, gluing to the table etc...thanks for your refreshing candour, Love Patricia xx

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  14. Thoroughly intrigued by the book making process Valerie. I can see it must be a labour of love with all those steps. The result is definitely worth it though. Your illustrations are bright and beautiful.

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  15. Oh it's lovely to see your making process, especially with such beautiful results.

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  16. Ah...and then there is the problem of glue on our fingers, making the project even messier! Valerie, I like to keep a wet cloth handy to wipe the sticky stuff off my fingers periodically.

    Your book is lovely and yes, a labor of love and time!

    Diane

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  17. Good Day Valerie, I had NO idea how much work went into creating those beautiful handmade books. Your artwork is truly awesome and you must have the patience of gold. Hugs Judy

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  18. Hi Valerie, it's been really interesting to watch the creation of your lovely book. Also love your painting of fungi on a previous post - the composition has an appearance of delicacy while being pleasingly clear and graphic. BFN. Lesley

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  19. Your little books are so very beautiful!

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  20. I'm liking your weights...where did you get them? That hexagon one is dazzling me!

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  21. The attention to detail in your work is second to none. Really lovely. x

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  22. all I can say is wow! beautifully crafted.

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  23. Sooooooo beautiful, and indeed a labor of love. Thanks for sharing the process. :)

    ~ Carolee

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  24. Valerie, you make that look so easy, though i am sure it isn't! I loved seeing the process. What programme do you use to produce them with? I love little books, and these are wonderful. *ruthie*

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  25. Oh, yes, it is so very easy to goof up when making books, isn't it? I do it all the time--especially when it's a complicated project like yours looks to be. Your finished books look lovely!

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  26. BEautiful post !! I loved this one !

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  27. "Deliciously satisfying" indeed, for all the hours of sweated labour that go into making something perfectly sized and shaped for holding, opening, reading and treasuring. Are you not torn between selling them and keeping them to gloat over?

    They really are beautiful.

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  28. Wow... you're a real artisan. Your books (beautifully illustrated of course) are delightful!

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  29. How wonderfully accomplished you are.
    This is indeed labor intensive
    and the results worth it.
    So very lovely.

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  30. My goodness, that is a lot of very attentive work. The outcome could not be more charming and lovely!

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  31. Really beautiful books - thank you for sharing the process with us. Your illustrations are a joy.

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