budding book artist seeks resources
April 12, 2018 8:24 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for great books (or other resources) about making books and other paper art.

I own a few books on bookbinding, and have some rudimentary bookbinding and letterpress experience, but I am trying to get more into it. I am looking for really great resources about making books and other paper-based art. I will be taking a few classes this coming summer, but I also want to start digging in on my own.

I own some materials and know some stuff (it's up in my cobweb-riddled brain somewhere!), but I am looking for any level of resource, from basic to advanced.

If you know of good places in the New York City or New Jersey area to purchase materials, see book arts, meet bookbinding experts, etc., I am all ears on that front as well.
posted by sockermom to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: For bookbinding, I really like Gwen Diehn’s Real Life Journals. I’ve used its instructions to make a lot of stuff, not just journals.

Heather Weston’s Bookcraft has great-looking instructions too, but I’m not sure I’ve ever actually used them to make anything.

Jeannine Stein’s Adventures in Bookbinding provides a lot of inspiration, but I’ve never tried to make anything out of it either.
posted by liet at 11:00 AM on April 12, 2018

The Center for Book Arts is in Chelsea and has awesome looking exhibits, classes, and events. Talas is a bookbinding supplier based out of Brooklyn. They have a retail location, I don't know how fruitful an in-person visit would be but their catalog is very extensive.

FIT's continuing education program is an AMAZING bargain, if you qualify for in-state tuition and can commit to a semester-long course. They don't have book arts specifically but they do offer a number of things that could pair nicely, like printmaking, drawing and illustration, typography, and all sorts of design topics. Summer selection kinda sucks, but give it a look when the fall catalog comes out. Parsons, Pratt, and SVA probably have more book/print-oriented courses but they charge a lot more for what often look like less rigorous CE offerings. I have also heard good things about the art classes at 92Y.
posted by yeahlikethat at 12:50 PM on April 12, 2018

Best answer: There's the Center for Book Arts in NYC for classes and exhibits, and I have bought awls and linen and wax and things at my local Paper Source, among many other things. I love Keith Smith's books for the straight up encyclopedic nerdery. A quick read of my shelf also includes Esther Smith's "How to Make Books", a couple Gwen Diehn books, and Making Memory Books by Hand and Making Journals by Hand for step-by-step project-based reference. There's also a great non-fiction piece I finished recently called The Book by Keith Houston, which was an interesting "history of books and their attendant parts" read.
posted by ersatzkat at 12:52 PM on April 12, 2018

Best answer: You might enjoy the podcast On Margins.
posted by dobbs at 12:59 PM on April 12, 2018

Philip Gaskell's A New Introduction to Bibliography (it's the other kind of bibliography - the study of books) is incredible. It guides you in great detail through the history of the physical act of bookmaking.
posted by coleboptera at 4:54 PM on April 12, 2018

Best answer: If you want non-traditional but often, quite humorous bookbinding lessons, I highly recommend MaryAnn Moss' classes at her blog Dispatch from LA, particularly Stitch Bookery, Remains of the Day and Full Tilt Boogie.
posted by sarajane at 4:57 PM on April 12, 2018

Response by poster: Keith Smith! I used to own a few, those are excellent, but I couldn't remember the author.

I do have a few classes lined up at the center for book arts in Chelsea. :)

So many great recommendations here. Thank you!
posted by sockermom at 10:40 AM on April 13, 2018

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