Thursday, March 3, 2016

Persona Research Challenge - 2nd Prize

The second prize winner of the Artemisian Persona Research Challenge was m'lady Cheung Mei Wan for her article on Chinese hair ornaments.

She requested that her book have blank pages, and be bound in this lovely red brocade, which she provided to me. To bind books in fabric, you must use a process which will allow you to use glue on it without destroying the fabric itself. There are complicated ways of soaking the fabric in starch and paste, but I was afraid the Brocade would become water damaged from the pasting. It was also important to me to get this book done soon, as it's taken me longer to finish than I'd hoped. Life seems to get in the way of fun sometimes. I opted for a simple, quick and very not period method of backing the fabric with tissue paper using Heat 'n' Bond. I want to take the time to do testing on making book fabric "properly" in the future. 


This book is done in coptic stitch binding, which leaves the signatures visible on the spine, and shows a decorative stitch along the signatures. I did this using waxed cotton embroidery floss. It's a lot more wobbly than I'd prefer - clearly I need more practice. This book has 11 signatures.


The benefit to coptic stitch binding is that no glue is needed in attaching the covers to the body of the book, and books lay flat when open, which is great for writing and sketching. Incidentally, I'm supposed to be teaching a class on coptic stitch binding at Known World Heralds and Scribes Symposium next month. If you're there, come to my class or come say hi!


I used a heavy weight pearlescent paper with embossed floral designs for the inside of the covers. This reminded me of the papers used in the recipient's wedding bouquets, so I thought it would be a fun little personalized touch.


I finished the book off by adding metal corners to the outer edges. The inner edges could not be capped due to the binding stitches. I had some fraying problems with the fabric where the corners were turned in, so this helps keep everything tight where it should be. The glue used will keep the book from further fraying, but this looks much cleaner.