I don't know if you've noticed but for a while now I've been cheating on my bags with knitting, beadweaving, tatting, crocheting, hair accessorizing and last Thursday, I did it again. This time with bookbinding. Don't get me wrong. Bag making is still my Number One priority. But I need to learn other crafts as I enjoy learning and getting excited about something I know nothing about. And lately, bag making hasn't been that exciting for me. I mean let's face it. The honeymoon is over. Seeing the same face, day in day out... wait, I am talking about my bag making, right?
Also, if all I do day in day out is make bags, I will go insane. I already see a bit of insanity in me during the weeks when I have to sew intensively because I've been busy doing other stuff (being lazy). Not good for me. This is my 6th year making bags and the 4th year I make bags for sale. I have already made more than 1,000 bags. It's been a long time. <long pause>
What a long explanation for me to learn a little craft! But really, I want you to know what's going on with me. I think that if I regularly take time out to indulge in other crafts, I will be a better bag maker. Otherwise I will continue to be in some kind of a funk and turn into a robotic bag-maker.
So this Japanese Stab Bookbinding workshop was conducted at Monster Gallery. I hadn't been to the Monster's new studio at Chinatown so hubs took me there using his Google Maps. We did a bit of walkabout at Chinatown and discovered that it has become very Chinatown since we last did a walkabout years ago. I definitely want to go back and have a look around in a few shops which sell stainless steel cookware! (that's the housewife in me screaming: stainless steel!)
The guy conducting the course is Leng and he has a blog here if you're interested. Leng did most of the hard work preparing all the materials needed. He even prepared templates so we need not do the measurements ourselves. What a guy. Oh, I really enjoyed his workshop!
Here he is again. I asked him to pose with his book of secrets. He draws very complicated diagrams of the patterns and of course only he can decipher it. If I were to look at it, I would probably see... Must. Eat. Banana. Custard.
These are our materials. I'm so happy to see the Japanese paper. I used to do a lot of Sashiko embroidery in the past and the print reminds me of Sashiko formation.
We need to use an awl. It's an essential tool. You know how clumsy I am. I ended up almost stabbing myself with it. It was just a prick. No blood. But last night I managed to hand sew onto my skin, would you believe it? I almost screamed my head off. Wait, I did.
This is the third book I sewed. The binding method is called tortoise shell. It's the most complicated of the three mostly because it has more holes to stitch through. When I sewed the binding, I still wasn't that confident I was doing everything right but once I completed it, I knew I've grasped the concept. After all, it is sewing and if I can sew the complicated embroidery stitches, this cannot be that hard.
This is a recommended book for Japanese book-binding and it's available at the library. So I intend to check that out and I will report my finding if I discover anything exciting. The only thing that irritates me about book-binding is that I can't find any local stores that sells the supplies. Like the linen thread for instance. I'm definitely going to have a tough time finding it.
There's another kind of bookbinding technique which I would like to pick up. It's called coptic binding, I think and I might want to see if I can learn it off the web seeing how it's not too hard. Anyway, I have started to make a few notebooks just for fun as well as to help me remember the technique. I'll show them to you next time. I'm using sashiko thread and I may try using waxed cotton as well just to see if it works.