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On the Heart’s Bindings – Sow The Heart: One Story at a Time
Book With Heart

On the Heart’s Bindings

We do what we do, because of who we are. If we did otherwise, we would not be ourselves. ~Neil Gaiman

One of the best ways to free oneself of burden and heart ache is to write. The healing powers of putting pen to paper has been documented  in many articles and books. There are few novels in any library where an author has not put a bit of him or herself into the book. It may be through characterizations, identifying with a relationship being written about or by digging down into ones own emotions to come up with the words needed to express the narrative. Sometimes an author wants to have his or her heart and hand into the book at the most basic level – the production of it.

I recently had the opportunity to experience the earliest phase of book manufacturing by making my own journal. The first step involved artistic creativity in the design used for the cover and interior flap. We used combing techniques on colored paste and paper. The result was a composition uniquely ours. Someday I’d also love to learn how to make the marbling effect you see in antiquarian books.

Below photo – setting up all the tools needed and beginning the process.

Below – Custom made covers/end papers hanging and drying on a rack.

Below:  Experimenting with combing

Other steps included chosing a cloth spine for the hardcover book then sewing together the exterior of the books with the signatures (interior pages).  Since both of my hands were busy stitching – I was unable to get a photo of the sewing stage.

 Photo below: A few of us were brave enough to get in the picture with our finished projects!

All were displayed at the Hereford Library for a few weeks. Our instructor, Val Lucas, is in the green shirt.

The book on the left is hardcover, when I brought it home I finished it by tying a little charm onto the wax-coated string I left hanging purposely along the spine. The book on the right has a soft-cover.

When I fill the signatures (interior pages)with handwritten words from my heart, I need to be very careful. The book can not be duplicated and is not available a dime-a-dozen at a retail store. Before putting pen to the paper I must find the discipline to practice up on my basic calligraphy skills I also learned at the Hereford Library.

Thanks to the instructor from Bowerbox Press, the Hereford Library and the Northern Baltimore County Art Foundation, I learned to make handbound books. It was fun stuff.

All Things Fulfilling in the life of an author who loves all things books and publishing.




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