I never thought I would ever own one of these wonderful machines, having always awed at Aya-sensei when I see her amazing work that was done on the Adana Eight Five. And never in my wildest dreams would I ever have dreamt that I would “inherit” one from my amazing tutor and mentor Mark Cockram. Of course, some form of exchange was done, but it is very mind-blowing what I can possibly do with this little red wonder.
Now, it’s about dissembling it and packing it to be shipped back to Singapore. I am extremely meticulous in my bookbinding, and so am I in my packing.
A nice, warm and dry sunny day here in London, ideal to visit John Purcell Papers to get some supplies. I got some great quality kozo papers for repair and they are very, extremely expensive. I bought 25 sheets of 34gsm Kozo natural, which is 50% kozo and 50% pulp, and a roll of Kozo Thin 25gsm, which is 20% kozo and 80% pulp.
Just as everything in life, take care of your books and they won’t require much repair, if not restoration is going to be quite an investment on the high side.
Studio 5 went outdoors on 12 July 2014, for the 40th annual Barnes Fair. It was a huge success, and of course, before all that could happen, a lot of sweat and muscle were needed to bring the laying press, nipping press and stock of books to the park, by the duck pond.
I had a wonderful day, assisting Mark with the stall, as well as pulling in a crowd whenever he was doing a demonstration. What surprised me most, is that, for Mark, a veteran for almost 30 years, still get the same questions I get, and I’ve only been bookbinding for about 4 years. Things like “Bookbinding… do you do that for a living?” and “Can you earn anything from bookbinding?” were some of the questions asked. I must be prepared that 25 years into my career as a bookbinder, that will still be a common question.
I had great fun, regardless!
dddots is back at Studio 5, in London. Work has begun and it will be intense. My things just exploded onto the work bench, a new one for me, facing Mark while I work. How much better can it get?
Recently, a customer came to me, feeling really upset, that his bible of great sentimental value was coming apart. I gave it new spine linings using Calico from Japan, a nice new hollow, and full Chieftan goat leather binding, finished with a fair goat leather Celtic cross with sunago gold leaf. Filmed & edited by Louis Kwok (http://www.louiskwok.com)
An interesting find at my Mum’s over the weekend. The National Library of Singapore has a clearance sale once every few years to sell off old books as well as raise funds to build more libraries in the newer neighbourhoods.
[The Bakerloo Flea] was one of the books I picked out. Written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Quentin Blake, who I adore so much. This book has been borrowed twice when library cards were filled out by the librarian, before it was digitalised.
This book has been rebound by Asia Book-binding Co, which once was at 9K Kampong Eunos, Singapore 14! The post code used has only 2 digits, today it has 6 digits. I wonder what happened to the bindery.
The re-enforcement sewing and the mull cloth used can be see on the utilitarian endpapers and buckram was used as the covering. I think this was once a paperback that suffered much that it required rebinding.
Tempted to give this a design binding as well as a renewed life. Decisions.
A big welcome to Big Boy Press, which took 3 months to get back here from England, by ship. It weighs a hefty 200 kilograms, height of 75 centimetres. My partner, Louis and his good buddy Nicky took almost an hour to get it up into our flat. And now it still sits on the trolley we cart it around with, because it is just way too heavy for us to lift it up to any worktop. So for now, I shall be pressing my books, while sitting on the floor.
Really happy and excited that dddots is featured in [Made in Singapore: Crafting a Business], an article on The Sunday Times, Life! section of the local English newspaper in Singapore. It also features 11 other Singaporean craft people.
It was a sunny and warm Sunday, and dddots’ first workshop featuring the Rubbish Book was a success. I had so much fun chatting with Ching, a fellow maker, who wanted to learn more about bookbinding to help her with her job, making theatre props and costumes. We had so much fun and I taught her to make 2 books instead of 1 and I forgot to take photos. Thankfully, Louis quickly snapped a few, while he took part in the morning half of the lesson on impromptu.
Restoring a customer’s beloved bible, giving it a brand new cover, as well as strengthening the spine. The existing cover was flaking and the hinges were breaking off. Like what most people do, Sellotape was used to hold it back together. The spine lining was just a thin piece of Kraft paper and mull, and it was adhered using animal glue. I used an iron to slowly warm up the adhesive to release it from the spine.
The bible is now cleaned and ready for its new endpapers, new spine lining and soon to come, its new leather cover.
RUBBISH BOOKS: LOOSE SHEETS CASE BINDING
25 May 2014, Sunday
10.00 to 5.00, (1 hour lunch break)
4 students only
$180 including all materials
Learn this great binding method for loose sheets of paper for a blank journal, a stack of printed notes or a self-published book.
Students will learn to use simple hand tools and explore the environment-friendly method of upcycling and repurposing rubbish into something new. Everyone gets to bring back the book they made and lots of new ideas and tips on how to create your own Rubbish Book at home.
To book your spot or for more details, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Adelene at 9362 3774.
Also, there is a NEW [Workshops] tab on the top right corner of the page. Check in often for updates.
[Rubbish Books] as called by Mark Cockram at Studio 5. Rubbish because they are made of things that have been used and are meant for the dumps. But they evolve, into something useful, and their purpose has been prolonged.
Mark delaminates corrugated boards for the good quality kraft paper with the nice designs and graphics printed on it. I make use of paper bags that did their jobs holding shopping back from the stores. More to come and I hope, will be available on Etsy pretty soon.
Edition Binding is something that might be difficult to produce, especially when you have to make a number of identical sets. However, it can be very easily overcome with a work flow that is efficient and precise for the bookbinder who does everything by hand. I made a limited edition of 5 copies of my first volume of my resume, done single section, case bound, entirely in a day. What best way to present myself as a bookbinder, but a book that is designed, printed and bound by me.
A Finishing Press is a very important equipment in the bindery. I was able to get a proper beech finishing press when I was in London, but before that, I use these two small presses which were made by my partner, Louis, using simple screws and 2 strips of wood. I am spoilt by this beech press, but nonetheless, when there is a need for more than one book to be made, it is always good to make-do with what we have.
This is the Book of Book Spines and also works as an instant shelf of books, with just one book. I made this using the Disappearing Spine Bradel Binding and moulded each individual spine with boards, watercolour paper and lots of sanding. Each spine is covered in leather and different spine decoration techniques are explored. This book was a great feat but I was definitely very satisfied after completing it. This took me almost a month and half to complete, with a little break during Christmas and New Year’s while I was in London.