The Architecture of Bookbinding

Since taking a class in bookbinding a year and a half ago I’ve made everything from quick notebooks (before meetings and lectures) to the portfolio which got me into architecture school. I’m drawn to books for two reasons: my background in English and the versatility of the form (I’ve been able to use my experience in pottery, paper-making, and figure-drawing in the making of different books). Below are three examples of books I made this past winter, completed as individual projects but also included in my application to an undergraduate architecture program:


This is a “carousel” book made with cut-up travel photos arranged to create three-dimensional scenes (which don’t always make sense). This one required some assembly but resulted in one of my favourite books yet, more an artwork than the other more-or-less-functional notebooks.


The covers of this notebook are made with kiln-fired clay, glazed and stamped with my initial, “M.” The book is bound with two colours of embroidery thread which I twisted together (probably not the most durable binding, especially with the rough edges), and the binding itself is a coptic stitch, easy once you get the hand of it and beautiful in its simplicity.


And this is the portfolio itself, which I submitted hoping it wouldn’t fall apart while admissions were reviewing it. Luckily it held up and the returned book is now sitting in our living room. The binding is the most interesting part of this one: the spine is a piece of copper pipe from a hardware store (sanded for the “brushed” look) and the binding itself is the “secret Belgian binding” explained here. The covers for this one are done in black book-cloth (also used as a backdrop).


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