In the July/August edition of Cloth Paper Scissors was a great art book by Ro Bruhn. It was eclectic, colorful, truly fabulous. I wanted to try my hand at something similar. I have been a sewer all my life, some of my earliest and happiest memories are sitting on the back steps embroidering with my mum. I have bins and bins of fabric that was too pretty to throw away and now my daughter is a fashion designer the bins just keep on growing. I really loved all of Bruhn’s printed fabric and papers, maybe someday I will have time to try and make something like that too, but for now I settled on adapting her structure to use what I had on hand and put plain 80lb sketch paper in the signatures. I always have a really hard time binding on fabric. I want the bindings to be pristine, and with a fabric spine what you get is a bit organic (a nice way of saying sloppy). So here’s what I finally made.
I took some pieces of interfacing about 9.5 by 14 inches and added scraps from my fabric stash to cover them. Then I added some ribbon & lace, a little embroidery, (when I make the next one I will do more hand sewing, with this one I was just anxious to get to the end and rushed!), some beads and grommets and finally some vintage paper illustrations glued & sewn on by hand. I backed each one with a scrap of upholstery fabric to make them sturdy enough to protect the paper. I also made a longer, narrower strip to act as a spine/closure. I made some really chunky signatures from the 80lb paper, 20 sheets of 12×9 for each fabric wrapper, then I was ready to assemble!
I sewed the fabric wrappers to the spine using my machine, so the binding wouldn’t be the only thing holding then three pieces together, then I used a simple pamphlet stitch binding finished off with a button on each set of signatures. I really wanted the buttons to add some dimension so I opted to change the binding from the directions. Sewing through the fabric and all that paper was a nightmare! 20 sheets was way too many! For the next one I would definitely do more sections with fewer pages, live & learn! I entered through different stations on the outside so I could stagger the buttons and use much larger ones.
My version is not as detailed or colourful as the original, but my mind is whirring with the possibilities for this. I love the challenge of a new technique, I was so psyched to work on this, I am sure I will be adapting and modifying it many times in the near future.
Of course I am busy thinking about ways to make it more textured and monochromatic and to add text, but for a first try I think it is not too bad! I was also thinking about applications for three separate books in one binding. Happy, happy!
Here are a couple more views of the finished project.