Monday, January 25, 2010

Handmade Books

In college, I took a bookmaking class and it was probably one of the most tedious, labor intensive classes I had ever taken (and that says a lot coming from a painter).
If you've ever made your own paper or attempted to bind a book, then you know that bookmaking is most certainly a labor of love. Despite the sheer amount of work that goes into making a book from scratch, the finished product is tangible, useful, functional, and if done well, will last a long time.
I no longer make my own books, but I do admire those that continue to persevere in what seems to be a dying art. I've picked three Etsy shops that vary in style but all offer gorgeous, carefully crafted, handmade books.

Birds on Branches Journal $20
Aqua Petals Album $33
Little Love Note Ornaments $4
Plum Blossom Album $33

Little Notebook $8
Big Notebooks $12
Black and White Chrysanthemum Album $40
Teal and Brown Origami Book $19.95

2010 Leather Datebook $22
Mini Leather Journal Keychain $18
Medium Light Blue Notepad $7
Large Light Blue Leather Journal/Sketchbook $70

Have you ever owned a handmade book? Would you agree that handmade books stand heads and shoulders above mass manufactured journals or did you notice a difference?


drollgirl said...

these handmade books are lovely! i am ashamed to admit that i have never owned (nor made!) a handmade book. i must be missing out.

years ago in a sewing class i had to make a denim (!??!) bookcover for a book. that was hideous, and a pain in the ass, so i can only imagine how difficult it is to make a handmade book!

Felicia|DaLipstickBandit said...

I've never handmade a book. I've seen the design students come in to the same copy shop I go to when I get my labels made and they are always so....fried. One girl said she had to sew pages together or some craziness...I love the one wth the cute!

NoirGirl said...

These are gorgeous! I took a bookmaking class over the summer and absolutely loved it. We didn't make our own paper (sadly enough!) but we cut all the boards, wrapped everything with handmade paste paper and sewed our own textblocks. I found the whole experience energizing and have been making books ever since.

I think there is a vast difference in handmade books, even just because the care that went into making them is so apparent. The papers used are usually so much more interesting, too.

Thanks for sharing these finds with us! And I wish you'd give bookmaking another chance, it's such a rewarding art. :)

Melissa Blake said...

I'm so impressed! Not sure I'd have the patience for that! xoxo

In Honor Of Design said...

oh my gosh these are fantastic!!
I want to fill my shelves with them:D
Happy Monday!

Marilyn said...

I love handmade journals. I'd buy more of them if I used them. There's something so unique and personal about them, which I find appealing. I bought one from this etsy seller for Robert for Christmas. The leather is soft, supple, excellent quality, and the journal lays flat. It's awesome!

melifaif said... the keychain sketch pad. That would definitely come in handy.

Anonymous said...

i've never done bookmaking before, but its definitely on my list of things i would love to learn. these etsy shops are all so pretty and i admire the artists' dedication at such a laborious art!

Mary Jo from TrustYourStyle said...

Beautiful finds! I know I'd never have the patience to make them myself, so it's nice to have a resource to buy someone else's labor of love!

xo Mary Jo

Brittany said...

i took bookbinding at college as well. one of the best classes i ever took. and yes handmade books are, by far, so much better than mass produced books. i need to start making them again. it's rather therapeutic!

Claire Kiefer said...

So this is kind of bizarre, but I have a small handmade book that the inmates at San Quentin made for me when I left after my stint teaching poetry there! It's one of the most meaningful gifts I've ever received--a couple of them made the book (they have an incredible "hobby shop" at SQ where the inmates make all kinds of things--jewelry, leather goods, woodwork, art, etc.) and then they all wrote messages in it. I LOVE IT. Handmade books are the sweetest . . . and perhaps the single best gift you can give a writer!

Also: Lesley has to have that sewing machine necklace, so cute!!!!!

Kate said...

I was given a lovely handbound book from an aunt for my wedding this past summer. The paper is handmade, recycled paper from a women's cooperative, and she used vintage fabric to cover the book. We are still plotting and planning, but it's going to be our wedding scrapbook to accompany the Blurb hardcover book we received a gift certificate for. It's pretty sentimental and very appreciated!

Trudi said...

Thank you for including me amongst all these lovely books!

Diana said...

I do own a couple hand made books! Even the paper bound books seemed a little stronger than my regular paper backs, but I tread them gently. As for the leather one, the bounding of the pages kept coming out but the rest stayed in tact. i hate carrying it around but these are great choices to have at home!

Hanako66 said...

the handmade book that i have, i just keep on the shelf, as i am scared to use it!!

these are just lovely!


Love the map plane piece!
I took classes in book-making as well~ I'd rather buy for sure!!
hee...patience isn't my virtue~

Samantha said...

Oh, I took a bookmaking course and I was awful at it, I'm just so impatient with it. This is why I'm a designer, not an artist. Then again, I have patience to draw so, perhaps I just didn't enjoy it.

Handmade books definitely have something about them that makes them better than manufactured stuff - they're more carefully made and more beautiful. But I'm sure manufactured stuff is stronger. (Then again? It depends how well they are made!)

The Cottage Cheese said...

Yay, great post! Bookbinding truly is an art. Handmade books are such thoughtful gifts. The airplane notebook is especially cute! Before my next vacation (which is sadly a long time off) I'll have to order one and make a little travel journal.

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