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Sydney Bookbinding

Welcome to my Bookbinding Blog

The making of books, the teaching of bookbinding and the association with other bookbinders and book artists has become the focus and passion of my life. Bookbinding has many aspects and we debate a lot about the precise definitions of various aspects but, working with our hands within this discipline, challenging our skills and creativity is intriguing, frustrating and exciting.
Sydney Bookbinding
Sydney Bookbinding

Oriental side stitched book to submit for marking

Although we are beginning to work on the second project you are probably still completing your first book.

There are a few points to check regarding this book -

Check the advice in your class notes. This is a card covered book so the covers will be flexible. They can have another layer of card,  fabric or other material to slightly stiffen but not be a hard (board strength) cover. The hinge is created by scoring with the bonefolder – a little way in from the stitching area.

A diagram for the basic stitching is one of the posts in your category in this blog. You can be more creative of course as shown in a number of examples we looked at but it must be secure without any gaping between the stitches and especially at the corners.

All the internal pages should fold over and lay down easily – not needing to be held down. This is achieved by using thin papers – not card. Be careful if you are adding collage areas that they keep to within the page dimensions leaving the hinge area a thinner paper therefore allowing it to turn over easily and stay open.

Content needs to show a narrative that progresses from one page to the next – the left side page is also part of the ‘story’ so needs to connect visually.

Shape, colour, tone, line and placement can link pages and form the ‘character’ or mood of your book. The cover and shape of the book sis the introduction to the book – not just a covering element.

Creative ideas are essential but the technical standard of the binding – covers, ability to open and close easily plus the easy turning of the pages will be judges and must be of a high standard.

I look forward to seeing your books on Wednesday. The room is yours from 2.00pm so set up your area with any samples you have to support your ideas. Make sure your name and number are clearly shown. I will see you there at 2.00pm of course.

Any last minute questions please email me – rosemarie@sydneybookbinding.com.

Posted in UNSW/Art and Design |
Sydney Bookbinding

Requirements for class 4 – 25th March


As we will be looking firstly at the various structure that come under the category of Concertina bindings we will not begin to design our final book.

We will make samples, understand how to create various concertina structures accurately. Then you can begin to work on what structure you want to use and  what demands this will make on your designing considerations and possible narrative.

You will need to bring the following – Plastic sheet to protect your desk area where the water jar will sit. Container of PVA and bristle brush – round and perhaps flat. Jar for water. Chucks cloths – good to use to clean your desk area before placing papers etc on. Scissors and your other bookbinding tools (cutting mat, knives etc). A glue stick would be helpful and perhaps a hand towel.

I will provide the papers and card, board etc necessary for your sample making – this week and perhaps also next week. You are to pay $5.00 for this material which will be cut to the sizes suitable for our samples.

A reminder – wear covered in shoes, have an old shirt or apron and that box for your tools – to keep on your desk

I look forward to our lesson this week.


Posted in UNSW/Art and Design |
Sydney Bookbinding

Finalising the design for our first book



This is just a reminder for the Artists Books students to bring all that is necessary to finalise the designing of this first book.

Have paper to try, card for covers and necessary thread to create any samples in order to try out your ideas. The necessary knives, scissors and tools plus cutting mat in order to work your ideas.

Always sketch book and pencil to clarify your narrative and how you can spread these ideas out into a series of related sequential pages. Narrative can be abstract designing, using shapes, colour etc plus letters and numbers – words etc. It does not have to be a grand theme just an indication that you are creative with visual planning of ideas forming the pages of your book.

Of course I will have the examples you saw last week plus assistance how to achieve a high standard.

By the end of our class you should have sorted out your materials, sewing pattern and narrative – then stick to it and make the best book possible.

Week 4 we start to look at our second project.

Reminder – if you require board for your cutting mat support please let me know by email – rosemarie@sydneybookbinding.com –  latest Tuesday morning so that Kevin can cut and prepare. Tomorrow would be preferred of course.

See you all on Wednesday afternoon


Posted in UNSW/Art and Design |
Sydney Bookbinding

Price rises for bookbindingt supplies

Dear Customers,

As we have sold out of some lines and the newly imported items have seen a rather hefty price rise. Due both to manufacturers increasing prices and the unfavorable exchange rate.

Increases to date are the following -

Awls – now $11.85                              BB18 (needles)  - now $1.20

Full reel of thread, full range – now $45.00                                          5 mt thread, full range – now $1.80

I need to check bonefolders as I think I need to order these so the price there will increase also. Will let you know when this happens.

NEW ITEM – I have skins of very thin skiver – natural so perfect for dying to your chosen colour. Perfect for labels on your books. I am already foil blocking labels for some customers (not a huge range of type – mostly Times Roman – but this is very suitable for older style books that you may be restoring).

If you want a new PDF of the price list with these changes please email me to request it.

If interested in foil labels for your books again email me for details.

Posted in Bookbinding Supplies |
Sydney Bookbinding

Oriental side stitched Artists’ Book



For several years I have taking a course on Artists’ Books at COFA (College of Fine Arts, Sydney). During the semester we  complete 3 projects.

Their first project is to design and create a book based on Oriental side stitching. A soft cover and with content of their designing. It gives me great pleasure to see the creativity of these talented students.

This book shows quite intricate side stitching and opens in the centre - “French Door” style.

Open Oriental side stitched book showing internal pages


This shows the opening of the book and some of the work done on the internal pages. Not only are there collages and pages that are painted but different coloured pages and stencil cutting has been used to create interest. It opens very gracefully.

This is another very interesting side stitched book, that grew from the exploration of Oriental side stitching. The cut holes in the front look through to different pages on the inside where drawings of different colours are to be seen.

The exploration of a wider spine area and multi-coloured stitching is a very creative  development.

The ‘gallery’ images at the start of this post give just some ideas of the range of styles explored by the previous COFA students. There are many more of course but this is a taste. So, be creative with this one.


Posted in Artists' Books |
Sydney Bookbinding