Japanese bookbinding workshop

I’ve always loved the simple elegance of Japanese bookbinding, so when I saw a workshop advertised by Lois offering the chance to make a simple Japanese bound notebook with a printed fabric cover I jumped at it.

We started by printing the fabric with Jonna Saarinen, a Finnish textile designer whose zingy colour palette was perfect for the hot summer evening. Jonna had brought along a collection of printing blocks, but encouraged us to make our own using thin foam glued to blocks of MDF.

bookbinding blocks

First we experimented and practised on paper and scrap fabric.

bookbinding practice1

There were some very imaginative designs, including watermelons, Warhol-esque tomatoes and a landscape of mountains and stars! I decided to stick to a simple spiral block, printed in two colours.

bookbinding tomatoes

bookbinding practice2bookbinding fabric

Lois owner Helen Ward had probably the worst job of the evening – drying the printed fabric with a hairdryer on such a hot evening. That’s what you call a trouper! 🙂

Printing complete, we moved on to making up the books with Magda of Check Out My Print! After cutting the fabric to size, we glued it to one side of some card, and patterned paper on the other.

bookbinding cover

Then we punched holes in a pile of paper, lined them up with the covers, and stitched them together. Thankfully, this was less complicated than it looked. 🙂

Result: six beautiful notebooks and six very happy novice bookbinders!

bookbinding book outside bookbinding book inside bookbinding books

Many thanks to Helen, Jonna and Magda for a very productive and enjoyable evening!