PREVIEW: How to Create a Coptic Stitch Bound Book – s03e12

October 21, 2016
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Few things are more beautiful or more special than a hand bound book. Learn how to create just such a book using the Coptic Stitch. Although there are lots of little steps, it’s so rewarding when you hold your finished book in your hands ready to fill with journaling or art. Follow the steps and you’ll have a lovely book completed in no time.

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Books have always played an important role in my life. As a little girl, I loved curling up in bed with a pile of Little Golden Books where I’d “read” the stories even before I could decipher the printing on the pages. My imagination always ran wild when my mother read to me at bedtime. There’s nothing quite like picturing crazy fairy tale characters just before sleep!

Have you ever thought about the journey our modern books must have taken to show up as they do today? It's quite fascinating!

Before the first century A.D., most things of importance were written on clay tablets or scrolls of papyrus or cloth. As the first bound books appeared, they were primarily religious in nature and printed on sheepskin vellum. For several hundred years bookbinding was practiced by monks who copied and recopied entire libraries of books. (Today, when touching a computer screen instantly puts a book of my choice in front of my eyes, I can’t help but think of the incredible dedication of those scribes so long ago.)

Once the Gutenberg press was invented circa 1440, faster and more automated binding systems were desired, but binding still fell to craftsmen as binding books remained a hands-on art with beautifully embellished wood covers that evolved into paper boards covered in animal skins or fabric.

In 1868 David McConnell Smyth patented a sewing machine that was designed for bookbinding. He later developed machines for gluing, trimming and case-making (hard covers). Perfect binding was invented in 1895 but didn’t become popular for bookbinding until the first paperback book was created in 1931.

So, why should anyone bind a book by hand?

If you love creating things with your hands, as I do, then you recognize the soul contained within hand made items. Whether a lovingly stitched quilt or piece of wall art or a hand painted portrait or hand carved figure, you know by the feel and appearance that you are in the presence of something special. Even a crudely made item contains a part of its maker - part of his history - part of her essence.

I dare you to fold pages, create covers and stitch a book without having a connection to it. 😉 Open its pages, begin writing or drawing and you’re likely to hope that one day it finds a path into the hands of a future generation.

Why not invest some time and energy in learning a bookbinding skill that will last the test of time? Gather your supplies. Decide what your new book might be used for and let’s start stitching. Along the way, I bet you’ll find that you’ve created not only a book but also a memory.

Download your class notes and I’ll see you in the video class.

Remember to Get Creative today! It’s Easy!


P.S. Please leave a comment below.


Barb Owen

About the Author

Barb Owen

Barb is the founder of How to Get Creative, author of "Normal Doesn't Live Here Anymore", a specialist at playing in the art studio and has an unhealthy addiction to smiles. ;-)

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