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Bookbinding. A sometimes neglected art form. Bookbinding. “the process of physically assembling a book from a number of folded or unfolded sheets of paper or other material. It usually involves attaching covers to the resulting text-block.”. The first books. Made almost 6,000 years ago!

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A sometimes neglected art form



“the process of physically assembling a book from a number of folded or unfolded sheets of paper or other material. It usually involves attaching covers to the resulting text-block.”

The first books

The first books

Made almost 6,000 years ago!

Carved into stone or bone.

This stone tablet from 2400 BC was found in Syria, ad told of the once-great city of Elba.

Then came papyrus scrolls

Then came papyrus scrolls…

It was dried and used to write on.

Papyrus was a plant abundant in the Nile Delta of Egypt.

Palm leaf books

Palm Leaf Books

Wooden cover and backing, with a hole punched through the center to connect them all.

Few books of this time exist today due to decomposition.

Wooden and leather bound books

Wooden and leather bound books

Appeared in the 6th century, so after 500 CE.

European Monks held them in high regard.

For the next 1400 years, the majority of the books created were by monks.

Gutenberg press

Gutenberg press

In 1447, an automated binding machine was invented for binding books.

Many people continued to bind books by hand.

Advances in paper

Advances in Paper

In the 1800s it was discovered wood pulp could be used to make paper.

The number of books society was able to make increased, and with that demand, binding machines were improved.

Further advances

Further advances

Machines are made to trim pages and to glue the binding together.

Improvements to covers for hard-covered books.

Don t judge a book by its cover

Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

a bookbinding project inspired by a childhood memory

For your book binding project

For your book binding project…

  • You will select a childhood memory

    • Good or bad, but it must be from more than 5 years ago

  • You will then transform what you recall into a generalized interpretation of the event and collage this on your cover.

Memory is

Memory is…

  • Reinvented when retrieved.

  • Vivid some times, yet unclear others.

  • Can involve different senses.

  • Essential for our existence.

  • Precious.

In the home

In the home…

  • Door

  • Glass

  • Pane

  • Shade

  • Ledge

  • Sill

  • House

  • Open

  • Curtain

  • Frame

  • View

  • Breeze

  • Sash

  • Screen

  • Shutter

At the hospital

At the hospital…

  • Nurse

  • Sick

  • Lawyer

  • Medicine

  • Health

  • Hospital

  • Dentist

  • Physician

  • Office

  • Ill

  • Patient

  • Stethoscope

  • Surgeon

  • Clinic

  • Cure

On to the good stuff

On to the good stuff

Artist inspirations

Joyce ellen weinstein

Joyce Ellen Weinstein

Our memory plays tricks on us.

What was once abstracted becomes concrete.


What could be represented by this multi-media collage?

Joyce ellen weinstein1

Joyce Ellen Weinstein

Is this a literal interpretation? How could we tell?

Would we know this is about war if it had been titled differently?

Reflection on War


Barbara page

Barbara Page

Creates collages on discarded index cards from the library.

Focuses on what memories she recalls from each book.

Barbara page1

Barbara Page

How does she portray this book, The World is Flat in abstract ways?


Polymer clay

Varieties of paper



What other materials can you think to use?


What elements of this piece suggest a narrative?

Let s take a moment

Let's take a moment

Write down ten memorable experiences of childhood.


Some guidelines

Some guidelines:

  • Pick a memory

  • Collect imagery that symbolizes the memory, but does not show it at face value

  • You must collage at minimum 5 elements/images/media onto your cover

  • We will bind the books ourselves and you may use them as a journal or sketchbook for this class or something else

  • Share our journals

My example

My example

Some student examples

Some Student examples

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