Thursday, July 26, 2018

Indirect Tacketed Sketchbook

I'm not sure the title is grammatically correct, but you get the point. I took Hilke Kurzke's Skillshare class on indirect tacketing. This is a book binding approach where you sew together the signatures of the book in a simplified coptic stitch, then sew the cover on separately with tackets. I had been looking for instructions for some kind of medieval style binding when Hilke announced this class.

I had my usual problems with not following directions. Hilke suggests eight sheets in each signature, but I arrogantly thought I would like four better. After sewing together the signatures I realized there wasn't enough space between them to accommodate the tackets, especially if I wanted to use stiff paper for the cover, which might be prone to tearing. So I took apart my book block and tore more sheets down to make ten signatures of eight sheets each. (above is the second version of the text block.)

After sewing together the book block I realized I hadn't thought ahead to the cover material. There wasn't anything in my studio that I liked and thought would be strong enough. Hilke does show how to re-inforce a heavy paper cover, I may try that next time. I have a couple pieces of nice, soft leather I could have used, but didn't want to use my "good" stuff for a test/learning project. So I cut a piece out of an old suede skirt I bought at the thrift store years ago. It must be from the seventies. I have been taking small pieces of leather from it for years. The original skirt was made of small panels so I couldn't get a piece large enough to cover the whole book. Instead I glued on some paste paper covered book board. Since I draw on my lap at night a lot, I prefer a firm cover on my sketch book, so I think this will work well.

There are multiple flaws, but for a first try I am very pleased. It will make a very nice sketchbook. Would I do it again? Yes indeed. I also think this would make a nice binding style for an artist's book with Medieval style drawings. I would have to make a mock-up to see how that would work, my books normally have heavier paper and not many pages. I think at least three tackets would be needed on the cover. That's my personal preference, one tacket would work fine, I just like threes or fives of things.

I like that unlike coptic binding, there is no fiddly sewing of the last signature and back cover together. That step always makes me tense. Also, the thread holding the text block together is thinner and not so noticeable. I do like colorful decorative stitching on the outside of the book, but a bright magenta thread thru the middle of the signature interrupts the page.

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