At the Kansas City Art Institute, I discovered my love for the handbound book.  Since learning how to make my first Japanese stab binding, I have been experimenting with case bound, coptic bound, and different variations on the stab binding.  Some of the books I have made in the past housed letterpress printed poetry that I wrote myself; others are blank for someone to draw or write in; some are wedding guest books.  I like art that has a function and requires great focus and skill, which is why bookbinding has inspired me so much throughout the years.


Above is from a series of mini case bound books I made in 2009.  The covers were all done with vintage handkerchiefs, and they all contained a ribbon bookmark, which is standard in my journals and guest books.  Here are a couple more case bound books:

Green Birds on Lines


A few years ago, I taught myself how to sew my own headbands (see below).  The headband is the part that holds the tops of the pages into the spine of the book.  Most adhesives made today are strong enough that a headband is not necessary, however it adds a nice flourish and shows good craft and attention to detail.

 H:JGuestBook_Headband DebbieBook_HeadbandMM_GuestBookTail

These are examples of two coptic bindings, and one stab binding.  A coptic binding is made by sewing into holes in the cover, and there is no hard spine to cover the pages.  A stab binding is made by stabbing holes through the whole book and sewing a pattern to bind the pages together.

J:KGuestBook Sophie's Journal Covers Front Cover

My knowledge of bookbinding allows me to not only understand how these types of objects are made, but also has given me years of experience in handling and examining delicate art objects.  While in my undergraduate printmaking program, we visited the rare books collection at LaBudde Special Collections.  Since I had an understanding of the nature of books, as well as a love for old things, that visit made me become excited about rare books.  I always thought about how I could work with a collection like that, and I finally realized that the MLS was what I would need to do so.

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