Book making experiments

I have been yet again absent from posting as a result of hectic life-stuff being flung at me left, right and centre, luckily it has all come to rest and I am able to once again blog, relaxed and happy.

Over the course of the last 20 or so days since I last posted, I’ve been working on a few projects for my book binding course. I’ve been looking at the way in which paratext, that is elements of books such as titles, cover design, texture etc, can change the way that we interact with a book. As part of my own personal project, I have started making books made out of different materials, namely wood and material. I thought I’d share with you some of my current experiments and my progress.

So far I have decided and made the content of my book. It is a book made out of material, I have printed some old negatives and embroidered over the top of them onto the calico pages creating a book with texture content, viewable from the front of the page and the back.



I’ve also been experimenting with natural wood staining as part of my wood book project. I started off by staining some pieces of plywood with different types of tea and then adding iron acetate solution over the top. I made the iron acetate by putting steel-wool in a jar of white vinegar, after a few hours the solution develops into iron acetate. The solution reacts with the tannins in the tea and the wood turns a dark brown-ash colour, a dramatic and stunning change from its original light colour.

The images show 1) no stain 2) Rooibos undercoat 3) Orange Pekoe layer 4) Post-iron acetate


I decided to do this instead of staining it using harsh chemical wood stain, both as an experiment, but also it gives the project a beautiful cylindrical nature. The wood covers are stained by plant dyes – the different tones of paper on the inside will vary from dark to light to dark again, referencing the tones of growth rings inside the truck of a tree. In direct reference to the growth rings, I’ll attempt to relief print the cross sections of trees onto the pages in varying tones, in effect representing the passing of time.

I’m still working out how to bind it and will be interesting to see the final shape of this project.

I am a person who loves books.

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