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Bookbinding with Becci Louise

Book Binding is the process of assembling a book from paper sheets and bound together along the edge by either sewing with thread or by a layer of adhesive. This season, along with artist and poet Becci Louise, we bring you an exciting Book Binding workshop at The Base...

Hi Becci,

It's great to get the chance to talk to you about Book Binding, it's something that's new to our programme and so we'd love to know more about your practice and the art of book binding...

Please tell us a little bit about yourself
I call myself a storyteller. I work with narrative. Much of my work is based in verse, or poetry, but I write prose as well. I had a book of narrative poetry published by Two Rivers Press in 2017 and another is due out next year. I love being creative, and also like the idea of artists doing as much of the making for their product as possible. So I make my own notebooks, bind my own poetry books and also make them as gifts. Writing is my first love, so it seems only natural that I should make books too.

When was your first experience of Book Binding?

A few years ago, I decided I liked the idea of creating some of my own poetry collections entirely by myself, so I would write them, bind them, publicise them and sell them. To do this, I needed to learn to bind them. I wanted to produce them well, so that they could be something precious and personal and each one would be ever so slightly different. I turned to good-old-YouTube to learn and found a couple of lessons that teach simple saddle-stitch binding. It really is very easy once you know what you're doing. Using the same sorts of videos, I learned how to use embossing powder to create beautiful covers, and set to work making my books. It's a very simple thing to do, but the end results are really gorgeous and they make wonderful gifts, and lovely notebooks for home use. I have been binding for two and a half years now and regularly teach it to students at my residency schools, who love the creativity of it. It is often taught at the end of a creative writing course, when students have lots of poems and stories they want to make into books!

What’s best about it?

It's actually very therapeutic. There is something really lovely about sitting at a desk and using your hands to make something beautiful. I quite often sit at my work station and make ten or fifteen in one go. Being creative is good for the soul and there is something really wonderful about starting out with a few bits of paper, some thread and some powder and ending up with something that's so imbued with your own personality.

What can participants expect from your Book Binding workshop?

Well, the book binding will not take long to learn, which means that student can spend lots of time trying out different combinations of papers and covers, create beautiful covers and go home with a multitude of books and notebooks for themselves or from friends. The whole point of the workshop is to give people space to be creative, to find combinations of visuals that they like and perhaps make lots of wonderful gifts for themselves and people they love. Books and notebooks are very personal gifts and paper is a very sustainable resource. What I would love is for the workshop to give participants a new skill which they can pick up and perfect very quickly, and which will stay with them. They can teach others and keep using the skill for all sorts of other projects.

And lastly, using just 3 words, tell us why people should come...

Creativity, Originality, Beauty.

Sitting down to make things reminds us that all things take time to grow and to be made. It gives us a greater appreciation for the world around us and makes it a better place.

Becci Louise will be at The Base on Saturday 19 March with her Book Binding workshop, we'd love to see you there!