The second portion of our class foray into books was the additive project of actually creating a book. Mylar, Bristol, and white thread were the only materials that could be used. I did a lot of research into binding techniques and found a lot about traditional Japanese bindings, which also used thread. A lot of these designs had the thread on the outside, but one type of binding interested me, the retchoso. It is similar to a “Coptic” binding in that the thread is barely visible and right on the edge of the seam, and it is possible to open the book and lay it flat.

I utilized the d(fab) lab to cut out “signatures” with holes and folds pre-cut. I then folded each signature together and threaded white thread through in a pattern that was my attempt at a traditional Japanese retchoso binding. On my final attempt, the stitching came out tightly and securely held the pages together.

A stipulation of the project was to have a pattern on the cover that came from our selected Japanese Home. I took the spatial relationships of the rooms of my home and analyzed the shape in plan. The negative space formed an interesting shape, and with a little bit of tessellation, I formed a pattern. I had this pattern laser etched into the cover portion of the book, to avoid breaking the rule of introducing another material (ink) into the process. A sheet of mylar formed a jacket for the stitched book and a half-jacket Bristol cover with the pattern on it was stitched on afterwards.

This investigation has been an interesting insight into the process of making books, and by combining Japanese ideas and book making, it is easier to form a basis of thinking as we move forward to the final Japantown Library project.

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