Binding the Past

Several years ago I took a course in bookbinding and found it to be a most gratifying pasttime except I could only create books with blank sheets.  Then I found out my printer accepted and printed beautifully on Rives printmaking paper.  I started experimenting with Photoshop and old photos and printing them on the rather thick paper.  Finally, content for my books!  I took some photographs my grandfather, T.J. Eubanks had made of his family and created a book for my grandmother and then one for my mother and one for me.  Only I never finished mine and the unsewn pages sat on the shelf until today.

Today I decided to finish it.  The covers have a photo of my grandfather’s father behind a piece of glassine paper and is framed with a handprinted paper I found in an art store in Athens (Georgia, not Greece).  The signatures are sewn together with a chain stitch in waxed black thread.  If you are unfamiliar with bookbinding, a signature is the grouping of papers sewn together into the book.  I love the way this creates an open spine and how it shows off the stiches. 

I am very proud to be the granddaughter of  T.J.  He had a passion for photography.  My favorite story to tell of  him is that he devoted a room in his home to be his darkroom to develop his pictures.   Mind you, he had a wife and eight children in this five room house.  I don’t doubt my grandmother could think of many other uses for the room, but I am not sure she had much choice in the matter.

My studio, in its disarranged state, consumes our two car garage in an eight room house with only three  (at the moment) people living in it.  No car has ever rolled into the space and I can assure you, only a matchbox car would fit!   I am constantly aware of how much space I take up, how many possessions I have, how much stuff I collect.   Do you know that Frank Lloyd Wright didn’t believe in closets?  He chastised the designer and homeowner who wanted to put closets in their home for storage.  Can you imagine life without storage space?  Perhaps we would get rid of all the stuff and pare down to the necessities.  Hmmmm, that would be oil paints, canvases, pastels, books, paper, inks, pen, watercolours, glue, gesso, yarn, drawing tables, looms, easels……






Here is the now completed book.  The overall size is 4 1/2″ wide x 5 3/4″ high.


2 Responses to “Binding the Past”

  1. Donata Says:

    It looks absolutely great. I guess that the lovely material on the front and backpages is what you designed and linoprinted yourself?You made me laugh loudly with the whole downsizing thing; I happen to be downsizing, but….on furniture and household items;To create more space for…canvasses, paint, gesso,paper, inks…….I hope Frank Lloyd Wright would agree on that version of minimal.

  2. Karen Owen Says:

    Interesting that you commented on your crowded studio. I’m in the process of cleaning mine and getting rid of some stuff. Just wrote about it on my blog.

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