Friday, July 17, 2009

Bookbinding Workshop in Santa, Idaho, Part I

In an earlier post, I told you I was going to Santa, Idaho, to learn to make gothic books from bookbinder extraordinaire Jim Croft. Well, I had a most excellent experience down in Santa, and I have the photos to prove it. In this and following posts, I'll give you a guided tour of my time there.
Everything at the Crofts is very basic, but comfortable. Here is the little cabin I stayed in:


If you like comfort camping (sort of like real camping, only with lots of amenities), this might not be your thing, but I grew up doing basic camping (a sleeping bag, possibly, but not always a tent, a stick to roast a weenie on, lots of dirt, and more stars at night than you could ever imagine), so I totally loved my time at the Crofts.

Here is the path I took in the mornings to the Croft's kitchen for breakfast...

...past the Japanese-style outhouse. I think you can work out for yourself how it is used (ok, confession time--I had very little confidence in my aim, so I just kept on walking until I got to the outhouse with a seat):
After a fine breakfast, prepared by Jim's wife, Melodie, it's off to the open-air workshop to spend the first of nine days making books (well, in my case, making book, as I'm incredibly slow and only got one finished). Here is a front view of the workshop (the left side of the building--Jim and Melodie live on the right side):



And here is my book, in it's embryonic stages. I'm using a sewing frame to stitch the pages to flax cords:


We also learned to select straight-grained wood, and split it into pieces for wooden book covers. Here is a selection of wood that Jim split. It is almost entirely reclaimed wood:



I will spend the next week or so using hand tools in an attempt to create something that looks more or less like these books, made by Jim.

Coming in the next post: how to use a hand saw very badly, what horses have to do with books, and so forth....

8 comments:

Dana and Daisy said...

my goodness, primitive bookmaking at it's best! Thanks for sharing the pictures with us, can't wait to see your finished book.

Velma said...

it's so wonderful to see the croft's place and to read your experience. i can hardly wait for more!

Judith HeartSong said...

Oh how exciting and inspiring. What a lovely centering environment they host and I am looking forward to seeing your new creative directions!

Antico Valore said...

this is a wonderful location, and special bindings, also! wow!
simona

britney said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elissa said...

You are so lucky! I met Jim at the Focus on Book Arts conference this year and his work is just amazing. I loved hearing about his efforts to make "off the grid" books.

Giorgia said...

Ciao, non so se questo blog sia ancora valido, ma vorrei farti i complimenti per il lavoro e le foto, se mi dai il permesso vorrei postarle sul mio blog con un commento con il link del tuo blog
Grazie Ciao

moonandhare said...

Hi Giorgia,

If I understand your message in Italian correctly, you are most welcome to re-post photos on your blog. :)