Tuna Imagination's subtitle is A Fictive Collective which means it has snippets of history, fiction, one complete short story, an array of pictures and doodles, and is in many ways a hodgepodge of miscellany.
What kind of history? Mostly related to books and printing especially about Aldus Manutius, inventor of the comma; also Xenia Cage (John's ex-wife) who was Marcel Duchamp's bookbinder, and Nicholas Jensen.
What kind of pictures and doodles? Well, of course, Xenia's photo but also a post-modern printing done by Manutius in the 1400s in which the words formed the pictures - an innovation then as well as unique 600 years later. Plus pictures gleaned from Das Google to illustrate something in the short story - an episodic short story interspersed amongst the snippets of fiction and history.
And what is the short story? It's a story about a college student who discovers the meaning of life through a punch in the nose that gives him cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea. i.e. his brains leak out through his nose and while he slips in and out of a coma, he envisions the snippets of fiction and history. He is, in other words, the narrative glue that holds the book together. Kind of.
And why was Tuna Imagination made? To celebrate the joy of bookmaking ~ making books, not gambling.It is seven signatures of four sheets each for about 110 pages (both sides) and B6 in size (51/4 x 71/2" to my Norther American brethren). It was written quickly, put on InDesign, printed out, adjusted, and re-written without regard to standard fiction standards; also, it was an experiment.
I printed the cover on bits & pieces of leftover book cloth, but first I glued the pieces onto construction paper. One reason the front and back cover colors are not perfectly aligned, especially the red, is the quantity of book cloth for all colors was different. I am attempting to use up as much book cloth as possible before splurging on more.
Coming soon: lined and unlined notebooks and 2014 schedules.
What constitutes a real book? For most of my non-bookbinding friends it is a picture and title on the cover and spine plus a headband. I made my first demi-headband the other day. A rolled piece of bookcloth around a piece of string and sewn into the signatures using a contrasting color. I like it more than the glue on kind of headband, that's for sure.On the other hand, I've also made two roundback books in the last couple of weeks. Both Frankenstein and Dracula were roundback and Frankenstein had my first attempt at sewing headbands. But the thing that really makes a book a Book in the minds of mere muggles is the cover design. Do I really want to start learning how to design a book cover well? That's definitely a rabbit hole one can fall down.
That said, here are two covers of two of my novels that I have designed. One, Tristram's Printer: A Typographical Love Story, is available from Smashwords.com. It's about art, love, bookbinding, and artists. Calvado: A Deadly Love Story, is being edited for clarity and consistency. It's about love and murder.But I think the covers, the headbands, the roundback all contribute to a good-looking book that would be easier to sell than even a coptic binding, even if the coptic binding were excellent. The fact that it doesn't 'look' like a book. I, of course, would have to show the buyers the advantages of a coptic binding vs a perfect binding.
Something new in the way of an experiment: Live Recorded Voices™. I hooked up a microphone to my iPad and spent a few minutes trying to round the spine of a book and talk at the same time. Thoughts mostly related to bookbinding or books.
This is not the book I was rounding (this is a blank notebook with rough edges, I believe ~ this is an example of a roundback book). I was attempting to roundback my copy of Frankenstein. This follows last week's attempt at a round back Dracula. The Dracula worked out well. The Frankenstein is still in production. I hope to finish it before Halloween, of course.
If the audio sounds weird, remember I was sitting in a conference room with a text block between my knees and a microphone balanced on a sweater on a chair. But, enjoy nonetheless.
<25px>About 100 years ago I made five A6 sized blank notebooks which, at the time, I thought were pretty well made. (Okay, maybe five years ago.) I gave three away and kept two of the less-than-excellent ones for myself. Recently, I looked at them and they were falling apart. The signatures were loose, they were hard to open, and the writing on the covers had faded. So I ripped one apart.
Specifically, I did the following:
removed the signatures,
re-sewed the signatures,
attached new mull,
trimmed the fore edge of the text block,
pulled the book cloth off the fore edge of the book board,
trimmed the fore edge of the book board,
re-glued the book cloth to the book board,
added new and better endpapers,
cased the whole shebang into the newly trimmed book boards.
The result was a better looking and better built small blank notebook. In the photo you can see the revitalized one on the left and the older ~ completely full notebook ~ on the right. I hope there's a visible difference between the two.25px>
Now, about those three that I gave away.....
In Episode 112 ~ Covering Cloud Atlas ~ which can be seen below this episode, you can also see two small red notebooks. These are lined notebooks. One has words in the upper margins in both Japanese and English; one has the Tedorigawa Bookmakers name in the upper margin. The Word Notebook is 187 pages, the Tedorigawa Notebook is 157 pages. The Word Notebook has yellow endpapers while the Tedorigawa Notebook has blue endpapers. Both are A6 - pocketbook - sized.
Both notebooks were part of my August bookbinding learning experience. During this intensive, for me anyway, period of bookbinding, I made seven books and three boxes for books, but the real activity was to hone my skills in attaching endpapers (successfully) and to get into a rhythm of making books more frequently.
In fact, yesterday, there being a typhoon sweeping through the country and no real need to go outside, I spent the time and made two more books ~ more on those in a future episode. The main point being, I felt comfortable making books even though I had a limited amount of time. I also didn't make as many mistakes as in previous constructions. So, I can conclude, my August Bookbinding Learning Experience™ was a success. At least for me.
Many months ago I borrowed Cloud Atlas
by David Mitchell. I even read it. Then, several months later, I decided to make a slipcase for it so that when I returned the book, the lender wouldn't realize how long I'd had it. It took me awhile to make the slipcase, of course, but here it is. The bare bones of the slipcase can be seen here, in Episode 109
.The name is printed on part of the cover
and, since my printer can't handle a piece of bookcloth that big, I had to assemble the cover in two pieces. The only minor problem was making sure the piece that had printing didn't catch on the bookshelves when it was taken off or put back on the shelf. I don't think it will but the owner of the book is the one who will find out if it does or not.The learning process of making
the slipcover was eye opening. It wasn't all that difficult but it did require some thinking: how much overlap, how much inserted into the cover itself. There are, basically, two pieces of bookcloth covering the case: the spine and the rest. It was only after I finished that I realized the color of the cloth kind of fit the color of the book, too. An incidental surprise.The two books with Cloud Atlas
are A6-sized lined notebooks. More on these in a coming episode. My novel, Tristram's Printer,
is available from Smashwords.com
or from me. If you order from me you will get a hand bound original version. Autographed, if you so prefer.
It is a typographical love story
because an older man who works as a printer finds himself being loved by a younger woman; a woman who acts and looks like his dead daughter. And she wants to take over his daughter's papermaking studio. A feisty cast of characters (including a socially shy bookbinder and a overly flamboyant artist with a business-sharp wife) round out the tale.
This month I have been casing
in a few books in order to do two things: use up more of my pile of
bookbinding supplies and get better at attaching endpapers. In the last
few days I have cased in sic books and the first one I will talk about
here is Simple Up, a book with a secret.
Simple Up is an A5-size lined notebook
with about 200 pages. After casing in a few books I didn't have a large
enough piece of book board to make an A5 size book so I glued and
buttressed four smaller pieces together. The slight rectangular bump in
the middle of the book, underneath the yellow tag, is the buttress. The
four pieces are equal in size with two on the front and two on the back.
This managed to use up more book board. My supply dwindles!
The yellow tag and the book cloth
at the foot of the book is from another book I cased in earlier in the
week, which I will talk about in a future podcast. Both were essentially
leftovers that I think I put to practical use. And again, my pile of
Reflecting on my self-imposed intensive casing in period, I have discovered a few things. First, endpapers, while still scary, are not as scary as I once thought they were, although diligence is still required. Second, casing in gives me a sense of accomplishment when I finish a good book. Third,
practice makes for better casing in, but too much practice makes for a
tired bookbinder who ends up making easily avoidable mistakes.
The picture of the front page was taken before rubbing the wrinkles out. An avoidable mistake ~ finish the book before taking a photo.
As we start in on August, I have relatively little to do at my day job so I'm going to be starting an August Bookbinding Marathon of Sorts. Of Sorts meaning I want to either write, print, sew, or case in a book or do some work on books everyday this month. This is aimed at improving my skills ~ especially when it comes to gluing in endpapers or making covers. Of course, all of my bookbinding skills need improvement, but these are the two I need more confidence and skill in. Expect, therefore, loads of pictures of completed, hopefully, books during this month and next. First up: Finish Frankenstein! I hate having pieces of books all over the place, don't you? Especially something that should have been done two months ago.
Books are made to be boxed. Especially if you borrow them for over six months. While Cloud Atlas is a book requiring more of a thinking reader than say, Stephen King novels, you wouldn't want to fall asleep with it as damage to the nose could ensue. Interestingly enough, each chapter seems to be written in the first person but the span of characters is wide and varied.
In making a slipcase for Cloud Atlas, I have discovered Six Steps.
- One ~ measure the book. An obvious, though often overlooked, step.
- Two ~ Glue the pieces of the slipcase together. Another obvious step but one requiring more than a cursory knowledge of accurate measuring.
- Three ~ Find a book cloth appropriate to the ambience of the book.
- Four ~ Find a cool fermented beverage.
- Five ~ Actually put the book cloth on the slipcase. A step often delayed.
- Six ~ Admire your handiwork whilst sipping the cool fermented beverage.
In the two photos shown here, I have finished steps One, Two, and Four. And half of Six. I'm looking forward to finishing steps Three and Five, although Five might take awhile. The problem is, I'm doing something new: printing on the book cloth that will be the spine of the slipcase and that requires some trial and error. After the trials and errors, I successfully printed out the book cloth for the spine of this slipcase. Hopefully, I will finish putting it on the slipcase before the apocalypse.
I don't know what it is but whenever I travel, be it by train or car, I find the need to sew a book. Train travel is the best as I have the comfort of not having to watch where I'm going but I still get to my destination relatively unscathed.
Last weekend, I spent two days in a small town out of my normal town. On Friday, I printed out two books and on Saturday, after I circumnavigated the small town afoot, I sewed one. On Sunday, when I was recuperating from a two-hour hike around a forested hilly peninsula, I sewed the other one.
Both are B6 (nicely pocket-size) ~ B5 folded in half ~ lined notebooks with page numbers and small Japanese-English translations (製本 (seihon) ~ bookbinding) on the upper outside corners of each page. I used my usual link stitch to sew them together and used black thread on one and white on the other. Each book is about 192 pages ~ 12 signatures of four sheets each.
Now, I have many, many naked books that need covers. Well, at least six or seven. I'm aiming at experimenting with design printed on book cloth for most of these. Titles on the cover seem to make the book more.... real? Titles on the spine might even make them more saleable? One can only hope.