Buddhist Mandalas & Books

This week, the renovated Crow Museum of Asian Art, in downtown Dallas features the Tibetan Buddhist Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery for their annual, fall week-long residency building a mandala painting from colored sands. The public is invited into the meditative space to observe the monks at work. I am visiting the new exhibit with two of my past design students. Continue reading Buddhist Mandalas & Books


The Overcast Stitch

Usually, I with work laced-on bindings, using french link stitching over linen tapes. However, on a rare occasion, I find a book that looks like a signature binding, but in the de-binding find out it is a variation such as notch-perfect binding. Mass produced trade books, magazines and paperbacks machine-assembled use the perfect binding method. Traditional perfect binding has signature folds at the spine cut off. Pages align squarely with each other at the binding spine edge. Typically the perfect binding uses a hot-melt, gelatinous glue over the cut edge of the spine. The notch perfect binding variation uses folded signature gatherings with slits along the folds. Glue applied to the signature folds fills the notches and creates a strong, flexible bond. Both types of perfect binding have the advantage of being very economical. Continue reading The Overcast Stitch

Stack of books

Selecting Books for New Bindings

I came across a word the other day that fits my book hoarding “nerdism”. Tsundoku is a Japanese word that has no direct synonym in English. The word describes the state of reading addicts –  “tsunde” (meaning “to stack things”), “oku” (meaning “to leave for a while”) and “doku” (meaning “to read”). Perhaps this is what lead me to the bookbinding arts. Continue reading Selecting Books for New Bindings

Gauging leather thickness

When binding a book with leather, the thickness measurement of the leather is important to know. Leather thickness can impact the book aesthetics as well as the mechanical operation. Thick leather spine hinges, for instance, can cause opening and closing issues for the cover boards. Or if the turn-in’s are too thick, the corners of the book suffer from build up of leather layers. Continue reading Gauging leather thickness