Boning and binding spines (the old-fashioned way) at SF Center for the Book


When was the last time you sat down and made a book? You know what I'm talking about -- those beautiful bound things that are filled with words and pictures.

They're pretty awesome, in my opinion, and they are seriously celebrated and loved at the SF Center for the Book. For years I had been wanting to take a class from them and last week the opportunity arose to join in on an intro to bookbinding class, taught by Nina Eve Zeininger-Byrne. It was fun to hear, after a few quick introductions, that most students in the class had also had an inkling to take a class at the SFCB for years and were finally taking the leap.

So off we went for three hours, starting with some library lingo like "folio" and "signature" (that's right, we're all going to sound hella cool at our next dinner party), then some tips on proper tool use: the boning tool is your best friend -- hehe -- is it bad that I'm smirking as I write this? Finally we dove into some actual binding (more silly smiles).

We learned several techniques, with super sweet names like the accordion book, single-section pamphlet stitch, combined concertina, and Japanese stab. My favorite was the combined concertina, which is a book with three sections, the perfect writing vessel for those of us with too many things on our mind. It was wonderful to take an art class and leave with a new skill that is actually very useful and taught me to make pretty things for my friends.

If you want to make pretty things for your friends, take a class at the SFCB or check out Nina's Etsy shop here.