Book Art for the Rest of Us

By Brienna

Art can be intimidating for those of us without access to studios or even art supplies. For example, I recently visited the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, the largest center dedicated to bookbinding and related crafts. MCBA’s gallery showcases the intricate, beautiful work of local artists.

I have always wanted to try making a book, but I have never taken any of MCBA’s bookbinding or papermaking classes. I don’t own any of the binding thread sold in their shop. It’s easy for me to look at the tiny, hand-cut pages spiraling out to form landscapes of European cities (complete with accurate depth perception) and give up.

But this time, I reminded myself that everyone starts small. I found a mini paper notebook tutorial by Paperwoman and used materials that I already had in my dorm. Instead of an awl, I used pushpins to punch the holes for binding. I used regular sewing thread and a darning needle to stitch the pages together.

No awl? No problem.
No awl? No problem.

My book doesn’t come in a hand-carved wooden box, but I’m proud of how it turned out. It helped me realize that creating art doesn’t necessarily require lots of supplies—sometimes it just takes a little improvising.

The finished product

Want to learn more about making books?


4 thoughts on “Book Art for the Rest of Us

      1. I did a week of teen writing classes one summer thanks to a grant I got in high school. I did one on memoir, one on journalism, and one on poetry. If you can ever do one, it was a wonderful experience!

  1. Brienna, I love this! MCBA is great and I totally understand how you felt overwhelmed. Book making is fun, I did quite a bit of it in a design class my freshman year. I love that you were able to make a book using things from your dorm! Keep it up 🙂

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