Creative Bookbinding

by Pauline Johnson

The University of Washington Press, 1963
Reprinted by Dover Publications, Inc in 1990

readability rating
3 star readability rating Good explanations backed up by clear diagrams and black and white photos.
content rating
3 star content rating Those techniques included are well described. However, many more advanced binding styles are not included.

I found this book in Borders in Edinburgh, trawling for additional books to get round a mental block. It is partly aimed at teachers looking to teach children bookbinding. The book covers tools and materials and working practices, then suggests projects for students to try out. It has an enormous section on paper decoration - almost a third of the book.

The Good Stuff
The techniques the book teaches are sound, and the projects it suggests are likely to work well with children or inexperienced adults. They are "quick win" projects, but with a sound basis in craftmanship. The illustrations are clear and the descriptions straightforward.
Could Do Better
I was disappointed by the black and white photgraphs in this book. It was originally published in 1963, when illustrations were generally not in color, but the monochrome pictures don't work with descriptions of paper decoration techniques. All the contrasts are too strong, looking harsh and rather ugly.
Best Bit
The clarity of the prose and diagrams. Reading them, I never found myself going "huh?" or being unsure of what to do. That's a real achievement, in my experience.