In the Feedback Loop: Minding the binding

[Alyson Kuhn] If you bought a full set of the Feedback Loop notebooks, you probably would not choose to arrange them by binding technique. But the kuhnfiguration above allows us to make some observations about the variety of binding techniques deployed by the letterpress printers participating in this project, which benefits the School: By Design initiative. Think of this as my spinal analysis!

Spiral binding received the most “votes” from the printers, with a big handful of them selecting this practical (and automated!) technique. We note that Smart & Wiley got smarty and arty with the wiro on their notebook (second from left in the above photo). I don’t know how they did it, but I like it. Directly to its right, the seemingly “shorty” is actually the top edge of Flywheel Press’s notebook, which is the super-robusto (128 pages) on the shelf. The hotsy pink spiral (in the next photo directly below) is Fizz’s notebook, complete with coordinating Weather sKwirl. The letterpress-printed sKwirl on the cover is eyeing the charm … which is just out of reach.

Next on the shelf is Brittany Skwierczynski’s notebook (directly above), the only hardcover in the collection. Yes, Brittany decided to make 50 casebound books for the Feedback Loop. Ambitious, generous and nicely photo-documented right here.

Stitched bindings (3) and stab bindings (2) are beautifully represented. Back to the top image: That’s Igloo Letterpress’s notebook with the long double-stitch (those are bicycles wrapping around the spine.); then Orange Beautiful’s Mango covered notebook (click on the thumbnail photos in the link to get a great sense of how the signatures are stitched together); and then Amuse Toi Bien’s notebook, with stitching that suggests, at least to me, underpinnings for the chanteuse on the cover. Dock 2 Letterpress’s slim notebook features 8-hole (yes, drilled in advance) stab binding with deep red thread, and Visualchemist’s notebook features 5-hole binding with black thread. The backs of the two stab-bound books reveal their makers’ attention to detail.

Perfect binding found favor with several printers, to my delight. I love the idea of a perfect-bound notebook, especially one with a wrap-around diagonal pattern of line gauges … and a cover that states, “The difference is in the 64ths.” Yes, Cleanwash Letterpress’ name and notebook made me laugh!

Two printers deployed screw posts, which I think work nicely as graphic elements on both notebooks. Jane Hancock Papers’ notebook cover (directly below) is a paragon of simplicity. Petite Press’s notebook (next down) is particularly well dressed, what with its wrap-around Mango cover and hand-cut matching button.

Saddle stitching is, of course, a staple in the binding repertoire. In the case of the Feedback Loop notebooks, the respective printers chose not to score the text pages before binding, so the books stay, to quote one Lady of Letterpress, “fluffy and floppy.” And, now, let’s step back and enjoy an aerial view of these noteworthy notebooks! You can see that Matthew Kelsey, Printer’s notebook (third from right in the photo below) is hand-stitched, but retains the same fluff ’n’ flop as its saddle-stitched neighbors, because its pages weren’t scored before binding.

Felt & Wire is a running a series of interviews with letterpress printers participating in the Feedback Loop Notebook project. We talked with Jenni Undis of Lunalux last week, and today’s So Noted features Jason McDaniel of Missing Q Press. Later this week: Brittany Skwierczynski talks about her “words to live by.”

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Comments (2)

  1. Posted by Allyson on 09.14.10 at 9:07 am

    The notebooks look beautiful together!

  2. Posted by Karena on 09.14.10 at 2:52 pm

    Wonderful to see the pproject participation. The styles of bindings are wonderful!

    Have you entered my Latest Giveaway from the French Basketeer? I think you will love it!

    Art by Karena

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