I still make hand-bound coptic stitch (hardcover) and longstitch (soft cover) journals, sketchbooks, and photoalbums for those that enjoy the tactile pleasures of ink, paper, and backing away from the computer occasionally for writing, thinking, looking, and drawing. It’s fun going through the studio scraps and making collages of handmade papers, expiremental test printings and other assorted visual detritus. I prefer the collage oriented covers for several reasons. They have more energy than a pristine cover, they aren’t cute (I’m not a fan of cute or ironic for the most part, the world is filled with far too much cute and ironic stuff for my taste), and most importantly it makes the book more user-friendly, it doesn’t seem so perfect that it makes someone afraid to use and quickly get to breaking it in.
The books are hand-sewn with four or seven-ply linen thread which allows the books to open totally flat making it easy to use the entire page, and holds up over hard usage. Plus the sewing looks nice.
Today the book below went out to my good friend Stephen Gibson, who is the author (and illustrator) of City of Midnight Skies, the last book I published in my years at Antfarm back in Raleigh. All of the poems and drawings were made in a few sketchbooks I had made for Stevie over the years after we met at Penland.
City of Midnight Skies is the only book (so far) I published in two editions. The hand-printed and hand-bound edition is out of print but the machine-printed trade edition is still available. Retail price is $13 and for the rest of June shipping is free and I’ll throw in a couple letterpress greeting cards as well.
Give me a holler if you’re interested in having a custom journal, sketchbook, or photoalbum made for yourself, or as a gift for someone else.
And yes, we love doing personal letterhead/stationery and note cards. All things ink on paper that puts more personal mail in our mailboxes in between the bills and junk mail. . . that’s a good thing.