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Taking a Stab



Although I've had multiple bookbinding classes and workshops by this stage of the game, I had never yet formally learned the structure of the Japanese Stab Binding.  But when Linda Gentry, an Omaha photographer, asked if I would be interested in doing a wedding album for her, it was the first structure that came to mind.  I knew that this particular photographer loved exposed sewings, and I had long wanted to try out the stab binding.  It was not without its challenges (and I would love any feedback from others who have done this!), but I loved working on this book and feel pretty darn good about how it turned out in the end.


In these photographs, the album doesn't have pictures mounted inside, which is why it currently looks wedge-shaped.  I had the photographer measure her photos when stacked up and made the spine that much thicker than the fore-edge to accommodate the photos.  The trickiest part was that the spine ended up being over three inches tall, so I had to talk my husband into drilling the holes in the spine with his drill press, and even then we had to drill it in segments. In retrospect, I should have drilled larger holes; I had a difficult time getting through the holes all the necessary times with quarter-inch ribbon. I'd intended for the ribbon to go around the head and tail a second time (from the inner set of sewing stations), but I was struggling too much to make it happen.  Note to self for next time!


Wedding albums and other special books need a box in which to be housed and protected.  I adore making boxes, so this was such a joy.  I wish I had made a partial wall for the spine-side of the book simply to make it all a little more secure, but it functions perfectly well without.

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The other element I was super excited about was the incorporation of an illustration that the couple used on their wedding invitations.  I had to futz with my printer for a long time to get it working again (quite a victory in and of itself), but after the requisite amount of swearing involved in such matters, behold!  I shrank the illustration as well for a second label for the spine, and after a little time at the drafting table, this sucker was done.  The album is with the photographer now and then has to make its little way on up to Alaska.  Fare well, little book!


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  • Karyl Smith on

    This is so entirely beautiful – I am sure the bride will be thrilled!!!

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