Mini Review: Bookforms by Center for Book Arts

: Bookforms
Author: Center for Book Arts
Pages: 176
Genre: Nonfiction, Books, Art
Source: Free ARC from Rockport Publishing

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Rockport Publishing via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

Goodreads Summary

“Brought to you by the instructors at the Center for Book Arts, Bookforms is a comprehensive guide for making books by hand with a focus on functionality in design.

Written by the experts at the Center for Book Arts in New York, Bookforms presents all the instruction you need to craft by hand a comprehensive array of historic bookbinding styles from all over the world. Bookforms traces the functional roots of each structure, explains their appropriateness for various uses, and provides projects for making an essential structure for each style of binding.

Topics covered include:
*Why books work: General bookbinding principles for functionality and what we can learn from the past 
*What you need to know for planning a special book or embarking on an edition 
*How materials affect function

Bookforms tackles a wide range of projects for all levels of bookbinders. You’ll see everything from sewn and ticketed blank books and traditional western codex book forms, to scrapbooks and albums, Asian stab-sewn bindingsunusual structures, and aesthetics/embellishments. What better time to dive into this venerable and unique hobby than now?”


What attracted you to this book? It’s about books. Or more specifically, it’s about making books. While I love to read, the more accurate truth is, I love books. Everything about them. Not just the pretty, amusing, emotional, perspective-changing words inside, but the whole package. The pages, the cover, the artwork. The whole kit and caboodle. While I read a great deal on my Kindle these days, my love for books as object has in no way diminished. And my heart skips a beat when I come across vintage books or books that have a binding that is something above and beyond today’s norm. Bookforms was a no-brainer for me.

Was it what you expected it to be? 100%. In fact, it was even better than I anticipated. In the intro, we meet all the individuals who showcased the different bookmaking techniques in the book. We learn how they came into the practice, their history in the field, and where they are now. Then we learn about all the tools used in the trade and how to make glue/adhesive. Finally, we get step by step instructions for each style of binding, with large, clear photographs. There are also tidbits about the history of each technique at the beginning of each section.

This book is very much about the art of bookmaking by hand. As someone who is drawn to art, as well as books, who thrives on making to feed her creative side, this book is absolutely what I never knew I needed. 

What’s in it for me? Of course, I realize that I’m not everyone else and my interests are sometimes a bit unique. In many respects, this book is tailored to people like myself, and I don’t think anyone would expect it to appeal to a wider audience. However. If you are a crafty kind of person, there are some techniques presented here that require very few specialized tools and are widely applicable. If you love funky journals for writing or drawing, if you love giving unique handmade presents to others who enjoy such things, then there is much in this book to love. Personally, I thought this book would be more about learning (and drooling!) for me, but almost immediately I saw ways in which I could utilize some of these methods for my own crafting practice. That is the bit that was more than I originally expected. If you give it a look, you might find it exceeds your expectations as well.

Not for everyone (definitely for me!), but there is more to this book than meets the eye. 

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