Monday, January 18, 2010

Painting Book Cloth

I have always enjoyed playing with paints, but am sometimes reluctant to do so because I lack formal training in using these mediums. More recently, I am putting the uncertainty aside and am jumping in to experiment to see what works and what doesn't. Sometimes, the materials have ended up in the trash. Regardless, it is a lot of fun to pull out the paintbrushes, acrylic paint, glass of water, and other materials. Mixing the paints is also rewarding. When adding the colors, I might have an idea of what it will look like but am often surprised at the actual outcome. Since a specific color isn't required, I go with it!

Today, I sewed a little book with tan and black end sheets. I have some brown book cloth and decided to spruce it up some. I have been wanting to incorporate some printmaking techniques into my bookbinding. So, I pulled out some letterpress pieces - the letters B, E, and the numbers 2 and 6 (or 9). Some of these, I have collected over the years, and still others were purchased in Chelsea, Michigan on a recent trip to visit family in the area. I spread some paint on some well-used waxed paper, and using my letter press pieces (wood and metal), stamped designs on the brown fabric. Using some masking tape, I created some straight edges. In other places, I pressed the designs free handed. Then, I glued the book board to the fabric (after it has dried). Now, the project is in the press overnight. Tomorrow, I will be able to glue the book block into the completed painted cover. Look for it on Etsy soon!


  1. Great idea! I think your bookcloth ended up looking really terrific. One of the benefits of having no real formal training in art or books is that it's easier to get over that "fear" of doing something "wrong." I just go with things and see what works, like you did here. It's usually a surprisingly satisfying experience in the end.


  2. Lovely Blog :)!! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I think this turned out really well, Stephen. It's good to try some new stuff and not be afraid to experiment. By the way, some of the best artists had no "formal" training, yet they turned out some great results. You could always find a book about types of media/paint, that sets tasks and experiments for you, to help you learn what can be done. But then, personal experimentation will also help!