...humming to myself while you're gone...
there. welcome back.
i think i put the cart before the horse as far as teaching bookbinding. certainly not for polymer clay, with which i've been working for 17 whole years. i've been binding for 7 years. when i was ready to begin teaching, i started with books. it was, and still is, the element that set me apart. people taught polymer, others taught bookbinding, but no one taught them together because no one else was doing that. frankly it was the combination that made me blossom as an artist. the gestalt was all mine.
so i made several books and started teaching those projects. and started selling similar books. i taught just as rice said you shouldn't do. "here's how to make the cover. do this step, then the next." a project class. it made sense to me to narrow people's focus since i couldn't convey everything i knew about polymer in half a day. so i told them exactly what to do to make a book exactly like mine. people really did like that. but then what? do i want people making exactly what i make forever? not really. i want them to develop their own style. so why wasn't i teaching that? it's harder.
then after everyone was tired from learning and working with polymer clay, i'd have them set all that aside and prepare for binding. but everyone was too sleepy, full, zoned after lunch to really pay attention to me. and i wondered why more people didn't seem as interested in the binding. good grief! a whole new thing after lunch!
i actually wonder why, in general, more people don't try bookbinding. there are plenty of people making books, but not in the method of the traditional craft. there's a lot of tying things together with ribbon, making holes for those circular office supply rings, using some shoddy technique for sewing. it's not THAT hard to bind correctly, why aren't people doing it? i don't know the answer to that one.
i did try in one of my last classes to get people to bind first and embellish later. i thought it would be good to concentrate on the new skill, binding, instead of the comfortable skill, embellishing. that didn't work as well as i planned. i went to lunch and a bunch of people began to embellish. the idea swept the room like wildfire and i still didn't get a chance to really teach people the binding.
in my tv appearances on craft lab and that's clever, the very same thing happened. they spent lots of time on the polymer while the binding was an afterthought. it must be me.
that's the conclusion i've reached. it must be me. i know a lot more about polymer than about binding and i must somehow be conveying that when i teach.
so what's to be done?
today is the last day of my hiatus. it's been relaxing. but now i think i should explore more bookbinding. i generally use the coptic or ethiopian stitch and i'm pretty good at that. but have i explored it fully? have i neglected the other stitches? would it be helpful to make books out of materials other than polymer clay? it sure would because a lot of folks aren't interested in that medium. and it's too cold in the basement studio to work with it all winter. again, it's scary to work with other materials because the polymer makes me unique. but looking at other media doesn't detract from my polymer. i can still use polymer, and will most likely make a ton of books with it. but stretching is good for artists.
so tomorrow, the start of a new month and freshly back from hiatus....bookbinding. maybe i'll start with leather.