Thursday, August 5, 2010

Inlays, Onlays and the Ethiopian Coptic Stitch

It all began in Melissa's class at PBI.  Melissa is a fantastic artist!  I discovered her work before I met her.  In real life, she is imaginative, creative, funny, playful and full of life!  Just take look at Melissa's work.   I'll wait.  Really.  It's WELL worth looking at!  Seriously, I'll wait!

Waiting.... waiting.... waiting.....  Didn't I say she is fantastic???

Melissa taught us how to create the inlays and onlays.  This is one of my books.  It's covered with a sage green Japanese kozo paper, a snipit from a sofa ad, an orphaned earring, a piece of Melissa's leather and my broken lacy metal barrette.
Learning how to bind with four needles   Photo: Margaret Braun

I purchased Katie MacGregor's handmade paper for the inside.  It is cool soft green in colour with a beautiful "hand" to it.  You can't help but fall in love with Katie and her paper when you first meet them.  She is a beautiful woman inside and out.  Her paper making expertise is mind boggling.   And the variety of paper colours is astounding!  You can listen to Katie's interview on Book Artists and Poets.

So, all the elements were there but I had one problem.  I didn't know how to bind the book.

Luckily, I was blessed with the BEST roommate in all the campus!  Because of Emily's generosity, she taught me how to sew the Ethiopian Coptic Stitch.  One evening, Emily returned to the room around 12.30 a.m.  She had just experienced 15 hours in class working on a leather-bound late 18th Century French Binding.  It was nearly two before we got to bed that morning (not unlike any other morning) just in time to get up five hours later and repeat the process once again.  Emily is so dear, kind, intelligent, considerate, funny, compassionate, talented, helpful and hardworking.  (She didn't pay me to say this by the way.)  Like Katie she, too, is a beautiful woman inside and out!  Without her, I never would have learned how to bind a book with four needles.


  1. i was so impressed with your coptic book, my dear!