COMMUNITY BINDING is the driving mechanism behind North Branch Projects. It is a shared endeavor that brings people together in a comfortable, welcoming setting where craft and social interaction combine in the best possible way. Participants gain experience and knowledge in hand bookbinding techniques during a 1-3 hour workshop. For recurring sessions, a Coptic-style stitch is taught but other binding styles may also be introduced. Non-adhesive stitching methods work well in Community Binding sessions and techniques are introduced in three basic steps: folding signatures, making covers, and stitching the parts together.
The goal of community binding sessions is to give participants an opportunity to help assemble an ongoing collection of hand-made books known as the Neighborhood Archive. These collected books are stored in various places, including a growing fleet of roving book shelf pedestals that serve as interactive book stations. Content is open-ended, and visitors and guests have the opportunity to write, draw, or fill the books as they wish. Sometimes the books are taken on location during workshops and festivals to be worked on by the general public.
The skills acquired during the group binding sessions are transferable to other styles of binding, allowing those who devote enough time learning the techniques a chance to explore variations of binding on their own. All tools and materials are provided and no experience is necessary. Participants should be willing to learn the techniques and take part in the group effort. Our policy allows guests to make two books: one they offer to North Branch Projects to become part of the archives or to be sold back to the community, the second one they get to keep and take home or give away.
ALL COMMUNITY BINDING SESSIONS ARE FREE OF CHARGE, though we consider it more of an equal exchange opportunity where participants are contributing their time and efforts in exchange for learned skills.
The first binding sessions introduce guests to folding paper and creating signatures for books. Participants will learn cutting and folding techniques and become proficient with the use of tools such as the bone folder, metal ruler, and utility knife. The general goal is to prepare signatures for two or more books (approximately 16 signatures, 4 folios in each) as well as make a set of pamphlets if time allows.
During a second binding session, making covers will be the focus. Participants will be cutting and preparing book board, book cloth, and end papers, which will be glued together and set to dry overnight in a book press. In many cases, recycled or repurposed materials will be used. Adhesives and archival issues will be covered. Guests will use both traditional and non-traditional techniques and materials to create a range of styles.
The last step of the binding process involves participants taking part in a stitching circle, where signatures and covers are sewn together to complete the book structure. In general, a Coptic-style stitch will be used for the Neighborhood Archive books. Finished books will be collected, labeled, and placed in pedestal units or stored for future use in other NBP initiatives and made available for use by the community at large. Click on these links to see images of some of the completed books and projects done in the past.