coptic binding


After I took “Coptic Binding: Focus on Stitching” through the Minnesota Center for Book Arts a week or so ago, I figured I needed to practice before I forgot everything from the class. I started out by using two of my gel plate prints (stencils and acrylic paint) with a few coats of matte medium for the covers. And that there is a six-needle coptic binding. O.O There was quite a bit of swearing involved, but rather less blood than I was expecting, so! :)

(And that’s Mayhem, “helping”.)


Made this book from an old black mousepad (supplied by ArtiCulture), based on a project from Eco Books: Inventive Projects from the Recycling Bin by Terry Taylor.

First I cut the mousepad in half with a utility knife and a metal ruler. Next I stencilled it with layers of metallic and glittery acrylic paint, then coated it with two layers of matte medium. Per the project instructions, I used a leather punch to punch the holes through the mousepad, which left the paint around the holes a little worse for wear. D’oh. I added another coat of matte medium over the holes. And that light purple linen thread was the perfect finishing touch!

Slightly dodgy kettle stitch/coptic binding sketchbook making tutorial!

Nobody ever said that your sketchbook binding had to be neat. Well, they might have done, but not in my hearing. So here’s a slightly dodgy, but really not too difficult sketchbook making tutorial. In it, you’ll learn how to cobble together a sketchbook like the one above in pretty short time using a messy version of kettle stitch/coptic binding! 

Tutorial after the break! 

Keep reading

Bee’s Modest Art Arsenal

I made a comprehensive list of all the stuff I typically use to make art as of right now. It’s not meant to be an end-all-be-all for art supplies by any means, just… stuff I like! And it’s largely affordable whenever possible, yay!!! Some of my favorite art products I find completely on accident or in unlikely places so never be afraid to give it a shot if it calls to you! My list is under the cut, and ofc, all photos are not mine and used purely for educational purposes.

Keep reading


Funny thing about this one… no one has shown any interest in it since it was first posted almost 2 years ago, and suddenly I’ve had two people interested in one week!  Of course, the dilemma is… the original journal has gotten a tad warped in storage.  So, this is a duplicate of that original journal.

This journal is 6 x 9 inches, made with high quality (64 lb. / 95 g/sq.m.), unlined, filler paper (128 sheets) and heavy weight bookboard for the covers. It is covered with an intricately designed fine paper, marbled in pink, blue, gold, and black. These vibrant, refreshing colors are sure to inspire creativity!

This journal is hand-bound in coptic stitch using a 10 lb. white hemp cording. 


In the evenings last week while I was taking Intensive Bookbinding from the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, I had a surfeit of bookbinding energy, so I put together these coptic-bound journals. The one on the left features one of my gelli prints on the front and (not pictured) a nebula from an astronomy calendar on the back. The one on the right is covered with scrapbooking paper. I added spacers to both of them. (Spacers are little stubs of paper bound in with the regular pages to reduce that art journal foredge splay). The spacers also hide the crazy papers I used for the pages - graph paper, a cut-up atlas, etc.


I’ve been asked to make a book for a writer out of loose leaves of paper. I didn’t want to stab bind them so looked into a type of coptic bind with single sheets. Here’s a maquette I’ve made to show her… it’s a start but I think it looks OK so far. The theme is Forest so I’ve gone for thin wooden covers. When I make the real thing I think we may source actual wood from the New Forest.


impressions (excerpts) 

spring 2013, plant dyes on paper, xyline transfer, coptic binding

full text:


1. the sunburn faded

2. the basil from under the fingernails

3. the blackberry bruise

4. the minerals in tap water left chalky rings

5. my name burned in the deck with a magnifying glass

6. calluses formed and peeled in chlorine

7. the flushed pillows left creases on my cheek when i fucked myself near the ceiling

8. to change the sheets it takes three people

9. the feet were not allowed to remain dirty for long

10. the saliva evaporated

11. the cache of empty shampoo bottles secreted under the sink

12. the raw fingers

13. the chickenshit on black leather shoes

14. melanoma

15. an over ripe blackberry on cotton sheets

16. the pluot tits

17. the rusted out chairs

18. the redwood dust

19. the flower of a blood stain

20. the cache of empty shampoo bottles secreted under the sink evidences a body with hair

21. where in the body is trauma located?

22. where in the soft little body?

23. to take apart plants with baby fingers

24. baby plants with fingers all inside

25. daisies pressed between the pages       the lilliputians had pollen on their faces

26. to be pollinated

27. baking soda on the bee sting

28. the wetness of summer

29. chlorine and bay leaf

30. a breathlessness

31. the wrists a soft underbelly

32. the throat a soft underbelly

33. the cool adhesive of the post office

34. the valley on fire      the fever dream

35. zinc in the saliva

36. a chance encounter       the darkness of the hallway

37. the frosted glass of the bathroom

38. the cricket tick

39. where in the body is it located?

40. a thing grown over by ivy

41. the lightlessness of the afternoon

42. the steel strings

43. i practiced fucking myself until my fingers were raw

44. things that cannot be helped

45. the sweltering   

46. the stickiness

47. in the backseat, become invisible

48. they test the sirens on tuesdays

49. sometimes it is difficult to rematerialize

50. the burn pile

51. to bite into a persimmon

52. the yielding

53. skinned knees

54. the jasmine sap on the fingers

55. where in the body?

56. the liquor store chocolate melted on the dashboard

57. the soft white body of the worm creature in the blackberry

the easy ones faded years ago

External image


River Birch Journal by Michelle Skiba

“This rustic journal measures 6 inches by 3 ½ inches and is 2 inches thick. The covers are decorated with the peeling bark of a river birch tree. The inside covers are brown distressed wood. It is bound in a variation of the coptic style so will lay flat when open. It contains 144 pages (front & back) of heavy weight acid free paper perfect for writing or sketching.”