Have you ever used needle and thread to re-affix a button, tack up a hem, pull back together a seam that had unraveled? We started hand-stitching books last year and we love the careful, detailed, tactile process of making these books. The feel of sewing a book is somewhere between stitching cloth, and a cobbler’s needle piercing leather. It is meditative and addicting.
Bonné de Blas is our associate editor and artist’s books editor. She suggested the binding technique which we use for our books with spines, a hybrid of hand-stitching and double-fan gluing. We’ve got two of those books in our list, Zach Rogow’s My Mother and the Ceiling Dancers, and Eric Anderson’s The Parable of the Room Spinning. You might mistake these for typical machine-made books until you pick them up and your senses detect small differences: a certain crackle (that’s the glue talking) when you first part the pages, a linen thread knotted in the fold, a slightly off-true lie to the signatures. Singatures are the handful of pages which are physically stitched together–several signatures glued together at the binding edge form the complete text of a single book. Because every step of construction is hand-done, these books have an individual quirkiness to their subtle details which readers tell us they love.
More stitched books from the wompus soon: a new full length collection, and a hand-stitched limited edition chapbook. We’ve got a few other tricks up our sleeve for this fall’s releases as well.