Students in Mrs. Benoit’s art classes have been binding personal journals as their first project for the semester. Bookbinding has its origins in ancient China (around 2000 BC). Papers are folded into groups and hand stitched to the spine of the covers. The covers and spine are usually made of stiff material and are decorative. The inside of a hand stitched book is usually finished with handcrafted endpapers.
For many high school students, art can shake their confidence. They are not as comfortable with combining a series of choices into a coherent composition and their observational skills are less developed than some of their more academic skills. This project combines math, history, and writing with creative choices. It gives them confidence and allows me to assess their skills and interests. Once they are finished, they use the journal for sketching in class. Students gain confidence. They review a multitude of basic skills, get used to hearing directions in art terms, are trained to work at the pace of a class, and through their guided steps, gain the background knowledge necessary to understand the process of applying the elements and principles of art to a project. – SPCHS Art Teacher Mrs. Benoit
Classes utilize a variety of skills to complete this project. Along with a quick review of using a ruler and a pair of scissors, students create their covers. The front cover is an Illuminated letter in the Medieval style, rendered in a limited color pencil palette. Then students create a nameplate for the front inside cover with a decorative frame. Students will also be making an abstract drawing on the back outer cover, a self portrait composed of personal data like their age, whether they have an iPhone or Android, their ancestral continent of origin, and more. For the inside back cover, students will create a printing surface, print paper, and combine it with pieces of hand printed paper from their table mates. Then they will hand stitch the whole thing together.
My favorite part of the bookbinding project was getting all the colors of the string to coordinate with the cover of the book that we designed. I did not know how to stitch in paper to a book before I took this class, but it was definitely interesting to learn. – SPCHS Student Emily Miller
SPCHS Junior Camille Seghers said, “I most enjoyed the excitement when the book bindings came together at the end of stitching each register to the cover. I learned how to make my own book without using glue or staples. It was really cool seeing how we can sew paper into the book cover, and how it can changed from folded papers, strings, and a book cover to a complete book that I use everyday!”
Photos from the project can be found below.