Introduction to Bookbinding class at The Create Place in Bethnal Green

9:04 am

If you find yourself getting off the tube at Bethnal Green, take a few minutes to wander up the street and take a right at Old Ford Road. Pass the gym and you'll find a wonderful little corner of the universe. St. Margaret's House is a charity that supports unique things going on in Bethnal Green, including wellbeing, crafts classes, vegan eating, and general community spirit. They have cinema showings in their chapel, rent out space to those wishing to run classes, make a good hot drink, and basically provide fun and exciting things for you to do during your week.

Last Sunday I took part in a class at 'The Create Place', which was created to provide low-cost classes to anyone wishing to start their own projects or just meet some new people in a crafty setting. The workshop I took part in was 'Introduction to Bookbinding' from Lina Avramidou of 'We Make Books!'. Five hours of bookmaking, refreshments, and all materials cost £65, which I think is an absolute bargain for the skills you're getting and the creations you come away with. I think all of her classes, which she runs on a monthly basis, come in at the same price and book up very quickly!

During the class we created three kinds of book: accordion/concertina fold (see above with green cover), Japanese four-hole stab binding (see below with yellow cover), and a single-section case binding (see bottom with purple and grey cover). The first two took about 2.5 hours, and after a half hour break the last one took about 2. I knew bookbinding was an art, but this was a lot more complex than I was expecting! I'm incredibly pleased with how my books came out, though, and there are only a few rough edges that I'm unhappy with (but I am not good with a blade).

I think the greatest feeling of accomplishment I get when I see my final books is to do with the covers. Each cover, except for the stab binding, involved covering board with the material of our choice. The green cover of my accordion binding is actually wallpaper and stuck down really well. However the other side, which you cannot see, was covered with a beige linen which I can tell you is pretty damn hard to glue down. I'm so happy with the finished product though; a lot more work goes into such simple-looking books than you'd expect!

The class was a lovely size, with less than 10 of us around a table, with space for our supplies, notebooks, and phones for copious amounts of photo-taking. It was a lovely atmosphere, to be in a room filled with people having just as much fun as yourself. Everyone paid attention to the instructions closely, and weren't shy to ask each other if they needed some help. We got the chance to chat over tea during the break and stretch our legs on the sunny (no lie) streets of Bethnal Green. I didn't get a chance to go in The Gallery Cafe this time, unfortunately, but on a previous visit I did and it was wonderful.

The day was an enormous success overall, and I loved actually heading out and doing something creative with my Sunday. I find myself sometimes getting lost in the weekends, staying home and taking time out to do nothing, but sometimes it's also beneficial to fill that time with something creative and away from home. I now have a new skill that I'd love to practice more (I'll be signing onto more of Lina's workshops in the future for sure), perhaps to make gifts for friends and family.

M x

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