Exciting Discoveries From "The 52 Books Project"

Have you ever heard of a 30-day challenge, when you do something every day in order to reach a goal? For example, walking: You might choose to walk 10,000 steps every day for a month to increase your activity. Last year, I heard of a writing challenge called National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, for short). Since I had been lazily working on a novel, I decided to use this as a catalystthe challenge was to write 50,000 words in a month. The result? I have a novel that by now is *this* close to being ready for publication.

Kathy Fritz created her own art challenge: to create a new handmade book every week for a year. Her goal? To increase her skills and learn more about this creative art form. Read on to learn more about Fritz's book-making journey. Her story is featured in Pages, Volume 5 (available here). In this issue, we welcome new senior editor Jeannine Stein, whose enthusiasm is contagious: "I'll never forget the sense of elation and accomplishment I felt after I made my first handmade book," she says. "I think I showed it off to everyone I knewplus a few strangers!"

I admire both Fritz's dedication and Stein's zeal. Scroll down to read about Fritz's exciting discoveries from her personal challenge.

Until next time,

Handmade art journals by Kathy Fritz, featured in Pages, Vol. 5

The 52 Books Project: My Weekly Journey by Kathy Fritz

I have always been interested in the art of bookbinding. Several years ago I took a class to learn how to make a basic journal, and the instructor taught us how to do the Coptic stitch. However, other hobbies occupied my free time at that point, and I never had the chance to practice my new bookbinding skills. Some time later, I saw an issue of Pages magazine, and my desire to make books was resurrected. I decided that the best way to improve my bookbinding skills would be to devote an entire year to pursuing this art, making a new book each week. Thus began my 52 Books Project.

The first thing I did was to assemble the many materials I would need to make my 52 books. I started saving plain and patterned paper, cardboard, paper bags, candy packages, and even junk mail. In my hunt for materials, I discovered that many frame shops packaged their matte board scraps and sold them at affordable prices. These matte boards make excellent covers for handmade books. They don't warp like some other cardboard-like materials, and they absorb glue very well when adhering paper. I also collected a variety of ribbons, waxed-linen and embroidery thread, yarn, and floss to bind these handmade books.

Assembling each week's book was a joy. I never knew where my bookbinding adventures would take me. Who knew there were so many binding methods and techniques? Some books took a long time, while others were completed in a matter of minutes. The Japanese stab binding was quick to sew, but other sewing methods, like the Coptic stitch, took a while, and sometimes resulted in multiple stab wounds. I found the pamphlet stitch to be the quickest and easiest binding method, and perfect for any bookbinding newbie. ~KF

Read more in Pages, Volume 5


Blog, Handmade Books


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