August 2021 Reflections – folding

Accordions, onions, blizzards and other folding structures

In the past few weeks I’ve been broadening my understanding of structures. Last year Ben Elbel ran a promotion through Designer Bookbinders which led to be buying two tutorials + materials – I had a really tough time choosing but in the end went for an aesthetic (Onion) and an introduction to (sewn) albums (Shrigley).

Shrigley binding
Shrigley binding housing photos of my favourite linocut print

On the Shrigley I had a few issues with the accordion – this was a poor choice of mine to start with the kit rather than waste materials. I also don’t quite understand the back board connection – it doesn’t look as elegant as the rest of the structure.

The squash triangle fold (as I now know it’s name) is particularly useful as it holds material really simply and all you need is to have a border around your page. Like having inbuilt photo mounts – I will try and incorporate this feature into a ‘normal’ section soon, see how that plays out. I guess it would add a bit of bulk so you’re not going to want to overdo it.

Photo of Onion binding
Onion binding using scrap materials

The Onion binding was more successful even though the folds are much smaller. This time I did use spare materials, although this was also a minor challenge as the heavier weight paper (230gsm) I bought from a Wayzgoose doesn’t take folds well (it crumples) and the green ‘lighter’ paper (also Wayzgoose, it’s thinner but stiffer than the white) is possibly more dense. It’s a relatively easy structure to do ‘ok’ and a really hard structure to make it look really sharp.

Both structures use only paper and cardstock, so this also gave me an excuse to buy some more exotic papers from G F Smith. I’m particularly looking forward to using their leather effect heavier papers.

Having started at the more difficult end, I then decided to begin working through Hedi Kyle’s Art of the Fold as some of Bookbindingoutofthebox structures have their origins there. So far these are all maquettes using cartridge paper and other bits of scrap.

Photo of accordion paper structures
Top left is a simple accordion with pocket. Top right is accordion with jacket, bottom is accordion with ‘school’ cover.

These accordion structures are addictive and simple to make. Other than a couple of measurements these are also simple enough to do with the children, and C has been busy making several versions of the accordion for her new teacher, friends etc., It always makes me very happy when they get enthused by any form of bookbinding or paper craft. We did end up making an interlocking flag book, but I prefer the ‘pocket’ structures.

The header image shows the blizzard structure I then mocked up using GF Smith Everyday 100 gsm and some imitation parchment paper. I printed an old map of Richmond on the accordion (love the way the Epson can print oversize lengths) and cut up photos of some doctored vintage postcards of my local area. A bit crude in execution but enough to give me ideas….

Categorised as Bindery

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