Book Learning

The London Centre for Book Arts have just launched their first book, Making Books, a useful and extensive printed companion to their popular bookbinding and printing workshops. LCBA's Simon Goode and Ira Yonemura tell us more...


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Since its inception in 2012, the London Centre for Book Arts in Hackney Wick has been teaching eager participants the art and craft of bookbinding, with their renowned workshops attracting attendees from around the world. This month, founders Simon Goode and Ira Yonemura have published their first book, Making Books, a practical guide to the bookbinder's craft that acts as a reference point for budding book artists and also showcases the workings of the LCBA itself.

"The book is an extension of our workshop & education programme at the London Centre for Book Arts," Goode and Yonemura explain. "We’ve been running bookbinding and printing workshops since 2012 (and even further back before we opened our studio), and we were always at a loss to recommend a good introductory reference book to people just getting started." Throughout its 192 pages, the book includes an overview of bindery equipment and tools of the trade, before going on to explain key techniques and leading readers through a series of different binding styles and projects, ranging from simple pamphlets to more complex multi-section case bindings. There's plenty to appeal to both complete beginners and more experienced bookbinders, and the book displays a welcome clarity and straightforwardness throughout.

To bring the book to life and reflect the character of the LCBA, the pair turned to their network of friends and creative collaborators, whose input helped not only to demonstrate the techniques and materials used within each bookbinding project, but also to offer readers a peek at what goes on in the LCBA workshop. "We’re both artists, and we work often with artists and graphic designers, and most of our studio members are also artists and artists designers at different stages of their practices," they explain. "We knew that we wanted to write a book that was practical and useful, but we also wanted to show off the look and feel of our studio. The book gave us an opportunity to work with our friends and frequent collaborators Jay Cover on illustrations, Makoto Yamada on the design, and Yuki Sugiura on photos."

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Goode and Yonemura point to the screen-based nature of modern working life as a possible explanation for the continued popularity of traditional bookbinding and craft. "We’ve noticed a lot of artists and designers coming through our studio who wanted a break from staring at their screens all day and actually make something with their hands," they say. "It’s a completely different thing to work through something on the screen than experimenting through physically making something."

With the book published, LCBA are now turning their attentions to the refurbishment of their studio space, having just undertaken a successful Kickstarter campaign to help them expand and overhaul their facilities. "On top of fixing and replacing key bits of equipment and general refurbishments, the money raised will go towards cataloguing and expanding our library and archive," they explain, "and to create a new area of the studio dedicated to reprographics (Riso and digital printing; perfect, coil, and wiro-bindings)." Watch this space.

Making Books by Simon Goode and Ira Yonemura is published by Pavilion, and is available to purchase here. Photographs by Yuki Sugiura.

For more information about the London Centre for Book Arts and to book workshops, visit their website.

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